Author Archive for Tadias

Ukraine Rebels Surrender Downed Airliner Black Boxes to Malaysia

A pro-Russian fighter places a black box from the crashed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on a table while handing it over to Malaysian representatives in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, July 22, 2014. (AP)

VOA News

A senior separatist leader, Aleksander Borodai, handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts in the city of Donetsk in the early hours of Tuesday.

“Here they are, the black boxes,” Borodai told a room packed with journalists at the headquarters of his self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic as an armed rebel placed the boxes on a desk.

Both sides then signed a document, which Borodai said was a protocol to finalize the procedure after lengthy talks with the Malaysians.

“I can see that the black boxes are intact, although a bit damaged. In good condition,” Colonel Mohamed Sakri of Malaysian National Security Council said in extending his thanks to “His Excellency Mr. Borodai” for passing on the recorders.

Borodai also said a train carrying the remains of the victims of the Malaysia Airlines plane crash has reached Donetsk. It is on its way to Kharkiv, some 300 km (186 miles) northwest.

The Malaysian experts and a Dutch delegation also on site in Donetsk will travel along with it, he said.

U.N. Security Council resolution

The U.N. Security Council on Monday afternoon unanimously passed a resolution condemning the downing of the Malaysian passenger jet and demanded that pro-Russian separatists controlling the crash site allow investigators unrestricted accesss to the area.

Council member Australia, which had 37 nationals aboard the flight, drafted the resolution. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop traveled to New York for the vote. She said Russia, which backs the separatists, must use its influence to ensure the resolution is implemented.

“We must have answers; we must have justice. We owe it to the victims and families to determine what happened and who was responsible,” said Bishop.

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said a resolution should not have been necessary.

“We welcome Russia’s support for today’s resolution. But no resolution would have been necessary had Russia used its leverage with the separatists on Thursday, getting them to lay down their arms and leave the site to international experts. Or on Friday. Or on Saturday. Or even yesterday, ” said Power.

Obama Urges Unimpeded Probe

Earlier in the day U.S. President Barack Obama called on Russia to allow international investigators immediate, full, and unimpeded access to the site in Ukraine where a Malaysian passenger jet was shot down last week.

Obama said Monday the pro-Russian separatists who control the part of eastern Ukraine where the plane went down are preventing international investigators from gaining full access to the wreckage.

“As investigators approached, they fired their weapons into the air. The separatists are removing evidence from the crash site, all which begs the question: What exactly are they trying to hide?” the president asked.

U.S. officials say there is evidence the missile that brought the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 down was fired from territory controlled by rebels who Russia is backing and supplying with equipment that includes anti-aircraft weapons.

Obama said Moscow has urged the rebels on, trained them, and armed them. And he said Russian President Vladimir Putin now should facilitate a transparent investigation.

“Given its direct influence over the separatists, Russia, and President Putin in particular, has direct responsibility to compel them to cooperate with the investigation. That is the least that they can do,” Obama said.

The president said the separatists have been removing bodies from the crash site without following proper procedures, something he called an insult to the victims’ loved ones.

Obama has been speaking to leaders of nations whose citizens were lost on the flight.

The U.S. leader said Russia will only continue to isolate itself from the international community if it keeps supporting the rebels.

Former Pentagon official Dr. Anthony Cordesman was asked whether the magnitude of the downing of MH17 compels Obama to act more aggressively towards Russia.

“I think the word compel isn’t valid. It [the downing of the jet] gives the U.S. more leverage in mobilizing world opinion and getting support for sanctions from European allies.​…but the key problem is how easily something like this can fade….the whole problem of how Russia deals with the states around it is going to go on in the future,​” he said.

Kerry condemns Russia

Secretary of State John Kerry has condemned Russia for what he called “overwhelming evidence” of complicity in Thursday’s downing of the Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine.

In a series of appearances on Sunday news shows, Kerry said the evidence points to Russia supplying pro-Moscow separatists with a sophisticated SA-11 anti-aircraft system and then training separatists to use it.

He said U.S. authorities have seen video, taken after the crash, of a missile launcher with at least one rocket missing. He said that battery was moved back into Russian territory from rebel-held areas in eastern Ukraine after Thursday’s attack, which killed 298 people near the Russian border.

EU to increase sanctions

European leaders said Monday they were ready to slap increasing sanctions on Russia to force Moscow to use its influence over the rebels to stop the conflict and allow international investogators free access to the crash site.

British Prime Minister David Cameron told Parliament Monday that Russia cannot expect to enjoy access to European markets and money if it fuels conflict in Ukraine.

He also echoed comments by Obama that the separatists must ensure the bodies of the victims of the crash are repatriated and that international investigators must be given access to the crash site.

Putin response

Russian President Vladimir Putin once again on Monday said the airliner would not have gone down if Ukraine had not re-ignited fighting last month in the region with separatists.

“We can say with confidence that if fighting in eastern Ukraine had not been renewed on June 28, this tragedy would not have happened,” he said. “At the same time, nobody should or does have a right to use this tragedy to achieve their own selfish political objectives. Such events should not divide, but rather unite people. We need for all people who answer for the situation to uphold their responsibility both before their own people, as before the people of other nations, the representatives of which became victims of this catastrophe. It is necessary to do everything in order to secure the safe work of international experts at the site of the tragedy.”

Putin said Monday that Russia is doing everything possible to allow a team of experts from the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization to investigate the scene.

VOA’s Luis Ramirez from the White House and Margaret Besheer from the United Nations contributed to this report. Some information provided by Reuters.

Related:
FAA Prohibits US Planes in Ethiopian Airspace North of 12 Degrees Latitude

Video: Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

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Australia Grants Permanent Protection Visa to Teenager Who Fled Ethiopia

Australia's immigration minister Scott Morrison during question time in parliament. (Photograph: AAP)

The Guardian

By Oliver Laughland

Tuesday 22 July 2014

The immigration minister has issued a permanent protection visa to an unaccompanied minor who fled Ethiopia and arrived in Australia by boat, in a major backflip that could have ramifications for other asylum seekers in Australia.

Since the Coalition government came to power in September, Scott Morrison has aggressively stated it would not issue permanent visas to asylum seekers who arrive by boat in Australia and has attempted to cap the number of permanent visas it offers.

But he has now issued a visa to the 15-year-old boy whose case led to a high court ruling that such a cap was invalid.

After the ruling, Morrison had initially indicated he would still not grant the boy a permanent visa, and had appeared intent upon getting around the ruling by introducing a new public interest test in July.

Morrison said following the ruling: “The policy of the Australian government is that those who arrived illegally by boat or plane … should only be granted a temporary visa.

Read more at The Guardian »

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Oprah Magazine Names Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu to Annual Power List

(Image courtesy: Oprah Magazine South Africa and SoleRebels)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, July 21st, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — The Oprah Magazine (South Africa) has named Ethiopian businesswoman Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SoleRebels — Africa’s fastest growing footwear company —  to its fourth annual O Power List featuring 21 inspiring female leaders from the African continent who are “Rocking the World.” The list comes with commentaries from international celebrities such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Oprah Winfrey honoring the women on the list. “Our August issue of O, The Oprah Magazine has been wrapped up, and we’ve finalized our 2014 Women of Africa,” the magazine announced.

Bethlehem, who is also scheduled to receive the 2014 Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship Award given by the pan-African media company Face2face Africa at a ceremony in New York on July 26th, said in an email to Tadias Magazine that she is “elated” to be selected by Oprah Winfrey to this list. “It’s a doubly sweet honor to be among such incredibly talented women.”

Other honorees include Oscar winning actress Lupita Nyong’o; Founder & Executive Director DNA Project Vanessa Lynch; journalist & author Mandy Wiener; Host of Africa Business Report on BBC World News and respected business journalist Lerato Mbele; Senior Editor & Producer for Essence.com and co-founder of online magazine AfriPOP Yolanda Sangweni; Award-winning actress and Executive Producer of Elelwani Florence Masebe; and Executive Director of the Desmond Tutu Legacy Foundation, Reverend Mpho Tutu.

Learn more about the “O List” at Oprah Magazine South Africa »

Related:
2014 Face2face Africa Awards Preview

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U.S.-AFRICA SUMMIT: United Africa? Not Yet

From Marcus Garvey to Bob Marley, see leading figures who championed a United States of Africa. (WSJ)

The Wall Street Journal

By PETER WONACOTT CONNECT

The journalist and black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey wrote a poem about it. The reggae great Bob Marley sang about it. And the Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi poured his oil wealth into it. But none lived to see a United States of Africa.

This history of disappointed hopes will provide the backdrop in early August when President Barack Obama hosts the inaugural U.S.-Africa summit in Washington. Only a few of Africa’s 54 leaders—including Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, who is still the target of U.S. sanctions—haven’t been invited.

The U.S. wants to discuss continent-wide issues, such as security and terrorism, and to promote regional initiatives, such as shared electricity. To stress the breadth of the meeting’s aims, Mr. Obama plans to meet with the African heads of state as a group, not individually—a move that has ruffled some diplomatic feathers.

The vision of an impoverished continent of countries coming together as one, flexing its muscle in geopolitics and the global economy, has long enticed activists, poets and politicians. But today’s Africa remains divided, largely along hastily drawn colonial-era borders. The question now is whether the still-remote idea of political unity can find new life in the more modest goal of an integrated economic community. The obstacles are formidable.

Read more at WSJ.com »

Related:
Transport Chiefs From Five Countries to Visit Chicago Ahead of U.S.-Africa Summit (TADIAS)
Beyond Obama Haters: Real Recommendations for The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit (Brookings)
Ambassador David Shinn on the 2014 Africa Summit in DC (TADIAS)

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Ethiopia’s Child Brides See Marriage As Key to Jobs Abroad, Says Thinktank

Lubaba Abdella and the family she supported with her earnings in Saudi Arabia. Her marriage lasted only three months and her husband hit her. (Photograph: Clare Price/ODI)

The Guardian

By David Smith

Monday 21 July 2014

Up a bumpy, winding dirt track in the mountains of northern Ethiopia, past two bulls chewing pasture and a rondavel built from sticks and cow dung, is the modest home of Lubaba Abdella, its mudbrick walls reinforced by eucalyptus bark and topped by a corrugated roof.

Abdella has lived a lifetime, yet she is still in her teens. She dropped out of school, married, divorced three months later and emigrated illegally so she could cook and clean for a family in Saudi Arabia, earning money to support her parents and eight siblings. Now she is home and back to square one.

Three-quarters of girls in the Ethiopian region of Amhara become child brides like Abdella, according to the London-based Overseas Development Institute. Many also join the so-called “maid trade”: up to 1,500 girls and women leave the east African country each day to become domestic workers in the Middle East. A study has shown for the first time how these pernicious trends feed off each other.

In Ethiopia’s Muslim communities it is often deeply shameful or “sinful” for girls to remain unmarried after they begin menstruating, notes the ODI. But once girls are married and sexually initiated, parents consider their social and religious obligations complete.

The thinktank’s researchers in Amhara found it was therefore becoming common for parents to insist on marriage followed by a swift divorce so that their daughter was free to migrate and send her earnings home to her parents, rather than her husband. The fact a girl had already been “deflowered” meant she was seen as less likely to be disgraced by foreign men. “It’s a question of virtue and virginity,” one local researcher said. “Better to lose it in a dignified way.”

Read more at The Guardian »

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The French Beverage Giant Castel Announces Wine Made in Ethiopia

The French beverage giant Castel, which bottled its first batch of Ethiopian wine this year, is helping change the way outsiders view the country and doing its bit to boost foreign investment. (Photo: AFP)

AFP

Published: 20 Jul 2014

Beyond the donkeys on a potholed road in southern Ethiopia, is an unexpected sight — vineyards bursting with merlot, syrah and chardonnay grapes ripening in the African sun.

The scene is more reminiscent of France’s Beaujolais region than this corner of the Horn of the Africa, which for many still conjures images of famine, poverty and war.

“People outside Ethiopia may know of the drought 10 years ago,” Industry Minister Ahmed Abtew told AFP. “But when they see wine with ‘Made in Ethiopia’ on it, their mind automatically changes.”

The French beverage giant Castel, which bottled its first batch of Ethiopian wine this year, is helping change the way outsiders view the country. It is also boosting government hopes of attracting foreign investment, key to its plans to reach middle income status by 2025.

The country’s growth rates are already among the highest in Africa, hitting 11.2 percent last year according to the government, although the International Monetary Fund puts the figure at 8.2 percent.

For Castel, the ambition is merely to produce good wine, and Ethiopia is an ideal — if surprising — place to do that.

Read more »

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Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW) Fundraising Event in DC

At the 2014 International Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora. (Photo: by Kebadu Belachew)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, July 19th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW) will be holding a fundraising event on August 2, 2014 at Howard University’s Blackburn Center in Washington, D.C. The event includes a panel on “The Role of Civil Society on Human Rights Issues.”

Since the organization was founded two years ago, it has hosted several events highlighting issues that are pertinent to Ethiopian women worldwide, including most notably the plight of female Ethiopian domestic workers in Middle Eastern countries. The Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women ”has launched a campaign to create awareness and to challenge the international community to address their situation,” states Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw, President of CREW, in her message explaining the mission of the U.S.-based non-profit.

“Other critical issues related to the rights of Ethiopian women worldwide are also being addressed,” Maigenet adds. “Our members are committed to building a credible and strong independent women’s organization that will stand firmly for the respect of the rights of Ethiopian women worldwide. We believe that women’s rights are human rights. Understanding the complex issues of gender equality in the context of the political, cultural and economic milieu in Ethiopia is important. A transformative approach is required in order to empower women so that they could advance their rights. Ethiopian women’s active involvement in order to bring about peace, equality and democracy is vital to the development of our society. CREW will collaborate with all organizations that promote the rights of women.”


If You Go:
Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW)
Fundraising Event and Panel Discussion
Saturday, August 2, 2014
4pm – 11pm
Howard University Blackburn Center
2397 6th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20059
Telephone: 240-667-5227
www.centerforethiopianwomen.org

Photos: CREW Hosts the Third International Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora

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FAA Prohibits US Planes in Ethiopian Airspace North of 12 Degrees Latitude

Image courtesy: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Saturday, July 19th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that it has prohibited all U.S. air carriers and commercial operators from flying in Ethiopian airspace north of 12 degrees latitude as precaution following the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine on Thursday.

The Washington Post reports that the “FAA expanded an existing regulation that prohibited certain flights from operating in the region. The FAA regularly issues airspace restrictions and prohibitions for U.S. aircraft traveling through potentially hostile airspace.”

The FAA document entitled ‘Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 87 – Prohibition against Certain Flights Within the Territory and Airspace of Ethiopia’ states that “This Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) applies to all U.S. air carriers or commercial operators, all persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA unless that person is engaged in the operation of a U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier, and all operators using aircraft registered in the United States except where the operator of such aircraft is a foreign air carrier.”

In describing the “potentially hostile situation” in the Horn of Africa the advisory notes that “Aircraft that cross into Ethiopian airspace while taking off or landing at Mandera Airstrip in Kenya may be fired upon by Ethiopian forces. Mandera is located in the extreme northeastern corner of Kenya, adjacent Ethiopia and Somalia. Operators considering flights to northeastern Kenya should familiarize themselves with the current situation.”

Other countries where the American flight prohibitions apply include Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Congo, Egypt Sinai Peninsula, Iran, Kenya, Mali, Syria and Yemen.

The document adds that the special regulation will remain in effect until further notice from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Click here to read FAA’s flight advisory and prohibition for U.S. aircraft in Ethiopia.

Video: Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months


Related:
Ukraine: Russians Shot Down Malaysia Flight (VOA News)

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Genzebe Dibaba Wins 5000m at 2014 IAAF Diamond League in Monaco (Video)

Genzebe Dibaba wins the 5000m at the 2014 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco on July 18th.

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — When it comes to a winning streak in the international running field, this has been the year of Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba. The 23-year-old athlete repeated her victorious performance in Monaco on Friday capturing first place in the 5000 meters women’s race at the 2014 IAAF Diamond League track and field competition.

Genzebe finished the race in a world-leading time of 14:28.88, ahead of fellow Ethiopian Almaz Ayana (14:29.19) who came in second. Viola Jelagat Kibiwot of Kenya was third with time of 14:33.73.

See the full results at iaaf.org »

Video: Genzebe Dibaba wins 5000m and Huddle gets US record in Monaco – Universal Sports


Related:
Genzebe Dibaba Wants More World Records (TADIAS)

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HRW: Drop Case Against Zone 9 Bloggers

Human Rights Watch says "Politically Motivated Charges Show Misuse of Terrorism Law." (File photos)

HRW

Ethiopia: Drop Case Against Bloggers, Journalists

(Nairobi, July 19, 2014) – The Ethiopian government should immediately drop politically motivated charges brought against 10 bloggers and journalists on July 17, 2014, under the country’s deeply flawed anti-terrorism law.

The Ethiopian authorities arrested six of the bloggers and three journalists on April 25 and 26. They have been detained in Maekelawi, the Federal Police Crime Investigation Sector in Addis Ababa. The court charged the nine with having links to banned opposition groups and trying to violently overthrow the government, local media reported. A tenth blogger, who was not in Ethiopia at the time of the arrests, was charged in absentia.

“Ethiopia’s courts are making a mockery of their own judicial system,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Hiding behind an abusive anti-terrorism law to prosecute bloggers and journalists doing their job is an affront to the constitution and international protection for free expression.”

The charges are part of an intensified crackdown in Ethiopia in recent months against perceived political opponents, Human Rights Watch said.

The six bloggers in custody are Atnaf Berahane, Befekadu Hailu, Abel Wabela, Mahlet Fantahun, Natnael Feleke, and Zelalem Kibret. Soliana Shimeles was charged in absentia. The three journalists are Tesfalem Waldyes, Edom Kassaye, and Asmamaw Hailegiorgis, an editor at weekly magazine Addis Guday.

The bloggers are part of a blogging collective known as Zone 9, which provides commentary on current events in Ethiopia. The Zone 9 group had stopped blogging in February after security officials harassed the group and questioned them about their work and alleged links to political opposition parties and human rights organizations.

Zone 9 announced on Facebook on April 23 that they would resume blogging, and on April 25 and 26 the six bloggers were arrested. They were detained for over 80 days without charge, and remain in custody. Their lawyer, Ameha Mekonnen, has had only sporadic access to them, and family members were not allowed to meet with them until July 9. The lawyer plans to bring a civil suit about irregularities in the legal process, media reports said.

The bloggers and journalists are accused of connections to Ginbot 7 and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), two of five organizations designated as terrorist organizations in 2011 by the House of Representatives, the Ethiopian parliament. Human Rights Watch has not yet obtained the charge sheets, but credible media reports say that the bloggers and journalists are alleged to have taken directions from Ginbot 7 and OLF, planning and organizing terrorist acts, and agreeing to overthrow the government through force.

Judge Tareke Alemayehu was reported in the media saying that the group “took training in how to make explosives and planned to train others,” accusing them of plotting “to destabilize the nation” and using blogging as a cover for “clandestine” activities.

Human Rights Watch and other organizations have repeatedly raised concerns about Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law’s overly broad definition of “terrorist acts” and provisions on support for terrorism. Its vague prohibition of “moral support” for terrorism has been used to convict a number of journalists. Since 2011, at least 11 journalists, and possibly many more, have been convicted for their journalistic activities, even though the Ethiopian constitution and international law protect media freedom.

Three of the Zone 9 bloggers were outside of Ethiopia when their colleagues were arrested. According to media reports, one of these, Soliana Shimeles, was charged in absentia with coordinating foreign relations for the group and coordinating digital security training with “Security in-a-box”, a publicly available training tool used by advocates and human rights defenders. Human Rights Watch has documented how the Ethiopian government monitors email and telephone communications, often using information unlawfully collected, without a warrant, during interrogations.

“The fact that bloggers used digital security isn’t terrorism but common sense, especially in a repressive environment like Ethiopia,” Lefkow said. “The government should drop these charges and immediately release these nine journalists and bloggers, as well as others who have been wrongfully prosecuted under the anti-terrorism law.”

Others caught up in the government’s recent crackdown are four opposition leaders affiliated with political parties – Yeshewas Asefa of the Blue Party, Abraha Desta of the Arena Tigray party, and Daniel Shibeshi and Habtamu Ayalew of the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party. They were arrested on July 8, 2014, accused of providing support to terrorist groups, media reports said. They are scheduled to appear in court on August 14.

On June 23 or 24, Andargachew Tsige, a British citizen and secretary-general of Ginbot 7, was deported to Ethiopia from Yemen while in transit, in violation of international law prohibitions against sending someone to a country where they are likely to face torture or other mistreatment. He had twice been sentenced to death in absentia for his involvement with Ginbot 7. His whereabouts in Ethiopia are unknown. He has been detained for more than three weeks without access to family members, legal counsel, or UK consular officials, in violation of Ethiopian and international law.

