Author Archive for Tadias

University of Gondar Re-graduates 500 Alumni During 60th Anniversary

The University of Gondar 60th year Diamond Jubilee Celebrations was held from July 4- July 7th, 2014. During the event about 500 alumni from around the world were formally re-graduated. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – This past July the University of Gondar, which is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its founding this year, “re-graduated” about 500 alumni along with over 4000 students. The alumni had gathered for the three-day occasion (July 5-7th, 2014) from across Ethiopia as well as from other African nations, the United States, and Europe. The University’s Alumni Steering Committee in the United States estimates that there were about 100 former graduates in attendance from the Diaspora. The University of Gondar is the first public health institution in Ethiopia, and was established in 1954 as a Public Health College in response to a malaria epidemic to help train nurses, health officers, sanitarians, laboratory technicians and other professionals that would eventually form the backbone of country’s modern public health structure. It was transformed into a medical college in 1978 and a full university in 2004.

Among the alumni residing in the U.S. who took part in the program include Dr. Elias Said Siraj, Professor of Medicine and Director of Endocrinology Fellowship Program and Clinical Endocrinology at Temple University in Philadelphia. “This was the first time in Ethiopia that alumni from a major university were organized in such a fashion and took an undertaking that others could emulate,” said Dr. Elias in an interview with Tadias Magazine. Dr. Elias graduated from Gondar College of Medical Sciences in 1988 and is one the founding members of the Alumni Steering Committee in the United States. “We also used the occasion to launch a publication, The Alumni Voice magazine, in conjunction with an ‘Alumni Clinical Symposium’ covering a range of subjects in medicine and highlighting expert presentations — including topics in surgery, women & children’s health, diabetes, kidney and heart diseases — that was attended by students, medical doctors, public health officials, and policymakers from Gondar and beyond.” Dr. Elias stated: “The feedback from students, teachers and others was very positive and encouraging. They were touched and delighted by the physical presence of the alumni, as well as by the contents of the magazine and the symposium.”

The Alumni Steering Committee in the U.S. includes six graduates of the historic Ethiopian institution: In addition to Dr. Elias, they include Dr. Anteneh Habte (1984), Founding Member, Clinical Assistant Professor at West Virginia University School of Medicine; Dr. Mulugeta Zerabruk Fissha (1998), Founding Member, Director of Cardiovascular Services at Newman Regional Health, Emporia, Kansas; as well as Dr. Nuru Abseno Robi (1988), Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C.; Dr Yared Aytaged Gebreyesus (1988), Consultant in Internal Medicine at the Blue Nile Clinic in Alexandria, Viginia; and Dr Yared Wondimkun Endailalu (1986), Consultant in Internal Medicine at the Mary Washington Health Group in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Professor Yared Wondimkun, also former Dean of Gondar College of Medical Sciences and former President of the University of Gondar, notes in an interview with Tadias that the alumni-led symposium was designed not only as “an educational platform,” but also as a “networking opportunity for alumni, faculty, students and researchers to exchange ideas and learn about each other’s expertise as well as discuses way of strengthening the relationship between alumni members and the University of Gondar.”

Dr. Yared, who now lives in Northern Virginia, also received his MD degree from the Gondar College of Medical Sciences in 1986 before serving as the institution’s last Dean (2002-2004) and first President (2004-2007). He pointed out that the limited-edition of The Alumni Voice journal contains 26 important articles authored by alumni from the school’s various stages including graduates of the public health college, first graduates of the medical school, four previous Deans, and several alumni reflecting on the past and offering their perspectives for the future.” Dr. Yared adds that further contributions to the publication came from “key historical figures who played leading roles in the era of the Public Health College as well as the Gondar College of Medical Sciences.”

Dr. Elias shared his opinion that in general alumni and their potential resources are not effectively utilized in Ethiopia, and it was with this in mind that the University of Gondar Alumni Steering Committee in the US was established. “In close collaboration with the University of Gondar senior leadership, and with its president Professor Mengesha Admassu in particular, the Gondar Alumni Steering Committee worked hard in various areas to set an example so that other Ethiopian Universities will give the necessary attention to alumni activities and strengthen their alumni offices with appropriate manpower and resources” he said. Dr. Yared likewise added that based on the feedback received so far, the effort of the steering committee has paid off and the University of Gondar is being seen in Ethiopia as a “pioneer” in effectively collaborating with its alumni. Both Dr. Elias and Dr. Yared also thanked the leadership of the University of Gondar for believing in the power of alumni and for supporting all the activities of the steering committee.

The University of Gondar’s 60th year Diamond Jubilee was marked by year-long activities that culminated in early July not only with the “re-graduation’ of its alumni, but also the inauguration of a Comprehensive Outpatient Center at the the University of Gondar Hospital “designed to provide an integrated program that will enhance patient-centered experience and increase the hospital’s capacity to accommodate an ever increasing number of patients. The facility was built in partnership with the U.S. government that provided USD $9.1 million through the U.S. President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) with technical assistance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Patricia M. Haslach, U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, said, “This newly constructed facility is part of the U.S. Government’s commitment to strengthening the national capacity of health facilities to provide comprehensive and integrated HIV/AIDS health care services throughout Ethiopia.”

Below are photos from the event courtesy of the University of Gondar Alumni Steering Committee in the U.S.:



For more coverage on Gondar University and its journey to its 60th anniversary, you may listen to People To People’s broadcast on blogtalkradio.com. More information on The Alumni Voice can be found at: Facebook.com/University-of-Gondar-Alumni-Journal-special-edition.

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Influx of African Immigrants Shifting National and New York Demographics

In Concourse Village in the Bronx, Sylvester Donkor, left, and Ataa Serwaa, immigrants from Ghana, waiting for a cab to church. (Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times)

The New York Times

By SAM ROBERTS

Threatened with arrest in 2009, Lamin F. Bojang fled Gambia after publicly contradicting its president’s claims that he could cure AIDS. Now 31, Mr. Bojang lives in Concourse Village in the Bronx with his wife and 2-year-old son and works as a receptionist at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn, while working toward a bachelor’s degree in political science at City College.

Threatened with arrest in 2009, Lamin F. Bojang fled Gambia after publicly contradicting its president’s claims that he could cure AIDS. Now 31, Mr. Bojang lives in Concourse Village in the Bronx with his wife and 2-year-old son and works as a receptionist at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn, while working toward a bachelor’s degree in political science at City College.

With educational and professional opportunities in Gambia scarce for his generation, “the rest will have to find ways of leaving,” he said, “and African migrants here, just as previous migrants, are likely not going to return to their countries of origin.”

Niat Amare, 28, graduated from law school in Ethiopia where she grew up, she recalled, “watching the media portray the U.S. as the land of opportunities.” She arrived here in 2010, lives in Harlem and said she felt welcome in New York. “Anyone would find one’s countryman here, which eases the strange feeling we all have the first time we leave home,” said Ms. Amare, a legal advocate for the African Services Committee, a nonprofit organization that assists new immigrants.

Read more at NYT »

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Lalibela Puts Ethiopia Back on Tourist Map

The rock church of St George at Lalibela, Ethiopia, one of 11 carved out of the hillside in the 13th century and among the first to be designated world heritage sites by Unesco in 1978. (Photograph: Alamy)

The Guardian

David Smith

Monday 1 September 2014

Lalibela – Kiya Gezahegne joined an unruly, jostling throng surrounding a priest who wielded a 12th-century gold and bronze cross, one of the most sacred artefacts in Ethiopia. A young man shut his eyes and trembled from head to toe as he was blessed. Finally, Gezahegne stepped forward and stooped so the priest could tap the cross all over her body. “I felt close to God,” she said.

Steeped in ancient ritual, this was the scene revealed by dawn’s first light in the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. The cool morning air was filled with the smell of incense and the drumbeat and chanting of hundreds of pilgrims swathed in white robes, some kissing the walls. A sprinkling of foreign visitors groped through narrow crevices and labyrinthine tunnels. Earlier this year they included George W Bush and family and Evgeny Lebedev, the newspaper proprietor.

Lalibela – described by Hilary Bradt, the travel guide author, as “the number one sight in Ethiopia and perhaps the most astonishing man-made site in sub-Saharan Africa” – is crucial to a drive by officials to banish images of famine and conflict, and turn the east African country into a fashionable destination. A “tourism master plan” is being finalised to boost visitor numbers, which are already growing by 10% a year.

Gezahegne, 22, an academic at Addis Ababa University, was making her first pilgrimage to Lalibela one recent Sunday and was in no doubt about its potential to attract Christians and non-believers alike. “Most people know about the famine but not the historic sites,” she said. “If the tourism bureau can advertise it, it can be a good source of income.”

Read more at The Guardian »



Related:
Lalibela One of The Top 50 Cities to See in Your Lifetime
Ethiopia’s Lalibela Among 19 Most Stunning Sacred Places in the World

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A Thriving Ethiopian Community in Texas: D Magazine Profiles Birhan Mekonnen

Birhan “Mac” Mekonnen who owns 23 Domino’s Pizza franchise locations in Texas at his home in Heath, Texas which is modeled after the Fasilides' Castle from his hometown of Gondar in Ethiopia. (D Magazine)

D Magazine

BY: CRISTINA DAGLAS

Birhan “Mac” Mekonnen is standing on his balcony, surveying acres of land, reflecting on what he’s built. The balcony rests just below the most unique architectural feature of his home in Heath—a dome modeled after Fasil Castle in Gondar, Ethiopia. Gondar is Mekonnen’s hometown, the hometown he fled in 1977, three years after war erupted.

Along with his future wife, the 18-year-old walked for days, finding refuge in Sudan, where their first child would be born. The young family of three relocated to North Dakota 18 months later, where Mekonnen’s sponsors suggested he seek employment at a grocery store. He refused and went on to receive a degree in electrical engineering. And with that, the Mekonnens set out again, this time to Dallas, where a network of relatives and friends was rapidly developing. That was 28 years ago.

Today, an estimated 35,000 Ethiopians call North Texas home. One of the fastest-growing ethnic groups in Dallas, they’ve gravitated toward Rowlett, Wylie, and Garland, where the Ethiopian community association that Mekonnen heads hopes to build a community center.

“It was designed to bring Ethiopians together and keep the tradition and culture,” Mekonnen says of the association, “to teach our children, making sure they know their roots.”

Read more at dmagazine.com »

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‘Difret’ Film to Premiere in Ethiopia on September 3rd

(Image courtesy: Haile-Addis Pictures and Truth Aid Media)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, August 30th, 2014

New York ( TADIAS) – The award-wining Ethiopian film ‘Difret’ will premiere at the National Theater in Addis Ababa on Wednesday, September 3rd. Directed by Zeresenay Mehari the film narrates the true story of a teenager who was a victim of telefa — a traditional custom of marriage by abduction in Ethiopia — who gained public attention when she was arrested and charged for the murder of her abductor. The girl’s subsequent acquittal on the grounds of self-defense was led by a courageous lawyer Meaza Ashenafi who also worked to outlaw the practice of abduction for marriage.

Difret won the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and the Panorama Audience Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. It has since been screened in various U.S. cities including New York and Silver Spring as well as worldwide including at Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland; Durban International Film Festival in South Africa; Jerusalem International Film Festival in Israel, and Sydney International Film Festival in Australia.

The upcoming screening in Ethiopia is the most exciting moment the director and producers have been waiting for. “We are thrilled to be premiering the film in Ethiopia and releasing it in theaters there next week,” producer Mehret Mandefro told Tadias Magazine. “Difret has been a 7-year labor of love for Zeresenay and a 5-year labor of love for me. So to finally be able to share the film in Ethiopia is truly a dream come true. We can’t wait,” she added.

The film’s other producers include Leelai Demoz, Executive Producers Angelina Jolie, Julie Mehretu, Jessica Rankin, Francesca Zampi and Lacey Schwartz.


If You Go:
The Ethiopia Premier of Difret
Wednesday, September 3rd
6:30: Screening
8:15: Presentation of cast and crew
9:00: Celebratory Dinner and party
National Theater
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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

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

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New Year’s Eve in Addis: Orit Entertainment Presents Jacky Gosee & Teddy Taddesse

(Image courtesy: Orit Entertainment Group and Evangadi Production)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, August 28th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Jacky Gosee and Teddy Taddesse are scheduled to perform at this year’s Ethiopian New Year’s Eve celebration at Millenium Hall in Addis Ababa. The show is being organized by some of the best Ethiopian promoters in the business: Mickey Dread (Michael Gizaw), DJ Mengie NYC (Mengistu Melesse) and Delish Lemma who recently launched an international concert promotion and artist management company, Orit Entertainment Group, based in New York. The long-time friends and business partners have been behind almost all of the biggest Ethiopian concerts in the United States for the past two decades.

“Orit Entertainment Group, as the name suggests, is a pioneer company, a trend-setter bringing new experiences to its clients and audiences alike,” says the company statement. “While Orit Entertainment Group is headquartered in New York it serves a vast clientele list globally operating out of its offices in Europe, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and UAE.”

Mickey Dread, a resident of New York City, has worked as an events manager and concert promoter as well as producer and nightclub manager for over 20 years. He is also the proprietor of successful high-end entertainment venues in NYC frequented by celebrities such as Jay Z, P Diddy, Akon, Snoop Dog, Rev Run of Run DMC, and Paris Hilton. Mickey’s club and lounge is home not only to celebrities but industry locals and underground followers as well. “Mickey’s passion in the industry and his approachable demeanor has led him to produce some larger-than-life collaborations with entities such as MTV, VH1, Entertainment TV, Motorola, Sony, EA Sport, Sport Illustrated, NBA, NFL, GQ Magazine, NY Times, Google, Bravo TV, The 2008 Obama Campaign, and Mayor Bloomberg’s Office,” notes a statement from Orit Entertainment. “Mickey’s experience and knowledge of the entertainment industry is vast.” The statement adds: “His exciting endeavors include working with the world-renowned Reggae star Alpha Blondie as his stage manager, producing a series of concerts for Reggae icon Israel Vibration, and his long-standing involvement with the record label Tuff Gong (founded by Jamaican Superstar Bob Marley) in various capacities.”

DJ Mengie, founder of Massinko Entertainment, who is also a New Yorker has likewise been an organizer in the North American music and entertainment scene for over 20 years. From the annual North America Ethiopian Soccer Tournament to the most prestigious concert venues in America, if an Ethiopian star is performing (legend or up-and-coming), chances are DJ Mengie is involved. “While you often find him behind the turntables at many of the large concerts showcasing well-known Ethiopian artists from across the globe, his promotion skills and talent as a producer are evident by the scale of the events,” the statement from Orit noted. DJ Mengie was the lead promoter of the historic Howard Theater concert in Washington, D.C. showcasing Mahmoud Ahmed and Gosaye, as well as Central Park’s SummerStage in New York presenting Aster Aweke and Teddy Afro. But what is less known is his impressive resume as a music producer that includes four successful remix albums through his label Masenko Remix. His latest project is an upcoming album called Reggaetopia featuring remixes of traditional Ethiopian sounds with Dub Reggae and Dancehall beats all performed with traditional Ethiopian musical instruments. “The ideology behind Masenko Remix is to combine the deep soul of Ethiopia’s traditional music with the more contemporary Dub Reggae sound,” DJ Mengie says.