Related:
Zone 9 Bloggers Charged With Terrorism (BBC News)
Interview With the Lawyer of Illegally Detained Zone9 Bloggers (Trial Tracker Blog)
CPJ condemns closed court hearings for nine Ethiopian journalists
Zone9 Co-Founder Speaks Out (Video)

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Book Talk on Emperor Tewodros of Ethiopia at Politics and Prose Bookstore in DC

(Image: From the book "Crossing Ethiopia: Retracing The Last March of Emperor Tewodros to Magdala")

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – John Snyder, author of the new photography book Crossing Ethiopia, which chronicles his own journey retracing the last march of Emperor Tewodros of Ethiopia to Magdala to face a British army numbering over 60,000, initially thought of making a movie on the scale of Lawrence of Arabia to depict Tewodros’ epic confrontation with Victorian England over European hostages held by Tewodros including the English ambassador to Ethiopia. Snyder writes: “A chain of events that eventually brought in the massive British Expedition of 1867-1868 began when a new English consul, Charles Cameron, arrived to replace the murdered [former consul and close friend of Tewodros ], Walter Plowden.”

In October of 1862 Tewodros gave Cameron 1000 dollars and a letter “directing him to hand deliver” to Queen Victoria. “Cameron went only as far as northern Ethiopia from which he forwarded the letter on to England,” writes Snyder. “Returning in June of 1863 without a reply from Victoria, he incurred the wrath of Tewodros, who forbade his leaving the country until an answer was received.”

In the meantime mail had arrived from France containing a response to Tewodros’ letter to Napoleon III. Suffice it to say that the reply was not exactly what the Ethiopian Emperor was looking for, not to mention that it was not signed by the French King himself. Snyder notes that “after ripping the letter to shreds and trampling it underfoot,” Emperor Tewodros is quoted as saying: “I know the tactics of European Governments when they wish to acquire a possession of Oriental States. They first send missionaries, then consuls to support the missionaries, then armies to support the consuls. I am not a Rajah of Hindustan to be humbugged in that fashion. I prefer at once having to do with the armies.”

In 1868 Ethiopian and British “armies converged for a showdown at Magdala, a mountaintop fortress where a handful of European prisoners were residing in fetters at the mercy of the Emperor.” Snyder states in his introduction: “Costing $9 million in 1867 sterling, (translating to over $5 billion today) it was, and remains, history’s most expensive hostage rescue operation.”

“Born in a remote province west of Lake Tana in 1818, Tewodros received a convent education that left him literate and deeply versed in the bible. After his teens, however, he did nothing but soldiering, getting his start as a shifta (bandit). A few followers gradually swelled into an army as he led them from one brilliant victory to another. By the age of 35, he had conquered all of highland Ethiopia and declared himself emperor. At his coronation in 1855, he cleverly designated himself Tewodros II, fulfilling a legend that 15th century King Tewodros I would eventually have a successor by the same name.”

History also records that Tewodros’ tenor as the crown holder was marked by his infamous killing sprees directed at his own domestic ‘enemies.’ Even his ill-fated letter to the Queen of England was full of macho imagery bordering on religious and ethnic fanaticism. In assuring Victoria that he is taking action to avenge the life of her former ambassador and his close friend Walter Plowden, Tewodros adds: “All men are subject to death, and my enemies, thinking to injure me, killing these my friends. But by the power of God I have exterminated these enemies, not leaving one alive, although they were my own family, that I may get, by the power of God, your friendship – I wish to have an answer to this letter by Consul Cameron and that he may go with my embassy to England…”

The author of Crossing Ethiopia: Retracing The Last March of Emperor Tewodros to Magdala, John Snyder, will be giving a book talk on July 27 in Washington, DC at Politics & Prose bookstore. “I am pleased to report that Foreword Reviews has just awarded Crossing Ethiopia Honorable Mention in the photography category of their 2013 IndieFab competition,” he shared.

If You Go:
DATE: SUNDAY, JULY 27
TIME: 1 PM
POLITICS & PROSE BOOKSTORE
5015 CONNECTICUT AVE., NW
WASHINGTON, DC 20016
202-364-1919
www.politics-prose.com

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Zone 9 Bloggers Charged With Terrorism

(Image credit: © Fractal Element from Facebook)

BBC News

Updated: 18 July 2014

Nine Ethiopian journalists and bloggers held in detention since April have been charged with terrorism by a court in the capital, Addis Ababa.

They deny receiving financial aid and instructions from terrorists groups to destabilise the country.

New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said the government was trying to stifle opposition and media freedom in the country.

They all belonged to the social media activist group Zone 9.

Correspondents say Ethiopia has increasingly faced criticism from donors and human rights groups for jailing its critics – many of whom have sought asylum abroad in fear of being arrested and tortured in jail.

Read more at BBC News »

Ethiopian Authorities Charge Nine Journalists With Terrorism) CPJ


Zone 9′s website has carried pieces critical of the government. (BBC)

CPJ

July 17, 2014

Nairobi – An Ethiopian court charged nine Ethiopian journalists arrested in April with inciting violence and terrorism, according to local journalists and news reports. The nine arrested include six bloggers from an independent collective called Zone 9, which publishes critical news and commentary.

“Expressing critical views is not a terrorist act. Once again, the Ethiopian government is misusing anti-terrorism legislation to suppress political dissent and intimidate journalists,” said CPJ East Africa Representative Tom Rhodes. “We call on Ethiopian authorities to release all journalists who have been imprisoned for doing their jobs.”

On April 25 and 26, authorities arrested the nine journalists–editor Asmamaw Hailegeorgis, freelancers Tesfalem Waldyes and Edom Kassaye, and bloggers Abel Wabella, Atnaf Berhane, Mahlet Fantahun, Natnail Feleke, Zelalem Kibret, and Befekadu Hailu–and accused them of working with foreign human rights groups and using social media to create instability in the country. Authorities have held the journalists for more than 80 days without charge, beyond the maximum period allowed under the terrorism law, according to news reports. Since 2009, when the anti-terror law was implemented, the Ethiopian government has used the sweeping legislation to imprison more than a dozen critical journalists, according to CPJ research.

Read more at CPJ Blog »

Related:
Interview With the Lawyer of Illegally Detained Zone9 Bloggers (Trial Tracker Blog)
CPJ condemns closed court hearings for nine Ethiopian journalists
Zone9 Co-Founder Speaks Out (Video)

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She’s Got A Perfect Afro — And A Melodious Vision For African Musicians

Ethiopian-born singer Meklit Hadero shows off her guitar chops and her perfect afro. (Photo: Cody Pickens)

NPR

By MARC SILVER

In February, Ethiopian-born singer Meklit Hadero was flying home from Uganda to the U.S. when her plane had to land unexpectedly near the Arctic Circle. It was so cold that to keep her fingers warm she put on oven mitts (decorated with an African print) that she’d bought to bring home.

A fellow passenger introduced himself: Leelai Demoz, he’s Ethiopian, too. He’d just finished co-producing Difret, a movie based on the true story of a 14-year-old Ethiopian girl abducted by a man who wanted to marry her; the girl shot him and was tried for murder.

Hadero and Demoz hung out, hoped to see the Northern Lights (no luck, it was foggy). By coincidence, a few weeks later, Hadero got a call from Lincoln Center to see if she’d sing at a screening of Difret.

So it’s a small world for global artists.

And that’s especially true for African musicians who’ve come to the West. They can get together and mix it up in diaspora more readily than on the continent, says Hadero, who left Ethiopia as a toddler in 1981 and now lives in the Bay Area. “There are 437 million people in the Nile Basin. There are all sorts of political tensions around how we share water,” she says. “There are barriers to getting to know each other. There’s not a lot of access.”

Her solution was to co-found the Nile Project, along with Egyptian ethnomusicologist Mina Girgis. They invite musicians from the 10 countries along the Nile River to play together and record an album. She was returning from a three-weeks session in Kampala, Uganda, when she had her Arctic detour.

Back home, Hadero talked about her music, how the Nile Project has changed it — and what it’s like to be compared to Joni Mitchell. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Read the interview at NPR »



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The Andargachew Tsige Saga: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Ethiopia?

Why the arrest of one of Addis Ababa's most vocal critics is a huge embarrassment for the West. (FP)

Foreign Policy Magazine

By Martin plaut

Tall metal metal gates guard a courtyard just off a busy street north of London’s financial district. The area, once down and out, is today much sought after, but scattered between the newly refurbished warehouses and loft apartments are some blocks of municipal housing populated largely by the city’s African immigrant communities. Inside their yard, small boys are kicking a soccer ball. “Yemi’s my mum,” one of the boys says, leading the way up the building’s aging concrete stairwell to the fourth-floor flat.

A small, slim woman, Yemi smiles easily. On her shelves are portraits of her parents, who left Ethiopia for the United States in 1982 to make a new life for their family. A black-and-white photograph shows her father as a young man in Ethiopian uniform. “He was in the army,” Yemi explains. “But he left for civilian life in 1972 before the Derg took power.”

The Derg, or “Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces, Police, and Territorial Army,” comprised a group of low-ranking officers who deposed Emperor Haile Selassie. The emperor had ruled Ethiopia for four decades until his failure to respond to a devastating famine in 1974 led to his overthrow and subsequent murder. Mengistu Haile Mariam, an obscure army major, led the coup and went on to rule Ethiopia with an iron fist, engaging in a ruthless campaign of repression that became known as the Red Terror. Executions were rife and tens of thousands of people were imprisoned until the Derg was ousted by the country’s current rulers in 1991.

Yemi was lucky that her father left the military when he did. “Yes,” she agrees, “they killed so many of their own.”

The violent revolutions that have marked Ethiopia’s recent history still reverberate today. The country has enjoyed substantial donor support ever since the devastating 1984-1985 famine and has been an important ally in the fight against Islamic extremism in the Horn of Africa. But the government, while nominally democratic, still tolerates little opposition — a reality Yemi knows all too well.

Yemi, whose full name is Yemsrach Hailemariam, is today caring for her two small boys and their sister on her own. On July 9, her partner, Andargachew Tsige, a leader of Ethiopia’s largest exiled opposition movement, was arrested in an airport transit lounge in Yemen. He had been on his way from the United Arab Emirates to Eritrea when he was picked up by Yemeni security, who then bundled him onto a plane bound for Ethiopia.

Read more at foreignpolicy.com »

Related:
BBC News: PM Hailemariam Defends Andargachew Tsege Arrest (BBC News)
Andargachew Tsige: Letter From UK’s Foreign Office to Ethiopian American Council (TADIAS)
Ginbot 7′s Andargachew Tsege: Ethiopia confirms arrest (BBC News)
Snatched: Justice and Politics in Ethiopia (The Economist)
Fears for Safety of Returned Opposition Leader (HRW)
Ethiopia Urged to Protect Opposition Leader (AP via The Washington Post)
Yemen Extradites Exiled Ethiopian Opposition Chief, British Citizen, to Ethiopia (AFP)
Ethiopia Ginbot 7 leader facing death penalty ‘extradited from Yemen’ (BBC News)
UK Stands Accused Over Extradition of Ethiopian Opposition Leader (The Guardian)
Ethiopia Asks Yemen to Extradite Activist (Al Jazeera)
Leading Ethiopian Opposition Figure Detained in Yemen (Yemen Times)

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American Artist Lecture: Julie Mehretu at Tate Modern in London

Julie Mehretu at her studio in New York. (Photograph: Tim Knox)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, July 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-born American painter Julie Mehretu is featured in the upcoming fifth American Artist Lecture Series at the Tate Modern in London on September 22, 2014. “This series seeks to bring the greatest living modern and contemporary American artists to the UK.” The program is a partnership between Art in Embassies, Tate Modern and US Embassy London.

Julie, who was born in Addis Ababa in 1970 and immigrated to the United States with her family in 1977, is one of the leading contemporary artists in the United States and one of two Ethiopian-born artists whose work is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art (the other artist is Skunder Boghossian). Julie, who currently lives and works in New York, has received numerous international recognition for her work including the American Art Award from the Whitney Museum of American Art and the prestigious MacArthur Fellow award. She had residencies at the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (1998–99), the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2001), the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota (2003), and the American Academy in Berlin (2007).

If You Go:
American Artist Lecture: Julie Mehretu
Tate Modern, Starr Auditorium
Monday 22nd September 2014 At 18:30
Click here to book your ticket.

Related:
Julie Mehretu on Africa’s Emerging Presence in Contemporary Art

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Transport Officials From Five Countries to Visit Chicago Ahead of U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

Image Courtesy: Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – High level officials from five of Africa’s largest economies: Algeria, Angola, Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa, are expected to visit Chicago this month for aviation and rail focused meetings hosted by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation. The visit will take place July 30 – August 1, 2014, prior to the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which will be hosted by President Obama on August 5-6 in Washington DC.

Due to the level of the delegates and the brevity of the visit, we are told, it is unlikely that there will be any time for one-on-one meetings with U.S. companies at their offices. Rather the Chicago gatherings (open to the public) includes a “Welcome Reception” on Wednesday, July 30th at Willis Tower Skydeck on the 99th Floor (Participation Fee: $90 per US Business) as well as “Dinner on Transportation in Africa” scheduled for Thursday, July 31st at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park (Participation Fee: $120 per US Business).

“The African Leaders’ visit to Chicago, Illinois is designed to share the United States’ experience fostering economic growth through key infrastructure investments by highlighting U.S. expertise in the rail and aviation sectors,” stated the announcement from the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU), the organizer of the event. “The African Leaders’ visit is an opportunity for high level officials from five of Africa’s largest economies to convene with U.S. leaders to explore how investments in state-of-the-art transportation infrastructure drive economic growth.”

Organizers note that representatives from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) will also take part in the conference. The list of ministers confirmed to participate include Amar Tou (Minister of Transport of Algeria), Augusto da Silva Tomás (Minister of Transport of Republic of Angola), Workneh Gebeyehu (Minister of Transport of Ethiopia), Idris Audu Umar (Minister of Transport of Nigeria), and Elizabeth Dipuo Peters (Minister of Transport of South Africa).

Per BCIU: “Chicago’s economic strength, like many cities throughout the United States, was built by its strong transportation connections to trading partners across the country and around the world. Its aviation and rail links have enabled an interior city to become a major port for the movement of goods and passengers.”

Individuals and organizations interested to attend may contact ALVTransport@bciu.org for more information. Or visit: bciu.org

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Ethiopia’s Key to Safer Births? Better Roads

Ergedu Mitiku rocks her seven-week-old son in her home in Mosebo, a village in Ethiopia's Amhara Region on June 19. 2014. (Photograph: Ariel Zirulnick/TCSM)

CS Monitor

By Ariel Zirulnick

MOSEBO, AMHARA REGION, ETHIOPIA — From the booming capital of Addis Ababa to Ethiopia’s remotest border regions, excavators are busy scraping earth, making way for roads that will finally connect the far reaches of this largely rural country.

Ethiopia’s full-court press toward a modern road network is certainly a boon to its industry and agriculture. But it may also help Ethiopia shed its notoriety as one of the worst places to be an expectant mother or a newborn. Women name distance and transit as two of the greatest obstacles to accessing health services.

Ethiopia’s maternal and newborn mortality rates are among the world’s highest, though its maternal mortality rates are declining faster than anywhere else on the continent. Many deaths are caused by childbirth complications that could be handled by someone with medical training. Sanitation is another problem. Yet more than 60 percent of women still give birth at home, according to government estimates. (Some international aid groups estimate that number is closer to 80 percent.)

Read more at csmonitor.com »

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Denver Post: The 2nd Taste of Ethiopia Festival Has a New Day and Place – Aug 3

Yohanis Mekonen, 8, center, looks up while dancing in a circle at the first annual Taste of Ethiopia Grand Festival at Laredo Elementary School in Aurora, Co, on July 28, 2013. (Denver Post file photograph)

The Denver Post

By Joey Bunch

The second Taste of Ethiopia Festival has a new day and place: Aug. 3 at Central Park in Denver’s Stapleton neighborhood.

This year’s event joins Denver Days, Mayor Michael Hancock’s week-long tour of events across the city intended to “help neighbors get to know each other and get involved with their communities,” according to the city.

The Taste of Ethiopia, which runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., includes not just food and drinks, but cultural performances, vendors and music.

Last year, thousands turned out on the last Sunday in July to dine at the first festival, which took place at Laredo Elementary School in Aurora.

Lines lasted until the food — prepared by a team of volunteer cooks with Ethiopian lineage — ran out. There was standing room only for the cultural performances in the school gym.

“As a vibrant and growing community in Colorado, we want to share our best values and culture with Colorado,” said festival organizer Nebiyu Asfaw. “We have a very rich heritage and culture that greatly emphasizes community and sharing.”

Asfaw said the food will be prepared with fresh ingredients “and lots of love.”

Read more at The Denver Post »

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Grammy-nominated, Singer/Songwriter Wayna Returns to the Blue Note NYC

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – “I’ve always been a bit of an expat,” says Grammy-nominated, Ethiopian-born, singer/songwriter, Wayna, who is scheduled to perform at the Blue Note in New York on Monday July 21st. Wayna is currently promoting her latest album The Expats. The CD, which The Washington Post calls “brilliant,” is a fusion of diverse genres of world music including Rock, African, Reggae, Soul and R&B sounds.

“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 at the Blue Note
Monday, July 21st, 2014
Showtime: 10:30PM
Doors Open at 9:45PM
131 West 3rd Street
New York, NY 10012
Telephone: 212-475-8592
RSVP at www.bluenote.net

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Hailu Mergia at Lincoln Center NYC

Hailu Mergia backed by the band Low Mentality will be performing at David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center in New York City on Thursday, July 17, 2014. (Photograph Credit: NYT via atrium.lincolncenter.org)

Tadias Magazine
Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Bandleader and multi-instrumentalist Hailu Mergia will play at Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium on Thursday, July 17th at 7:30pm. The Ethiopian artist (who gained fame as an organist and keyboardist in the historic Walias and Zula bands) “borrows from the beauty of traditional Amharic, Tigrinya, and Oromo melodies to form swirling arrangements of keyboard, accordion, Rhodes piano, and Moog synthesizer,” organizers announced.

“In this performance, [Hailu] partners with Nikhil P. Yerawadekar’s Low Mentality for bass and beat-oriented rock and roll melded with Afro-pop, reggae, hip-hop, calypso, and more. The collective plans to release an abundance of new material in the coming year, culminating with its debut album.”

If You Go:
Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 7:30pm
David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center
Broadway between 62nd and 63rd Streets
New York, NY
atrium.lincolncenter.org

Video: Hailu Mergia – Shemonmuanaye

Audio: Hailu Mergia and The Walias Band playing – Tche Belew

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Julie Mehretu on Africa’s Emerging Presence in Contemporary Art

“This is a fascinating moment in time as the terms and notions of African art are reconsidered. As an artist I feel my work is being repositioned as the landscape broadens." — Julie Mehretu. (Porter Magazine)

By VICTORIA L. VALENTINE | Culture Type

PORTER MAGAZINE, a new print publication produced by Net-a-Porter, the online luxury retailer, mostly covers fashion, but also devotes a fair amount of editorial to art and culture. Its summer edition features a brief interview with Julie Mehretu (above, right-hand page) about Africa’s emerging presence in the contemporary art world.

The Ethiopian-born, Michigan-reared, New York-based painter is queried about three issues: the significance of the new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, which is scheduled to open in Cape Town in 2016; whether her heritage influences her work; and the Ethiopian film she is producing.

Mehretu says a shift is afoot in the art world: “It is so exciting to imagine the potential of the [Zeitz] museum. Things are opening up for the art of Africa, in the continent and internationally.”

She confides that being Ethiopian and American are central to her identity, but she is not comfortable having her nationality or geography define her work.

“My journey as an artist has been about figuring out who I am and my place in the world; understanding my thoughts in relation to place and time. As an artist, what moves me is a desire to make sense of myself and the world at large,” Mehretu tells Porter.

Read the full story »

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British MPs Brand Ethiopian Farmer Case Funded by UK Taxpayers ‘Ridiculous’

Ethiopia's Gambella region. (Getty Images/AFP)

Daily Mail

By JAMES SLACK and IAN DRURY

An Ethiopian farmer has won permission to use taxpayers’ money to sue the British Government … for sending aid to his homeland.

The case, branded ridiculous by MPs, will be funded entirely by the public even though the farmer has never set foot in this country.

The 33-year-old Ethiopian – granted anonymity to protect his family – says ministers are funding a one-party state in his country that has breached his human rights. He says foreign aid helped the regime inflict ‘brutal treatment’ on thousands of farmers driven from their land, against the International Development Act 2002.

Taxpayers will pay for both the farmer’s lawyers and a defence team from the Department for International Development, in a case that could cost tens of thousands of pounds. This is in addition to the £1.3billion Britain has sent to Ethiopia since 2010.

The farmer lodged the court papers from Kenya, before Justice Secretary Chris Grayling introduced rules to prevent cases being brought by those who have never set foot in the UK. The changes, which come into force next month, will mean anybody seeking legal aid in civil cases must have been resident in Britain for at least 12 months.

A Whitehall source said: ‘Whatever hardships this man has faced, the idea that someone without any connection to this country can get public money to sue the Government borders on the farcical.’

Read more at Daily Mail Online »

Related:
Ethiopian Man Takes UK to Court Over Resettlement Policy (BBC News)

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2014 Face2face Africa Awards Preview

(Image: Courtesy Face2faceafrica)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Monday, July 14th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – This month, the pan-African media company Face2face Africa will host an event in New York honoring “Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship” from the African continent. Among those to be recognized with an award include Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Founder and CEO of Ethiopian shoe company SoleRebels, a Sudanese-British mobile communications entrepreneur and billionaire Dr Mohamed “Mo” Ibrahim, South Sudanese British model and designer Alek Wek, and Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Femi Kuti.

Face2face Africa Founder Isaac Boateng stated in a press release that his media venture is “committed to bringing quality programs” that highlight “the ingenuity” of the pan-African community. “From the young visionaries who are introducing innovative solutions to long-standing challenges, to the icons who have broken down barriers and made it possible for others to dream, we are committed to telling their phenomenal stories and honoring their contributions,” he said.

In a statement the Ethiopian honoree Bethlehem — who also recently launched a luxury leather goods company Republic of Leather — said she was “elated” by the recognition. “I feel deeply honored and excited to receive this award,” she shared. “It’s even more exciting to be in the company of my incredible fellow honorees.” Bethlehem added: “I salute my fellow awardees…It’s a dream to stand beside them.”

The award ceremony is set to take place on Saturday, July 26th at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

You can learn more about the award at www.face2faceafrica.com.

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Zone9ers ‘Trial’: Interview With the Lawyer of Illegally Detained Bloggers & Journalists

(Image: Courtesy Trial Tracker Blog and © Fractal Element from Facebook)

Trial Tracker Blog

July 14, 2014

Translator’s note: The first instance court of Arada bench was expected to wrap up the pre-trial ‘hearing’ which took more than 70 days and yet the bloggers were not even brought before the judge. Mr. Amaha a lawyer defending the bloggers & journalists who are detained on unclear but shaping up to be on terrorism charges expected the first instance court at Arada bench to rest the pre-trial procedure on Saturday. The court had set the 12th July hearing for closing arguments but with an extraordinary move the police referred the case to the Federal High Court without even the presence of the defendants and their lawyer himself. The shift overlooked the court and contravenes even the standard procedure of the biased justice system. The lawyer speaks to Dawit Solomon, a journalist based in Addis Ababa about the issue. Here are the translated excerpts from the interview.

DAWIT: What were your thoughts on your way to the court for Saturday’s procedure?

AMAHA: I expected the police might demand for more time to wrap up their interrogation as usual. I also sought to see how the court would reply to this repeated claim of the police. Nevertheless, to the shock of me and all people who were here what unfolded was really baffling. Since the detainees were not brought to the court some journalists went straight to the court’s registrar to ask about the case. Then a person who claimed himself as “the detective” of the case told the journalists since he is done with the interrogation he submitted the case for a prosecutor. He further claimed that the case is closed. This was what I was told by the journalists then I also went in to verify which I found it true. They closed the case without the presence of the defendants and without the presence of me who is representing them.

Read the Full Interview »

Related:
CPJ condemns closed court hearings for nine Ethiopian journalists
Zone9 Co-Founder Speaks Out (Video)

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Michael Million: One Man’s Story Of Survival And Fatherhood (Video)

Daniel Million kissing his father Michael after graduating from the Preuss School at UC San Diego (kpbs.org)

KPBS San Diego

By Matthew Bowler

Monday, July 14, 2014

Michael Million is a proud father. He raised his two kids alone. Not one, but both of his kids are Bill and Melinda Gates Scholarship winners. That means they can go to any college where they are accepted, and they won’t have to pay a dime.

In 1999, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave $1 billion to the scholarship fund. To qualify you must be the first in your family to go to college, be a minority and demonstrate financial need. Every year just 1,000 of these scholarships are awarded. If you win one, the Gates Foundation will pay for your entire college education.

For most of us, having two children win such a scholarship would be the highlight of our story as parents, but for Million, it’s one part of a much larger story of survival and resilience.

Read the full story at KPBS San Diego »



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BBC News: Ethiopian Man Takes UK to Court Over Resettlement Policy

Villagers say they are being forcibly relocated from Ethiopia's Gambella region. (Getty Images/AFP)

BBC News

14 July 2014

A legal battle has been launched by an Ethiopian citizen who claims the UK has helped to fund a “brutal” resettlement programme in his country.

The man, who can only be referred to as “O”, won permission to seek a judicial review at London’s High Court.

He wants a ruling that the UK acted unlawfully by providing aid to Ethiopia without assessing its human rights record.

The UK government has denied funding the programme.

The case arises from Ethiopia’s decision to resettle individuals from rural communities into new and larger “communes”, known as the Commune Development Programme (CDP), in an attempt to reduce poverty.

Read the full story at BBC News »

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Ethiopia’s Nile Dam Project Signals Its Intention to Become an African Power

Labourers work at the Grand Renaissance dam in Guba Woreda, Ethiopia. (Photograph: Reuters)

The Guardian

By Emeline Wuilbercq

Monday 14 July 2014

The 4×4 roars off, kicking up a cloud of dust. With one hand on the wheel, the other stifling a yawn, Semegnew Bekele could do this trip with his eyes shut. A construction engineer, he has driven down this track at every hour of the day or night over the past three years. “Ordinary people are building an extraordinary project,” he says. He is referring to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam (Gerd), in the north-west corner of the country close to the border with Sudan. Four hours away from the town of Assosa more than 8,500 workers and engineers are labouring on a massive project to harness the waters of the Blue Nile.

The site is closely guarded. Only officially authorised vehicles are allowed through the three checkpoints. As the kilometres flicker by, the din of the diggers becomes more audible. Then the gigantic site itself appears, with thousands of tonnes of aggregate piled up and smooth expanses of concrete lining the bottom of the Guba valley, ringed by arid hills. The hundreds of families belonging to the Gumuz indigenous people, who lived off fishing, have been moved to a location several tens of kilometres away, making room for a hydroelectric power station that will be the largest in Africa when it comes online in 2017. At present only a third of it has been built.

Bekele, who works for the Ethiopian Electric Power corporation, has already worked on two dam construction jobs, both on the river Omo in the south-west. He answers our questions with a flood of figures: the dam will be 1,780 metres long and 145 high, with a reservoir covering 1,874 sq km expected to contain 70bn cubic metres of water. Output from the 16 turbines will total 6,000MW. It will be sufficient to meet growing demand in Ethiopia, now Africa’s second most populous country, where gross domestic product is estimated to have grown by 10.5% annually over the past five years.

Read the full story at The Guardian »

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Tullow Oil Fails to Find Oil in Ethiopia

Irish-listed explorer says well at Chew Bahir Basin will be plugged and abandoned. (Photo: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times)

The Irish Times

By Pamela Newenham

Tullow Oil has announced that the Gardim-1 exploration well, drilled on the eastern flank of Chew Bahir Basin in Ethiopia, has failed to find commercial levels of oil.

The well intersected lacustrine and volcanic formations, similar to those found in the Shimela-1 well on the north-western flank of the basin.

The explorer said it has reached a total depth of 2,468 metres in basement, without encountering commercial oil.

“We have now drilled two independent wildcat wells in the Chew Bahir Basin, neither of which encountered commercial oil,” exploration director Angus McCoss said.

“Whilst our analysis continues, initial indications suggest that the targeted seismic anomalies related to lavas that flowed into a lake basin,” he added.

As a result, the well will now have to be plugged and abandoned.

Read more at The Irish Times »

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WORLD CUP 2014: Germany Defeats Argentina, 1-0, in Extra Time to Win Final

German players celebrated after Mario Götze, right, scored in extra time. (Photo: Reuters)

By VICTOR MATHER | NYT

Germany won the World Cup with a 1-0 extra time victory over Argentina on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro.

The game was deadlocked at 0-0 after regulation, but at the 113-minute mark in overtime, Mario Götze, a substitute, chested down an Andres Schurrle cross and volleyed in the winning goal.

Though there were no goals in regulation, there was plenty of action, and both sides rued some missed chances.

The title is considered Germany’s fourth World Cup, though the first three of those were by West Germany. It was also the first time a European country won the World Cup in the Western Hemisphere after six failures.

The Germans were dominant throughout this Cup, and though this game won them the title, they may be remembered more for their 7-1 shellacking of host Brazil in the semifinal.

Read the Full story »

Related:
Hyundai USA Releases World Cup AD “Epic Battle” Video by Wondwossen Dikran
David Mesfin: 2014 Hyundai FIFA World Cup Ad Features Work by Ethiopian Artists

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20 Journalists Fired from Ethiopia State-run Oromia Radio and Television, in Hiding

People demonstrate in Addis Ababa on May 24 against security forces who shot at students at a peaceful rally weeks eearlier in Oromia state. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

CPJ

By Tom Rhodes/CPJ East Africa Representative

If they cannot indoctrinate you into their thinking, they fire you,” said one former staff member of the state-run Oromia Radio and Television Organization (ORTO), who was dismissed from work last month after six years of service. “Now we are in hiding since we fear they will find excuses to arrest us soon,” the journalist, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal, told CPJ.

On June 25, 20 journalists from the state broadcaster in Oromia, the largest state in terms of area and population in Ethiopia, were denied entry to their station’s headquarters, according to news reports. No letters of termination or explanations were presented, local journalists told CPJ; ORTO’s management simply said the dismissals were orders given by the government. “Apparently this has become common practice when firing state employees in connection with politics,” U.S.-based Ethiopian researcher Jawar Mohammed said in an email to CPJ. “The government seems to want to leave no documented trace.”

The journalists, some of whom had worked for the state broadcaster for over five years, can only speculate on the reason for their dismissals. Two of them told CPJ they believe it is linked to student protests earlier in the year.

On April 25, students at Ambo University, Oromia State, protested the government’s “Master Plan” to cede parts of Oromia State to the capital, Addis Ababa, a federal region, according to news reports. The state claimed in a statement that eight people died in violent protests in Ambo over a plan designed to provide urban services to rural areas. Oromo citizens say that many more died in Ambo at the hands of security forces for demonstrating against a proposal they fear will lead to the federal government grabbing their land and reducing local autonomy, news reports said. More student and civil society protests ensued soon after the Ambo University demonstrations and authorities were determined to quell any reporting on the unrest.

Read more at CPJ Blog.

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Video: Teddy Afro Rocks New York’s SummerStage, B.B. King Blues Club

Teddy Afro performing at SummerStage festival in New York on July 5th, 2014. (Credit: Tsedey foto)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, July 12th 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Last week, Teddy Afro successfully played his first back-to-back show in New York at the 2014 SummerStage festival and at B.B. King Blues Club on Saturday, July 5th. Teddy briefly chatted with Tadias Magazine following his second show. The Ethiopian star was greeted at both venues with an enthusiastic audience that hailed from as varied locations as Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Boston.

Below is our video coverage of both events:



Related:
Photos: Teddy Afro at SummerStage 2014 Festival in New York

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BBC News: PM Hailemariam Defends Andargachew Tsege Arrest

PM Hailemariam Desalegn: "If you have any connection with terrorists don't think that the Ethiopian government will let you [go] free." (BBC News)

BBC News

11 July 2014

Ethiopia had a moral obligation to arrest the opposition leader who was controversially extradited from Yemen last month, Ethiopian leader Hailemariam Desalegn has told the BBC.

“Andargachew Tsege is a Trojan horse for the Eritrean government to destabilise this country,” he said.

He was sentenced to death in 2009 while in exile for plotting a coup.

Foreign governments could express their concern, but the man would be dealt with according to the law, the PM said.


Andargachew Tsige, a UK national, leads the banned Ginbot 7 movement. (Image: Ethiopian TV via BBC)

Andargachew, a UK national, is secretary-general of Ethiopia’s banned Ginbot 7 movement.

The group says Andargachew was on his way from the United Arab Emirates to Eritrea when he was detained at Sanaa airport on 24 June.

Ethiopia and Eritrea are long-time rivals and the neighbours fought a bitter border war between 1998 -2000, which left some 100,000 people dead.

Read more at BBC.

Related:
Andargachew Tsige: Letter From UK’s Foreign Office to Ethiopian American Council (TADIAS)
Ginbot 7′s Andargachew Tsege: Ethiopia confirms arrest (BBC News)
Snatched: Justice and Politics in Ethiopia (The Economist)
Fears for Safety of Returned Opposition Leader (HRW)
Ethiopia Urged to Protect Opposition Leader (AP via The Washington Post)
Yemen Extradites Exiled Ethiopian Opposition Chief, British Citizen, to Ethiopia (AFP)
Ethiopia Ginbot 7 leader facing death penalty ‘extradited from Yemen’ (BBC News)
UK Stands Accused Over Extradition of Ethiopian Opposition Leader (The Guardian)
Ethiopia Asks Yemen to Extradite Activist (Al Jazeera)
Leading Ethiopian Opposition Figure Detained in Yemen (Yemen Times)

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Ethiopian Film ‘Asni’ to Screen in Washington, DC – July 19th and 20th

The late artist Asnaketch Worku is the subject of the new film "Asni." (Photo: Courtesy the filmmakers)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Friday, July 11th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — The new documentary Asni: Courage Passion & Glamor in Ethiopia (directed by Rachel Samuel and edited & co-produced by Yemane Demissie), which chronicles the life and times of Asnaketch Worku, one of the most talented and controversial performing Ethiopian artists of her time, will screen at the Washington DC Jewish Community Center on Saturday, July 19th and Sunday July 20th.

Per the director: “When I was a 4-year old kid in Addis Ababa listening to my father’s radio I heard a singer who mesmerized me. In an unknowing visceral response, Asnaketch Worku took root in my soul. Decades later it was an almost pre-destined privilege to direct a documentary on this extraordinary artist who is as much a cultural icon to Ethiopians as Billie Holiday is to Americans and Edith Piaf to the French. Asnaketch lived her life on the edge of her artistry, over the edge of her passions. But to separate Asnaketch from the social and political climate of conservative Ethiopia, particularly in 50’s and 60’s was impossible. Artists in that time were looked down upon, called derogatorily, Azmari, which the church deemed as “…those not going to heaven.” So this doc is as much about my country, my music, my culture as it is about this original being, Asnaketch, who is a substantive part of the fabric of Ethiopia, past and present.”

The film is also scheduled be screened at Africa World Documentary Film Festival in Bellville, South Africa (July 28-August 2, 2014), London, UK (August 30-September 9, 2014) and Kingston, Jamaica (October 2-5, 2014).

In a recent interview with Tadias Magazine Rachel Samuel shared that the movie took a little over four years to complete. “Asnaketch revealed herself slowly as we got to know each other over the years,” Rachel says. “And once trust was established, to get the best of her took a few interviews.”

Below is the trailer:

Asni Documentary from Samuel Overton Photography on Vimeo.


If You Go:
‘Asni’ Screening
Washington DC Jewish Community Center
Saturday & Sunday 19th & 20th of July
Time: 3pm and 5pm
1529 16th Street NW, Washington DC 20036
Theatre J
Tickets: www.eventbrite.com
More info at: http://washingtondcjcc.org/center-for-arts/theater-j/

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Irish Rugby Team Ulster Apologize for Weird ‘Ethiopia Photo’ Posted on Twitter

The Irish Rugby team Ulster has issued an apology over a photograph posted on Twitter which showed the white men apparently dressed up as Ethiopians - with black make-up on their faces and arms. (BBC)

BBC News

By Peter Coulter

Ulster Rugby have apologised after a photograph showing four of their players with their faces and bodies coloured with black makeup appeared on a social media site.

The photo was posted on the Twitter profile of Irish international Paddy Jackson.

It shows him with two other Irish internationals, Chris Henry and Andrew Trimble.

The photo has now been removed.

The others pictured are current Ulster player Michael Allen and former Ulster player Paddy McAllister.

Paddy Jackson, Chris Henry and Andrew Trimble were members of the Ireland squad that won this year’s Six Nations Championship.

Ulster Rugby said they “apologise unreservedly for any offence”.

In a statement, the club said the photograph showed the players at an “Olympic-themed fancy dress party held two years ago”.

“It was not the intention of the players to cause upset and the photograph has since been removed.”

Read more at BBC News.

Related:
Ulster sorry for ‘Ethiopia photo’ (U TV)

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Guta Dinka, The Man Who Saved Mandela, to Speak at Ethiopian Heritage Festival

Captain Guta Dinka. (Photograph courtesy Ethiopian Heritage Society in North America)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — They thought they were giving Captain Guta Dinka an offer he can’t refuse (lots of cash – more than he’s ever seen) to kill Nelson Mandela. He was then 27-years-old and one of two Ethiopian soldiers assigned to guard the legendary future leader of South Africa during his brief stay for military training in Ethiopia in 1962. Instead Captain Guta marched straight to the house of his superior, General Tadesse Birru, and exposed the assassination plot that would have changed the course of history. And thanks to him the world is much better off for it.

Captain Guta, 78, will be speaking at the opening of the 4th Annual Ethiopian Heritage Festival on Friday July 25th at Silver Spring Civic Building in Silver Spring, Maryland. The three-day event organized by the Ethiopian Heritage Society in North America will be held from July 25th to 27th, the last two days dedicated to outdoor activities on the campus of Georgetown University. According to organizers, the opening night will also feature an art exhibit by Ezra Wube from New York, which includes an animation display. In addition, Naome Marie, MIT freshman from San Jose, California, will be speaking on what “Ethiopian heritage” means to him as an Ethiopian American. Naome who was accepted to several Ivy League schools before deciding to attend MIT will also be honored at the event. Obang Metho is the keynote speaker.

Learn more about the event at ehsna.org/heritage-festival.

Video: Captain Guta Dinka, The Man Who Saved Mandela


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Harlem Pastor Brewing up Ethiopian Coffee Distribution Deal

Reverend Nicholas S. Richards, the Co-founder and President of Abyssinian Fund, at his office in Harlem during an interview with Tadias Magazine - July, 2012. (Photograph: Kidane Mariam/Tadias Magazine)

New York Daily News

BY JAN RANSOM

He’s got a couple of beans up his sleeve.

The Rev. Nicholas Richards, founder of the Abyssinian Fund, a nonprofit that supports coffee farmers in Ethiopia, is in the middle of hashing out a distribution deal to launch an Aby Fund-branded coffee in the States, starting in the Big Apple.

“The Abyssinian fund believes Ethiopian coffee farmers have everything they need, but they just really need partners,” said Richards, an assistant minister at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem.

The Aby Fund, as Richards calls it, was founded in 2010 and supports 1,000 farmers from Chaffee Jenette village in Ethiopia, who have received $1 million worth of training and supplies from the Fund over the last five years.

The Abyssinian Fund believes Ethiopian coffee farmers have everything they need, but they just really need partners.
Richards envisions distributing Chaffee Jenette-grown coffee beans to such outlets as Fairway Market and Whole Foods Market, as well as restaurants and stores in Harlem, Union Square and Brooklyn. He hopes to ink deals in time to sell 1,000 bags of coffee this year, he said, adding there is a good demand for the Ethiopian-raised beans.

Read more at New York Daily News.

Video: Harlem Ethiopia Connection Featuring Rev. Nicholas Richards (TADIAS)


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Mahmoud Ahmed Live in Brooklyn – July 26

Mahmoud Ahmed (Photo: By Damian Rafferty)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopia’s music icon Mahmoud Ahmed will perform live in Red Hook, Brooklyn on Saturday, July 26th from 3-8pm. The event begins the summer concert series presented by ISSUE Project Room (who also sponsored the appearance of Ethiopian pianist and composer Girma Yifrashewa in Brooklyn last year) and Pioneer Works Center for Arts and Innovation where the indoor/outdoor concert will take place.

“A verified legend of African pop music, Mahmoud Ahmed led the wave of Ethiopian music’s ‘golden age’ in the 60s-70s with his notoriously energetic combination of traditional Amharic music with soul, jazz & funk,” organizers stated in their press release. “His multi-octave voice made him a household name in Ethiopia, and a star since nearly the moment he started recording. The ISSUE Project Room and Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation are pleased to present Mahmoud Ahmed live in Red Hook, Brooklyn—his first New York performance since 2011.” The organizers note that additional supporting acts will be announced shortly.

“Born in 1941 in Addis Ababa, Mahmoud Ahmed shined shoes before becoming a handyman at the city’s Arizona Club, where he first sang professionally with their house band in the early 1960s. He sang for the state-sanctioned Imperial Body Guard Band until 1974′s revolution, after which a 14-year moment of liberated creativity took hold in the country. Leading the Ibex Band, later renamed the Roha Band, Ahmed burst to the forefront of the country’s pop scene with a melding of dance beats, prominent brass and sax arrangements, and traditional pentatonic scales and circular rhythms. His classic 1975 record Eré Mèla Mèla, released in Europe in 1986, was for years the only example of modern Ethiopian music known to the West. Since the 90s Ahmed’s music has spread across the west through four separate releases devoted to his music in the award-winning Ethiopiques series (Buda Musique). Now in his 70s, Ahmed’s music has recently been reappraised with acclaimed, energetic performances internationally.”

Video: Mahmoud Ahmed and Gossaye Tesfaye – ADERA (2013)


If You Go:
Mahmoud Ahmed in Brooklyn, New York
Saturday, July 26th, 2014 – 3:00 – 8:00pm
At Pioneer Works:
159 Pioneer St., Brooklyn NY 11231
TICKETS: $20 General / $15 Members + Students
http://issueprojectroom.org/event/mahmoud-ahmed

Related:
Photos: Teddy Afro at SummerStage in NYC
Ethiopian Pianist Girma Yifrashewa at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club

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Andargachew Tsige: Letter From UK’s Foreign Office to Ethiopian American Council

Andargachew Tsige, a UK national, leads the banned Ginbot 7 movement. (Image: Ethiopian TV via BBC)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has written a letter to the Ethiopian American Council (EAC) regarding Andargachew Tsige who was reported missing in Yemen and now confirmed to be in Ethiopia.