Orit’s third partner, Delish Lemma, similarly has an extensive promotion experience that started during his college years at Virginia Tech where he led monthly dance parties highlighting celebrity DJs such as DJ Supreme who tours with Lauryn Hill, DJ LS1 who works with Hip Hop Artist DMX, and DJ Trini of Washington DC area Radio Station 93.9, DJ 6 Senses. Orit Entertainment’s bio of Delish notes that “While at Virginia Tech, Delish was successful in organizing post-concert events for many live acts such as Busta Rhymes and Outkast, and joined the promotional team for the ‘Hard Knock Life’ Tour, on the Washington DC and Charlotte N.C. leg, which consisted of concerts by Eve, Jay-Z, Method Man, & Redman.” For several years Delish was a key promoter of ‘All Star Weekend’ events in several cities including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Philadelphia. Delish, who is the founder of Delish Massinko Ent., has also worked with notable Ethiopian singers including Teddy Afro, Evangadi, Gosaye, Mahmoud Ahmed, and Aster Aweke. In addition he is credited for introducing the Ethiopian born singer Abby Lakew, who resides in the United States, and organized her concert at the Tropical Gardens in Addis Ababa. Delish also spent a few years in Ethiopia “shaping the entertainment industry.” His latest endeavor is “the production of the talented Jacky Gosee.”


If You Go:
New Year’s Eve: Jacky Gosee & Teddy Taddesse
Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
Millennium Hall
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Info: +251-911 031875
Presented by Orit Entertainment & Evangadi Production

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Ethiopia to Bid for 2017 African Cup

(Getty Images)

The Associated Press

August 28, 2014

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia will bid to host the 2017 African Cup of Nations after Libya pulled out citing security concerns, the president of the national football federation said, a tough task for a country with only basic sports infrastructure.

There is government backing for the bid, Ethiopia football federation president Junedin Basha said.

“We are both willing and able to host the games,” Junedin said, adding new facilities are being planned and built across the country. “We see no problem in hosting.”

Ethiopia will lodge its bid with the Confederation of African Football by the end of the week, Junedin said.

CAF is racing to find a new venue after Libya’s withdrawal and has given countries until the end of September to register bids. Countries normally have four years to prepare for the African Cup but the winning bid will have just over two to prepare for 2017.

Ghana and Kenya have also shown interest in bidding.

Read more »

Related:
Ethiopia, Kenya & Ghana Bid to Host 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (BBC News)

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Uneven Coverage of Suppressed Ethiopian Journalists

Serkalem Fasil accepts the 2012 PEN American's "Freedom to Write Award" for her husband Eskinder Nega, imprisoned Ethiopian writer, in New York, May 1, 2012. (AP Photo)

VOA News

By Marthe van der Wolf

August 28, 2014

ADDIS ABABA— This month, Ethiopian officials shut down five magazines — the latest in a series of shutdowns — but the move got little attention from outside the country. The East African country is well known for suppressing the media, but some cases seem to get celebrity status while others are ignored.

Twelve Ethiopian journalists and publishers left the country in August after the magazines they worked for were forced by the government to shut down. International media gave little attention to the self-chosen exile of these media practitioners.

In contrast, the cases of Eskinder Nega, Reeyot Alemu and more recently the Zone9 bloggers have been covered by outlets such as al-Jazeera and the BBC, as well as VOA.

Tom Rhodes of the Committee to Protect Journalists, or CPJ, says it can be partly explained why some cases get more attention.

“In the case of the Zone9 bloggers and Eskinder, they were quite well known in the diaspora, the Ethiopian diaspora, and had a lot of international contacts and backers. While other cases unfortunately are not so well known. I think of Solomon Kebede for example who is still waiting for trial,” he said.

Forty-one human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and CPJ released a joint statement calling for the release of the Zone9 bloggers and journalists, who are charged with terrorism.

Amaha Mekonnen, lawyer for the Zone9 bloggers and journalists, said there was a small chance the international attention would have an impact.

“As we have the experience, there may be a chance to settle the matter out of court, in which case, this information, all deliberations and analysis the case of this bloggers and journalist may be used to speed up and finally get a successful results,” said Mekonnen.

Both Eskinder Nega and Reeyot Alemu have been detained under Ethiopia’s controversial Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. Human rights group said the 2009 law was overly vague and allowed authorities to arrest anyone who criticized or opposed the government.

Eskinder won the 2012 PEN American’s Freedom to Write Award while serving an 18-year prison sentence and Reeyot won the UNESCO World Press Freedom Award in 2013 while serving an ongoing five-year prison term.

Reeyot is not allowed to see anyone else besides her parents, for 20 minutes a day.

Her father Alemu Gobebo said the attention was good for the morale of his imprisoned daughter:

“The international media is also encouraging the family of Reeyot, and Reeyot herself. The international media coverage disclosing her strength on freedom of speech or freedom of press, and by that way she was awarded, I think, international prizes. In that case we are very delighted,” he said.

There was always a worry when giving exposure to a case, said Rhodes of CPJ. But he also believed that it was crucial to inform people about what was going on.

“I think it both has a positive and a negative affect,” he said. “Positive in the sense that we let the international community know what’s going on and we’re letting the Ethiopian press know what’s going on. But it’s also negative in the sense that some authorities simply do not like criticism whether its local or international. And may react badly to it.”

Ethiopia ranks 143 out of 180 countries on the most recent World Press Freedom index. A 2014 Human Rights Watch report says Ethiopia is one of the three top countries in the world in terms of the number of exiled journalists.

The trial of the Zone 9 bloggers and journalists will resume October 15.

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Celebrate Ethiopian New Year at Historic Riverside Church in NYC on September 13th

(Images: flickr.com)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Enkutatash, one of the most festive days in the Ethiopian calendar is being celebrated this year on September 13th at the Manhattan-based Riverside Church. The church, which is on the list of the National Register of Historic Places and renowned for its decades-long history of social justice, was also the former home of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Medhanialem Church in New York.

According to the online magazine InCultureParentEnkutatash, the Ethiopian New Year, marks the end of the rainy reason and the beginning of the spring sunshine. While Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, the holiday falls on September 11th according to the Western or Gregorian calendar, except for leap years, when it occurs on September 12th. Enkutatash, meaning “gift of jewels” in Amharic, originally derives from the story of the Queen of Sheba returning from visiting King Solomon in Jerusalem, according to popular legend. When the Queen arrived, she was greeted by her Ethiopian chiefs with enku, jewels. This joyful holiday has supposedly been celebrated since this time, marked by dancing and singing across the green countryside, budding with spring flowers.”

The family-friendly Ethiopian New Year program in New York features music, food, traditional coffee ceremony and live entertainment including the first time NYC appearance of musicians Yohannes (Jonny) Alemu and Eleni Tekeste.


If You Go:
Saturday, September 13th, 2014
Time: 6:00 pm – 12:30 am
Tickets: $50 in advance, $60 at the door
Students: $25 (with ID)
Dinner & Music included
Complimentary champagne and cake
The Riverside Church (Assembly Hall)
91 Claremont Avenue
New York, NY 10027

To purchase tickets in advance please contact Rahel at rahsis@aol.com or call 646-515-6551.

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Ethiopia Considers Devaluing Currency

A Commercial Bank of Ethiopia building in Addis Ababa. (Wikimedia commons)

ENCA

ETHIOPIA – Ethiopia says it’s considering the World Bank’s suggestion to devalue its currency, the Birr, but government says it want to minimise the impact on the wider economy.

In July, the World Bank released its third economic report on Ethiopia and advised the country to devalue its currency.

The global lender argues that Ethiopia’s Birr is overvalued and that the country would benefit from making the move, but it wouldn’t be the first time for Ethiopia.

In 2010, the government devalued the Birr by ten percent – and by 20 percent the year after; all in line with the country’s Growth and Transformation Plan.

But since then the Birr has strengthened in real terms, by more than 50 percent, currently standing at 19 to the US dollar.

Read more and watch video »

Related:
Ethiopia should consider currency devaluation, says World Bank (Reuters)

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Egypt, Sudan Agree to Six-Month Study of Ethiopia Hydropower Dam

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

Bloomberg News

By William Davison

Aug 27, 2014

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan agreed to complete studies within six months on the impact of an Ethiopian hydropower dam on the main tributary of the Nile river after Egypt raised concern about water shortages.

A committee of four experts from each nation will investigate the hydrological, social and environmental effects of the $4.2 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry said on its website today. International consultants will implement the findings, it said. Foreign experts will help settle any disputes. The dam is scheduled to be finished in 2017.

Read more at Bloomberg News »

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The Face2Face Africa Awards Red Carpet Presentation (Video)

At the 2014 Face2Face Africa Awards ceremony in New York on Saturday, July 26th. (Photograph: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

August 27th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Below is a full video coverage of the FACE List Awards Red Carpet presentation at the 2014 Face2Face Africa awards ceremony held in New York last month honoring six trailblazers from the African continent in business, fashion, entertainment, social innovation and democratic governance — including Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Alek Wek, Femi Kuti, Dr Mohamed “Mo” Ibrahim, Masai Ujiri, and Dr. Boachie-Adjei.

The pan-African achievement awards were given out on Saturday, July 26th at New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

Below are photos from the event:



Related:
Face2Face Africa Honors Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Alek Wek, Femi Kuti

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UPDATE: Center for Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW) Fundraising Kickoff Event

(Photos courtesy: Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women - CREW)

CREW

Press Release

CREW held a successful fund raising kickoff event on August 2, 2014 at Howard University, Washington, DC. Friends and supporters of CREW attended the event that included dinner (sponsored by local Ethiopian businesses), live band, a fundraising game and speeches.

The program started with a welcoming address and a short video about CREW’s activities since its establishment in March 2012. Dinner was served while the live band was playing classical Ethiopian music. After dinner, the guest speakers spoke. They were: Maria G. Moreno, External Relations Liaison in IOM’s Washington, D.C. office and the Operations Officer at the U.S Association for International Migration (USAIM) and Ms Yalemzewd Bekele. Human rights activist and former human rights lawyer. Ms Mareno spoke about IOM’s role in supporting Ethiopian domestic worker deportees in Ethiopia and Ethiopians who are currently in the Yemen border. Ms Yalemzewd spoke on The impact of the Charities and Societies Law on the development of civil society organizations (CSO) in Ethiopia. Two Young activists, Mahlet Negatu and Soliyana Gebremicheal were given few minutes to speak about the candlelight vigil that was scheduled to be held later that evening in protest of the imprisonment of the Zone 9 bloggers by the Ethiopian government. Soliyana, one of the founding members of the Zone 9 group, explained to the audience how Zone 9 Bloggers started their group and how it was a non-partisan group comprised of young democracy activists who tried to promote dialogue and discussion regarding the development of democracy in their country. Guests participated at the discussions after the presentations.

Kumera Genet with his guitar and his friend playing the base and Kende with his keyboard played Ethiopian classical music. Assefu Debalke, a known Ethiopian singer, entertained the audience singing traditional Ethiopian songs. Ms Lucy Murphy, an activist and musician, sang a couple of progressive songs. A fundraising game played by the audience, raised hundreds of dollars for CREW. The program ended at 10:00 p.m.

Read the full press release at centerforethiopianwomen.org »

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Ethiopia, Kenya & Ghana Bid to Host 2017 Africa Cup of Nations

(Getty Images)

BBC News

26 August 2014

Ethiopia, Kenya and Ghana have announced their interest in bidding to host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations following Libya’s withdrawal as the host nation.

Libya pulled out last week because of ongoing fighting in the country that has delayed plans to build new stadiums for the 16-team tournament.

Ethiopia, who hosted the tournament in 1962, 1968 and 1976, say they will submit their proposal immediately.

Ethiopia Football Federation president Junedin Basha told BBC Sport: “We already have two ready venues, the Addis Ababa and the Bahir Dar stadiums, and the construction of the other venues has also reached to a good level.

“Our government is ready and interested to do everything it can to bring the tournament back to Ethiopia.”

Kenya said in a statement that they are also considering a joint bid with Tanzania or Uganda or Rwanda.

Read more at BBC News »

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African Water Ministers Meet to Discuss Studies of Ethiopian Dam – Bloomberg

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

Bloomberg News

By William Davison

Aug 26, 2014

Water ministers from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan began discussing studies to determine what impact an Ethiopian hydropower dam being built on the main tributary of the Nile River will have on the two downstream countries.

A panel of experts from the three nations may be formed at the meeting in Sudan to oversee investigations into the hydrological, social and environmental effects of the $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry said on its website yesterday, citing Water, Energy and Irrigation Minister Alemayehu Tegenu.

Read more at Bloomberg News »

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Slain Missouri Teen’s Funeral Draws Thousands

Lesley McSpadden reacts at the casket of her son Michael Brown during the funeral services at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, Missouri, Aug. 25, 2014. (Reuters)

VOA News

August 25, 2014

Mourners sang, clapped and danced on Monday at funeral services for Michael Brown, remembering the slain black teenager with words of goodwill and joy rather than the violence and outrage that followed his killing by a white police officer.

“The mood is festive inside the church as funeral goers celebrate the life of Michael Brown,” a VOA reporter at the scene said. “Brown’s parents said they feel blessed by the support of th ecommunity who have turned out at their son’s funeral. [There were] no demonstrations and calm prevails in Ferguson. ”

Unarmed Brown, 18, was fatally shot by officer Darren Wilson in a confrontation on August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.

Brown’s body lay at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in a black and gold casket, topped with the St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap he was wearing when he was killed on Aug. 9.

Monday’s service was held under heavy police surveillance to guard against renewed violence. Ferguson has been mostly calm in recent days following nearly two weeks of unrest.

A number of national civil rights leaders, politicians and celebrities attended the service at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis.

Reverend Al Sharpton, who delivered the eulogy, said Michael Brown legacy should not be about rioting, but that he should be remembered as the one who made America face how policing is conducted in the United States.

“This is about justice. This is about fairness,” Sharpton told the audience. “And America is going to have to come to terms, when there’s something wrong that we have money to give military equipment to police forces, but we don’t have money for training, and money for public education and money to train our children.”

Sharpton said the movement for fair policing cannot be shortsighted.

“We can’t have a fit, we’ve got to have a movement,” he said. “A fit you get mad and run out for a couple of nights. A movement means we’ve got to be here for the long haul. And turn our chance into change, our demonstration into legislation. We have got to stay on this, so we can stop this.”

In addition to Sharpton, civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson was also on hand for the funeral.

Three White House officials were also in attendance, including Broderick Johnson, head of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, and Marlon Marshall and Heather Foster from the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Appeal for calm

Before the funeral, Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., appealed for calm – asking for protests to stop during the service.

“All I want is peace while my son is laid to rest. Please, please. I’d like a day of silence so we can lay our son to rest. Please. That’s all I ask. And, thank you,” Brown said.

Despite a heavy police presence, many demonstrators who have kept steady vigils in Ferguson, where the August 9 incident occurred, honored that request.

Brown, 18, was just days from starting college when he was fatally shot by officer Darren Wilson.

Accounts of the incident differ. Police say Brown was the aggressor during a struggle with Wilson, but witnesses say the shooting was unprovoked and that Brown was trying to surrender.

No goodbyes

Before the funeral, as hundreds of people filed into the modern red-brick church on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in St. Louis, Brown’s coffin was surrounded by photos of him as a child, graduating from school and smiling in his Cardinals cap.

“There are no goodbyes for us, wherever you are you will always be in our hearts,” read a sign accompanying one of the photos.

Gospel music filled the sanctuary as hundreds of people stood inside the church, many dancing, singing and clapping.

Outside, gatherers sang the civil rights hymn “We Shall Overcome,” in a scene markedly different from the violent protests that rocked the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson after Brown was shot to death on Aug. 9.

Among the hundreds of people waiting outside the church was Travis Jackson, a black, 25-year-old retail store employee who said he took the day off from work to pay his respects.

“I had to be here. After all the emotions and pain of the past two weeks, this is an important moment for this community,” he said. “Today I am focused on peace for Michael Brown. Tomorrow I can think about justice,” he added.

Protests, arrests

More than 150 people have been arrested in Ferguson since the protests began – most of them for failing to disperse at the request of police.

Many have complained that the police response to the protests has been heavy-handed, while the shooting itself has raised allegations of institutionalized racism and excessive use of force.

The incident has highlighted the racial divide in the mostly black town of Ferguson, where almost all police and local politicians are white.

A grand jury began hearing evidence on Wednesday, a process the county prosecutor said could take until mid-October.

Chris Simkins contributed to this report from Ferguson, Missouri, some information for this report provided by Reuters.



Related:
A Funeral in Ferguson (Opinion – NYT)
In the Wake of Ferguson, Obama Orders Review of U.S. Role in Arming Police (NYT)
Timeline of a Tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri (MSNBC)
Ferguson Sees First Signs of Normalcy Since Brown Shooting (MSNBC)
Attorney General Eric Holder’s Stop in Ferguson is Deeply Personal
‘Smoke and Mirrors’ Punditry in Ferguson Shooting
CPJ Condemns Ongoing Harassment, Arrests of Reporters in Ferguson
What a Getty Photographer Captured Before He Was Arrested in Ferguson
Ferguson on Edge: Protests Continue After National Guard Called (Video & Photos)
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

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US Racial Tensions Story Ripples Abroad: Some Using Ferguson for Propaganda

A crowd of protesters inside a Ferguson, Missouri church last week. (Getty Images)

Voice of America

By Cecily Hilleary

The racial tensions story in Ferguson, Mo. is not only making international headlines. It’s being used by some foreign governments to spread an anti-American message.

For countries whose rights records Washington has criticized, Ferguson offers an opportunity to even the score.

Some governments and media are using some of the same language Washington has used against repressive police tactics in their countries.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it was closely monitoring events in Ferguson and called for “restraint and respect for the right of assembly and peaceful expression of opinion.”

“USA used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a protest in Ferguson,” Alexei Pushkov, head of Russia’s State Duma Committee for International Affairs, tweeted August 15. “Is it not a sign of dictatorship and excessive use of force?”

“It is regrettable that countries which claim to [defend] human rights are pursuing such [racist] approaches,” Iran’s Press TV quoted Iranian deputy foreign minister Majid Takht-e-Ravanchi as saying.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also weighed in on Twitter: “Today the world is a world of tyranny and lies. The flag of #HumanRights is borne by enemies of human rights w/US leading them! #Ferguson.”

China’s Xinhua news agency suggests it is time for America to stop focusing on “human rights flaws” in other countries and clean its own house.

“In its annual human rights report issued in February, the United States assaulted almost 200 countries across the world for their so-called poor human rights records,” Xinhua said this week.

“However, the U.S. human rights flaws extend far beyond racial issues….What’s more, Uncle Sam has witnessed numerous shooting sprees on its own land and launched incessant drone attacks on foreign soil, resulting in heavy civilian casualties,” the news service said.

Europe weighs in

In countries where a more free press flourishes, Ferguson has served as a lens for viewing America’s complex social and economic tapestry.

In Europe, the media coverage has drawn questions about America’s racial divide.

“How can this be happening in an America that has elected a black president?” asks Tim Stanley, a British historian of the United States, in the Telegraph, who concludes that change isn’t likely to come from the White House, but at the street level.

France’s Le Monde calls Ferguson “a cruel metaphor for contemporary America, its tensions, its fractures and its old demons.”

Some coverage has focused on the militarization of U.S. police.

“…the police response to a series of protests over his [Michal Brown’s] death has been something more akin to the deployment of an army in a miniature war zone,” U.K.’s Guardian newspaper comments.

In a lengthy and scathing account of his arrest by Ferguson police, Die Welt reporter Ansgar Graw says he has covered conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam and elsewhere.

“To be captured by police, yelled at and be treated rudely by police and to see the inside of a prison, I had to travel to Missouri in the United States of America,” he writes.

Among U.S. allies worldwide, there are critics.

“Australians tend to think the United States is too heavily armed, and that shootings of all kinds are symptomatic of the power and availability of heavy weaponry,” said David Smith, lecturer in American politics and foreign Policy at the University of Sydney.

He said that Australians believe that the U.S. criminal justice system discriminates against African Americans “at all levels.”

That said, Smith admits that Australia has struggled with its own racial divide.

“Like the United States, Australia has a problem with black deaths in custody, which has also caused race riots in relatively recent times. Around the world, white people everywhere deplore racism in the United States, but unfortunately I think this helps us turn a blind eye to our own structures of white supremacy,” Smith said.

Still, for some Americans – and the Obama administration – international criticism is a bitter pill to swallow.

The State Department Tuesday rejected Egypt’s criticism, as well as comparison of Ferguson to situations in Egypt, China or Zimbabwe.

“People are free to say whatever they want. That’s something we believe in very deeply here, is freedom of expression,” Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters at Tuesday’s daily press briefing.

“We here in the United States will put our record for confronting our problems transparently and openly and honestly up against anyone else’s in the world…” she said, “and we would call on other countries to do the same.”

For others, like Michele Dunne of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Ferguson gives the U.S. an opportunity to demonstrate America’s ability to self-correct.

“Every country has human rights abuses,” Dunne tweeted to VOA Tuesday, “[especially] police brutality. Question is whether there is [accountability] & redress.”



Related:
A Funeral in Ferguson (Opinion)
In the Wake of Ferguson, Obama Orders Review of U.S. Role in Arming Police (NYT)
Timeline of a Tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri (MSNBC)
Ferguson Sees First Signs of Normalcy Since Brown Shooting (MSNBC)
Attorney General Eric Holder’s Stop in Ferguson is Deeply Personal
‘Smoke and Mirrors’ Punditry in Ferguson Shooting
CPJ Condemns Ongoing Harassment, Arrests of Reporters in Ferguson
What a Getty Photographer Captured Before He Was Arrested in Ferguson
Ferguson on Edge: Protests Continue After National Guard Called (Video & Photos)
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

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‘Made in China’ Now Being Made in Africa

The cost of labor in China is going up, so Chinese manufacturers are moving to Africa, and they’re playing all the angles. (Photo: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)

The Daily Beast

By Brendon Hong

HONG KONG — Sun Qiaoming is a trader from Jiangsu. He operates his import-export business on the Eastern coast of China, where there is plenty of space for a man with his drive and skills to prosper. Already fairly successful, he recently set his sights beyond his country’s borders. “There’s been much talk about the Chinese Dream in the past few years, but I have an African Dream.” he said. “African gold will fill my next bucket of gold.”

He wasn’t referring to the natural resources that President Obama recently hinted as the reason for China’s presence on the African continent. After all, Sun is a private entrepreneur, and receives no direct support from the government in his business endeavors. His “gold” is the labor in Africa—cheap, trainable, abundant, and ready to work. They may not have the decades of know-how that the Chinese developed during their meteoric rise in global production, but Sun is confident that with time and proper training, they will be able to match the efficiency and productivity of workers in China…

In the early 2000s, an acquaintance told Sun about the possibility of doing business in Ethiopia. At the time, Ethiopians still relied on imports from Western Europe for many commodities, most of which were costlier than goods produced in China. As a test, Sun shipped over a container stuffed with apparel made in his home province. After it reached Ethiopia, the contents were distributed and sold out in under two weeks. That marked the beginning of a fruitful long-term relationship with his Ethiopian clients. By utilizing those existing connections, and partnering with another entrepreneur from his hometown, he is in the final stages of planning for a new textile factory near Addis Ababa, joining other Chinese industrialists who have made the move.

Read the full article at The Daily Beast »

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Embracing Development and Security Means Embracing Free Expression (By Birtukan Mideksa)
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Photos & Video: President Barack Obama’s Historic U.S.- Africa Summit
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Ambassador David Shinn on the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

Video: President Obama Post U.S.-Africa Summit Press Conference

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At Global Fest 2014 Aurora, Colorado Welcomes Adama (Nazret) as Sister City

Officials from Aurora, Colorado and Adama, Ethiopia sign Sister Cities agreement at the Aurora Municipal Center in Aurora, Colorado on Saturday, August 23rd, 2014. (Photo: Aurora Sister Cities International)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, August 24th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – A delegation from Adama, Ethiopia (also known as Nazret) was festively welcomed to Aurora, Colorado on Saturday, August 23rd at the annual Global Fest celebration where representatives of the Ethiopian and American municipalities signed a Sister Cities agreement. According to the Denver Post, the Aurora-Denver border area is home to an Ethiopian population of approximately 30,000. The event featured music, dance, and food by Nile Ethiopian Restaurant, one of the several restaurants highlighted at this year’s Global Fest.

“It’s intentional,” Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan told the Denver Post. “Aurora is really the most international city in Colorado. Others may claim it, but we are, and it’s events like this that are making that happen, that celebrate that international flavor.” It’s hoped that the pact between Aurora and Adama will “open up trade between the cities, boost economic development and give citizens in both locations a better sense of who each other is.”

According to Wiki Adama city “is situated along the road that connects Addis Ababa with Dire Dawa. Additionally, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad runs through Adama. The city name Adama may have been derived from the Oromo word adaamii, which means a cactus or a cactus-like tree. More specifically, adaamii means Euphorbia candelabrum, a tree of the spurge family, while hadaamii would mean Indian fig. Following World War II, Emperor Haile Selassie renamed the town after Biblical Nazareth, and this name was used for the remainder of the twentieth century. In 2000, the city officially reverted to its original Oromo language name, Adama, though “Nazareth” is still widely used.”

Below are photos from the event courtesy of Aurora Sister Cities International.



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In the Wake of Ferguson, Obama Orders Review of U.S. Role in Arming Police

President Barack Obama answers questions at a press conference after delivering a statement in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on Aug. 18, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (Getty Images)

The New York Times

By MATT APUZZO and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDTAUG

WASHINGTON — Jolted by images of protesters clashing with heavily armed police officers in Missouri, President Obama has ordered a comprehensive review of the government’s decade-old strategy of outfitting local police departments with military-grade body armor, mine-resistant trucks, silencers and automatic rifles, senior officials say.

The White House-led review will consider whether the government should continue providing such equipment and, if so, whether local authorities have sufficient training to use it appropriately, said senior administration and law enforcement officials. The government will also consider whether it is keeping a close enough watch on equipment inventories, and how the weapons and other gear are used.

The review, coupled with proposed legislation and planned congressional hearings, opens the possibility for significant changes in Washington’s approach to arming local law enforcement agencies. Following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the government regarded the police as the frontline forces in a new war. While that role for local law enforcement is expected to remain, changes may be ordered to the system under which federal grants and a military surplus program have sent gear and money to police departments, often with no strings attached, to prepare for a terrorist attack.

Read more at NYT »

Video: How to turn a moment into a movement (MSNBC)


Related:
Timeline of a Tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri (MSNBC)
Ferguson Sees First Signs of Normalcy Since Brown Shooting (MSNBC)
Attorney General Eric Holder’s Stop in Ferguson is Deeply Personal
‘Smoke and Mirrors’ Punditry in Ferguson Shooting
CPJ Condemns Ongoing Harassment, Arrests of Reporters in Ferguson
What a Getty Photographer Captured Before He Was Arrested in Ferguson
Ferguson on Edge: Protests Continue After National Guard Called (Video & Photos)
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

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Kenenisa Bekele, Eliud Kipchoge to Team Up at Chicago Marathon

Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele and Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya will target 2:03:45 course record at the 2014 Chicago Marathon on October 12th. (Image by PhotoRun)

Runners World

By Peter Gambaccini

If Kenenisa Bekele, arguably the best distance runner in track and cross country history, achieves his goal of breaking the Chicago Marathon course record of 2:03:45 on October 12, he’ll have an old rival and friend to thank for contributing to the effort.

Bekele, Ethiopia’s world record holder for 5000 and 10,000 meters and the winner in his marathon debut in Paris on April 6 in 2:05:04, will be joined in Chicago by Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya. Kipchoge’s 2:04:05 in Berlin last fall made him the runner-up to Wilson Kipsang, who set the world record of 2:03:23 in that race.

“Kipchoge is an experienced athlete,” Bekele told Runner’s World Newswire by phone from Ethiopia. “For many long years, we raced together.”

At the 2003 World Championships, the then mostly unknown Kipchoge was the surprise winner of the 5000 meters over Bekele and 1500-meter world record holder Hicham el Guerrouj of Morocco. When Bekele won the 5000-meter gold medal at the 2008 Olympics, Kipchoge won the silver. “We know each other, we’ll help each other, we’ll fight together,” Bekele said about their race in Chicago on October 12.

Read more at Runners World »

Photos: Legendary long-distance runner Kenenisa Bekele


Related:
Kenenisa Bekele to Run Chicago Marathon

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UNDP Ethiopia Announces Goodwill Ambassador for Entrepreneurship

(Photo courtesy: United Nations Development Programme - UNDP)

UNDP

Press Release

The United Nations Development Programme in Ethiopia announced the appointment of its Goodwill Ambassador for Entrepreneurship at a high profile event held in Addis Ababa drawing members of the government, private sector and development partners.

Ms. Bethlehem Tilahun, owner of the globally recognized and feted eco-friendly Sole Rebel shoe, was selected by UNDP Ethiopia in recognition of her inspirational role for budding entrepreneurs in the country.

UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors are at the top of their field and share a deep concern for the world’s poor and a commitment to making the planet a better place for all, ridding it of poverty, combating HIV/AIDS, ensuring environmental sustainability, protecting human rights, and empowering women. Goodwill Ambassadors use their fame to help amplify the urgent and universal message of human development. They also strongly articulate the UNDP development philosophy and programmes of self-reliant opportunities and motivate people to act in the interest of improving their own lives and those of their fellow citizens.

In a special message read at the event, Ethiopian First Lady Roman Tesfaye reflected that, “Empowering Ethiopians, especially women and girls, is an issue close to my heart. And there is no one who better to serve as a role model for them than Bethlehem.”

UNDP Ethiopia Resident Representative, Eugene Owusu, noted Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan sets a bold vision for Ethiopia to become a middle income country by 2025. Fundamental to achieving this vision, is the rapid growth of local industries, including micro and small businesses, and the promotion of the private sector as an engine of growth.

Speaking on the nomination of Bethlehem, Mr. Owusu said,”…she is not just helping to create jobs for members of her community; she is helping to place Ethiopia at the forefront of a growing export industry.”

The Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) was launched by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in February 2013 as a partnership between the UNDP and Ministry of Urban Development, Housing and Construction. The EDP helps Ethiopia tap into the creative drive of the country’s entrepreneurs, particularly the youth and women to bring about transformational change. In 2014, the programme, through the Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC) partnered with the Office of the First Lady and the Centre for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment (CAWEE) and Federal Micro and Small Enterprise Development Agency (FeMSEDA) to help connect 1,500 women to the export market.