In the letter shared with Tadias Magazine Clive McGill, a desk officer responsible for Ethiopia in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) wrote: “Mr. Tsege’s disappearance is an issue of great concern for us, and as soon as we were informed of this we raised it repeatedly with the Yemeni Government and authorities at all levels, including with the Foreign Minister. It is unacceptable that they did not provide information to us, and that they have now confirmed that Mr. Tsege was removed to Ethiopia. We have raised this with them and will continue to do so in light of their disregard for their obligations under the Vienna Convention and Convention Against Torture.”

Mr. McGill stated that the Foreign Office has also already raised with the Ethiopian Government “the UK’s deep concerns” about Andargachew’s removal. “We have requested consular access without delay and reassurances that the death penalty imposed in absentia will not be carried out,” he said in the letter dated Wednesday, July 9th, 2014. “We will continue to raise this urgently with the Ethiopian authorities in Addis Ababa and London.” He added: “While we cannot comment further on individual consular cases, I hope that this reassures you about how seriously we are taking this issue. Mr. Tsege’s case is a priority for the British Government.”

Related:
Ginbot 7′s Andargachew Tsege: Ethiopia confirms arrest (BBC News)
Snatched: Justice and Politics in Ethiopia (The Economist)
Fears for Safety of Returned Opposition Leader (HRW)
Ethiopia Urged to Protect Opposition Leader (AP via The Washington Post)
Yemen Extradites Exiled Ethiopian Opposition Chief, British Citizen, to Ethiopia (AFP)
Ethiopia Ginbot 7 leader facing death penalty ‘extradited from Yemen’ (BBC News)
UK Stands Accused Over Extradition of Ethiopian Opposition Leader (The Guardian)
Ethiopia Asks Yemen to Extradite Activist (Al Jazeera)
Leading Ethiopian Opposition Figure Detained in Yemen (Yemen Times)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

BBC News: Ethiopia Confirms Arrest of Ginbot 7′s Andargachew Tsige

Andargachew Tsige, a UK national, leads the banned Ginbot 7 movement. (Image: Ethiopian TV)

BBC News

9 July 2014

Ethiopia has confirmed it has arrested opposition leader Andargachew Tsege, who disappeared in Yemen last month.

His UK-based wife Yemi Hailemariam told the BBC she was shocked to see him paraded on state television.

Ethiopian TV said Andargachew had been arrested in Yemen and then extradited.

It described him as the country’s “most wanted person”. He was sentenced to death in absentia in 2009 on charges of planning to assassinate government officials – which he denied.

Andargachew, a UK national, is secretary-general of Ethiopia’s banned Ginbot 7 movement.

Amnesty International last week warned he was at risk of being tortured while in Ethiopian custody.

Read more at BBC News.

Related:
Snatched: Justice and Politics in Ethiopia (The Economist)
Ginbot 7′s Andargachew Tsege: Ethiopia confirms arrest (BBC News)
Fears for Safety of Returned Opposition Leader (HRW)
Ethiopia Urged to Protect Opposition Leader (AP via The Washington Post)
Yemen Extradites Exiled Ethiopian Opposition Chief, British Citizen, to Ethiopia (AFP)
Ethiopia Ginbot 7 leader facing death penalty ‘extradited from Yemen’ (BBC News)
UK Stands Accused Over Extradition of Ethiopian Opposition Leader (The Guardian)
Ethiopia Asks Yemen to Extradite Activist (Al Jazeera)
Leading Ethiopian Opposition Figure Detained in Yemen (Yemen Times)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Snatched: Justice and Politics in Ethiopia

Andargachew Tsige. (Image: Ethiopian TV via YouTube)

The Economist

Jul 9th 2014 | ADDIS ABABA

ANDARGACHEW TSIGE, an exiled Ethiopian opposition leader with British nationality, could be facing the death penalty after apparently being arrested and sent back to his country of origin while on a trip to the Gulf. While transiting in Yemen on June 23rd, during a journey from Dubai to Eritrea, Andargachew mysteriously ended up on a plane to Ethiopia. It is believed that he was detained by Yemeni officials and handed over to members of Ethiopia’s security apparatus.

Andargachew was charged by the Ethiopian authorities with terrorism and sentenced, in absentia, to death, at two separate trials between 2009 and 2012. Following post-election protests in 2005 he had fled the country and been granted asylum in Britain, where he created Ginbot 7, a leading opposition movement.

Now in the hands of the state which had legally prepared for his execution, his family are concerned about Andargachew’s safety. “The British embassy has still not been granted consular access,” says his wife, Yemisrach Hailemariam, who lives in London. “We are deeply concerned he is being tortured and they will wait for his wounds to be healed before anyone can see him.”

Read more at The Economist.

Related:
Ginbot 7′s Andargachew Tsege: Ethiopia confirms arrest (BBC News)
Fears for Safety of Returned Opposition Leader (HRW)
Ethiopia Urged to Protect Opposition Leader (AP via The Washington Post)
Yemen Extradites Exiled Ethiopian Opposition Chief, British Citizen, to Ethiopia (AFP)
Ethiopia Ginbot 7 leader facing death penalty ‘extradited from Yemen’ (BBC News)
UK Stands Accused Over Extradition of Ethiopian Opposition Leader (The Guardian)
Ethiopia Asks Yemen to Extradite Activist (Al Jazeera)
Leading Ethiopian Opposition Figure Detained in Yemen (Yemen Times)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

WORLD CUP 2014: Argentina Defeats Netherlands in Shootout, Advancing to Final

Argentina’s Javier Mascherano challenged Arjen Robben on a shot late in regulation time. (Photo: EPA)

By ANDREW DAS | NYT

9 July, 2014

Argentina converted all four of its penalty kicks in a shootout against the Netherlands on Wednesday in São Paulo to advance to the World Cup for the first time since 1990.

Lionel Messi made the first and his teammates Ezequiel Garay, Sergio Aguero and Maxi Rodriguez followed suit to earn Argentina a date with Germany in Sunday’s final in Rio de Janeiro. The Netherlands missed two of their first three attempts, with first Ron Vlaar and then Wesley Sneijder seeing their shots saved by Argentina’s goalkeeper, Sergio Romero.

The Netherlands will face host Brazil on Saturday in the third-place game. Read more.

Germany Crushes Brazil, 7-1, in Surreal World Cup Semifinal


Brazil’s Luiz Gustavo (l) and Germany’s Sami Khedira, go for the ball during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between Brazil and Germany at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, July 8, 2014. (AP)

By Mike Richman | VOA News

8 July, 2014

Germany gave one of the most breathtaking displays of offensive firepower in World Cup history Tuesday – demolishing host Brazil in the semifinals, 7-1, to advance to the championship game.

Germany’s goal total was the most ever by one team in a World Cup semifinal, while Brazil matched its worst-ever margin of defeat and allowed seven goals for the first time in 80 years. Brazil also lost its first official competitive match at home since 1975.

“The responsibility for this catastrophic result is mine,” Brazil’s coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. “I was in charge.”

The Germans seized control early, scoring five times in the first 30 minutes at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte.

Two of those goals came off the foot of Toni Kroos, and teammate Miroslav Klose recorded one to become the all-time scoring leader in World Cup history with 16 goals. Earlier in the tournament, Klose tied the prior record of 15 held by former Brazilian star Ronaldo.

Germany’s Andre Schuerrle also scored twice, both in the second half. Thomas Mueller and Sami Khedira each added a goal for Germany, which will appear in a record eighth World Cup final.

Oscar redeemed some pride for Brazil with a goal in the 90th minute.

“Brazil Shocked”

“Brazil was shocked after the goals. They did not expect that,” Germany’s coach Joachim Loew said of his team’s early offensive success. “They did not know what to do. Their defense was not organized. A little humbleness would not hurt now.”

In 1950, the only other time Brazil has hosted a World Cup, Uruguay beat the Brazilians in the championship game, 2-1.

“We wanted to make the people happy … unfortunately we couldn’t,” said Brazilian defender David Luiz, who had scored in each of the last two matches. “We apologize to all Brazilians.”

Germany was the apparent favorite entering the match, which featured two perennial football powerhouses that have won a total of eight World Cups.

Brazil played without captain Thiago Silva and star striker Neymar. Silva was serving an automatic one-game suspension because he accumulated two yellow cards. Neymar, who scored four goals in the tournament, was out with a fractured vertebra.

Nevertheless, Brazil would enjoy home-field advantage at a stadium seating thousands of its rabid, yellow-shirted supporters.

They were hoping that Brazil would repeat its performance from the 1962 World Cup. That year, legendary Brazilian Pele suffered an injury in the second match that prevented him from playing in the rest of the tournament. But Brazil went on to beat Czechoslovakia in the final, 3-1.

This time, though, Brazilian optimism quickly turned to despair at the hands of a German offense that attacked with surgical precision.

Germany Not Intimidated

“It was important to stay calm, cool and courageous in facing Brazilian passion,” Loew said.

Germany, which posted its biggest World Cup win since routing Saudi Arabia, 8-0, in a group match in 2002, next plays the winner of the other World Cup semifinal pitting Argentina against the Netherlands on Wednesday in Sao Paulo.

Argentina, led by four-time FIFA Player of the year Lionel Messi, is seeking its third World Cup championship. The Dutch, finalists three times, lost to Spain in the World Cup championship in South Africa in 2010.

The Dutch are concerned about star striker Robin van Persie, who has been suffering from stomach problems. Dutch coach Louis van Gaal said he would not be able to make a decision on van Persie’s status until the day of the game.

The semifinal winners meet for the championship in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday. The losers play for third place on Saturday in Brasilia.

In other news Tuesday, FIFA announced that the 2014 World Cup has broken online viewing records. The organization said, for example, that in the United States alone, a record 5.3 million people watched the round of 16 match between the U.S. and Belgium on the web sites of television networks ESPN and Univision.

Related:
Hyundai USA Releases World Cup AD “Epic Battle” Video by Wondwossen Dikran
David Mesfin: 2014 Hyundai FIFA World Cup Ad Features Work by Ethiopian Artists

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Lalibela One of The Top 50 Cities to See in Your Lifetime

(Photo by Alfonso N. Tappero)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s national treasure, the city of Lalibela, is getting more international media attention as a World Heritage Site. A recent travel highlight (see Huffington Post) by Minube lists Lalibela among “The Top 50 Cities to See in Your Lifetime.”

“With our ever-expanding bucket lists, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the essentials. Well, we’ve gone to the community of travelers at minube.net with a simple goal: find the greatest destinations on Earth,” the website notes. “From the great ancient capitals to the modern cities of Asia, the Americas, and beyond, here are the 50 cities you must see during your lifetime.”

Lalibela, listed as number 17, is described by Minube as “one of Ethiopia’s great holy cities and is famous around the world for its unique and stunning collection of monolithic churches carved right into the rock below your feet.”

Click here to see the list: “The Top 50 Cities to See in Your Lifetime”



Related:
Ethiopia’s Lalibela Among 19 Most Stunning Sacred Places in the World

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The 9th Annual Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum and Award to be Held in Washington

Images from past Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum held in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy photographs)

Tadias Magazine
Events News | Press Release

Published: Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Washington, D.C. — The 9th Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum and the 3rd Pioneer Diaspora Business Person of the Year Award will be held on August 2-3, 2014 at The George Washington University and Grand Hyatt Washington, respectively.

This year marks the 9th year since The Ethiopian American LL, a Virginia based Ethiopian Diaspora business and investment group with offices in New York, began organizing the annual business Forum.

This year, the Forum will review opportunities and challenges on “Investing in Ethiopia’s Emerging Technology Sector,” in recognition of the growing importance of technology as a key driver of innovation in the Ethiopian economy. Investments in the power sector will also be closely looked at as one of the most attractive investment and technology transfer areas where investment from the Diaspora is poised to make lasting impact. One of the highlights of the Forum will be a panel discussion on investing in renewable energy. Daniel Gizaw, CEO, dVentus Wind Technology PLC, Behailu Assefa, VP, Terra Global Energy Developers LLC and Samuel Tesfaye, CEO, Flatbush Solar LLC will discuss developments in the sector.

The Ethiopian American, the convener of the Forum, is also organizing this year for the first time a Private Equity Pitch Session (PE Pitch Session) for companies seeking early stage growth debt/equity financing in recognition of the growing interest of Private Equity firms in the Ethiopian economy.

Diaspora entrepreneurs in many ways have led the way in attracting a significant share of Private Equity investments in Ethiopia. The PE Pitch Session is organized with the view that more investment could be attracted if the opportunity is presented both to businesses and PE firms. Thus far, four PE firms and five companies have signed up for this year’s inaugural PE Pitch Session. It is to be recalled that last year’s Proof of Concept Competition was held successfully and the three finalist are currently being incubated with the help of USAID.

Meanwhile, the 2014 Ethiopian Diaspora Pioneer Businessperson Selection Committee is currently accepting nominations from the public. The Committee will announce the awardee by July 18, 2014.

The 2013 Pioneer Ethiopian Diaspora Business Person Award was given to Amman Fissehazion, CEO of Ethiopian Broadcasting Service (EBS) in recognition of his pioneering leadership in establishing the first Ethiopian commercial global satellite Television company.

The Forum and Awards Dinner are expected to attract a large number of Ethiopians from the Diaspora and Ethiopia as well as American businesses and professionals who are interested in business and investment opportunities in Ethiopian and the U.S.

“This Forum and Awards Dinner will show case the work of Ethiopian Diaspora entrepreneurs in the technology sector and will serve as a crucial platform for sharing ideas and information for Diaspora business and other interested in investing in Ethiopia,” said Yohannes Assefa, Executive Director of The Ethiopian American.

Both the Forum and Awards Dinner will be covered by EBS and will be viewed by about 20 million Ethiopians all over the world.

The Ethiopian Airlines, Ernst & Young Ethiopia, The George Washington University, Altour Tech, Comex PLC, Metad Agricultural Development PLC, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, Info Mind Solutions, EBS, and Vivid PLC are some of the sponsors of this year’s Forum.

If You Go:
Registration is now open and can be made at www.theethiopianamerican.com.

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Human Rights Watch: Fears for Safety of Returned Opposition Leader

HRW: Yemen unlawfully deported Andargachew Tsige, Concerns over possible mistreatment. (Ginbot 7)

Human Rights Watch

JULY 7, 2014

London – An exiled Ethiopian opposition leader unlawfully deported by Yemen back to Ethiopia is at risk of mistreatment including torture. Andargachew Tsige is secretary-general of Ginbot 7, a banned Ethiopian opposition organization, and was convicted and sentenced to death in absentia in separate trials in Ethiopia in 2009 and 2012.

The current whereabouts of Andargachew, a British national, is unknown, raising concerns for his safety. The Ethiopian government should take all necessary steps to ensure Andargachew’s safety and his right to a fair trial. Many individuals arrested in politically related cases in Ethiopia are detained in Addis Ababa’s Maekelawi prison. In an October 2013 report, Human Rights Watch documented the use of torture by authorities against detainees in Maekelawi, including members of opposition political parties and organizations, as well as journalists.

“We are deeply concerned for Andargachew Tsige’s safety,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director. “Ethiopia needs to demonstrate that it is holding Andargachew in accordance with its international obligations, and he should be allowed immediate access to a lawyer, his family, and to British consular officials.”

Yemeni officials arrested Andargachew at El Rahaba Airport in Sanaa, Yemen, on June 23 or 24, 2014, while he was in transit on a flight from Dubai to Eritrea. They did not permit him consular access to UK embassy officials and summarily deported him to Ethiopia, credible sources told Human Rights Watch, despite his being at risk of mistreatment.

Yemeni authorities initially denied any knowledge of Andargachew’s detention and transfer to Ethiopia. Ethiopian government officials publicly called for his extradition from Yemen on July 3.

Under the Convention against Torture, which Yemen ratified in 1991, a government may not “expel, return (‘refouler’) or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.” These protections override any extradition treaty or other security arrangement that may exist between Yemen and Ethiopia.

Trials in absentia generally violate the defendant’s right to present an adequate defense, concerns heightened in cases involving the death penalty.

“Yemen blatantly violated its international legal obligations by deporting someone to Ethiopia who not only is at serious risk of torture, but also faces the death sentence after being tried in absentia,” Lefkow said.

Ginbot 7, of which Andargachew is a founding member, was established in the aftermath of Ethiopia’s controversial May 2005 national elections. The Ethiopian government banned Ginbot 7, which has advocated the armed overthrow of the Ethiopian government, and officially considers it to be a terrorist organization.

The government has prosecuted Ginbot 7 members and leaders in trials that did not meet international fair trial standards. In November 2009, a court convicted Andargachew and 39 others under the criminal code on terrorism-related charges. Andargachew, who was tried in absentia, was sentenced to death. In June 2012, he was convicted again in absentia, this time under the abusive 2009 anti-terrorism law, along with 23 journalists, activists, and opposition members. Again, he was sentenced to death.

Human Rights Watch has repeatedly criticized provisions in Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law that violate due process rights guaranteed under Ethiopian and international law. At least 34 people, including 11 journalists and four Ginbot 7 leaders, are known to have been sentenced under the law since late 2011 in what appeared to be politically motivated trials; the real number is likely much higher. Suspects held under the law may be detained for up to four months without charge, among the longest periods under anti-terrorism legislation worldwide.

Ethiopian courts have shown little independence from the government in politically sensitive cases. Defendants have regularly been denied access to legal counsel during pretrial detention, and complaints from defendants of mistreatment and torture have not been appropriately investigated or addressed – even when defendants have complained in court.

The Ethiopian government routinely denies that torture and mistreatment occurs in detention. It restricts access to prisons for international observers, monitors, and consular officials, making it difficult to monitor the number and treatment of prisoners. In several cases documented by Human Rights Watch, Ethiopian security officials have arrested foreign nationals, denied knowledge of their whereabouts, and delayed access for consular officials for long periods.

In 2007 Human Rights Watch documented the forced transfer of scores of men, women, and children from Somalia and Kenya to Ethiopia. One of the men, Bashir Makhtal, a Canadian citizen of Ethiopian origin who was accused of membership of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a banned armed movement in Ethiopia, was denied consular access for 18 months. Meanwhile in 2010 and again in 2012, refugees registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Kenya were unlawfully returned to Ethiopia and told Human Rights Watch that they were subsequently tortured in detention. In all of these cases, the individuals were accused of belonging to groups that the Ethiopian government has designated as terrorist groups.

“Given its appalling track record of mistreating members and perceived supporters of banned groups, Ethiopia should know that the world will be watching how it treats Andargachew Tsige,” Lefkow said.

Related:
Ethiopia Urged to Protect Opposition Leader (AP via The Washington Post)
Yemen Extradites Exiled Ethiopian Opposition Chief, British Citizen, to Ethiopia (AFP)
Ethiopia Ginbot 7 leader facing death penalty ‘extradited from Yemen’ (BBC News)
UK Stands Accused Over Extradition of Ethiopian Opposition Leader (The Guardian)
Ethiopia Asks Yemen to Extradite Activist (Al Jazeera)
Leading Ethiopian Opposition Figure Detained in Yemen (Yemen Times)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

In Africa, Jill Biden Talks Women’s Issues

Biden's trip to Zambia, Congo and Sierra Leone showcased issues facing women and girls. | Getty Images

Politico.com | By ASSOCIATED PRESS

July 7th, 2014

BUKAVU, Congo — Jill Biden, the wife of the U.S. vice president, traveled Saturday to conflict-wracked eastern Congo, where she met with survivors of sexual violence as part of her three-nation tour of the continent.

Her trip to Zambia, Congo and Sierra Leone, focused on highlighting issues facing women and girls, marks her third to Africa since Joe Biden became vice president.

During her stop in the Bukavu area, Biden visited the Panzi Hospital, which treats sexual violence survivors. As she was greeted by hospital personnel, she said she wanted “to learn and better understand the challenges facing Congolese women.”

Rape has long been used as a weapon of war on all sides of the conflict in eastern Congo, which has been mired in conflict for more than two decades.

She said that U.S. financing of projects had helped provide medical and psychological assistance to 13,000 victims in the country last year, and close to 4,000 women received legal help.

Read more.

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Meet Ethiopian Mixed Martial Arts Fighter Afrem Gebreanenia

Born in Ethiopia in 1993 Afrem Gebreanenia is a U.S.-based amateur MMA fighter. (Courtesy photograph)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Monday, July 7th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-born athlete Afrem Gebreanenia has a black belt in Taekwondo, but 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 amateur mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter has earned his High School diploma and maintains a part-time job while dedicating himself to his passion.

Per Wiki: “Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport that allows the use of both striking and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground, from a variety of other combat sports and martial arts.”

According to an email from his manager, Timothy White, Afrem will be fighting in Fort Riley, Kansas for Victory Fighting Championships on July 12th – an event credited for launching the careers of many elite fighters including UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson, Spencer Fisher, Jorge Gurgel, Josh Neer, Kevin Burns, Jake Ellenberger, Jason Brilz, Anthony Smith, Justin Salas, Nick Mamalis, Rob Kimons, Chris Camozzi, Abe Wagner, and Travis Browne.