Minister of the Urban Development, Housing and Constructions H.E. Mekuria Haile said, “It is my firm belief that in line with the strategic direction set in the Growth and Transformation Plan, the Entrepreneurship Development Programme will significantly contribute to the development of a private sector led manufacturing and service industries.”

“My mission is to encourage the amazing and wonderful entrepreneurial energies we have in Ethiopia, so we generate a new wave of entrepreneurs,” the new UNDP Ethiopia Goodwill Ambassador for Entrepreneurship Bethlehem Tilahun said upon recieving her letter of appointment.

The Entrepreneurship Development Programme is currently budgeted for 26 million USD and has recently brought on board a number of partners including Canada, Italy and Microsoft East Africa to target 200,000 Ethiopians who will receive training and access to business development services. A newly established Innovation Financing Facility will help address critical challenge of micro and small enterprises’ access to finance through facilitating the availability of soft loans, grants, private equity and venture capital.

Related:
President Bush Names Bethlehem Alemu Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Ambassador
Face2Face Africa Honors Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Alek Wek, Femi Kuti
Oprah Magazine Names Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu to Annual Power List

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Pictures of the Week: Ethiopia’s Little-known Churches

(Photo: BBC travel slideshow)

BBC

By Audrey Scott and Daniel Noll

With their sheer cliffs, surreal rock formations and vertical spires, northern Ethiopia’s Gheralta Mountains recall stretches of the southwestern United States’ red desert landscape. The primary difference: perched high and tucked away into these mountain cliffs are some of the country’s least visited rock-hewn Ethiopian Orthodox cave churches, some of which are more than 1,000 years old.

The Gheralta cluster, located in Tigray Province, includes more than 30 structures. Although local legend claims that these churches date to between the 4th and 6th Centuries, historians believe that they were more likely built from the 9th to 12th Centuries. That, and its location, makes the Gheralta cluster the geographic and artistic midpoint between the early Ethiopian Orthodox centres of Aksum, built from the 4th to 10th Centuries in the north, and Lalibela, from the 12th to 13th Centuries, further south. (Daniel Noll)

Read more and see the slideshow at BBC.com »

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Timeline of a Tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri

Ferguson, Missouri resident John West (L) hands a rose to a police officer. (Getty Images)

MSNBC

THE ED SHOW

Ferguson gained the attention of the entire nation over the past two weeks, following the death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Watch: Ed Schultz helps to recap the past events (MSNBC Video)


Related:
Ferguson Sees First Signs of Normalcy Since Brown Shooting (MSNBC)
Attorney General Eric Holder’s Stop in Ferguson is Deeply Personal
‘Smoke and Mirrors’ Punditry in Ferguson Shooting
CPJ Condemns Ongoing Harassment, Arrests of Reporters in Ferguson
What a Getty Photographer Captured Before He Was Arrested in Ferguson
Ferguson on Edge: Protests Continue After National Guard Called (Video & Photos)
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

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Ebola Travel: South Africa Bans Incomers From West Africa

(Photo: EPA)

BBC News

South Africa says non-citizens arriving from Ebola-affected areas of West Africa will not be allowed into the country, with borders closed to people from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

All non-essential outgoing travel to the affected countries has been banned.

Senegal also said it was suspending flights with Ebola-affected countries, and closing the border with Guinea.

Cameroon and the Ivory Coast earlier imposed travel bans, despite World Health Organization warnings not to.

Medium-risk

South African nationals will be allowed to re-enter the country when returning from high-risk countries, but will undergo strict screening, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Usual screening procedures are in place for those who travel between Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia, which have been defined as medium-risk countries.

Read more at BBC News »

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Ethiopia Festival In Chicago – September 13

(Photos courtesy: Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago - ECAC)

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Press release | By ECAC

CHICAGO – The Auxiliary Board of the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago (ECAC) officially welcomes the entire greater Chicago area to participate in a celebration of rich culture in Edgewater’s Senn High School on Saturday, September 13, 2014. The event helps commemorate the ECAC’s 30th anniversary, and occurs the day after Ethiopian New Year (Enqutatash) celebrations.

“This festival is a continued celebration of the ECAC’s thirty years of service to Ethiopians in the Chicago community,” said Sergut Dejene, President of the ECAC Auxiliary Board and co-founder of the festival. “Our aim is to unite all generations of Ethiopians in the area for a day of cultural enrichment and family bonding, while showcasing our culture for the greater Chicago community.”

Local vendors will offer traditional Ethiopian food, arts and crafts, and more for purchase. The event will also feature music, live traditional dance performances, and interactive cultural displays. Kids will also enjoy many fun filled activities, so the entire family is invited.

For 30 years, the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago (ECAC) has empowered over 20,000 refugees and immigrants from countries in Africa, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. The ECAC is a not-for-profit, non-political, tax-exempt organization committed to serving the educational, cultural, psychological, and socio-economic needs of Ethiopians in Chicago land and the surrounding areas.


If You Go:
For tickets please visit www.ethiofestchicago.com. More information is also available at www.facebook.com/ecacauxiliary.

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New Charges Against Ethiopian Publications Further Diminish Critical Voices – CPJ

Addis Guday magazine is among the publications charged. (Addis Guday)

CPJ

By Tom Rhodes

Five independent magazines and a weekly newspaper have been charged by Ethiopia’s Justice Ministry, a move that may add to the long lists of shuttered publications and Ethiopian journalists in exile. In a press release issued August 4, the ministry accused the journals of publishing false information, inciting violence, and undermining public confidence in the government, news reports said.

The ministry said it pressed charges after running out of patience with the publications for “encouraging radicalism and terrorism.” The state broadcaster aired the ministry’s announcement, but none of the publications received the charge sheet, local journalists told me. The six independent publications are Afro Times, a weekly newspaper, and magazines Addis Guday, Enku, Fact, Jano, and Lomi. All are popular alternatives to the state-run press, which espouses an increasingly positive narrative. Local journalists and news reports said the charges could be a way for the ruling party to silence critics ahead of elections expected in May 2015.

Repeated calls to the Justice Ministry and a government spokesman went unanswered.

Read more at CPJ.org »

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Ethiopia’s Impressive Economic Growth

Ethiopia has made great strides to become one of Africa's fastest growing economies and continues to record impressive economic growth. (CNBC Africa)

CNBC Africa

By: Elayne Wangalwa

The country which is sub-Saharan Africa’s fifth biggest economy is at the focal point of emerging economies’ interest with various delegations of foreign investors seeking investment opportunities in the largest landlocked country in the continent.

“If you look at it [Ethiopia] from an economic stand point, I think Ethiopia is one of the countries that has become the quint essential embodiment of the Africa rising narrative,” Julians Amboko, research analyst at Stratlink Africa from CNBC Africa.

The country’s economic growth is principally attributed to intense government projects aimed at achieving its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as the country aims at becoming a middle income status by 2025.

Read more at cnbcafrica.com »

Video: Investment opportunities in Ethiopia


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Ethiopia Coffee Export Earnings May Rise 25% on World Supply – Bloomberg News

The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange. (Credit: John Humphrey)

Bloomberg

By William Davison

Aug 21, 2014

Ethiopia’s arabica coffee export earnings are forecast to climb 25 percent to about $900 million in 2014-15 because of higher prices after a drought damaged plants in the biggest grower of the bean, Brazil, an industry group said.

Arabica prices on the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange could average $2 a pound if supplies of the crop in the world market are tight, Ethiopian Coffee Exporters’ Association General Manager Alemseged Assefa said in the capital, Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is Africa’s biggest producer of the crop and the origin of the arabica plant.

“Prices are favorable this year because of the Brazilian coffee drought,” Alemseged said in an interview on Aug. 18. “We presume that price will continue because of the drought.”

Arabica has surged 71 percent in New York since January after a drought hurt plantings in Brazil, the world’s biggest exporter of the beans, fueling speculation that consumption may outstrip supply. The Brazilian woes come as plantings in Central America, Mexico and Peru struggle to recover from a crop disease called leaf rust that has cut yields across the region over the past two years.

Arabica coffee for December delivery rose 1.5 percent to $1.89 a pound on the ICE Futures U.S. yesterday, tumbling 12 percent from a two-year high in April.

Read more »

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Detained Ethiopian Journalists and Bloggers Denied Bail – Reporters Without Borders

The three journalists are Tesfalem Waldyes, Edom Kasaye and Asmamaw Hailegiorgis, and the six bloggers – all members of the Zone 9 collective – Atnaf, Mahlet, Befekadu, Abel, Natnail and Zelalem.

Reporters sans Frontières (Paris)

21 AUGUST 2014

Three journalists and six bloggers who have been held for the past five months were denied bail by a federal court in Addis Ababa yesterday after the prosecution argued that article 3 of the 2009 anti-terrorism law, under which they are detained, precludes release on bail.

The defence said article 3’s bail prohibition does not apply because none of them has been individually charged with a specific crime under the anti-terrorism law. The defence also argued that article 3 violates the constitutional guarantee of the right to release on bail.

The three journalists are Tesfalem Waldyes, Edom Kasaye and Asmamaw Hailegiorgis, and the six bloggers – all members of the Zone 9 collective – are Atnaf Berhane, Mahlet Fantahun, Befekadu Hailu, Abel Wabella, Natnail Feleke and Zelalem Kibret. One of the collective’s co-founders, Soliyana Shimelis, is being prosecuted in absentia.

“The Ethiopian government is clearly trying to gag the media,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire. “These three journalists and nine bloggers have been held for nearly five months without being given the least guarantee of due process. The prosecution still has not said what precisely they are supposed to have done to justify the charges. We call for their immediate release because they have no place being in prison.”

The prosecution accused them on 17 July of “organizing themselves into covert sub-groups to overthrow the government by contacting and receiving finance and training from two designated terrorist groups” – the US-based opposition group Ginbot 7 and the separatist Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). They are facing up to 15 years in prison under the anti-terrorism law.

Restrictions on freedom of information have grown in recent months in Ethiopia, where at least six journalists are currently detained in connection with their work. A state broadcaster fired 20 employees because of their political views on 25 June, and the justice ministry announced on 5 August that it intended to bring criminal charges against six news publications for “encouraging terrorism and endangering national security.”

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

Related:
The World Tweets for Zone 9 Bloggers
41 Organizations Call for Release of Detained Ethiopian Journalists and Bloggers
As Ethiopia’s ‘Zone 9′ Bloggers Get Popular, They Get Charged With Terror
Zone 9 Bloggers Charged With Terrorism
Interview With the Lawyer of Illegally Detained Zone9 Bloggers
CPJ condemns closed court hearings for nine Ethiopian journalists
Zone9 Co-Founder Speaks Out (Video)

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There’s a Brother Fighting in Gaza and a Sister Waiting in Ethiopia – Jerusalem Post

Aregawi Tesfa’s battle to reunite his family, which has been torn between Ethiopia and Israel for over 10 years, is far from ending. (Photo courtesy Uri Perednik)

The Jerusalem Post

By URI PEREDNIK

During Operation Protective Edge, Aregawi Tesfa was not sure he would live to see the day after the war.

Tesfa fought on the front line in the most dangerous parts of the Gaza Strip, captured Hamas fighters and unfortunately also carried the bodies of young Israeli soldiers killed in the fighting.

But through it all, he knew that if he survived, his own battle was still far from over.

“All through the war I didn’t forget for one minute that when I’m done fighting Hamas, I will have to get back to the struggle to bring my sister to Israel.”

Tesfa’s battle to reunite his family, which has been torn between Ethiopia and Israel for over 10 years, is far from ending. A few days before the war, Tesfa presented his story to the Knesset internal affairs committee. The MKs of the committee were shocked to hear that all of Tesfa’s family lives in Israel while his sister was left behind.

Even though Tesfa’s sister received approval to make aliya from the previous interior minister, MK Eli Yishai, a senior ministry clerk named Mazal Cohen, together with the Immigrant Absorption Ministry, prohibited Tesfa’s sister from doing so.

Read more »

Related:
From an Ethiopian village to Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv

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Julie Mehretu Nominated for Smithsonian Contemporary Artist Prize

Julie Mehretu. (Photo: British Museum org)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Julie Mehretu has been nominated for the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s James Dicke Contemporary Artist Prize. The Ethiopian-born artist is one of 13 “leading figures and visionary talents” selected from a diverse range including painters, sculptors, photographers, and filmmakers. The nominees include Njideka Akunyili, Cory Arcangel, Trisha Baga, Paul Chan, Barnaby Furnas, Theaster Gates, KAWS (Brian Donnelly), Josiah McElheny, Dave McKenzie, Frances Stark, Swoon (Caledonia Curry) and Mickalene Thomas.

Previously known as the Lucelia Artist Award, the prize was launched in 2001 “to recognize an artist younger than 50 who consistently demonstrates exceptional creativity.” The announcement from the Smithsonian American Art Museum adds: “Recipients must…stand apart as leading figures and visionary talents. The $25,000 award is intended to encourage the artist’s future development and experimentation.”

According to the Smithsonian “Joanna Marsh, The James Dicke Curator of Contemporary Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, is coordinating the jury panel selection and the nomination and jurying process. Five distinguished jurors, each with a wide knowledge of contemporary American art, were selected from across the United States. The panel nominated the artists and will determine the award winner in a day of discussion and review, remaining anonymous until the winner is announced. Past jurors have included John Baldessari, Nicholas Baume, Lynne Cooke, Anne Ellegood, Richard Flood, Allan McCollum, John Ravenal, Jerry Saltz, Rochelle Steiner, Nancy Spector and Robert Storr, among others.”

The Smithsonian American Art Museum “celebrates the vision and creativity of Americans with artworks in all media spanning more than three centuries. Its National Historic Landmark building is located at Eighth and F streets N.W., above the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail station.”

Related:
American Artist Lecture: Julie Mehretu at Tate Modern in London
Julie Mehretu on Africa’s Emerging Presence in Contemporary Art

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Electronic Frontier to Ethiopia: Illegal Wiretapping Is Illegal, Even for Governments

(Image credit: CDN)

EFF | BY NATE CARDOZO

EFF to Ethiopia: Illegal Wiretapping Is Illegal, Even for Governments

Earlier this week, EFF told the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that Ethiopia must be held accountable for its illegal wiretapping of an American citizen. Foreign governments simply do not have a get-out-of-court-free card when they commit serious felonies in America against Americans. This case is the centerpiece of our U.S. legal efforts to combat state sponsored malware.

In February 2014, EFF filed suit against the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on behalf of our client, Mr. Kidane, an Ethiopian by birth who has been a U.S. citizen over a decade. Mr. Kidane discovered traces of Gamma International’s FinSpy, a sophisticated spyware product which its maker claims is sold exclusively to governments and law enforcement, on his laptop at his home in suburban Maryland. A forensic examination of his computer showed that the Ethiopian government had been recording Mr. Kidane’s Skype calls, as well as monitoring his web and email usage. The monitoring, which violates both the federal Wiretap Act and Maryland state law, was accomplished using spyware that captured his activities and then reported them back to a command and control server in Ethiopia controlled by the government. The infection was active from October 2012, through March 2013, and was stopped just days after researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab released a report exposing Ethiopia’s use of FinSpy. The report specifically referenced the very IP address of the Ethiopian government server responsible for the command and control of the spyware on Mr. Kidane’s laptop.

The Ethiopian government responded to the suit with the troubling claim that it—and every other foreign government—should be completely immune from suit for wiretapping American citizens on American soil. Ethiopia’s filing rests on several logic-challenged premises. Ethiopia claims that the recording of Mr. Kidane’s Skype calls and Internet activity at his home in Maryland actually took place in Ethiopia, and is therefore beyond the reach of any U.S. court. Worse still, Ethiopia claims that it had the “discretion” to violate U.S. law, reducing the Wiretap Act to something more like a traffic violation than a serious felony. Interestingly, Ethiopia does not actually deny that it wiretapped Mr. Kidane.

Read more »

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Ethiopia Seeks to Brand, Trademark Signature Coffee

Ethiopia, Africa's largest coffee grower, is set to continue talks with global buyers in hopes of branding and trademarking its world-renowned coffee and boosting national revenue. (World Bulletin)

World Bulletin News

20 August 2014

“The objective of the negotiations is to prevent illegal coffee trade, unfair price fixing and profiteering involving Ethiopian coffee brands in the world market,” Teshome Sileshi of Ethiopia’s Intellectual Property Office told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

He said 15 million Ethiopians directly or indirectly involved in coffee production receive less than 10 percent of the retail price from coffee sales while the rest goes to international middle men and distributors.

“So far, 34 countries have recognized and registered brands and trademarks for globally popular and on-demand varieties… grown in south and eastern Ethiopia,” he said.

“Twenty-seven of the stated countries are members of the European Union, while the rest include India, Japan, Canada, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, China and South Africa,” he added.

According to Sileshi, applications have been submitted to Australia and Brazil to brand and trademark Ethiopian coffee products, but, he said, “They haven’t responded yet.”

“The negotiation will continue drawing experiences from two consultant companies: Light Years IP and Arnold & Porter LLP,” Sileshi said.

Read more »

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Holder’s Stop in Ferguson is Deeply Personal

Attorney General Eric Holder shakes hands with Bri Ehsan, 25, right, following his meeting Wednesday with students at St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley in Ferguson, Missouri. (AP Photo)

USA TODAY

By Kevin Johnson

FERGUSON, MO. — Attorney General Eric Holder flew to Ferguson, Mo., on Wednesday as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer leading an investigation into a police shooting.

He also arrived as an African-American who said he understands the racial tensions that have fueled days of protests that have been marred by violence and mass arrests since the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

“I am the Attorney General of the United States, but I am also a black man,” Holder told Ferguson residents at a community meeting. “I can remember being stopped on the New Jersey turnpike on two occasions and accused of speeding. Pulled over. … ‘Let me search your car’ … Go through the trunk of my car, look under the seats and all this kind of stuff. I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me.”

Holder was here primarily for briefings on the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into possible civil rights violations related to the fatal shooting. He offered perhaps his most forceful and personal assessment yet of how the 18-year-old man’s shooting has reignited a long history of racial “mistrust and mutual suspicion.”

Read more »

Video: Holder on Ferguson: I understand mistrust (MSNBC)


Related:
‘Smoke and Mirrors’ Punditry in Ferguson Shooting
CPJ Condemns Ongoing Harassment, Arrests of Reporters in Ferguson
What a Getty Photographer Captured Before He Was Arrested in Ferguson
Ferguson on Edge: Protests Continue After National Guard Called (Video & Photos)
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

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‘Smoke and Mirrors’ Punditry in Ferguson Shooting

The self-righteous pundits in the blogosphere are at it again embellishing the truth of a tragic situation in Ferguson, Missouri with misleading and irrelevant information, as Talking Points Memo reports. (AP photo)

TPM

By DYLAN SCOTT

Far Right Says Michael Brown’s Raps Show He Was ‘A Criminal And A Thug’

Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was shot on Aug. 9 by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer, was an aspiring hip-hop artist. The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday on Brown’s SoundCloud page, a collection of amateur rap songs that Brown had posted before his death.

They contained much of the imagery and language common to so-called gangster rap. Pictures of Brown flashing alleged gang signs have also circulated in the conservative blogosphere.

FrontPage magazine, the online home of David Horowitz, whose self-described mission is to battle the radical left, labeled Brown “a criminal and a thug” in its summary of his character, which featured the rap lyrics.

“The fact that Brown liked performing thug music obviously doesn’t by itself make him a thug, but it does provide insight into his state of mind,” the site said. “The same can be said for the photographs that have surfaced of Brown posing like a tough guy, making gestures with his hands that some say are gang signs.”

FrontPage magazine, and others, connected Brown’s rap lyrics with the police report released Friday that said he was the “primary suspect” in a convenience store robbery that occurred minutes before he was shot. That report’s release, which was reportedly opposed by the Justice Department, has been criticized by Brown’s family and public officials as an attempt to paint a negative public image of Brown.

Read more »



Related:
CPJ Condemns Ongoing Harassment, Arrests of Reporters in Ferguson
What a Getty Photographer Captured Before He Was Arrested in Ferguson
Ferguson on Edge: Protests Continue After National Guard Called (Video & Photos)
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

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CPJ Condemns Ongoing Harassment, Arrests of Reporters in Ferguson, Missouri

Getty Images photographer Scott Olson, who has been documenting the Ferguson, Mo., unrest since 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot by a police officer, was arrested Monday. Olson has since been released. (Getty Images)

CPJ

Press Release

New York –The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the continued harassment and detentions of journalists covering the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked by the police killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. At least 11 journalists have been detained and released without charge since Saturday, two of them on Wednesday, according to CNN. Some journalists reported being threatened by the police and hit with rubber bullets and tear gas, while other reporters have said they were intimidated by local residents, according to news reports.

“Ferguson is an international story and journalists are going to cover it. They have a right to do so without fearing for their safety or liberty,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “The harassment and detention of reporters must stop. From senior commanders on down, the word must go out to security forces to let journalists do their job.”

Read more at CPJ.org »

Video: Rachel Maddow – the flight ban over Ferguson prevents needed perspective (MSNBC)


Related:
What a Getty Photographer Captured Before He Was Arrested in Ferguson
Ferguson on Edge: Protests Continue After National Guard Called (Video & Photos)
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

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Protesters March Again Following Missouri Teen Shooting (Video & Photos)

Demonstrators protest the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 19, 2014. (MSNBC)

VOA News

August 19, 2014

Protesters gathered again on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri late Tuesday to voice anger about the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer.

The marches appeared to be peaceful, following a night of violent protests during which police arrested 78 people, including several journalists.

Ferguson, a community populated mainly by blacks, has been hit by street protests punctuated by looting and clashes with police every night since 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed on August 9.

Earlier Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder promised the people of Ferguson a “full, fair and independent” investigation into the shooting of Brown. Holder will be in the St. Louis suburb Wednesday to meet with community leaders, FBI investigators and federal civil rights officials.

A grand jury is expected to begin hearing evidence in the case on Wednesday.

In a videotaped message Tuesday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said a “vigorous prosecution” must now be pursued. He called for justice for Brown’s family.

In a message published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper, Holder said the full resources of the Justice Department are committed to the investigation.

He said, however, the town must see an end to violence and that the riots and looting in reaction to the shooting undermine justice.

The mayor of a U.S. town where police and protesters have clashed for 10 days following the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white policeman says there “is not a racial divide in the city of Ferguson.”

Mayor James Knowles told U.S. TV channel MSNBC on Tuesday that the town of 22,000 people in the state of Missouri has been a “model for the region” as it changed from a majority white population to predominantly black.

The comments come after a third tumultuous night on the streets of Ferguson, which has seen ongoing protests since a police officer killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 9.

Seventy-eight civilians – including protesters and members of the press – were arrested Monday night and Tuesday morning in Ferguson after a day of peaceful protests. Initial reports indicated 31 arrests had been made.

St. Louis shooting

Meanwhile, police in St. Louis, Missouri have shot dead a man armed with a knife near the site of violent protests against the police shooting death of an unarmed black teenager August 9.

Police say the suspect in Tuesday’s shooting allegedly stole merchandise from a food store.

He apparently challenged officers to shoot him and approached them with a knife. Police fired when he refused to drop it.

In Ferguson, Maria Chappelle-Nadal, who represents the town in the Missouri legislature, told CNN on Tuesday that peaceful protests would continue until charges were filed against the shooter.

“The demonstrations are going to continue until there’s an arrest, until this officer is on leave without pay,” said the state senator.

Nearly all of those arrested in the last day are charged with failing to disperse when police requested a crowd of roughly 200 people leave.

Outside agitators blamed

Most are not Ferguson residents, but many are from the area. Officials repeatedly have blamed protesters from out of state for violent acts during nighttime demonstrations.

Brown’s death has sparked allegations of systemic discrimination against minorities and a nationwide debate on race in the U.S.

A poll conducted over the weekend and released Monday by the Washington-based Pew Research Center shows 80 percent of African-Americans believe Brown’s death raises important issues about race, compared to 37 percent of whites.

The survey also found that while 65 percent of black respondents believe the police went too far in responding to the shooting, that number plummets to 33 percent among the white population.

Police fired stun grenades and tear gas at crowds, as demonstrators lobbed firebombs and bottles at heavily armored police.

Officers say they came under heavy attack, but did not shoot their weapons. Two people were reported wounded by shots from within the crowd. Many people appeared to be defying orders from police to disperse.

National Guard troops that arrived earlier Monday to strengthen police forces could be seen on the fringes of the gathering.

President weighs in

Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama said the actions of a “small minority” of demonstrators engaging in violence on the town’s streets was heightening tensions.

He also said there was no justification for the use of excessive force by police, or any action that denies the rights of peaceful protesters.

An independent autopsy requested by Brown’s family showed he was shot at least six times, including two bullets to his head.

Attorneys for Brown’s family said the autopsy shows the unarmed black teen was “trying to surrender” when Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot him. Two other autopsies have been commissioned.

Wilson is on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

Video: Student protesters offer their perspective (MSNBC)


Related:
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

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U.N. Says Ethiopia Hosts More Refugees Than Any African Country

A woman and her children displaced by fighting in South Sudan sit outside her tent at the Kule camp for Internally Displaced People at the Pagak border crossing in Gambella, Ethiopia, July 10, 2014. (AFP)

VOA News

By Lisa Schlein

August 19, 2014

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND— The U.N. refugee agency reports Ethiopia now hosts more refugees than any other country in Africa, supplanting its neighbor, Kenya. The UNHCR says the main factor is the huge influx of refugees from conflict-ridden South Sudan.

UNHCR reports by the end of July, Ethiopia was sheltering almost 630,000 registered refugees, including nearly one-quarter of a million refugees from South Sudan. The agency says most of them, nearly 190,000, have fled into Ethiopia since war erupted in their country in mid-December.

Besides the South Sudanese, the UNHCR reports Ethiopia also is hosting 245,000 Somalis and nearly 100,000 Eritreans.

Kenya, in comparison, is hosting about 575,000 registered refugees, the majority of them Somalis.

Spokesman Adrian Edwards said the UNHCR, partner agencies and the Ethiopian government were providing protection and humanitarian aid at 23 refugee camps and five transit sites across Ethiopia.

He said camps were overcrowded due to the ongoing influx of refugees — about 25,000 new arrivals each month. He noted three camps opened early this year have reached their limit, so two new camps were being established.

Edwards said bad weather has complicated the situation for 18,000 refugees who are living in three temporary sites in the western region of Gambella.

“In recent weeks, heavy rain has, however, flooded three of the low-lying sites in this areas as well as Leitchuor Camp, where the situation is most serious. Some 10,000 refugees, about one-fifth of Leitchuor’s population of 47,500 have been hit by flooding. Many tents and shelters are under water and latrines have collapsed,” he said.

Edwards said the flooding was causing health concerns. He said the heavy rains were threatening to undermine gains made in preventing the outbreak of waterborne diseases.

“Much of the refugee population arriving in neighboring countries has been children throughout this crisis. They have particular vulnerabilities. We have stepped up measures to contain Hepatitis E among South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia. The disease has spread across South Sudan over the last two years and it has now appeared in the border camps in Ethiopia,” he said.

Edwards said since April, 12 refugees have died from Hepatitis E, a viral disease that causes liver failure and is spread by fecal contamination of water supplies or food.

The UNHCR was working with the Ethiopian government, WHO and other partners to try to contain the disease, Edwards said. Improvement to sanitation in the camps is also in the works after latrines were flooded he said, adding that this was adding to the increased risk of water-borne disease outbreaks.

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Mehereta Baruch-Ron: From an Ethiopian village to Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv

Mehereta Baruch-Ron is Deputy Mayor of the Tel Aviv. (Photo by fotos@queer-kopf.de)

TLV1 FM

August 18th, 2014

Mehereta Baruch-Ron is Deputy Mayor of the Tel Aviv municipality. Originally from Ethiopia, she embarked on a long journey to Israel via Sudan with two of her sisters when she was just 10 years old. Her parents bought her first pair of shoes for her in preparation for the trip to Israel.

She joins Rogel Alpher to share stories from her incredible transformation: From a child growing up in an African village with no electricity or running water, to a successful theatre-actress-turned-politician in Israel.

Read more and listen to the program at TLV1 »

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Embracing Development and Security Means Embracing Free Expression By Birtukan Mideksa

Birtukan Mideksa is former federal judge, political leader, and prisoner of conscience in Ethiopia. She is a member of Freedom Now’s Board of Advisors. (Courtesy photo)

Freedom-now.org

By Birtukan Mideksa

Last week, Washington D.C. hosted the US-Africa Leaders Summit, where over 50 African heads of state discussed important issues ranging from public health to trade and development. I was honored to participate in a parallel civil society conference that highlighted the challenges faced by civic leaders on the continent, including the all too prevalent crack-down on free expression.

During the summit, participants repeatedly noted that respect for fundamental human rights, including freedom of expression, is critical for sustainable economic growth. The press is a vital component of society, allowing diverse voices to be heard and balancing the power between the government and the people. The independent media also plays a particularly important role in combating corruption as it oversees how governments spend development and aid money.

In his post-summit address, President Barack Obama echoed these sentiments, noting that “even though leaders don’t always like it, the media plays a crucial role in assuring people that they have the proper information to evaluate the policies that their leaders are pursuing” and that “nations that uphold these rights and principles will ultimately be more prosperous and more economically successful.” Secretary of State John Kerry—who spoke at the civil society forum—reiterated the belief that “when people can trust their government and rely on its accountability and transparency on justice, that society flourishes and is more prosperous and more stable than others.”

According to Secretary Kerry, the U.S. “will continue to support press freedom, including for journalists charged with terrorism or imprisoned on arbitrary grounds.” However, one of the United States’ most important security and development allies in Africa, my home country of Ethiopia, is also one of the continent’s worst jailers of the press.

On April 25 and 26, less than three months before President Obama highlighted the importance of a free press, three independent journalists and six bloggers were arrested and eventually charged under Ethiopia’s widely-criticized 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. The journalists were known to write on a wide range of topics, including corruption. The bloggers, for their part, were part of group called “Zone 9,” which had a large following on social media and were known for their campaign to promote the rights provided under Ethiopia’s constitution. They were all arrested shortly after Zone 9 posted an announcement on Facebook indicating that the group would begin blogging again after a seven month hiatus.