In announcing his upcoming meet Afrem, who is a resident of Worthington, Minnesota, tweeted: “In time….The world will know me and know me well.”



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

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Zone9 Co-Founder Speaks Out (Video)

(Photo © Fractal Element from Facebook)

CPJ

By Rachael Levy/CPJ Google Journalism Fellow

In April, the Ethiopian government imprisoned nine journalists, including six bloggers from Zone 9, in one of the worst crackdowns against free expression in the country. Ethiopia is the second worst jailer of journalists in Africa, trailing only Eritrea, according to CPJ research.

Ethiopian government officials accuse the Zone 9 bloggers of working with foreign human rights organizations and using social media to create instability in Ethiopia. The group wrote about political repression and social injustice, and their blogs were frequently blocked inside the country. Two months after their arrests, they have yet to be officially charged.

Endalkachew H/Michael, one of the co-founders of Zone 9, is pursuing his doctorate in media studies at the University of Oregon and spoke with CPJ about press freedom in Ethiopia.

What follows is a condensed and edited version of our conversation. You can view CPJ’s Storify on the bloggers here.

Read more at CPJ Blog.



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Ethiopia Urged to Protect Opposition Leader

Exiled Ethiopian opposition leader Andargachew Tsige (center), who is a British citizen, is pictured above during a Congressional hearing on Ethiopia in 2006 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Flickr)

The Washington Post | By Associated Press

July 7th, 2014

KAMPALA, Uganda — Human Rights Watch says an exiled Ethiopian opposition leader who was recently deported from Yemen to Ethiopia is at risk of abuses including torture.

In a statement Monday, the rights group urged Ethiopia’s government to ensure the safety of Andargachew Tsige, the secretary-general of a banned Ethiopian opposition group called Ginbot 7.

Andargachew was convicted and sentenced to death in absentia in separate trials in Ethiopia in 2009 and 2012, but Human Rights Watch says he should be given a fair trial.

Yemeni authorities arrested him last month while he was in transit on a flight from Dubai to Eritrea and then deported him to Ethiopia.

Human Rights Watch said last year that Ethiopian authorities torture members of opposition groups and journalists detained in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Related:
Yemen Extradites Exiled Ethiopian Opposition Chief, British Citizen, to Ethiopia (AFP)
Ethiopia Ginbot 7 leader facing death penalty ‘extradited from Yemen’ (BBC News)
UK Stands Accused Over Extradition of Ethiopian Opposition Leader (The Guardian)
Ethiopia Asks Yemen to Extradite Activist (Al Jazeera)
Leading Ethiopian Opposition Figure Detained in Yemen (Yemen Times)

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Report and Photos: ‘Lion of Judah Dinner’ Held in Tulsa, Oklahoma

The writer of the following article, Professor Ted Vestal, is pictured at the dinner in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 18th, 2014. He is the author of the book: "The Lion of Judah in the New World." (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Ted Vestal, PhD | OP-ED

Published: Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Tulsa, Oklahoma (TADIAS) – On June 18th, Oklahoma University (OU), Tulsa’s Center for Democracy and culture and the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Office of International Studies and Outreach sponsored a very special “Lion of Judah Dinner” celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first visit to Oklahoma by a reigning foreign head of state, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. A sold-out audience of 54 enthusiastic attendees, a cross-section of the local populace, gathered at Harwelden Mansion overlooking the Arkansas River in Tulsa to view artifacts from the land of Prester John, eat traditional Ethiopian food, and learn about the close and historic ties of Ethiopia with Oklahoma. Dr. David Henneberry, OSU’s Associate Vice President, Division of International Studies and Outreach, joined Prof. Rodger Randle, Director of OU’s Center for Democracy and Culture and former Mayor of Tulsa and former Peace Corps Volunteer, in welcoming the guests and providing background about the Emperor’s visit and its significance to the state. The dinner was the city’s first public ceremony honoring an African country and its people.

During the Emperor’s first state visit to the United States in 1954, he made a singular stop in his 7,000 mile tour of the country to thank the people of Oklahoma for assisting in modernizing agriculture and education in his nation. Haile Selassie was an iconic figure of the 20th Century, a defender of the principle of collective security before the League of Nations, military commander of the first Allied victory in World War II, champion of the United Nations whose troops fought for the UN in Korea and the Congo, Cold-war ally of the United States, staunch anti-colonialist, and a noted Pan-Africanist and founding father of the Organization of African Unity. The Emperor was honored with a reception and dinner in Stillwater that was described as “the social event of the century” in Oklahoma. The timing of the visit and its venue were auspicious. Only one month before the U.S. Supreme Court had handed down its landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education, ending racial segregation in public schools. The Emperor and his entourage were honored at a racially integrated event in an officially segregated state.

Haile Selassie held a special audience for the family of the late Dr. Harry Bennett, the president of Oklahoma A&M who established Oklahoma’s connections with Ethiopia through President Truman’s Point Four program. At the Tulsa celebration, Thomas E. Bennett, Jr., grandson of President Bennett spoke about his family’s memories of meetings with the Emperor. Tulsans Judy Burton, whose father was chief executive of Ethiopian Airlines (EA) from 1955-1960, and David Duke, who instructed EA mechanics the finer points of airplane engine maintenance in 1964 talked about their time in Addis Ababa. Patricia Vestal, who taught art at the Creative Arts Center of Haile Selassie I University from 1965-1966, reminisced about attending a reception at Jubilee Palace and having Halie Selassie attend her students’ art show. Ethiopianist Ted Vestal spoke about the Emperor’s state visit and gave details about the Oklahoma segment of the journey.

Before the program, photographer Hoyt Smith, a Peace Corps Volunteer teacher at Tafari Makonnen School in Addis Ababa from 1962-1965, showed slides from his collection while guests dined with a traditional Ethiopian meal of injera and wat. For a departing gift, filmmaker Mel Tawahade presented all attendees with a copy of his video “Point Four Ethiopia.”



Related:
Reflection: The 60th Anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie’s Visit to OSU

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Photos: Teddy Afro at SummerStage 2014 Festival in New York

Teddy Afro performing at SummerStage festival in New York on July 5th, 2014. (Photo: Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, July 6th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – In a beautiful Summer afternoon reminiscent of Addis Ababa weather, Teddy Afro performed at the 2014 SummerStage festival in New York’s Central Park on Saturday, July 5th in front of an energetic audience. Rumsey Playfield was filled to capacity with a large contingent of Ethiopian fans — some of whom had driven from Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Boston. As Teddy played both old and new tunes, the crowd sang along and chanted their request for ‘Tikur Sew’ during breaks. Teddy promised to perform that song in the evening (at B.B. King’s) and then surprised them by playing their request as the final song.

Below are photos from the event. Stay tuned for video coverage.



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Latinos and African Immigrants Squeezed as Banks Curtail Money Transfers

A Viamericas CD Mega in Virginia. Viamericas is a money transfer company with a large focus on Mexico. (Photo: NYT)

The New Yokr Times

By MICHAEL CORKERY

As government regulators crack down on the financing of terrorists and drug traffickers, many big banks are abandoning the business of transferring money from the United States to other countries, moves that are expected to reverse years of declines in the cost of immigrants sending money home to their families.

While Mexico may be most affected — nearly half of the $51.1 billion in remittances sent from the United States in 2012 ended up in that country — the banks’ broad retreat over the last year is affecting other countries in Latin America and parts of Africa as well. The banks are being held accountable not only for the customers who directly use their money transfer services but also for their role in collecting remittances from money transmitting companies and wiring them abroad.

“This is transforming the business and may increase the costs of international money transfers,” said Manuel Orozco, a senior fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue, a research group in Washington.

Read more at NYT.

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The Guardian: Britain is Supporting a Dictatorship in Ethiopia’

One of hundreds of families in the Gambella region who have been forcibly removed from their homes. (Getty Images)

The Guardian

By David Smith

Sunday 6 July 2014

It’s 30 years since Ethiopia’s famine came to attention in the UK. Now, a farmer plans to sue Britain for human rights abuses, claiming its aid has funded a government programme of torture and beatings as villagers have been removed from their homes.

“Life was good because the land was the land of our ancestors. The village was along the riverside, where you could get drinking water, go fishing and plant mango, banana and papaya. The temperature there was good and we could feed ourselves.”

This is how Mr O – his name is protected for his safety – remembers the home he shared with his family in the Gambella region of Ethiopia. The fertile land had been farmed for generations, relatively safe from wars, revolutions and famines. Then, one day, near the end of 2011, everything changed. Ethiopian troops arrived at the village and ordered everyone to leave. The harvest was ripe, but there was no time to gather it. When Mr O showed defiance, he says, he was jailed, beaten and tortured. Women were raped and some of his neighbours murdered during the forced relocation.

Read more at The Guardian.

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What People Are Saying on Twitter About the Extradition of Andargachew Tsige

Andargachew Tsige, Secretary General of Ginbot 7. (Photos via Flickr, BBC News, ESAT, and Yemen Times)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Below is a sampling of what people have been tweeting regarding the news that exiled Ethiopian opposition leader Andargachew Tsige, who is a British citizen, has been extradited from Yemen back to Ethiopia:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Related:
Ginbot 7′s Andargachew Tsege: Ethiopia confirms arrest (BBC News)
Snatched: Justice and Politics in Ethiopia (The Economist)
Fears for Safety of Returned Opposition Leader (HRW)
Ethiopia Urged to Protect Opposition Leader (AP via The Washington Post)
Yemen Extradites Exiled Ethiopian Opposition Chief, British Citizen, to Ethiopia (AFP)
Ethiopia Ginbot 7 leader facing death penalty ‘extradited from Yemen’ (BBC News)
UK Stands Accused Over Extradition of Ethiopian Opposition Leader (The Guardian)
Ethiopia Asks Yemen to Extradite Activist (Al Jazeera)
Leading Ethiopian Opposition Figure Detained in Yemen (Yemen Times)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

WORLD CUP 2014: Brazil’s Other Big Game

Brenda Pontes, right, the reigning queen of the Peladão’s beauty pageant in Brazil's Amazon rain forest getting ready for a television appearance at the A Crítica television station where she works. (Photo: NYT)

By JERÉ LONGMAN | NYT

JULY 6, 2014

MANAUS, Brazil — It was a newsroom like any television station newsroom, unless you count the brunette receptionist wearing a crown, sash and leopard print dress and offering friendly advice on how to spice up the World Cup.

“Beauty queens,” Brenda Pontes, 19, said.

The World Cup does have many things — consuming attention, enthralling soccer and a carnival atmosphere — but it does not have beauty queens.

In the Amazon rain forest, though, there is a tournament that is equal parts soccer and beauty pageant. It is one of the largest and most unusual amateur soccer competitions in the world, and perhaps the only one with a reality show. Pontes is the reigning queen.

The tournament is called the Peladão. The name is a reference to pelada, a Portuguese word that can mean a naked woman. But in this case it means soccer disrobed of big money and glamour and revealed in its informal essence — pickup games played in Brazil on dusty fields, on sandy beaches and even on ferries in floating villages.

Read more at The New York Times.

In Pictures: African teams at the 2014 FIFA World Cup

Watch: The 2014 FIFA World Cup on ESPN


Related:
Hyundai USA Releases World Cup AD “Epic Battle” Video by Wondwossen Dikran
David Mesfin: 2014 Hyundai FIFA World Cup Ad Features Work by Ethiopian Artists

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Yemen Extradites Exiled Ethiopian Opposition Chief, British Citizen, to Ethiopia

Andargachew Tsige, an Ethiopian opposition leader with British citizenship, has been extradited to Addis Ababa from Yemen. (Photo: ESAT)

AFP

July 4th, 2014

Addis Ababa (AFP) – An exiled Ethiopian opposition leader with British citizenship has been extradited to Addis Ababa “for slaughter”, an opposition group claimed on Friday.

Andargachew Tsige, secretary general of Ginbot 7 — labelled a terrorist organisation under Ethiopian law — was arrested while in transit through Yemen last month. Britain has already expressed “deep concern” about his fate.

“Andargachew has been given for slaughter,” Ginbot 7 said in a statement, warning Yemen that it had made a “historical mistake”.

Tsige is Ethiopian born with British citizenship.

Britain’s Foreign Office said it was investigating reports and working to confirm Andargachew’s whereabouts.

“UK officials have pressed the Yemeni authorities at senior levels to establish his whereabouts,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

“We are aware of reports that he may now be in Ethiopia and we are urgently seeking confirmation from the relevant authorities given our deep concerns about the case.”

“We declare a war in the name of Andargachew for justice, freedom and equality,” Ginbot 7 added.

Ethiopia officials could not confirm if Andargachew was in Addis Ababa.

“I have no idea,” foreign ministry spokesman Dina Mufti told AFP.

The US-based Ginbot 7 was founded by the former mayor of Addis Ababa, Berhanu Nega, currently living in exile in America.

Read more.

Related:
Ethiopia Ginbot 7 leader facing death penalty ‘extradited from Yemen’ (BBC News)
UK Stands Accused Over Extradition of Ethiopian Opposition Leader (The Guardian)
Ethiopia Asks Yemen to Extradite Activist (Al Jazeera)
Leading Ethiopian Opposition Figure Detained in Yemen (Yemen Times)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

BBC Reports Ginbot 7 Leader Andargachew Tsige Extradited From Yemen

Exiled Ethiopian opposition leader Andargachew Tsige (center), who is a British citizen, is pictured above during a Congressional hearing on Ethiopia in 2006 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Flickr)

BBC News

4 July 2014

An Ethiopian opposition leader, who was sentenced to death while in exile for plotting a coup, has been extradited from Yemen to Ethiopia, his group says.

Andargachew Tsege, who is also a British national, is secretary-general of the banned Ginbot 7 movement.

The Ethiopian government allegedly requested his extradition after he was arrested in Yemen last month.

European MEP Ana Gomes told the BBC the UK needed to use its political leverage to ensure his release.

The Ethiopian government has not commented on the alleged extradition.

US-based Ginbot 7 spokesman Ephrem Madebo told the BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme that Mr Andargachew had been on his way from the United Arab Emirates to Eritrea when he was detained during a stopover at Sanaa airport.

Mr Ephrem said that he had spoken to Mr Andargachew’s family who had been contacted by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Thursday.

British officials told the family that the Yemeni ambassador to the UK had informed them that Mr Andargachew had been handed over to Ethiopia, Mr Ephrem said.

In a statement the UK Foreign Office said it was aware that Mr Andargachew had been missing in Yemen since 24 June.

“Since then UK officials have pressed the Yemeni authorities at senior levels to establish his whereabouts, including meeting with the Yemeni ambassador in London this week,” a Foreign Office spokesman said in a statement.

“We are aware of reports that he may now be in Ethiopia and we are urgently seeking confirmation from the relevant authorities given our deep concerns about the case. We are continuing to provide consular assistance to his family.”

Read more at BBC News.

Related:
UK Stands Accused Over Extradition of Ethiopian Opposition Leader (The Guardian)
Ethiopia Asks Yemen to Extradite Activist (Al Jazeera)
Leading Ethiopian Opposition Figure Detained in Yemen (Yemen Times)

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UK Stands Accused Over Extradition of Opposition Leader Andargachew Tsige

Andargachew Tsige, a British national, may face death penalty after extradition from Yemen. (The Guardian)

The Guardian

BY Martin Plaut

Friday 4 July 2014

The Foreign Office has been accused of failing to act to prevent the extradition to Ethiopia of an opposition leader facing the death penalty.

Andargachew Tsige, a British national, is secretary general of an exiled Ethiopian opposition movement, Ginbot 7. He was arrested at Sana’a airport on 23 June by the Yemeni security services while in transit between the United Arab Emirates and Eritrea.

“The British knew he was being held in Yemen for almost a week but they did nothing,” said Ephrem Madebo, a spokesman for Ginbot 7. “We are extremely worried about Mr Andargachew, because the Ethiopians kill at will.”

The Foreign Office, which called in the Yemeni ambassador earlier this week, said it was urgently seeking confirmation that Andargachew was in Ethiopia.

“If confirmed this would be deeply concerning given our consistent requests for information from the Yemeni authorities, the lack of any notification of his detention in contravention of the Vienna convention and our concerns about the death penalty that Mr Tsige could face in Ethiopia,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

Read more at The Guardian.

Related:
Ethiopia Ginbot 7 leader facing death penalty ‘extradited from Yemen’ (BBC News)
Ethiopia Asks Yemen to Extradite Activist (Al Jazeera)
Leading Ethiopian Opposition Figure Detained in Yemen (Yemen Times)

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Friday Muslim Protests Resume in Ethiopia

Photograph: Protesters outside Addis Ababa's Anwar Mosque after Friday prayer last year. (File Photo)

Agence France Presse

Jul. 04, 2014

ADDIS ABABA: Hundreds of Muslims protesters demonstrated in Ethiopia Friday, demanding the release of 17 of their leaders jailed under terrorism charges last year.

“What the government is doing doesn’t solve the problem, rather it will worsen the situation,” said protestor Mohammad Seman, speaking at the demonstration following busy Friday prayers at a popular Addis Ababa mosque.

The leaders were arrested last August, following months of protests by Muslims accusing the government of interfering in religious affairs. They are currently on trial for intending to “carry out acts of terrorism.”

Protesters accuse the government of forcibly imposing the foreign Al-Ahbash branch of Islam, and appointing leaders, or majlis, of the Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs who are traditionally elected by members of the Muslim community.

“We want our freedom, we want neutral majlis,” said protester Noureddine Ali.

The demonstrators carried banners reading “let our voices be heard,” and “we will fight for our religion and rights” at the rally, before police arrested several protestors, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.

Seman said that the government should release the leaders and urged talks with the Muslim community.

“It is better to solve the problem with peaceful means,” he said.

The government did not return calls for comment Friday.

Human Rights Watch has urged the government to free the jailed leaders, accusing it of a “brutal crackdown” on protests.

Ethiopia has come under fire for its controversial anti-terrorism legislation, which rights groups have said is used to silence critics.

Over 30 percent of Ethiopia’s 91 million people are Muslim, while around 60 percent practice Orthodox Christianity, according to official figures.

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Ethiopia Says Expanding Zones to Become Industrial Hub

Ethiopian PM and Chinese premier visit Oriental Industrial Park in Ethiopia, May 5, 2014. (gov.cn)

Reuters

By Aaron Maasho

Fri Jul 4, 2014

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia will start setting up a new industrial park in September and will expand another at a total cost of $250 million, an official said, part of efforts to shift away from farming and become a hub for textiles and other industries.

The Horn of Africa nation aims to attract investors who are moving some manufacturing from China and other Asian markets, where costs are rising. Ethiopia offers cheap labour and fast improving power supply, transport and other infrastructure.

Luring new industry is seen as vital to maintaining high growth rates in Ethiopia’s still largely agrarian economy. The economy has expanded annually by double digits in the past decade and is forecast to grow by 8 percent or more this year.

Yaregal Meskir, deputy director general of the Ethiopian Industrial Development Zones Corporation, said plans were being finalised to expand the existing Bole Lemi Industrial Zone, on the southern outskirts of the capital, while a new industrial hub was planned at Kilinto, 30 km (20 miles) further south.

“We have witnessed many investors have come to acquire sheds and land and there is a long queue,” he told Reuters in an interview on Friday. “We prefer labour-based industries like garment manufacturing and shoe manufacturing for exports.”

After selecting a designer, he said building Bole Lemi phase two and the Kilinto Industrial Zone would start in September.

A third of the 156-hectare Bole Lemi site was developed at a cost of 2.5 billion birr ($127.5 million), financed by the state, in the first phase and has attracted Korean garment-maker Myungsung Textile Company and Taiwan’s George Shoe Corporation.

The Kilinto zone will cover 243 hectares.

Read more.

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Yemen Times: Ethiopian Opposition Figure Andargachew Tsige Detained in Sana’a

Andargachew Tsige, Secretary General of the Ethiopian opposition, Ginbot 7. (Photo via Yemen Times)

Yemen Times

By Bassam Al-Khameri

3 July 2014

SANA’A, July 2–The Ginbot-7 Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy, an outlawed political organization in Ethiopia, claimed on Monday that the movement’s secretary general Andargachew Tsige has been detained in Yemen since June 23.

According to the organization’s website, Tsige was arrested at Sana’a International Airport while in transit from Ethiopia to London. Tsegie is an Ethiopian with British citizenship.

The circumstances of his arrest remain unclear.

In a press release published on the official Ginbot-7 website on June 30, the movement said that it had tried for a week to release Tsige, adding that it had asked the Yemeni government not to hand him over to the Ethiopian government. “We will retaliate in any way and at any place for any harm done to the body, spirit and life of Andargachew Tsegie,” the movement warned.

Khalid Sheikh, the director of Sana’a International Airport, denied any knowledge of Tsegie’s alleged detention.

The Yemen Times contacted the Ethiopian Embassy in Sana’a, which claims to have no information on Tsegie’s alleged arrest so far. The British Embassy could not be reached.

Ethiopian news website Awramba Times cited a senior Ethiopian official as saying “Yemeni authorities will definitely issue an extradition warrant and he will face justice based on the Ethio-Yemeni Security Pact (EYSP), which was signed in 1999 between the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Yemeni’s former President Ali Abdallah Saleh.”