The six bloggers and three journalists were held without any formal charges against them for over two and a half months and were finally charged on July 18. In response, 41 NGOs sent a letter to Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn calling on his government to immediately release the detainees and revise the law. The U.S. government has also condemned such an abuse of anti-terror legislation. Secretary Kerry publicly expressed his concern about the arrests during a visit to Addis Ababa just days after the they were detained. He specifically mentioned blogger Natnail Feleke, with whom he had met on a previous visit, and adamantly insisted that the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation should not be used as a mechanism to curb the free exchange of ideas.

Unfortunately, what happened to these independent journalists and bloggers is neither new nor surprising.

On September 14, 2011, Eskinder Nega, a prominent journalist and human rights defender, was arrested and charged under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. Ten months later, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison. While the Ethiopian government asserts that Mr. Nega’s prosecution is unrelated to his work as a journalist, an independent inquiry found otherwise. In Opinion No. 62/2012, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention held that Mr. Nega’s imprisonment violated Ethiopia’s obligations under international law. In addition to procedural violations, the Working Group found Mr. Nega’s detention resulted directly from his exercise of free expression. They concluded that the overly broad offenses established by the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation constituted “an unjustified restriction on expression rights and on fair trial rights.” Thus far, however, the government has ignored the Working Group’s call to release and compensate Mr. Nega. It also continues to imprison journalists Reeyot Alemu and Woubshet Taye on similar grounds.

Other international bodies have also criticized the use of anti-terror laws against journalist, including the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and five United Nations special procedure mandate holders. During Ethiopia’s Universal Periodic Review earlier this year, a number of countries, including the United States, raised similar concerns. Most recently, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, denounced the arrests of journalists and bloggers declaring that “the fight against terrorism cannot serve as an excuse to intimidate and silence journalists, bloggers, human rights activists and members of civil society organizations. And working with foreign human rights organisations cannot be considered a crime.”

The Ethiopian government has long relied on the same arguments to defend its actions—falsely claiming that the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation copies equivalent European standards. The international community can no longer tolerate these kinds of wholly inadequate explanations, especially when respect for human rights impacts the prospects for growth and security on the continent so greatly. If we are serious about development and peace in Africa, we need to hold the Ethiopian government accountable and reinforce the proposition that there can be no robust, sustainable growth without respect for the fundamental rights for all Africans.

Video: President Obama Post U.S.-Africa Summit Press Conference


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How the Rest of the World Sees Ferguson

Tear gas and smoke wafts around the site of a protest of the death of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, on Aug. 17, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. (Getty Images)

The Washington Post

By Adam Taylor and Rick Noack

August 18th, 2014

In many ways, the chaotic situation in Ferguson, Mo., seems like something that shouldn’t happen in America. As WorldViews has noted, many of the hallmarks of the conflict are reminiscent of scenes from the Arab Spring and the Ukraine crisis – our former colleague Max Fisher has even wondered how American journalists would cover Ferguson, if only it weren’t happening “here.”

There are plenty of foreign journalists reporting on Ferguson, however, and for them, Ferguson is international news. Their coverage of the shooting of Michael Brown and the subsequent unrest can offer a refreshing viewpoint on America’s many problems. They can also reveal a lot about how such disturbances are viewed at home.

For most Americans, the most familiar foreign news outlets covering Ferguson will probably be the British ones: Not only is there a shared language, but some British outlets, most obviously the Guardian but also the BBC and the Daily Mail, have made big pushes into the U.S. news market. Notably, some publications are treating the conflict as they might a war zone — the Telegraph has sent its Afghanistan correspondent, Rob Crilly, to cover the protests, for example (he was arrested while reporting this weekend).

Read more at The Washington Post »



Related:
National Guard Enters Ferguson Streets as Protests Turn Tense (LA Times)
Autopsy Shows Michael Brown Was Struck at Least 6 Times (NYT)

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UNICEF Report: Africa’s Population Could Hit 4 Billion By 2100

Seun Dupe sits with her newborn twins in a maternity hospital in Lagos, Nigeria. Nigeria is Africa's most populous country with more than 160 million people. It's estimated that number will be 1 billion by 2100.

NPR

By NPR STAFF

“The future of humanity is increasingly African.”

That’s the prediction in a new UNICEF report, which estimates that by the end of this century, 40 percent of the world’s people will be African — up from 15 percent now. The continent’s population currently sits at roughly 1.2 billion but will soar to more than 4 billion by 2100. Nearly 1 billion will live in Nigeria alone.

In a report released Wednesday, UNICEF projected the growth of Africa’s child population within the next century. And the numbers are staggering.

An estimated 1.8 billion births will take place in Africa in the next 35 years, the authors predict. By 2050, Africa will have almost 1 billion children under 18, making up nearly 40 percent of kids worldwide.

Lead author David Anthony tells NPR’s Melissa Block on All Things Considered that even the researchers were surprised by the findings. “[We] knew that the world’s population was swinging toward Africa,” he says. “But there have been new estimates released by the U.N. population division … that shows an even stronger swing than we have anticipated.”

Fertility rates have fallen in Africa but remain high compared with the rest of the world. Meanwhile, the number of women of reproductive age has grown enormously and is set to more than double in the next 35 years.

Read more at NPR »

Listen to the story on NPR’s All Things Considered


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UPDATE: All Four Ethiopian Athletes Planned to Seek Asylum, Police Report Says

(Photo: Clockwise from top left: The four athletes are Amanuel Abebe Atibeha, 17; Meaza Kebede, 18; Zeyituna Mohammed, 18. Dureti Edao, 18; (Oregon Live)

The Register-Guard

By Josephine Woolington

AUG. 17, 2014

One of four Ethiopian athletes who went missing after an international track meet last month in Eugene told a University of Oregon police officer that all the athletes plan to seek asylum in the United States, according to a newly released UO police report.

Amanuel Abebe, 17, told the officer that he and the three other athletes — Dureti Edao, Meaza Kebede, Zeyituna Mohammed, all 18 — planned to start the asylum application process at a U.S. immigration service office in Portland on July 28, three days after the runners were reported missing, according to the police report, which was supplemental to the main police report. It was released to The Register-Guard on Friday after University of Oregon police reviewed the information.

When the UO officer told Amanuel that their case was getting lots of media coverage, the runner said that the athletes would go to the immigration office first thing the next morning. However, when the police officer checked in with several federal agencies on July 28 to see if the athletes had inquired about the asylum process, none said they did.

A spokeswoman with the U.S. Citizen and Immigrations Services said the agency does not release the names of individuals applying for any immigration services, including asylum, due to federal privacy law.

The four athletes went missing after last month’s World Junior Champion­ships at Hayward Field — the first time the meet was held in the United States. All four athletes were found safe with acquaintances in Beaverton and Washington.

Read More »

Related:
Police Confirm Athletes Defected
Two of the Runners Signed Contracts With Nike and Adidas Hours Before Disappearing
Last of Four Missing Ethiopian Athletes Found Safe in Washington State
Four Ethiopian athletes missing from World Junior championships (Oregon Daily Emerald)
Ethiopians Sweep Gold-Silver in 5000m World Junior Championships in Oregon (IAAF)

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Voting Open for Miss World Ethiopia 2014

Genet Tsegay - Miss World Ethiopia 2013. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, August 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The final selection for Miss World Ethiopia 2014 will be made next week by a combination of voting both by a panel of international judges and online public voting. The winner will be revealed on the organizer’s Facebook page. The victor from Ethiopia will compete at this year’s Miss World competition in London on December 14th.

The 64th edition of the international pageant features over 130 contestants from around the globe. Miss Philippines will pass on the crown to the new Miss World.

The Miss World Ethiopia 2014 judges include Yordanos Teshager (International Top Model), Jason Gardener (CEO JG Models), Whitney Carter (Model and Beauty Queen), Matewos Yilma (Former Mister Ethiopia and Top Model), Genet Tsegay (Miss World Ethiopia 2013), Robert Anderson (VP Konjo International), Dr. Jennifer Hobson (International Fashion & Fine Arts Event Producer), and Meron Wudneh (Miss Africa USA 2014). Organizers note the the public vote will be equivalent to one vote by the judges.

You can learn more at www.facebook.com/MissWorldEthiopia.


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In Pictures: Grammy-nominated Ethiopian Singer Wayna at Ginny’s in Harlem

Wayna live at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem, New York on Thursday, August 14th, 2014. (Photo: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, August 16th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Singer and songwriter Wayna told her audience that she had her second baby only four months ago, and is blessed to have the support of her family so she can continue to do what she loves most – sing. Her energetic show at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem on August 14th highlighted new songs from her latest album, The Expats, and previous hits. Wayna also made a tribute to her mother, Tidenekialesh Emagnu.

The Ethiopian-born artist was nominated for a Grammy award for her song Loving You on her first album Moments of Clarity.

Below are a few photos from Wayna’s Concert at Ginny’s Supper Club:



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

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Ethiopia Braces for Ebola Treatment

A doctor displays collected samples of the Ebola virus at the Centre for Disease Control in Entebbe, about 37km (23 miles) southwest of Uganda's capital. (Photo: Reuters)

The Reporter

By Berhanu Fekade

Addis Ababa - A new Ebola treatment hospital with ten beds, and with the possible expansion to 50 beds, has already been set and equipped with medical staffs, Dr. Keseteberhan Admassu, Minister of Health told reporters on Thursday.

The facility is designed to treat Ebola – for which there are no observed cases in Ethiopia to date – in isolation.

He noted that for contingency purposes, some 20 doctors and nurses are on standby and some are stationed at the airports to examine suspicious cases of Ebola. However, the minister said that Ebola is not at a state of emergency for Ethiopia currently and banning flights to and from West Africa is unnecessary. The minister also denied reports of two suspicious Ebola cases (one Chinese and the other Nigerian) as they were verified to be malaria patients.

So far, the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has killed more than 1,000 in West Africa and the spiraling spread of the virus alerted the African Union Commission (AUC) into approving the use of what is dubbed “investigational medical interventions” by the World Health Organization (WHO) in affected countries.

During a press conference held on Wednesday at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, representatives of the AU and WHO told reporters that drugs and experimental vaccines so far have not yet been fully evaluated for safety and efficacy on human beings. However, the large number of people affected by the outbreak in West Africa and the high case fatality rate, promoted to use investigational medical interventions to save lives and curb the epidemic, they said. It was confirmed that ZMAPP – the experimental drug still being tested by institutes in the US – is heading to those affected in West Africa.

Read more at allafrica.com »

Related:
No Ebola Detected in Ethiopia: Spokesman

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Finally, A Continent Gets Recognized: US-Africa Summit Begins History Anew

DeWayne Wickham, dean of Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication, writes for USA TODAY. (President Obama at US-Africa White House dinner on August 6th/Getty Images)

USA TODAY

By DeWayne Wickham

The dinner President Obama hosted last week for leaders of more than 50 African nations should be seen by journalists, and the historians who follow in their wake, as a significant moment.

Not because of its mammoth size: A quarter of the member states of the United Nations were represented. Nor for its grand setting: This wasn’t the first time a large presidential dinner was moved to a sprawling tent on the South Lawn of the White House.

This gathering was both a symbolic and substantive final curtain to the 1884 Berlin Conference that sanctioned the partitioning of Africa by European powers. As author Adam Hochschild points out in his book King Leopold’s Ghost, which chronicles the brutal intrigue that led up to that conference: “Not a single African was at the table in Berlin.”

Africa was then seen as a plentiful source of natural resources and a marketplace for European goods. “The Berlin Conference was the ultimate expression of an age whose newfound enthusiasm for democracy has clear limits,” Hochschild writes.

While Europe’s colonial occupation of Africa has long been broken, the continent became a geopolitical football during the Cold War, a status that continues today as an East-West struggle for economic hegemony over Africa rages. China has pumped billions of dollars into the continent. But according to a recent report in The New York Times, the former governor of Nigeria’s central bank, Lamido Sanusi, said, “China takes our primary goods and sells us manufactured ones. This was also the essence of colonialism.”

As American and European companies struggle to keep pace with China’s economic advances in Africa, activists in the United States and Africa complain that some U.S. businesses are blocking the publication of federal regulations that will make the money they pay to do business in Africa more transparent. Bribes and under-the-table payments made by Western nations are believed to divert hundreds of millions of dollars out of the treasuries of African governments.

“Widespread corruption is an affront to the dignity” of African nations and “siphons off resources that should be used to lift people out of poverty,” Vice President Biden said last week in an address to the African leaders.

Speaking at the business forum portion of the summit, Obama, too, signaled the need for a new economic relationship with Africa.

“We don’t look to Africa simply for its natural resources; we recognize Africa for its greatest resource, which is its people and its talents and their potential,” the president said. “We don’t simply want to extract minerals from the ground for our growth; we want to build genuine partnerships that create jobs and opportunity for all our peoples and that unleash the next era of African growth. That’s the kind of partnership America offers.”

That’s the truly history-making part of this summit, which — unlike the Berlin Conference — made African leaders major participants in a discussion of their continent’s future. And it happened on the watch of America’s first black president.

“I stand before you as the president of the United States and a proud American. I also stand before you as the son of a man from Africa,” Obama said to African leaders at the White House dinner last Tuesday. “The tides of history … bring us together this week.”

And in giving Africans leaders a collective seat at the table with the world’s greatest superpower to discuss the continent’s fate, Obama’s move demands that those who chronicle the history of these times give special notice to his treatment of the African people and their leaders.

Video: President Obama Post U.S.-Africa Summit Press Conference


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Golden Jubilee of Arba Minch, Ethiopia

(Poster courtesy organizers)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, August 15, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The city of Arba Minch, one of Ethiopia’s secret destinations for nature enthusiasts from around the world, will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding with a two-day festival scheduled on September 4-5, 2014. According to organizers the entertainment line-up at the “Golden Jubilee of Arba Minch” includes musicians Neway Debebe, Aregahegn Werash, Fikreadis Nekeatibeb, as well as comedians, dancers and various other performing artists.

The program will highlight speeches by local and high federal officials as well as invited guests both from Ethiopia and abroad including family members and relatives of the city’s founder Amero Sellasie Abebe, who was then known by the title Dejazmach and was the governor of the region.

“Arba Minch is one of the most beautiful and densely forested areas in Ethiopia where fruits grow naturally,” says Denver-based Ethiopian-American businessman and documentary filmmaker Mel Tewahade who is one of the guest speakers from the United States who will be in attendance. Mel points out that Lake Chamo, home to diverse wildlife such as the Nile perch, hippos, and crocodiles, is only a five minute drive south of the city. “Ethiopians call it Azo gebeya, says Mel. “Because it really looks like an outdoor market except those gathered are crocodiles.”

According to Wiki: “Arba Minch {‘አርባ ምንጭ’} (Amharic, “forty springs”) is a city and separate woreda in southern Ethiopia; the first common name for this city called Ganta Garo. Located in the Gamo Gofa Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region about 500 kilometers south of Addis Ababa, at an elevation of 1285 meters above sea level. It is the largest town in Gamo Gofa Zone and the second town in SNNPR next to Awassa. It is surrounded by Arba Minch Zuria woreda.”

Mel notes that the city’s founder Amero Sellasie Abebe had initially faced stiff opposition from “the local business elite” who argued the relocation of the capital of what used to be called “the province of Gemu Gofa” from Chincha to Arba Minch was a deterrent to trade. “They even sued him and took their suit to the Emperor,” says Mel. “To be fair to those who were against the move, I think they were also scared of the mosquitoes.” Mel adds: “Mosquitoes love lowlands and these people lived up in the mountains. Nestled between two major lakes, Chamo and Abiyata. Arba Minch is a key location for water, rail, air and ground transportation.”