The website’s article did not give any further details of the arrest.

Ginbot-7 is a political movement that was founded by Dr. Berhanu Nega and that, according to its mission statement, aims to establish a national political system in which political authority is gained through peaceful and democratic means.

The Ethiopian government listed Ginbot-7 as a “terrorist group” in June 2011. Tsige allegedly survived an attempted assassination in November 2013 in Asmara that Ginbot-7 holds the Ethiopian regime responsible for.

Related:
Ethiopia Ginbot 7 leader facing death penalty ‘extradited from Yemen’ (BBC News)
UK Stands Accused Over Extradition of Ethiopian Opposition Leader (The Guardian)
Ethiopia Asks Yemen to Extradite Activist (Al Jazeera)

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Image of the Week: Ethiopian Troops Rallying Against Italy’s Invasion in 1935

This photo was taken in Addis Ababa at the start of the Second Italo-Ethiopian War in October 1935. (Courtesy: Martin Plaut )

Martin Plaut

This photograph, dated 30 October 1935, shows Ethiopian troops rallying to the cause of the Emperor Haile Selassie.

This is the information on the back of the photo: “Dedjazmatch Machacha, one of Ethiopia’s most influential leaders, recently marched into Addis Ababa with 10,000 of his followers to offer his services and those of his men to Emperor Haile Selassie. This picture shows some of Machacha’s troops in Addis Ababa before leaving for the North.”

Read more.

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Tom Hucker Still Ahead After First Absentee Vote Count in Maryland Primary

Tom Hucker, a candidate for Montgomery County Council District 5 seat in Maryland, who was endorsed by the Ethiopian American Council (EAC), is still leading his primary race. (Photo: courtesy of Tom Hucker)

The Washington Post

BY BILL TURQUE

Del. Tom Hucker slightly extended his slender margin over Evan Glass in the Montgomery County District 5 County Council Democratic primary race after the first set of absentee ballots were counted late last week.

Hucker won a slight plurality of the 570 absentee ballots, extending his lead from 225 to 244 votes.

Montgomery election officials said Monday there are two more sets of ballots remaining to be counted in the primary contest. Provisional ballots will be tallied on Wednesday and a final set of absentees on July 7.

Read more at The Washington Post.

Related:
Tom Hucker Leads in Close Primary in Maryland’s Montgomery County
Ike Leggett Wins Primary Election By A Wide Margin
Sam Liccardo Wins San Jose, California Mayoral Primary Election

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African Leaders Vote to Give Themselves Immunity From War Crimes and Genocide

At the 2014 African Union summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. (Photograph credit: African Union)

The New York Times

By ADAM NOSSITER and MARLISE SIMONS

JULY 2, 2014

DAKAR, Senegal — African leaders have voted to give themselves immunity from prosecution for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in an African human rights court that does not yet exist, angering rights groups and puzzling activists on the continent.

At an African Union summit held last week in Equatorial Guinea, a country often cited as one of Africa’s worst rights violators, heads of state and government decided that the African Court of Justice and Human Rights would have no power to hear cases against them.

The court was formally created by the African Union six years ago, but it is not yet in operation, and it is not clear when it will be.

The leaders at the summit last week also expanded the court’s scope: What was originally a civil tribunal for hearing human rights complaints will now be a full-fledged criminal court with authority to deal with the most serious crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity and piracy.

Read more at NYT.

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Will Ethiopia’s New Sovereign Credit Rating Increase Foreign Investment?

International Monetary Fund (IMF) graph illustrating Ethiopia's Foreign Direct Investment. (Source: IMF)

Brookings Institution Blog

By Temesgen Deressa and Amadou Sy

July 2, 2014

Last month, Moody’s Investors Service assigned a debut sovereign rating of B1 to the government of Ethiopia. A B1 rating is equivalent to a B rating in Fitch Ratings’ scale, which is the agency that rates most African sovereigns. The rating puts Ethiopia on par with Rwanda but a notch below countries such as Kenya, Ghana and Zambia, all rated B+ by Fitch. Oil exporters such as Angola and Nigeria are rated better at BB-.

Moody’s Investors Service rating of B1 for Ethiopia is based on four main key drivers: (1) the country’s small economy and low per capita income, balanced by a track record of strong economic growth over the past decade; (2) weak institutional setups in comparison with B-rated countries; (3) moderate fiscal strength, with debt burden and related financing costs remaining low given a largely concessional funding base balanced by its increasing reliance on non-concessional financing; and (4) moderate susceptibility to event risk, which balances credit strength and credit constraints.

Read more at brookings.edu.

Related:
Ethiopia receives credit ratings needed for Eurobond issue (Reuters)

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The Struggle for a Free Press in Africa

Zone9 bloggers arrested on April 25th in Addis Ababa. (Photographs from Global Voices Online/by Endalk)

Aljazeera America

By Mohamed Keita

In Africa, the past few months have offered troubling optics of journalists on trial for the practice of independent journalism: Peter Greste in a cage in a prisoner’s white jumpsuit in Egypt, Bheki Makhubu in leg irons in Swaziland and Tesfalem Waldyes in handcuffs in Ethiopia. The arrests and prosecutions of journalists not only chill others from digging deeper into stories, but there are also other, more indirect and insidious forms of censorship that obfuscate inconvenient truths that we should know.

Last week, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, criticized prison sentences against several journalists jailed in Egypt after they reported on the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, which authorities consider a terrorist organization.

“It is not a crime to criticize the authorities or to interview people who hold unpopular views,” said Pillay, echoing the “journalism is not a crime” slogan of the global campaign to free three Al Jazeera journalists held in Egypt.

As troubling as these arrests have been, they represent a larger trend in Africa of criminalizing the practice of independent journalism in the broadest sense, including blogging and social media.

Read more at america.aljazeera.com.

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SummerStage Presents: Teddy Afro, Noura Seymali, HaHu Dance Crew

(Images: Courtesy Massinko Entertainment)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Monday, June 30th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Teddy Afro and HaHu Dance Crew from Ethiopia as well as Noura Mint Seymali of Mauritania are set to appear at the 2014 SummerStage festival in Central Park this coming Saturday (July 5th) as part of New York’s annual outdoor performing arts series. Teddy will be accompanied by Abogeeda band.

Organized by the City Park Foundation, the free show takes place at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park in Manhattan. Doors are scheduled to open at 2:00 p.m. (Enter the park at 69th street and Fifth avenue).


If You Go:
SummerStage Presents:
Teddy Afro, Noura Mint Seymali, Hahu Dance Crew
Saturday, July 5 at 3:00 PM
Central Park (Rumsey Playfield)
New York City
Learn more at www.summerstage.donyc.com/Music

Related:
SummerStage After Party: Teddy Afro Live at B.B. King in NYC on July 5th

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DC Cab Drivers Fed up With City’s ‘Abuses’

(Photo credit: Thomas Peter/Reuters)

PRI

By Naomi Gingold

Addis Gebreselassi is a taxi driver in Washington, DC. Like a lot of other immigrant drivers, he’s pretty highly educated — he was formerly an accountant. But he’s been driving a cab in the district for about 14 years.

Even though the job doesn’t get much repsect, he says it has its benefits: “You can work when you want it, not working when you don’t want it.”

The flexibility allows drivers to take care of their kids, take classes or even travel back to their home countries without wondering if they’ll lose their jobs.

In many ways, DC is an especially good place to set up shop as a cab driver. It’s the only major metro area in the US where a majority of drivers are independent owners and no company dominates the market. There are more than a hundred cab companies in DC, and, unlike in New York or Boston, licenses are pretty cheap.

But the DC Taxicab Commission controls pretty much everything drivers do, and drivers have long felt mistreated. “Some of the drivers get abused. They know in their hearts there is no fairness in this city,” Gebreselassie says, echoing complaints among drivers.

Read more at PRI.Org.

Audio: DC cab drivers fed up with ‘abuses’


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Reporters Without Borders on the Dismissal of 20 State Journalists in Ethiopia

Press release from Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

RSF

Mon, 30 Jun 2014

Reporters Without Borders condemns last week’s politically-motivated dismissal of 20 journalists from Oromia Radio and Television Organization (ORTO), the main state-owned broadcaster in Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest regional State.

The 20 journalists were denied entry to ORTO headquarter on 25 June and were effectively dismissed without any explanations other than their alleged “narrow political views,” an assessment the management reached at the end of a workshop for journalists and regional government officials that included discussions on the controversial Master Plan of Addis that many activists believe is aimed at incorporating parts of Oromia into the federal city of Addis Ababa.

The journalists had reportedly expressed their disagreement with the violence used by the police in May to disperse student protests against the plan, resulting in many deaths.

It is not yet clear whether the journalists may also be subjected to other administrative or judicial proceedings.

“How can you fire journalists for their political views?” said Cléa Kahn-Sriber, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Africa desk. “The government must provide proper reasons for such a dismissal. Does it mean that Ethiopia has officially criminalized political opinion?

“In our view, this development must be seen as an attempt by the authorities to marginalize and supress all potential critiques ahead of the national elections scheduled for 2015 in Ethiopia. These journalists must be allowed to return to work and must not be subjected to any threats or obstruction.”

Ethiopia is ranked 143rd out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

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BRAZIL 2014: The Best World Cup Ever?

(Photo: football.voanews.com)

By Andrew Palczewski | VOA News

2 July, 2014

In the lead-up to the 2014 World Cup, there were fears that the event would be a disaster. Would the stadiums be finished in time? Could the teams face the steamy tropical heat of northern Brazil? Would pollution and protests mar the games?

Well, according to FIFA, the 2014 World Cup isn’t a disaster. In fact, they’re calling it the best World Cup…ever.

According to Reuters:

Brazil 2014 may have had organizational glitches, but it is shaping up to be the best on-field World Cup thanks to the exciting soccer being played, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said on Tuesday.

“I think it is the best World Cup in terms of the soccer,” Valcke said in an interview with Globo television’s SporTV cable channel. “It’s the World Cup with the most number of goals since 1982.”

Even before the 32-nation tournament enters the quarter-final phase this week, more goals have been scored than at the previous World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

A pretty bold statement…considering the tournament isn’t over yet.

In Pictures: World Cup 2014 Goal Celebrations


Related:
Hyundai USA Releases World Cup AD “Epic Battle” Video by Wondwossen Dikran
David Mesfin: 2014 Hyundai FIFA World Cup Ad Features Work by Ethiopian Artists

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Doublethink in Punditry (Opinion)

(Image: Pundit Roundtable/WILLisms.com)

The New York Times

By Paul Krugman

A belated reaction to Mark Thoma’s comments on Barry Ritholtz [What's the Penalty for Pundits Who Get It Wrong?] and the issue of pundit accountability. Mark writes:

I would separate those who are honestly wrong from those who take a misleading position (or one they know is wrong) for political purposes. There should be consequences in both cases, those who are honestly wrong again and again should come to be ignored, but those who intend to mislead and deceive should face much higher penalties.

That’s clearly right — but the division between the honestly wrong-headed and the politically motivated is not, I think, as clear-cut as all that. I don’t think there are all that many self-consciously cynical hacks, who privately admit to themselves that what they’re saying is all wrong but do it anyway to serve their masters. Much more common are people who rationalize — who know who they’re working for, but mostly manage to convince themselves that they’re engaged in honest intellectual inquiry.

Read more at NYT.

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Ethiopian Pianist Girma Yifrashewa at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club

Pianist and Composer Girma Yifrashewa (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — Ethiopian pianist and composer Girma Yifrashewa will celebrate the release of his new solo piano album, Love and Peace, with a live performance on July 30th at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club in Bethesda, Maryland.

Girma’s latest album was recorded last year in Brooklyn, New York.  Released by the Unseen Worlds record label, the CD features Girma’s arrangement of The Shepherd with the Flute — a short reflective and romantic piece originally composed by the late Professor Ashenafi Kebede — as well as his own compositions based on traditional Ethiopian melodies, such as Ambassel, Chewata, Sememen, and his favorite Elilta.

Following his debut New York appearance at the Issue Project Room in Brooklyn on June 8th, 2013, The New York Times described Girma as offering “a rare and fascinating example of aesthetic adaptation and convergence.”

“Born 1967 in Addis Ababa, Girma Yifrashewa combines the ecstasy of Ethiopian harmony with the grandeur of virtuoso piano technique into an effortlessly enjoyable mixture,” the press release states. “Trained in Bulgarian conservatory, the Royal Academy of Music in London, and the Hochschule fur Music Und Theater in Leipzig as a highly accomplished performer of classical repertoire, Yifrashewa has chosen to remain in Ethiopia, helping to forge a classical tradition for his country. Currently Yifrashewa works to promote Ethiopian and Classical Music by touring throughout Africa and Europe.”



If You Go:
Girma Yifrashewa in Bethesda, Maryland
Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club
July 30, 2014
7:30PM / $15
7719 Wisconsin Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814
Tickets at: www.instantseats.com
www.bethesdabluesjazz.com

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Harar: The City of Beer And Mosques (BBC)

Ethiopia's historic city of Harar is one of Islam's holiest centres - but in recent times it has built up another tradition and is now also known for its brewery. (Photograph credit: ALAMY via BBC News )

BBC New

By Aidan O’Donnell

As holy cities go, Harar is a colourful one. Inside the walls of the old town I find buildings in greens, purples and yellows – its women seem to take this as a challenge, dressing in veils and robes of shocking pink and the brightest orange.

Harar lies far in the east of Ethiopia, with a road that rises out of the town in the direction of Somaliland.

The mighty Muslim leader Ahmed The Left-Handed led some fierce campaigns from here in the 16th Century.

On its narrow streets I meet goats, old men collapsed from chewing the narcotic khat and a young boy who stops to knock a football back and forth with me for a few minutes.

Off the main square, tailors sit in front of fabric shops ready to run up alterations.

Binyam, slotted behind his sewing machine, does a small tailoring job for me, recounting his Greek ancestry and the provenance of his sewing machine – a gift, he says proudly, which would cost you thousands in the local currency.

Read more.

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Preview: Ethiopian Movie ‘Beti and Amare’

Ethiopian-movie 'Beti and Amare.' (Courtesy Indiewire)

Indie Wire

BY VANESSA MARTINEZ

Premiering at the Durban International Film Festival, which runs July 17 through July 27, is the Kalulu Entertainment independent film production titled “Beti and Amare,” described as a part sci-fi/fantasy and part historical romantic drama set in World War 2-torn Ethiopia.

“Amare,” by German filmmaker Andy Siege, centers on on a young Ethiopian girl named Beti (Hiwot Asres), who seeks refuge from Mussolini’s Italian troops in the south of the country. In the midst of battling hunger and harassment from the local militia, an unprecedented fantastical event occurs causing Beti to fall in love.

Here’s the full synopsis: “Beti and Amare” is a historical science-fiction film set in 1936 Ethiopia. Beti, a young Ethiopian girl has escaped Mussolini’s troops and found refuge in the peaceful south of Ethiopia. As the Italians march ever closer Beti has to battle hunger, thirst, and the unwelcome sexual advances of the local militia. When the situation threatens to escalate towards the unthinkable, a spaceship cracks through the clouds… its cargo… love. This micro-budget gem is filled with many powerful moments made up of stunning, intense and thought provoking imagery, a unique but professional score and sound-design, and masterful acting.

Watch the trailer below:



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Fútbol: The Beautiful Game at LA County Museum of Art

(Image credit: Left, Pele by Andy Warhol, 1978, Silkscreen, 40 x 40, University of Maryland Art Gallery, College Park, MD. Right, by Miguel Calderon, 2004, Video transferred to DVD, courtesy of the artist)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Los Angeles (TADIAS) — The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is currently hosting a timely exhibition entitled Fútbol: The Beautiful Game, featuring works by more than two dozen artists and highlighting the globally beloved sport through video, photography, painting, sculpture and large-scale installation.

The exhibition, which will remain open until July 20th, 2014, “examines football—nicknamed “the beautiful game” by one sports commentator—and its significance in societies around the world. As a subject, football touches on issues of nationalism and identity, globalism and mass spectacle, as well as the common human experience shared by spectators from many cultures.”

“When people watch a game, they feel inspired by the spirit of the team, the fans, and the sense of community,” remarked Franklin Sirmans, Terri and Michael Smooke Curator and department head of contemporary art at LACMA in a press release. “We, the fans, create the spirit of the team via our rituals. Witnessing a game is one of the few occasions during which a collective sense of enthusiasm is still possible. This exhibition explores that energy.”

The press release adds that two room-sized video installations anchor Fútbol: The Beautiful Game, including an intimate portrait of Zinedine Zidane — one of the greatest soccer players in the history of the sport— during the course of a single match. Other works by artists including Robin Rhode, Kehinde Wiley, Petra Cortright, Andy Warhol, Mark Bradford, Mary Ellen Carroll, Hassan Hajjaj, and Andreas Gursky, among others, provide a sense of the possibilities of the sport as a universal conversation piece.

“With artists hailing from as far afield as Morocco, Germany, Mexico, and South Africa—in addition to several Los Angeles–based artists—the geographic range represented in Fútbol: The Beautiful Game reflects the global reach of the sport.”

If you Go:
A Walk-Through with the Exhibition Curator Franklin Sirmans is scheduled for Saturday, June 28th. If you would like to join, please rsvp at alitash@alitashkgallery.com. Attendance is limited. You can learn more about the show at www.lacma.org.

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17 Indicted in NY Drug Ring Bust for Khat

The drug ring smuggled the Khat from Yemen, Ethiopia, and Kenya into New York and beyond, according to a 215-count indictment unsealed Friday in Brooklyn by the state's Attorney General. (photo DEA)

New York Daily News

BY OREN YANIV

17 members of an international drug ring were busted for smuggling tons of Khat into America, authorities announced Friday.

Seventeen members of the alleged drug ring that brought tons of the euphoria-inducing plant from Yemen, Kenya and Ethiopia to the city and beyond were charged in a 215-count indictment unsealed in Brooklyn by the state’s Attorney General office.

Khat’s leaves and stems are chewed in their fresh form and contains an amphetamine-like stimulant. It’s legal in many parts of the world, including Kenya and Ethiopia were it’s primarily cultivated, and has been used socially in Yemen for thousands of years.

But Khat is illegal in the United States and most other western countries, earning that designation in the United Kingdom this Tuesday.

Read more at NY Daily News.

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Ethio-Israeli Soul Singer Ester Rada Live in West Orange, New Jersey – July 1st

"You can’t have borders in music," says Ester Rada, who performs her adventurous, wide-ranging songs in West Orange, New Jersey on July 1st, 2014. (Photograph: Courtesy Ester Rada)

The Star Ledger

By Tad Hendrickson

Ethnic hybrids in music can be found today with such regularity that it’s seemingly now a rule more than the exception. But the strong sense of individuality that Ethiopian-Israeli singer Ester Rada gives to her mix of jazz, R&B, soul, African music, reggae and rock certainly stands out. As will the reason for it: She was born and raised in a small town of Kiryat Arba in the West Bank region to Jewish-Ethiopian parents, and this unique mix of traditions helped galvanize her to become the artist she is.

“When I was young I was very much confused,” says Rada, 29. “I didn’t know who I was — at home I had an Ethiopian culture, language and mentality, and outside I had a completely different thing. I thought I would have to choose a side. Only when I grew up did I realize I don’t have to choose. I am a lot of things and that is the beauty of us as human beings.”

It wasn’t until her family moved to the bigger Israeli city of Netanya when she was 10 years old that Rada discovered MTV and secular music.

“The mix of all that is what I am, and my music is the mix of who I am,” she adds. Her diverse musical vision and electrifying live performances make her an ideal debut performer for the new Roots & Ribs Festival at the Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center in West Orange on July 1. While she’s toured extensively at home and in Europe and done smaller U.S. tours, Rada is in the midst of a 40-city North American run in support of her self-titled debut album, released in February.

Read more at The Star Ledger.



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Meriam Ibrahim: Christian Woman Jailed in Sudan Freed Again

Meriam Ibrahim, who is a daughter of a Sudanese Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox mother, was sentenced to death for marrying a Christian, U.S. citizen Daniel Wani. (Photo: FACEBOOK/GABRIEL WAN)

BBC News

26 June 2014

A Sudanese woman whose death sentence for marrying a Christian was overturned has been released from jail again, after she was detained at Khartoum airport on Tuesday.

Meriam Ibrahim’s lawyer, Muhannad Mustafa, said that she was currently in the US embassy with her family.

Mrs Ibrahim had been detained on charges of falsifying ID documents.

She was first released on 23 June when an appeals court lifted her death sentence for renouncing Islam.

Her sentencing in May to hang for apostasy sparked an outcry at home and around the world.

Mrs Ibrahim, 27, had been held at a police station in the capital, since Tuesday, when she was prevented from leaving the country along with her husband, Daniel Wani, and their two children.

She had reportedly planned to travel to the US with her family.

According to Reuters news agency, quoting her lawyer, Mrs Ibrahim was released on the condition that she remains in Sudan.


Meriam Ibrahim in May, 2014. (AFP/Getty Images)

Read more and watch video at BBC News.

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Meron Wudneh at Miss Africa USA 2014

Meron Wudneh. (Photos via Miss Africa USA Org)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) –The organizers of the annual Miss Africa USA Pageant have announced 20 contestants from 20 African nations who will be competing for this year’s Miss Africa USA title. The finalists include Meron Wudneh who is representing Ethiopia at the Grand Finals at the Strathmore Theater in Rockville, Maryland on August 9th, 2014.

“We invite you to check out their profiles, what they stand for and how they plan to impact nations and bring change to the world,” organizers said. “The future of Africa lies in its untapped potential, the potential of its women.”

Below is Meron’s message. You can vote for her at missafricausa.org.

Miss Africa USA 2014 Meron covernew
Meron Wudneh. (Photo by Cain Manigque and E.Z/Miss Africa USA Org)

“My name is Meron Wudneh. I am honored and delighted to represent Ethiopia, an ancient African country with amazing biodiversity, people who take pride in preserving their diverse culture, it’s great warriors, Kings and Queens! I love dancing our traditional Eskista dances, playing sports and bringing visibility to our culture through fashion, which inspired a greater love of modeling. I model in NY, and also work in MD for Montgomery County in the field of healthcare and recreation where we develop youth programs. I completed my studies with a full scholarship at Bowie State University and earned a Bachelors degree in Health & Sciences and played women’s basketball.

Since I was a child growing up in Ethiopia I always had the desire to help people, especially kids. When I graduated from high school I realized that I had served 1,000 hours of community service helping kids at my neighborhood community center. Almost two years ago, I founded my non-profit called Kids First Ethiopia. Kids First Ethiopia sends school supplies, clothes, shoes, and other miscellaneous items to kids that have suffered the loss of their parents to HIV/AIDS and/or are homelessness.

Last year, I stayed in Ethiopia for 6 months working alongside established NGOs, such as Mary Joy Foundation, to support the efforts of others who are passionate about supporting the needs of kids. I learned how one person can truly change a child’s future.

Please join me on my journey to continue this effort to serve more kids in our beautiful motherland!

Thank you all for your support!”

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Reflection: The 60th Anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie’s Visit to OSU

The following article is written by Shaun Evans who is the son of Conrad and Joy Evans, Point Four staff members who worked in Ethiopia between 1956-1968. He was born in Jimma in 1964. (Photo: OSU)

Tadias Magazine
By Shaun Evans | OP-ED

Published: Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Stillwater, Oklahoma (TADIAS) – On Wednesday, June 18th, 2014, Oklahoma State University commemorated the 60th anniversary of a visit to their campus by Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. His Imperial Majesty was the first reigning foreign head of state to visit the state of Oklahoma. The Emperor brought a contingent of 19 persons with him to personally thank Oklahoma State University for their work in assisting Ethiopia in modernizing agriculture and education under the Point Four Program begun during U.S. President Harry S. Truman’s administration.

The event was hosted by the School of International Studies at Oklahoma State University, headed by Vice President of OSU, Dr. David Henneberry. A wide and varied group of people, including historians, film makers, former Point Four in Ethiopia participants, university staffers, and Ethiopian, American and International students alike, came to the grand auditorium within the Wes Watkins Center for International Trade and Development to hear speakers talk about the significance of Emperor Haile Selassie and Ethiopia to Oklahoma and the U.S.

Presenters for the commemoration included Worede Gebremariam (President of the Ethiopian Student Association), Dr. Jack Herron Jr. (one of the first children of Oklahoma State University staff participants who built Jimma Agricultural and Technical School, now Jimma University), Dr. Ted Vestal (professor Emeritus of Political Science at OSU and a preeminent Ethiopia historian, author of “The Lion of Judah in the New World”), Dr. Barbara Stoecker (Regents Professor and Marilynn Thoma Chair of Nutritional Studies who has conducted research in Ethiopia for over 20 years), and Mel Tewahade (Director of the four part documentary series Point Four – Ethiopia, and another documentary Peace Corp – Ethiopia).

Worede Gebremariam gave a fine presentation on facts and figures that provided a wonderful base of understanding about the country of Ethiopia. His charming personality and professional nature elicited laughter and brought forth well thought out questions about Ethiopia from the participating crowd.

Dr. Jack Herron Jr. shared memories of what it was like to be a young teenager moving to Ethiopia with his parents who were undertaking a historically significant project to help Emperor Haile Selassie modernize his country through providing agricultural and technical assistance and learning directly to the people of Ethiopia. Dr. Herron’s father was one of the individuals responsible for establishing the agricultural extension programs that provide local farmers with an educated source of agricultural information for improving their farming techniques. Dr. Herron’s father was also responsible for starting the first 4-T Agricultural Youth Clubs modeled after the 4-H programs in the U.S. Dr. Herron described his time in Ethiopia as being magical, surrounded by beautiful and caring people and stunning natural beauty. He also remarked that the experience prepared him, and the other children of OSU staff, to have better understanding of people in general leading to above average success in their adult lives.

Dr. Theodore Vestal, shared his immense knowledge of the life of Emperor Haile Selassie and gave the audience members detailed glimpses into the time period in which the Emperor visited the U.S. as a Foreign Head of State (a record 6 times only matched by the Queen of England later in the 2000’s). The visit of the Emperor to Stillwater, Oklahoma was the biggest event on record for the U.S. state, featuring a dinner and reception at the newly constructed OSU Student Union (at that time the largest Student Union in the United States if not the world). During the evening’s program the university’s president, Oliver Willham presented Haile Selassie with a scroll expressing respect and sincere admiration for the emperor and a bronze plaque given “on behalf of the citizens of Oklahoma,” commemorating Oklahoma State University’s successful program of technical assistance and economic cooperation. Today, that plaque is prominently displayed on the campus of Ethiopia’s Haramaya University. It is estimated that the Emperor graciously shook the hand of over 1,400 attendees at the event by the end of the evening.

Dr. Barbara Stoecker informed the audience about her research which is conducted mainly in the Lake Hawassa region. Over the years, Stoecker has researched the role of micronutrients in child health in Thailand, China, Jordan, Iraq and Ethiopia. Most of her international work is in Ethiopia where she has taught, developed curriculum and helped numerous Ethiopian graduate students secure funding to attend OSU. In 2007, the Hawassa University launched Ethiopia’s first graduate program in applied human nutrition thanks to Stoecker’s instrumental work. Dr. Stoecker revealed that infant mortality rates have improved dramatically over her 2 decades of research even though more work needs to be done. Dr. Stoecker also remarked on how nice and gracious the people of Ethiopia are and what a delight it is to work with them.

Mel Tewahade, Director of the Point Four – Ethiopia documentary series, gave a history of the Emperor’s life from the time of a youngster to his ouster and assassination by communist thugs. Mr. Tewahade shared his opinions of current world events and warned participants to not be lax in dealing with extremists who bare no good will to the world and will only provide chaos and suffering. Mr. Tewahade later generously donated a copy of one segment of the documentary to all who were in attendance at the luncheon given after the presentations.

Dr. David Henneberry both began the day’s events and provided closing commentary. He highlighted that the financial commitment made by the Emperor in the 1950’s and 1960’s would have been the equivalent of a 270 million dollar educational program today in inflation adjusted U.S. dollars. There are few, if any, educational programs begun today, with this large of financial commitment, not to mention the man hours and love and caring that were given by the OSU-Point Four staff and Ethiopian officials. Dr. Henneberry was proud to point out that OSU has 4 students currently planning to begin study abroad programs in Ethiopia in the near future. He also noted the year after year dedication of Ethiopian students to attend Oklahoma State University and OSU’s dedication to providing them a world class education. In 2013, President Burns Hargis of Oklahoma State University met with University Presidents from Addis Ababa University, University of Mekelle, University of Bahir Dar, University of Axum, University of Gonder, University of Hawassa, University of Jimma, University of Haramaya and University of Adigrat. In conclusion, Dr. Henneberry stated that although the economic and political landscape has changed dramatically over the years, OSU and its Ethiopian partner universities continue to find new ways of working together to have a positive impact on their countries and the world.

Of special significance at the commemoration, it was learned that the great-granddaughter of Dr. William G. Bennett, former Oklahoma A&M University (now OSU) President and first Director of the Point Four Program, was in attendance. She shared with the audience stories told her about the time when Dr. Bennett and Emperor Haile Selassie first met at an International Food Exhibition in 1945 and the deep regard Dr. Bennett had for the leader of a free country that withstood external turmoil while reminded the world of what types of actions were noble and right to pursue in the name of Freedom and Justice.

In Pictures: Emperor Haile Selassie’s Visit to Oklahoma in 1954


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Tom Hucker Leads in Close Primary in Maryland’s Montgomery County

Tom Hucker (courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — Tom Hucker, a candidate for Montgomery County Council District 5 seat in Maryland, who was endorsed by the Ethiopian American Council (EAC), is locked in a close Primary race, so far leading by 217 votes, in a contest that will likely be decided by absentee and provisional votes.

The Gazette, which covers Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, reports that “only 217 votes separate the top two vote-getters after Tuesday’s election, likely giving absentee and provisional voters the final say on who will hold the seat in December.”

All precincts reporting, Tom Hucker garnered 7,184 votes compared to his opponents: Evan Glass (6,967), Christopher Barclay (1,789), Terrill North (1,687), and Jeffrey Thames (982).

“However, 940 absentee ballots were requested in District 5 as of Tuesday and of those, 733 were requested by Democrats. The Board of Elections has yet to count absentee and provisional ballots,” The Gazette reported. “While it was too early to celebrate when reached Tuesday night, Hucker praised his campaign volunteers and staff for their hard work.”

Hucker also told the newspaper that he  will wait until “the last vote was counted” before claiming victory. “I’m definitely very proud of the diverse grassroots and relentlessly optimistic campaign that we ran,” he said. “People are exhausted. They left it all on the field.”

Although voter turnout was very low across Maryland on Tuesday, we are told that EAC helped coordinate getting the vote out for Hucker and other candidates through phone banking and volunteering in the field. If Tom Hucker wins, it would round out the successful campaigns of all the three candidates supported by the Ethiopian-American Council, including Montgomery County Executive Isaiah “Ike” Leggett, who won his primary bid for a third term, and San Jose, California Mayoral Candidate Sam Liccardo, who made the runoff as one of the top two primary winners gearing up for the Fall election season.

Stay tuned for updates.

Related:
Ike Leggett Wins Primary Election By A Wide Margin

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In Maryland, Ike Leggett Wins Primary Election By A Wide Margin

Isaiah Leggett, winner of Tuesday's primary election for Executive of Montgomery County. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — The incumbent Executive of Montgomery County, Maryland Isaiah ”Ike” Leggett, who was endorsed by the Ethiopian-American Council (EAC), has won his primary contest for re-election.

The Washington Post reports that Mr. Leggett “had a wide lead in his bid for the Democratic nomination for a third term, according to the early voting tallies” of the June 24th primary.

“Thanks to all who voted,” Leggett tweeted. “Always exciting to be part of the consistent refresh of our democracy.”

Video: The first ad of Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett’s 2014 reelection campaign


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Your Chance to Present at 9th Annual African Economic Conference in Ethiopia

(Image: The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa logo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — The 2014 African Economic Conference will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in November and organizers are calling on African researchers in the Diaspora to participate. One of the key objectives of the annual conference, now in its ninth year, is to “provide an opportunity for young African researchers, Africans in the Diaspora, regional and sub-regional organizations to disseminate their research findings as well as share information with African policymakers on the work they do in the region.”

The two-day gathering — scheduled for November 17th through November 19th, 2014 — is being organized jointly by the African Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Africa and the United Nations Development Program.

“This year’s AEC will offer a unique avenue for researchers, policymakers and development practitioners from Africa, and elsewhere, to debate Africa’s soft infrastructure needs and their catalytic impact on speed and scope of economic transformation and inclusive growth,” noted the announcement from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). “In the light of Africa’s search for economic transformation and its current skills and technology deficit in the face of knowledge-intensive and innovation-driven global competition, Africa needs to urgently devise strategies to capitalise on its youth bulge to drive technological innovation, skills development and the search for new sources of comparative advantage.” The UN agency added: “There is also the need to reflect on the critical barriers to be overcome and seek to capture the lessons to be learnt from various experiences on the continent to guide the development of appropriate policy responses and investment frameworks (public and private). In addition, critical regional dimensions need to be examined.”

Organizers credit high commodity prices and good macroeconomic management for the continent’s notable “economic growth rates averaging 5.2 per cent over the past decade.” Despite this growth, conference organizers are keen to note that there is still failure to translate this success in terms of employment opportunities and other measures of socio-economic development.

“Much attention has been given to the constraints imposed by the physical infrastructure deficit on Africa’s industrialization and structural transformation goals. Issues around Africa’s deficit of soft infrastructure such as skills, technology and innovation have not received equal attention, even though Africa’s severe shortage of technical skills is arguably more likely to pose a binding constraint on achieving sustainable industrialization, transformation and inclusive growth. As the continent pursues its agenda for economic transformation and inclusive growth enshrined in the African Union’s vision of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena”, success will critically depend on the continent accumulating a critical mass of skills, technology and innovation. African leaders, by identifying youth development, and science, technology and innovation as key pillars of the AU Agenda 2063 and the African Common Position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, give credence to this view.”

Click here for the Call for Papers.

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Image of the Week: Why Did the Greeks Make Ethiopian Royal Andromeda White?

This sixth century B.C. Greek vase painting is raising a question: Why did the Greeks choose to hide the mythological figure’s true origins? (Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute /MFA, Boston)

The Root

BY: IMAGE OF THE BLACK IN WESTERN ART ARCHIVE

One of the most profound qualities of the classical Greek mind has to do with its capacity to interpret human destiny on a cosmic scale. A particularly affecting example is the story of Andromeda, the daughter of the king and queen of Ethiopia. Like her parents and her lover Perseus, Andromeda was ultimately placed in the heavens by fate, metamorphosed as the constellation bearing her name.

The legend of Andromeda constantly migrates in its telling, always keeping pace with the vibrant, ever-changing perception of the world and its inhabitants by the ancient world. In this evocative example of Greek vase painting, the clear signs of her African origin are tempered with a seeming reluctance to accept the heroine herself as black. Though the reasons for this are not entirely clear, the treatment of Andromeda’s story provides valuable insight into the presentation of race in legend and art, and perhaps in actual life as well.

Read more at Theroot.com.

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Embassies in DC Catch World Cup Fever

Netherlands' Arjen Robben, right, is challenged by Spain's Fernando Torres during the World Cup match between Spain and the Netherlands, June 13, 2014. (AP Photo)

VOA News

By Lee Michael Katz

WASHINGTON — A red sea of about 100 diplomats, family and embassy friends wearing their national color, packed into the Korean cultural center to cheer on their team in a World Cup match against favored Russia last week.

It was just a brief stroll down Washington D.C.’s Massachusetts Avenue from the Korean embassy to the affiliated cultural center, which had set up giant TV screens in two rooms. But it was a big Embassy Row leap from the normal diplomatic routine, as some Korean embassy officials abandoned their formal reserve and thrust their hands in the air to cheer when team Korea scored a critical goal.

Some diplomats shed their suit jackets, opting to put on over their shirt and tie, bright red T-shirts emblazoned in Korean with words “Korea Fighting” for the soccer game.

Perhaps no group of officials here in the American capital has embraced World Cup fever more than the diplomatic community. Televisions are turned on during national games, even during the work day. Diplomats speculate around the water cooler about competitors in their nation’s group and follow the action on computer monitors and smart phones. Some surreptitiously listen to games of interest and obsessively check World Cup scores.

This summer, Washington’s diplomatic community has collectively come down with World Cup fever. Their workday soccer enthusiasm is reminiscent of American office workers, who are famous for office pools, internet game monitoring and lost productivity during the “March Madness” of the NCAA college basketball tournament.

Aiding the diplomatic World Cup mania, soccer is also increasingly popular among the local population in Washington and featured in many restaurants and bars. American fans in the nation’s capital area sport red, white and blue American flag apparel and chant “USA! USA!” during games against Ghana and Portugal.

For those assigned to represent their nation in a foreign capital, the World Cup is a source of national pride far away from home. For example, this game where Korea accomplished an unexpected tie with Russia.

That was good enough for one embassy diplomat to take to heart. Korea has been rocked by the drowning of high school students in a horrific ferry boat incident. The nation has long been “saddened,” a Korean diplomat noted, but the World Cup provided a momentary lift from tragedy. “We had a good game,” the diplomat said. “Now we are very happy.”

All of a half dozen embassies queried for this column about their World Cup activities reported staff would be watching or monitoring the matches.

At the Netherlands embassy, diplomatic staffers wore orange ties, socks and other items to mark their World Cup games. At half-time of one World Cup game, ambassador Rudolf Bekink retweeted a picture of a flag that declared, “Our Roots Are Orange.”

With some initial success, the Dutch national team’s embassy fans became especially captivated by the Cup. “In the midst of other regular work,” reported embassy press officer Carla Bundy, “there are people at the canteen and at the coffee [station] and the office and the cooler, talking about the Dutch national team.”

In fact, the Netherlands Embassy played upon the World Cup excitement to promote their nation in Congress. The Dutch actually built a miniature indoor soccer field in a Capitol Hill office building, complete with artificial turf. Congressional aides were offered famous Dutch Heineken beer, as well as American ice cream and widescreen TV’s showing the Netherlands vs. Spain match.

As for Spain, its diplomatic personnel watched another midday game last week in the basement of the embassy on a “big, big TV,” according to spokesman Gregorio Laso.

Some Spanish embassy staffers even started work at the very undiplomatic hour of 7:00 a.m., Laso explained, so “they could finish their job and watch the match.” Though Spain has been known for its leisurely mealtimes, Laso skipped lunch so he could watch the 3:00 p.m. game versus Chile.

For Chile, “I think we are not going to be working at the time of the game,” a Chilean diplomat admitted honestly, but privately. “We get very patriotic” over the matches.

“I think everyone is taking the time to watch their country play,” she observed. “This whole month everyone’s going to be talking about soccer.”

At the Mexican embassy, the World Cup “can bring out a lot of passion and enthusiasm rallying behind our national team,” deputy embassy spokesman Vanessa Calva noted. “Some of our colleagues have been wearing our Mexican decorations…My mind has been rather busy about talking soccer.”

Were Mexico to get past the first round, she said, “then things will get very interesting and nervous for us.”

Fittingly, perhaps the most extreme World Cup diplomatic celebrant in Washington was Brazil, the host country and a major soccer power at the start of the competition. The Brazilian ambassador in Washington threw a huge party for the start of Brazil’s Cup play, with the signature national caipirinha drinks.

But that was just the beginning of Brazilian diplomatic devotion to their World Cup matches. For those dialing the embassy after 1:00 p.m., a couple of hours before Brazil’s game with Mexico, the phone went unanswered. It seems the entire embassy was closed: for the soccer holiday.

Related:
World Cup 2014: The latest from Brazil

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Ethio-Israeli-Soul: Ester Rada Live at Madison Square Park in New York

Ethiopian-Israeli musician Ester Rada. (Photos: Courtesy esterrada.com)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Up-and-coming Ethiopian-Israeli Singer Ester Rada will perform live at Madison Square Park in New York on Wednesday, June 25th as part of the public park’s free outdoor summer concerts series.

The artist, who is currently promoting her debut album, is described by critics as “gracefully combining Ethio-Jazz, Urban-funk, Neo-Soul and R&B.” She has been nominated for the MTV EMA awards “Best Israeli Act,” cementing her rise into the international soul music world.

“With musical influences such as Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha Franklin, Rada has a unique take on soul that has already earned her recognition globally,” states the event’s announcement. “Since the release of her EP Life Happens, Rada’s popularity has boomed and she has successfully toured the US, Canada, and Europe, as well as showcased at the highly respected Glastonbury Festival.”



If You Go:
Madison Square Park (Oval Lawn)
Jun 25 – 6:00pm – 8:30pm
Ester Rada & Maya Azucena
The Park is located at 23rd Street
(Between Madison and Fifth Avenues)
Bring a blanket and picnic (no chairs allowed)
www.madisonsquarepark.org

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Small Business of the Year: Little Ethiopia’s Messob Restaurant in Los Angeles

(Images: Courtesy Messob Ethiopian Restaurant, 1041 South Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, California)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Before there was Little-Ethiopia, there was Messob Ethiopian Restaurant, located in the heart of L.A’s internationally famous Fairfax neighborhood.

Owned by brothers Berhanu and Getahun Asfaw, Messob was one of 80 small businesses, out of 3.3 million, recognized last week at the 2014 California Small Business Day as ‘Small Business of the Year’ for their contribution to the success of the local economy.

According to the California Small Business Association, 75% of California’s Gross State Product and over half of the state’s private sector jobs come from small businesses. Messob was chosen from California’s 50th State Assembly district by Assembly Member Richard Bloom.

“The annual event honors a few of the millions of small businesses that serve as the economic engine of California,” the California Small Business Association stated in a press release.

The ceremony, which took place on June 16th at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento, was sponsored by 25 small business organizations and included speeches from California State Senate President Darrell Steinberg, California State Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins, Speaker Emeritus John A. Pérez, and Region IX Small Business Association Administrator Donna Davis.