Arba Minch – also home to Arba Minch University – was founded in 1964 (1956 Ethiopian calendar) and as to the founder Amero Sellasie, he was unfortunately executed by the Derg regime a decade later. “He was one of the first sixty to go,” Mel says. “He was the only guy that Mengistu is said to have regretted killing.” Mel emphasizes that Amero Sellasie is survived by “several amazing children” including Abebe Aemro Selassie, Deputy Director at IMF’s African Department.

Below are images of Arba Minch today courtesy Mel Tewahade:



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Take a Hike Across Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains

The Simien Mountains: Once you've been up on the Roof of Africa in the Ethiopian Highlands, you won't want to come down. (Alamy)

The Wall Street Journal

By JEMIMA SISSONS

Updated Aug. 14, 2014

HAULING MYSELF UP a stony path, the air thins with every breath. Ribbons of mist weave past me and a vulture circles overhead. Just when I think my legs can’t take it anymore, I reach the top.

My guide, Mulat Gezahegn, warns me not to step any closer to the edge. Totally ignoring him, I bound forth out of blind curiosity. It is the most terrifying sensation I have experienced—and one of the most rewarding. I look over the edge of a precipice. All around me similar hills rise like turrets in the valley below, with sheer drops for sides, and it is hard to take in the scale. With these majestic cathedrals of rock—and not another soul as far as the eye can see—it’s obvious why they call this the Roof of Africa.

I spent my first few days in Ethiopia exploring the capital, Addis Ababa, then caught a flight to Gondar in the north, where I met Mulat and our driver, Melsie Nuru, and started preparing for our four-day, 50-kilometer trek across the Simien Mountains.

Read more at online.wsj.com »

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CEO Magazine: Zemedeneh Negatu Among Africa’s ‘Titans Building Nations’

Zemedeneh Negatu receiving the 2014 'Titans Building Nations' award in Nairobi, Kenya on August 9th. (Courtesy Photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, August 14th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The Managing Partner of Ernst & Young Ethiopia (EY), Zemedeneh Negatu, has been recognized by CEO Communications as one of Africa’s contemporary “Titans Building Nations.”

The continental-wide accolade “aims to celebrate the achievements of men who are advancing African economies and communities,” the publication announced. “Since the founding of the company in 2000, [CEO Communications] has promoted initiatives to recognize women. Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government program, is one such initiative and has been a flagship program for many years in South Africa. It is long overdue that we extend this celebration and recognition of influential men across the borders of Africa.”

The awards were given out on Saturday evening (August 9th) during a gala dinner held at the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. “The inaugural Titans event in Nairobi was a major success,” organizers of the ‘Titans 2014 East African Regional Event’ said via Facebook. “We enjoyed meeting such influential men.”

Ernst & Young Ethiopia is one of the leading business consulting firms in Africa. “We are pleased that CEO magazine recognized “influential Africans” as Titans – Building Nations and our Managing Partner Zemedeneh Negatu was a winner in the Financial Services sector,” EY Ethiopia said in a statement.

Zemedene, who permanently relocated from the U.S. to Ethiopia fifteen years ago, is a graduate of Howard University in Washington, DC — where he studied business and finance before becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Later he landed a job with the global professional services firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), for whom he worked in Argentina and Brazil in the 1990′s. In an interview with Tadias Magazine earlier this year Zemedeneh noted that it is in Latin America where he gained his appreciation for emerging markets: “I have gained a great deal of experience by working in South America where the business and investment environment in Argentina and Brazil in the 1990s was similar to what’s taking place today in Africa, where some of the fastest growing economies are located.”

Per CEO Magazine: “Titans Building Nations aims to recognize the significant role men play in the sustainable development and growth of our continent.” The annual award highlights businessmen, civil society activists, and government leaders across the African continent.



Related:
Tadias Interview With Zemedeneh Negatu

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NPR: A Not-So-Grand Tour Of Tikur Anbessa Hospital in Addis Ababa (Audio)

Family members sit in the waiting room for the neonatal unit at Black Lion hospital in Addis Ababa. (NPR)

NPR

By AMY WALTERS

August 14, 2014

Listen to the Story on NPR’s Morning Edition

When you sign up for a reporting fellowship to learn about the health of newborns in Ethiopia, you expect things to be a little different from what you’re used to in the U.S. To be perfectly honest, a little worse. But Ethiopia actually surprised me, even before I took off.

I did my research, and it turns out that Ethiopia’s health care system is getting better — significantly better. It’s meeting international goals, winning awards from the United States and, more important, babies are living longer and fewer mothers are dying in childbirth.

This is great news. Maybe Ethiopia would be better than I expected. I got some shots in the arm, popped a few anti-malaria pills and hoped for the best.

It was worse. Now, to be fair, all those things I said before are true. More babies are living through childbirth. Infant mortality has decreased by 39 percent in the past 15 years. But one in every 17 Ethiopian children still dies before turning 1, and one in every 11 children dies before age 5. There’s a ways to go.

Once I arrived, it took me awhile to figure out what was actually happening with Ethiopia’s health care. I was more involved in recovering from the jet lag that woke me up at 1 a.m. every day and avoiding mosquitoes like the plague. I was honestly a little mosquito obsessive. I covered myself and each of my belongings with every repellent known to man: cream, spray, patches, bracelets, small mechanized devices. I needed all the help I could get — the little critters are hopelessly attracted to me.

Read more at NPR »

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I AM ETHIOPIA: Photographer Mintwab Zemeadim (Video)

“I AM ETHIOPIA” is a three part series that focuses on Ethiopian Americans in Seattle who are subverting misconceptions of Ethiopia and its people, and forming their own colorful and groundbreaking identities.

Seattle Globalist

By Aida Solomon

Born in Ethiopia and raised in Seattle, Mintwab Zemeadim was exposed to two vastly different portrayals of Ethiopia during her upbringing — the way the country was depicted in western media, and the way she heard it described by her family.

She recently returned to Ethiopia for the first time in 15 years, and was inspired to combat the stereotypes of famine and poverty by photographing the beautiful country and people she saw with her own eyes.

Through the creative layering of these photographs of modern Ethiopian people against traditional patterns and East African art, Zemeadim emphasizes the beauty of Ethiopia and the deep history, familial traditions and colorful individuals that she believes get lost in translation via western media.

Zemeadim shares her work through an online gallery at VSCO.com.

Read more »

Video: The Cross-Cultural Vision of Photographer Mintwab Zemeadim


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No Ebola Detected in Ethiopia: Spokesman

A doctor displays collected samples of the Ebola virus at the Centre for Disease Control in Entebbe, about 37km (23 miles) southwest of Uganda's capital. (Photo: Reuters)

Turkish Press

By Abebech Tamene

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has denied reports of the spread of Ebola in the country, saying steps were being taken to raise awareness about the deadly virus.

“So far no Ebola case was reported in Ethiopia,” Abel Yeshaneh, spokesperson for the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.

Yeshaneh said the Ethiopian authorities had adopted measures aimed at enhancing their ability to detect Ebola infections, adding that health workers were being trained to combat a possible outbreak.

“So far 300 health workers drawn from different health institutions in Addis Ababa have already received training and they will in turn give training to others,” Yeshaneh said.

According to the spokesperson, the training focuses on the causes and symptoms of Ebola, along with methods of prevention.

“Health professionals working in different health facilities in regional states will arrive here next week to undergo similar training,” he said.

He added that a special committee had already set guidelines aimed at preventing a possible outbreak of the virus.

Ebola, a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure, has claimed more than 1000 lives across West African states including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria.

Read more at Turkish Press »

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Ethiopia’s “Terrorist” Journalists and Bloggers – Huffington Post

(Image: Zone9 Tumblr)

The Huffington Post

By Adam Bemma

08/13/2014

NAIROBI, Kenya – A cursory glance at the headlines shows that Ethiopia has one of Africa’s fastest growing economies. But the noise generated by the hyperbolic international media is drowning out the critical voices.

Political opposition is being strangled by the authorities as activists and journalists are arrested and thrown into jail at a dizzying pace.

On April 25 of this year, the Ethiopian government made news by arresting six bloggers and three freelance journalists. Setting a dangerous precedent for other governments in the region and beyond, authorities are now targeting youth online.

The nine writers are facing terrorism-related charges, standing accused of inciting violence through social media. The six bloggers are members of the online collective known as Zone 9. The moniker was chosen to represent the inalienable right to freedom of expression: journalists are often held in the section of Addis Ababa’s Kality prison known as Zone 8.

“The government claims [those detained] are conspiring with foreign non-governmental organizations, human rights groups,” said journalist Araya Getachew. “It also claims that they are also working for banned terrorist organizations trying to overthrow the state. This is totally false.”

State crackdown online

Araya Getachew, 29, along with Mastewal Birhanu, 27, and Fasil Girma, 29, all sought refuge in Kenya following a state crackdown on media in Ethiopia. Some veteran journalists were not so fortunate: Woubshet Taye, Eskinder Nega and Reeyot Alemu have all been recently sentenced under a new media law.

Human Rights Watch is monitoring the situation. HRW stated: “Since Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law was adopted in 2009, the independent media have been decimated by politically motivated prosecutions under the law. The government has systematically thwarted attempts by journalists to establish new publications.”

Critical blogs and websites are regularly blocked, says HRW. In 2012, even publishers which printed publications that criticized authorities ended up being shut down.

Read more at the Huffington Post »

Related:
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As Ethiopia’s ‘Zone 9′ Bloggers Get Popular, They Get Charged With Terror
Zone 9 Bloggers Charged With Terrorism
Interview With the Lawyer of Illegally Detained Zone9 Bloggers
CPJ condemns closed court hearings for nine Ethiopian journalists
Zone9 Co-Founder Speaks Out (Video)

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In conversation: Eleni Gabre-Madhin

Eleni Gabre-Madhin. (African Business Magazine)

African Business Magazine

By James Jeffrey

With her new company, Eleni Gabre-Madhin aims to take the commodity exchange momentum that started with the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange, to the rest of Africa.

The offices of commodity exchange company, eleni, occupy the top two floors of Tracon Tower, where one can gaze north and south along the teeming wide thoroughfare that is Churchill Avenue in the heart of Addis Ababa. Construction cranes can be seen silhouetted against the Ethiopian capital’s skyline, hovering over a landscape and an economy very much in transition.

Eleni, which specialises in building and supporting the operations of exchanges for frontier markets in Africa, also has possession of the tower’s roof space, where the plan is to open a gym and maybe even a cafeteria.

Currently there are only about 10 employees within this wide-open sprawling office space, and employees admit the premises moved into a month ago are a little cavernous presently. But that’s all part of the plan.

“I learnt from my experience with ECX, where we ended up bursting at the seams,” says Eleni Gabre-Madhin, chief executive of eleni, launched in February 2013, and former chief executive of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX). “So when we moved in here I went for a little extra room. Which we are going to need – we’re ramping up.”

Gabre-Madhin is credited as being one of the key founders behind the success of ECX, which, since its launch against the odds in 2008, has grown to handling spot trades amounting to more than $1.2bn annually in coffee, wheat, maize, haricot beans and sesame.

Read more at African Business Magazine.

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Seattle’s Drowning Victims ID’d as College Students Abenezer Getachew & Euel Desta

Abenezer Getachew and Euel Desta. (Photos: Komo 4 News Seattle)

Komo 4 News

By Lindsay Cohen

SEATTLE — Authorities have identified the two men who drowned in Seattle’s Green Lake as 23-year old Abenezer Getachew of Snohomish County and 21-year old Euel Desta of Shoreline. Both men were students at Shoreline Community College, according to a spokesman there.

Desta was studying engineering and loved sports, friends said Monday. He moved from Ethiopia to the United States as a child to live with his grandmother, who “wanted to give him a better life.”

“It was just devastating. It was just heartbreaking to hear her (react to the news),” said Amina Shah, who has known Desta for about eight years. “”Even though I couldn’t understand her, I knew that there was pain her voice. It just broke my heart.”

Desta and Getachew were playing soccer with friends at Green Lake Thursday night when they decided to go for a swim, police said. The men were last seen chasing after a ball on the east side of the lake before struggling to stay afloat and disappearing under the surface.

Read more »

Video: Seattle Green Lake drowning victims ID’d as local college students


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Kenenisa Bekele to Run Chicago Marathon

Kenenisa Bekele wins his 11th - and last - senior world cross-country title in 2008. (Getty Images)

Chicago Tribune

By Philip Hersh

Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, the greatest track distance runner of the 21st Century, will compete compete in this year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon, race officials announced Tuesday.

It will be Bekele’s second marathon. He won April’s Paris Marathon in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 4 seconds, fastest debut for a runner older than 30. Bekele, 32, was bothered by hamstring cramps near the finish.

“After my win in Paris, I understand the marathon distance a lot better, and I will bring that experience to Chicago,” Bekele said in a statement. “I know Chicago has a very fast course and, therefore, my goal is to break the course record of 2:03:45. After that, everything is possible.”

The Chicago Marathon never has had a runner with a track record as distinguished as Bekele’s.

He holds the world records at 5,000 and 10,000 meters. He won both those events at the 2008 Olympics after having won gold in the 10,000 and silver in the 5,000 at the 2004 Olympics. He won four straight world titles at 10,000 meters from 2003 through 2009, adding the 5,000 title in 2009. He also won both the long and short world cross-country titles five straight times from 2002 through 2006.

Read more at Chicago Tribune »

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Interview with Dr. Gezahegne Bekele: AGOA Renewal in 2015

Dr. Gezahegne Bekele, Senior International Economist at the U.S. Accountability Office. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – In 2015, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) — which was signed into law in 2000 and is a trade program allowing eligible Sub-Saharan African countries to export goods to the United States duty free — will be up for review and renewal. Tadias recently interviewed Dr. Gezahegne Bekele, Senior International Economist at the United States Government Accountability Office who has worked extensively on AGOA.

Dr. Gezahegne joined the US Government Accountability Office in 1989 after having taught for over two decades at several institutions including the University of Miami, University of Oklahoma and Florida International University. He has authored papers focusing on food security, and today he is an international trade specialist who has worked on issues including the cost of remittances. Dr. Gezahegne has provided economic research reports to US Congress and Senate. In addition to his expertise on AGOA, his economic development work has enabled him to travel to numerous countries in Asia, Africa, and the former Soviet Union.

“To promote free markets, stimulate economic growth, and to facilitate Sub-Saharan integration into the world economy, US Congress signed AGOA into law on May 18th, 2000,” says Dr. Gezahegne. AGOA allows approximately 5,200 types of goods to be duty-free. Although crude petroleum is the largest import from AGOA countries, other items include automobile parts, steel, and cut-flowers.

In 2004 US Congress further amended AGOA to allow certain eligible countries to use fabric for garment production sourced from foreign nations. Through this amendment, Dr. Gezahegne notes that “If Ethiopia produces textiles made out of its own cotton and yarn, or imported from other foreign countries, it can still export the final product duty-free to the United States.” In the case of Ethiopia approximately 83% of items it exports to the United States are duty-free. Since Ethiopia was declared eligible on October 2nd, 2000 as one of the original member nations, Dr. Gezahegne shares that “AGOA has increased Ethiopia’s export to the United States by about 25%.”