In a statement Betty Jo Toccoli, President of the California Small Business Association, noted: “As the economy continues to bounce back, we are excited to engage in a dialogue with California’s leading policy makers about sustaining economic growth for the small business community. Today is about recognizing small business’ contribution to the state’s economy.”

We congratulate the owners of Messob on the well-deserved recognition!

Related:
Cool Moment: Zuckerberg Enjoys Ethiopian Food at Walia Restaurant in San Jose

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U.S. House Votes to Limit NSA Spying

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted on Thursday in favor of an amendment that would stop NSA's key domestic surveillance activities without a warrant. (Video transcript by Newsy.com)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By Ben Levin

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a bipartisan amendment limiting the ability of the National Security Agency to spy on U.S. citizens.

The amendment passed 293-123, with a majority of both Democrats and Republicans voting for it.

Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California, proposed and passed an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill closing off the “incidental” loophole in a late-night session.

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed in 2013 that the NSA routinely collects intelligence on millions of U.S. citizens without a warrant. (See The Guardian)

The NSA’s reasoning, as approved by former President George W. Bush and maintained by President Obama, holds that as long as the “target” of a surveillance effort is a foreigner, any “incidental” intelligence gathered is fair game for the NSA. (Via Washington Times).

The agency’s logic has been criticized by politicians and civil liberty advocates such as Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence.

Read more at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Watch: U.S. Congress passes amendment to limit NSA surveillance (Video by Newsy.com)


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Egyptian Anchorwoman Suspended After Live Row With Ethiopia Envoy

Rania Badawy of the Tahrir satellite channel has been suspended for rude on-air behavior in which she hanged up the phone on Ambassador Mahmoud Dardir of Ethiopia during a live show last week. (Ahram )

Ahram Online

An Egyptian broadcaster has been suspended for arguing with Ethiopia’s ambassador to Cairo during a live TV phone-in about Addis Ababa’s ongoing Nile dam project.

On Wednesday, Rania Badawy, a talk show host on the privately-owned Tahrir satellite channel, got into a heated argument with Ethiopian envoy Mahmoud Dardir over the Grand Renaissance Dam, a multi-billion hydroelectric dam that has been a source of contention between the two countries for over a year.

Near the end of the six-minute-long call, Badawy asked the envoy if Addis Ababa insisted on pressing forward with the dam’s construction in its current form and capacity, which Egypt fears will harm its share of the Nile’s water.

The ambassador replied: “You do not understand about dams and are talking in a bumptious tone.”

Badawy then angrily told the ambassador he had “crossed his limits” and that he should not “characterise [her] talk or speak to [her] about arrogance”. She then thanked him and abruptly ended the call, as his voice trailed off in an attempt to reply.

The head of the TV station, Mohamed Khedr, told Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website on Sunday that the move to suspend Badawy came amid his channel’s “sense of responsibility,” adding that the management was revamping the programme map ahead of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan – which should fall on 29 June.

In comments carried by state news agency MENA earlier in June, Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom – on a visit to Cairo at the time – criticised local media for sending “very negative messages, sometimes systematically, that create a feeling of rejection” between the people of both nations. The senior diplomat, however, said that Addis Ababa and Cairo were looking forward to a “new era” of mutual ties.

Read more.

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New York Abay Team’s BBQ Fundraiser

New York's Ethiopian soccer team Abay. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — New York’s Ethiopian soccer team, Abay, is getting ready for the 2014 ESFNA Soccer Tournament, which will be held in San Jose, California from June 29th to July 5th. The team is hosting its second annual fundraising barbecue today at Morningside Park in Harlem. “It’ll be a day filled with good food, great company, and activities for all ages,” organizers said.

If You Go:
NY Abay Barbecue
Sunday, June 22, 2014
12pm to 5pm
Morningside Park
122nd Street, Morningside Avenue
Harlem, NY

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How Fast is Africa Really Growing?

(Images: Time magazine covers)

Financial Times

By Razia Khan of Standard Chartered Bank

Africa is rising, but poor data availability means that we can’t be sure by how much.

There are proxies that help shed some light. Chinese customs data show that Africa-China trade ballooned to $210bn last year from $5bn-$7bn at the end of the 1990s. Lending to the private sector in Africa has also surged, with private-sector credit growth more than doubling in real terms between 2000 and 2010.

Such data points aside, however, little is known about the true magnitude of Africa’s growth surge.

Data quality in most Sub-Saharan African economies is weak. In many instances, the official data are too out of date to tell us much that is useful.

The lack of data complicates decision-making for both the private sector and governments. It reduces certainty, adds to the cost of doing business and can delay the formulation of much-needed policy.

While Africa has seen surging inflows from foreign direct investment and private portfolio investment in recent years, investors – especially those new to the region – are often shooting in the dark when it comes to data.

Improved data quality can alter our perceptions dramatically. When Ghana released its rebased GDP figures in 2010 (the first rebasing since 1993) the economy turned out to be 63 per cent larger than previously thought.

Nigeria’s rebasing this year was even more dramatic, with the estimated size of the economy increasing by 89 per cent. Nigeria ‘became’ the largest economy in Africa and the 26th-largest in the world.

Read more.

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Heineken to Open New Plant in Ethiopia

(Image: Heineken International)

The Wall Street Journal

By BART KOSTER

Heineken will next month open a new brewery in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in what is the Dutch brewer’s latest push to expand in Africa, one of the world’s fastest-growing beer markets.

The brewery in Kilinto, on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, will be Heineken third plant in the East African country and will have an annual capacity of 1.5 million hectoliters (40 million U.S. gallons).

The facility, which will produce local brands such as Bedele and Harar and possibly Heineken’s premium lager beer in the future, is meant to bolster the brewer’s footprint in the Ethiopian capital, said Siep Hiemstra, the president of Heineken’s operations in Africa and the Middle East, in an interview.

“We couldn’t serve the Addis Ababa region from our existing two breweries,” he said. “So this will strengthen our position in the country.”

Heineken’s expansion in Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous country, highlights the growing importance of the continent for the world’s top brewers.

Read more.

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New York Exhibition of Recent Works by Awol Erizku (June 19 – August 15)

Awol Erizku, 26, is an Ethiopian-born artist who grew up in New York. (Photo: Hasted Kraeutler Gallery)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Friday, June 20th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — An exhibition of new photographs, sculptures and installations by Awol Erizku opened yesterday at Hasted Kraeutler gallery in New York. The show entitled The Only Way Is Up runs through August 15, 2014.

Born in Ethiopia in 1988 Awol Erizku, who grew up in the Bronx, received his B.A. from The Cooper Union college in 2010, and completed his M.F.A from Yale in 2014.

“Awol Erizku is a cultural collagist, a creative synthesizer bridging eras and cultures, unifying the vocabulary of the art-elite and the New York City streets, the high and the low, the past and a very singular present, The Only Way is Up, takes its title from a Quincy Jones record he often listened to with his parents as a child—an album whose message was to empower and uplift,” states a press release from Hasted Kraeutler gallery. “Although Erizku’s work abounds with signifiers and indicators of African American culture, it speaks more broadly to a universal quest for self-discovery.”

Paramount among Awol’s interests, the gallery notes, “is the re-contextualization and re-purposing of ready-made objects—especially those vested with powerful associations or connotations. Like a contemporary anthropologist, he prowls the urban landscape of his daily life for items and materials that speak to him, procuring vintage T-shirts, used records, or even plastic bags of recycled soda cans—keeping his eyes open for things other people might disregard. He then subverts their expected function making them his own.”

The press release adds: “Erizku’s works are shaped by similarly timely uses of contemporary lexicon. Featuring an irregular square of synthetic black leather hung on the wall, which serves as a sort of canvas for evidence of Erizku’s urban wanderings, an old Michael Jackson record is juxtaposed with the word “#TRILL”—a combination of the words “True” and “Real”—written in neon. In another, a tourist-gift-shop style Obama T-shirt is placed in dialogue with “#WAVY.” Both words are evocative of an urban vernacular that describes a state of euphoria, and, when viewed in the context of the cultural and political icons Erizku has placed them with, they produce a compelling, unexpected harmony.”

If You Go:
Awol Erizku: “The Only Way Is Up”
Hasted Kraeutler Gallery
537 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011
Show ends on August 15, 2014
Phone: 212 627 0006
www.hastedkraeutler.com

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2014 Skoto Gallery Summer Show Features Work by Wosene Kosrof

Berkeley, California-based painter and mixed-media artist Wosene Kosrof is best known for his work that incorporate Amharic alphabetic characters into his prolific compositions. (Photo credit: Alan Bamberger)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Friday, June 20th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — The 2014 Summer Show at Skoto Gallery (one of the first contemporary African art galleries in the United States), which opened on Thursday, June 19th, features selected works by a diverse group of international artists, including Ethiopian-born painter Wosene Kosrof.

Wosene, who was raised in Ethiopia but has lived in the United States for over 30 years, uses Amharic scripts as a foundation in his playful signature compositions that he calls “Fidel Chewata.” Wosene’s works are inspired by “movies, bookstores, photography, landscape, fashion, colors, conversations,” he says. “I am a loner so listening to jazz, sitting at cafes, watching street lights, people, car movements, all give continuous formation to my paintings.”

The Skoto exhibition highlights fifteen additional artists: Ade Adekola, Obiora Anidi, Ifeoma Anyaeji, SoHyun Bae, Uchay Joel Chima, Sokey Edorh, Diako, Peter Wayne Lewis, Aime Mpane, Ines Medina, Chriss Nwobu, Pefura, Piniang, Ines Medina and Juliana Zevallos.

If You Go:
SKOTO GALLERY
Summer Show 2014
June 19 – July 31, 2014
529 West 20th Street,
5FL.
New York, NY 10011
Gallery Hours
Tuesday to Saturday
11 AM – 6 PM
212-352 8058
info@skotogallery.com
www.skotogallery.com

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Ethiopia’s Condom Dilemma (Opinion)

(Image courtesy DKT Ethiopia)

The New York Times
OP-ED

By JAMES JEFFREY

June 19, 2014

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — I was confused the first time I saw a giant billboard in Addis Ababa advertising Members Only and stressing how “membership has its pleasures,” accompanied by a stark silhouette of a leggy female figure. It reminded me of advertisements in New York for so-called gentlemen’s clubs — not the sort of places you tend to find in Ethiopia’s capital, where levels of disposable income and where that money goes differ markedly.

Members Only turned out to be the latest condom brand released by DKT Ethiopia, an American nonprofit that since 1989 has sold Ethiopia’s most popular brands. DKT’s condoms are usually sold well below market cost, heavily subsidized, as part of the effort to tackle problems like H.I.V. and to improve family planning for the country of about 95 million. Ethiopia has the second largest population in Africa, projected by the World Bank to grow to 145 million by 2050.

Condom use in Ethiopia has proved effective in helping stem the spread of H.I.V. Currently, the adult prevalence of infection is relatively low, about 2.4 percent, although that still represents a large number of people with H.I.V.

Although gross domestic product growth has averaged 10 percent a year since 2007, World Bank data from 2011 indicated that nearly 30 percent of Ethiopians still lived in poverty, subsisting on less than $2 a day. Rapid economic growth and grinding poverty exist side by side in Ethiopia, complicating the issue of how best to supply condoms.

DKT is counting on that growing economy as it experiments with a move from a largely subsidized model to a commercially self-sustainable one. It has chosen not to subsidize the Members Only brand in an attempt to get a clear picture of what consumers might be willing to pay for condoms.

Read more at NYT.

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UN Warns of Sharp Influx of Refugees From South Sudan to Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, the United Nations World Food Programme, WFP, assists roughly 550,000 refugees from neighboring countries, including the latest influx of asylum-seekers from South Sudan. (WFP)

WFP

19 Jun 2014

ADDIS ABABA – As South Sudanese continue to flee their conflict-torn homeland, the United Nations World Food Programme in Ethiopia marks World Refugee Day with an urgent appeal for US$50 million to meet the needs of nearly 150,000 who have sought shelter here since the conflict began in December 2013–and for our larger refugee response.

“Thanks to its generous open-door policy, Ethiopia currently hosts the largest number of South Sudanese refugees of any neighbouring country,” said WFP Ethiopia’s Country Director, Abdou Dieng. “If WFP is to meet their food and nutritional needs, we need a massive and rapid influx of funds. Otherwise, we risk running out of food for our refugee operation in Ethiopia by the end of August.”

In Rome, WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin highlighted the devastating fallout of the humanitarian crises in South Sudan and in several other nations where conflict has uprooted millions. Roughly 45.2 million people are forcibly displaced worldwide, including half-a-million people who have fled the renewed violence in Iraq, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.

Working with the UNHCR and other partners, WFP assisted 4.2 million refugees and 8.9 million internally displaced people around the world in 2013.

“As the newly displaced join the ranks of those already forced from their homes by conflict or natural disaster, no one should feel alone and without help. No refugee should ever feel forgotten,” Cousin said. “Together with our colleagues at UNHCR, partner organizations and donor governments around the world, we are diligently responding to their urgent and life stabilizing needs.”

In Ethiopia, WFP assists roughly 550,000 refugees from neighbouring countries, including the latest influx of asylum-seekers from South Sudan. At the border points, we are distributing calorie-packed High Energy Biscuits to give an immediate boost to the many South Sudanese who arrive here exhausted and famished, after walking for days to reach safety.

WFP also distributes rations of grains, pulses, vegetable oil, sugar and salt at camps and border points. And we are providing special nutritional supplements to counter often alarmingly high malnutrition rates among the most vulnerable, notably young children, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

“The fighting has prevented people from planting their fields,” WFP Country Director Dieng says of South Sudan. “This will push more people to flee their country – this time not because of conflict, but because of hunger. All the more reason for the international community to give generously to those in need.”

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Cool Moment: Zuckerberg Enjoys Ethiopian Food at Walia Restaurant in San Jose

Mark Zuckerberg poses for a photo with Walia restaurant staff in San Jose, California. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — When it comes to authentic Ethiopian cuisine Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook, has very good taste. He was recently spotted enjoying Injera at Walia restaurant in San Jose, California. Not only did Zuckerberg wait ten minutes to be seated last Saturday, we are told, he also took his time to pose for a photo with the Walia staff.

You can learn more about Walia restaurant at www.waliaethiopian.com.



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Dance At Your Own Risk: Debo & Feedel Band at Artisphere in Arlington June 27th

(Photo courtesy Debo and Feedel Band)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Whether you are into eskista, reggae or breakdance, it can’t get any better than to get your groove on with Debo and Feedel bands performing together in one place. The two bands are scheduled to share the stage (hosted by Grammy nominated Ethiopian-born singer Wayna) at Artisphere in Arlington, Virginia on Friday June 27th.

Boston-based Debo Band, founded by Ethiopian-American Saxophonist Danny Mekonnen, is known for its cross-cultural appeal and popularizing the sounds of “swinging Addis” from the 1960′s and 1970′s  among modern-day American audiences. The group is currently working on its second album following their debut self-titled record released in 2012. “We are self-producing our sophomore album, which will feature original songs along with Ethiopian traditional medleys, unique covers, and wild mashups that push the limits of our band’s sound,” states their announcement on the pledgemusic.com campaign website.

Likewise, Feedel Band is also currently working on a new album with producer and Gogol Bordello band member Thomas Gobena soon to be released by Electric Cowbell Records. As OkayAfrica highlights the ethio-jazz group, which hails from the Washington, D.C. area, “have been making waves with their vintage Ethiopique sound” while Apropop Worldwide says the band ”keeps the funky experimentation of 70s Ethiopia alive.”

If You Go:
Friday June 27 – 8pm
Debo Band + Feedel Band w/ DJ Underdog
Hosted by Wayna
Artisphere
1101 Wilson Blvd, Arlington VA 22207
Adv Tix $15 – Day of $18
Click here to RSVP via Facebook

Watch: Debo Band: Ethiopian Funk On A Muggy Afternoon (NPR)

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Yetnebersh Nigussie Talks About the Challenges for the Disabled in Ethiopia

Yetnebersh Nigussie, who lost her eyesight at the age of 5, is a lawyer and disability rights activist. (VOA)

VOA News

Kim Lewis

June 16, 2014

The Convention on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which held its seventh annual session in New York from June 10-12, gave delegates from around the world a chance to exchange ideas about programs and discuss how to improve the lives of the disabled and to raise human rights issues.

An attendee from Ethiopia, Yetnebersh Nigussie, talks about the challenges for the disabled in Ethiopia, where she says the disabled face prejudice and low-socio-economic status. She speaks from personal as well as professional experience. Nigussie is the executive director of the non-profit Ethiopian Center for Disabilities and Development in Addis. She is an attorney and she is blind.

Most of the disabilities in Ethiopia – such as child trachoma and polio – are preventable, says Nigussie. “But, once you are disabled, it’s very tough to get included in the community, and to be able to contribute towards development.”

In addition to physical and infrastructural obstacles such as lack of accessibility to buildings and services, Nigussie says obstacles persist in gaining access to information, communications, and transportation.

Other, more daunting obstacles are even harder to overcome, she says. People with disabilities in Ethiopia have no capacity to develop. A civil society law in Ethiopia prohibits organizations from receiving foreign funds for advocating disability rights.

“In Ethiopia, I’m not sure if you are aware, we have a new … law that was passed three years ago, and that law requires organizations receiving funds from abroad not to engage in disability rights and awareness. So, that becomes an impediment …,” Nigussie says.

However, the human rights advocate noted Ethiopia’s government has passed other recent laws that require the inclusion of people with disabilities in decision-making policies, and employment. Nigussie says Ethiopia’s parliament has developed a checklist to hold decision-makers accountable for what they are doing to include people with disabilities

The downside has been, she points out, is the checklist is ineffective when it comes to civil society. The government is trying to put in place systems and policies to promote the rights of persons with disabilities, but there is no real enforcement, she says. What is needed is a strong and vibrant voice for persons with disabilities, not just advocacy groups.

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Kibrom’s Tizita: Fusion of Ethiopian Folk with Jazz and Gospel Sounds

Musician Kibrom Birhane. (Photograph courtesy Tsehai Records)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, June 16th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Learning how to play the krar, a five stringed traditional Ethiopian lyre, at age 8, Kibrom Birhane found himself enthralled by Orthodox chanting. “Always it moves me when I hear music,” he says. And from that time on he knew he wanted to pursue a career in music. Kibrom eventually began teaching piano to other students for about three years before receiving a scholarship to attend the Los Angeles College of Music where he developed a passion beyond Ethiopian folk music, and became a songwriter and composer focusing on the fusion of Ethiopian folk with jazz and gospel sounds. His debut album entitled ‘Kibrom’s Tizita’ was recently released by Tsehai Records, a new division of Tsehai Publishers. Kibrom describes his new album as “an exploration of Ethiopian heritage through folk and pop music with a jazz backbone.”

Kibrom is also a record and mixing engineer and says he “learned to play all of these different roles over time, and with that came new innovations” in his music and sound. His solo pieces are among his most personal works, and Kibrom shares that they are “an expression of what I feel at the moment. I don’t study or learn solos; I just play them.”

Kibrom hopes to reach the younger generation with his music. He sees the power of fusion as a way to expose individuals to Ethiopian music while adopting a style that is already familiar to them (such as jazz). Kibrom has already garnered some success including writing the score for the documentary film ‘Sincerely Ethiopia,’ singing in the award-winning documentary ‘Get Together Girls,’ and composing music for the documentary on the African Union’s 50th year celebration.

“The raw sincerity of Birhane’s music seeks to make strong connections with listeners as they are transported on a musical journey. And a journey it is – Kibrom uses Ethiopian scales, which are rarely heard in Western music. The distinct nature of these scales makes for hypnotic listening,” states Tsehai Records.

Watch: Zelesegna : ዘለሰኛ/ by Kibrom Birhane

Watch: Kibrom Birhane – Broken But Beautiful

For more information please visit www.tsehaipublishers.com, or email at info@tsehaipublishers.com. Kibrom’s CD is also available on iTune , Amazon, Google Play and Rhapsody.

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54 Days in Prison and Counting for Zone 9 Bloggers and 3 Journalists

(Image credit: zoneniner tumblr)

Global Voices

16 June 2014

It has been 54 days since six members of the Zone Nine blogging collective and three journalists believed to be associated with the group were arrested in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The group formed in 2012 in an effort to report on and increase public discussion about political and social issues affecting a diverse cross-section of Ethiopian society.

On their Facebook page, they describes themselves as young Ethiopians seeking to use fact-based reporting and analysis to create a new, more nuanced narrative of life in Ethiopia today:

“Zone9 is an informal group of young Ethiopian bloggers working together to create an alternative independent narration of the socio-political conditions in Ethiopia and thereby foster public discourse that will result in emergence of ideas for the betterment of the Nation”

The bloggers have appeared in court at four times since their arrest on April 25, 2014 — their next court date has been set for July 12, 2014. Each time, police have asked for more time to carry out their investigation of the group. Although they have been informally accused of “working with foreign organizations that claim to be human rights activists and agreeing in idea and receiving finance to incite public violence through social media,” they have been issued no formal charges as of yet. Close friends and allies of the group fear that they will be charged with terrorism, similar to journalists Eskinder Nega and Reeyot Alemu, both Ethiopian journalists who have been in prison since 2011.

Read more at Global Voices Online.



Related:
Investigation stalls in case of nine detained journalists and bloggers (RSF via Reuters)

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