Sub-Saharan countries are reviewed every year for AGOA eligibility. “Countries cannot have non-democratic practices such as coups,” says Dr. Gezahegne. Other requirements stated in the eligibility requirements include “a system to combat corruption and bribery as well as a market-based economy that protects private property rights, incorporates an open rules-based trading system, and minimizes government interference in the economy through measures such as price controls, subsidies, and government ownership of economic assets.”

Yet, in spite of being so beneficial AGOA’s uptake rate is not as great as it should be. In an initial request by US Congress to examine AGOA’s contribution to trade expansion between the U.S. and Sub-Saharan African countries, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) used US Census data on imports from 40 African countries and reported that AGOA countries’ imports remain small with 2% market share.

“Preference is a discriminatory process,” says Dr. Gezahegne. “If you extend it to others the value becomes less and this is known as preference erosion.” He adds: “There is also the issue of program uncertainty. The one thing you would want for a trade development process is stability.” Taking this into account after 2015, the President is trying to lengthen the period between renewals so that AGOA will be in place for another 15 years.

A press release from The White House on August 4, 2014 — during the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit — acknowledges that AGOA needs to be revised and expanded. The press release notes that the Administration’s “recent review of AGOA has revealed that, while the tariff preferences provided under AGOA are important, they alone are not sufficient to promote transformational growth in trade and investment.” Subsequently, President Obama’s administration has launched two major initiatives — Trade Africa and Power Africa.

Dr. Gezahegne describes Trade Africa initiative as “one that allows East African nations to trade more with each other,” while Power Africa “is an initiative that GE lobbied extensively in an attempt to provide more electricity to African nations, increase livelihoods and at the same time sell American know-how.” Dr. Gezahegne also adds: “Ethiopia views itself as a growing hydro-electric power producer. Americans view Ethiopia as a potential exporter of thermal power as well.” In addition to textiles and garments, Dr. Gezahegne likewise sees a potential for Ethiopia to be a possible producer of organic cotton provided that the organic certification processes are in place.

The White House August 4th press release also notes the establishment of a Steering Group on Africa Trade and Investment Capacity Building. Members from seventeen departments including the Department of State, Department of Treasury, Department of Commerce, Department of Energy and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation are tasked with presenting the President with “clearly defined goals and benchmarks for increasing trade and investment in Sub-Saharan Africa, and appropriate and transparent criteria for identifying priority countries, regions, and sectors that have the greatest potential to contribute toward meeting these goals and benchmarks.” The steering committee is also tasked with recommending “an outline of how to utilize programs across agencies to achieve these goals.”

Dr. Gezahegne is a strong supporter of trade versus aid. “Trade has been a known engine of economic development and poverty reduction in the world,” he states. “AGOA countries trade even more and are in better shape, and it’s not because of aid. Countries that are open have growth rates that are three to six times higher than those with closed economies. I don’t know any country in the world that has achieved transition status from ‘developing’ to ‘developed’ due to economic assistance.”

You can learn more about the African Growth and Opportunity Act at trade.gov/agoa.

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Ethiopia Habtemariam to be Honored at the 2014 Heroes & Legends Awards

Ethiopia Habtemariam is President of the historic music label "Motown Records." (Photo: Radio facts)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopia Habtemariam, who was promoted to President of Motown Records this past Spring following a major reorganization at Universal Music Group, will be honored by the Heroes and Legends (HAL) Foundation, at the 25th Annual HAL Awards ceremony on Sunday, September 28th, 2014 at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. Other honorees include the legendary music group New Edition, the Mary Jane Girls, Warner Music Group’s Ryan Press, and Eddie Floyd.

Organizers note: “This year’s event will also feature a new finale: The Year of the Hits, Motown Reigns Supreme –saluting the hits of 1964. Motown was churning out hit after hit and dominated the charts with songs like, My Girl (The Temptations), Come See About Me and Baby Love (The Supremes), How Sweet It Is (Marvin Gaye) and Every Little Bit Hurts (Brenda Holloway) and many more. The tribute will feature performances by Mary Wilson, Dennis Edwards and Brenda Holloway.”

“The 2014 HAL Awards’ star-studded event honors a select group of individuals who have brought honor and dignity to the arts. An additional highlight will be the awarding of scholarships to deserving students of the arts from the Southern California area. The HAL Awards are the brainchild of famed songwriter and Motown Alumna, Janie Bradford. Bradford has written such classic hits as Marvin Gaye’s Too Busy Thinkin’ About My Baby, Barrett Strong’s Money. That’s What I Want and countless others.”

“Our goal is to help talented young people in the community realize their lofty–but-attainable dreams of shaping careers for themselves in one of the many performing arts,” explains Bradford. “We do this by providing much needed scholarship funds. Each year our scholarship honorees are selected from a diverse group of candidates who have earned a consistent grade point average of 2.0 or better and who exhibit an extraordinary amount of talent, drive and determination.”

Related:
Ethiopia Habtemariam Named President of Motown
Barry Weiss Steps Down as Island Def Jam Motown Reorganizes (The Hollywood Reporter)

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DIY Beauty Secrets from Ethiopia

(Photo: Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu)

Yahoo News

By Sara Bliss

Aug 12, 2014

A native of Ethiopia, Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is the founder of soleRebels, a line of colorful footwear that pairs Ethiopian craftsmanship with western design. The handmade, fair-trade shoes are made entirely in her native country and sold in 55 others. Alemu, who was recently named a Forbes Woman to Watch, takes pride in spreading her Ethiopian culture and style across the globe. The globetrotting entrepreneur says that one of the greatest lessons she learned growing up in her small village was actually a pretty global ideal: beauty comes from within, and is in large part determined by how you treat others. “Truly beautiful people have incredibly beautiful spirits that allow them to radiate a special kind of physical beauty,” Amelu says. “It is in our actions. Doing beautiful things to uplift and empower other people is the ultimate expression of beauty.”

Unlike the United States, Amelu’s native country doesn’t celebrate stress, and that laid back attitude encourages a positive outlook that she says contributes greatly to overall wellness and health. She also comes from a rich tradition of do-it-yourself beauty. “We have so many local beauty secrets,” she says. “Ethiopians are well known for having gorgeous hair.” Their amazing locks are thanks to a specialized hair butter called KIBE that women make themselves. “Almost every family has their own special recipe that they have passed on from generation to generation,” she says. “It is truly a skilled craft.”

Read more »

Related:
President Bush Names Bethlehem Alemu Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Ambassador
Face2Face Africa Honors Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Alek Wek, Femi Kuti

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Ninth Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum and Awards Dinner Held in DC (Video)

The 9th Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum held in Washington, D.C. on August 2nd, 2014. (Photos by Matt Andrea)

The Ethiopian American

Press Release

Washington, D.C. – The 9th Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum and the 4th Pioneer Diaspora Business Person Award Dinner were successfully held in Washington, D.C. on August 2 and 3, respectively.

The annual event held under the theme “Investing in Ethiopia’s Emerging Technology Sector”, recognized three Diaspora entrepreneurs and inventors for their pioneering work in Diaspora investment in Ethiopia.

With various speakers drawn from the Ethiopian Diaspora community and beyond engaged in the technology business both in Ethiopia and in the U.S., this year’s Forum was marked by extensive discussions on the opportunities, challenges and potential partnership possibilities in the technology sector in Ethiopia.

Organized by The Ethiopian American – a U.S-based Ethiopian Diaspora business and investment group – the Forum and the Awards Dinner held at the George Washington University and Grand Hyatt Washington (Hotel), respectively, attracted record hundreds of Ethiopian Diasporas from Ethiopia and America as well as non-Ethiopians interested in business and investment in Ethiopia.

A unique feature this year’s event was a Private Equity Pitch Session for small and micro enterprises (SMEs) that are looking for early stage and expansion capital. The Ethiopian American has recruited Private Equity firms that are interested in investing in SMEs in Africa and potentially in the U.S. The session was held privately at The George Washington University Business School on the morning of August 2 where several Ethiopian Diaspora-owned businesses presented debt and equity investment opportunities for U.S. private equity firms whose representatives raised various questions after listening to the presentations.

“This year’s Forum raised the bar for excellence in terms of the quality of programs, speakers and the record turnout,” said Yohannes Assefa, Executive Director of the Forum. “We are really encouraged by the success of our first Private Equity Pitch Session and we hope to scale up this important financing avenue for our members with bigger and better Private Equity firms next year and beyond”.

Another element of the Forum which has been growing more popular every year since its introduction in 2011, the Pioneer Ethiopian Diaspora Business Person Award, was this time given to two diaspora entrepreneurs who have introduced innovations in business that have significantly and positively affected business practices with long-term results in Ethiopia.

Munir Duri, Founder and CEO of Kifiya Financial Technology PLC, and Daniel Gizaw, CEO of dVentus Technology PLC, have jointly won the 2014 Pioneer Diaspora Business Person of the Year Award.

Kifiya (www.kifiya.com) is an innovative financial solution that has made financial and non-financial services in Ethiopia simple, affordable and within reach while dVentus Technology (www.dventus.com) is a unique venture in Ethiopia focusing on state of the art technology ranging from system integration to energy efficiency solutions for renewable energy and advanced transportation.

The juries selected Munir and Daniel among several nominees through series of screening stages and procedures that took several weeks ahead of the event.

Another unique feature at the 2014 Forum was the Diaspora Business Champion Award, which was given to Addis Alemayehou, Founder and Managing Partner of 251 Communications, for his outstanding contributions in strengthening diaspora businesses through various supports.

“The successful conclusion of this year’s edition of the Forum and the Award Award is yet another milestone in the growth of the Forum,” said Yohannes Assefa, Managing Director of the Virginia-based The Ethiopian American LLC. “As we successfully conclude the 9th edition, we are embarking on major preparations for the 10th Anniversary of the Forum coming in 2015, which will see a new level of engagement by the Ethiopian Diaspora.”

Jointly sponsored by the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Airlines, The George Washington University Business School, Fairfax Africa Fund, AltourTech, Kabu Coffee, Info Mind Solutions, among others, the Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum and its annual magazine – The Ethiopian American – have for the past nine years served the diaspora as reliable platforms to discuss opportunities and challenges of doing business in Ethiopia.



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The Andargachew Tsige Saga: Assurance Urged for Detained Briton

Andargachew Tsige (center) is pictured above during a Congressional hearing on Ethiopia in 2006 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Flickr)

Daily Mail

By PRESS ASSOCIATION

The Ethiopian government has been pressed to provide guarantees that a British national facing the death penalty will not be executed.

Political activist Andargachew Tsige has been detained in Ethiopia for six weeks following his removal from Yemen and denied consular access from British officials, the Foreign Office said.

He is secretary general of the banned Ginbot 7 movement, with reports stating he was sentenced to death in his absence in 2009 for plotting a coup – charges he and others denied.

Demeke Atnafu, charge d’affaires at the Ethiopian embassy in the UK, was summoned to the Foreign Office to meet Africa Minister Mark Simmonds.

In a statement, the Foreign Office said: “Mr Simmonds expressed deep concern that the Ethiopian authorities had not allowed consular access to Mr Andargachew Tsige, a British national who has now been detained in Ethiopia for six weeks after being removed from Yemen.

“Mr Simmonds asked the charge to urge his government to deliver on previous commitments to provide consular access without further delay and to provide assurances that they do not intend to carry out the death penalty imposed in absentia.”

Amnesty International says Ethiopian opposition leader Mr Tsige disappeared at Sana’a airport in Yemen while travelling between the United Arab Emirates and Eritrea in June.

They have asked the Ethiopian authorities to guarantee he is not tortured or ill-treated.

Read more »

Related:
UK Summons Ethiopian Diplomat Over Opposition Official’s Arrest
Why the arrest of Andargachew Tsige is a huge embarrassment for the West (FP)
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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President Bush Names Bethlehem Alemu Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Ambassador

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu (left), President George W. Bush greets Ethiopian First Lady Roman Tesfaye at the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington, D.C. on Wed., August 6th, 2014. (Photos: U.S. Embassy)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, August 11th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Last week during the inaugural US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington, D.C., former President George W. Bush convened First Spouses from across Africa, where he announced the launch of his global health initiative Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon in Ethiopia and Namibia focusing on preventing cervical cancer, which is the most common type of cancer in females in Ethiopia and the second most common in Namibia.

At the gathering held on Wednesday, August 6th entitled Investing in Our Future, “an event to complement President Obama’s hosting of heads of state and government from the continent,” Bush also introduced the first group of “Ambassadors for the public-private partnership” including Bethlehem Alemu, Founder and Managing Director, soleRebels (Ethiopia); Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Chairman, Econet Wireless (originally from Zimbabwe); Ambassador Gertrude Ibengwe Mongella, stateswoman (Tanzania); and Isha Sesay, Anchor and Correspondent, CNN International (United Kingdom/Sierra Leone).

“The members of the group will use their personal platforms and networks to encourage social change, public support, and national policies to eliminate cervical cancer,” the George W. Bush Institute said in a press release. “They will also join with Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partners to spread positive messages that empower and drive women to seek care for themselves and their daughters, including screening, treatment, and vaccinations.”

The Bush Center added: “Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon is a global health partnership founded by the George W. Bush Institute, the U.S. Government through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Susan G. Komen®, and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The partnership — which has helped screen over 100,000 women for cervical cancer in Botswana, Tanzania, and Zambia in the last three years — will build on existing healthcare programs in Ethiopia and Namibia to add interventions to prevent, screen for, and treat cervical cancer. The disease continues to be the number-one cancer killer of women in sub-Saharan Africa, exacerbated by its connection with HIV, since HIV-positive women are four-to-five times more likely to contract cervical cancer than their HIV-negative peers.”

Related:
President Obama Gives Progress Report on U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit
Media Panel Shares Recommendations at Capitol Hill During US-Africa Leaders Summit
Photos & Video: President Barack Obama’s Historic U.S.- Africa Summit
Obama Announces $33B Commitment at Africa Forum
African & U.S. Scientists Hold Technology & Innovation Symposium at US-Africa Summit
Civil Society Forum Kicks Off at Historic US-Africa Summit in DC
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Meet the Mandela Washington Fellows From Ethiopia
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U.S.-AFRICA SUMMIT 2014: Preview
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Ambassador David Shinn on the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

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It Used to be What US Can Do for Africa, Now It’s What US Can Do with Africa

Representatives from various African nations gather at the opening session of the AGOA Forum during the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC on Monday, August 4th, 2014. (Reuters/VOA News)

Independent Online

By Kuseni Dlamini

Speaking Africa’s language

The inaugural US-Africa Leaders Summit marked a turning point in relations between the two in general and US economic diplomacy towards the continent in particular. The summit was a historic moment, indicative of President Barack Obama’s determination to reset the relationship between Africa and the US from being paternalistic and transactional to being strategic and mutually beneficial.

As Obama indicated in his eloquent address to the Business Forum, “in the past it used to be about what the US can do for Africa. Now it’s about what the US can do with Africa”.

We need to grow and develop the continent in such a way that the US and the world ask what Africa can do for the US and the world.

Africa has the right combination of natural and human resources (youthful and energetic population) to be a first-world continent, provided it does what is necessary. US-Africa relations are in a state of flux for the right strategic reasons.

The world has taken note of Africa’s inexorable rise. So has the US.

Read more »

Related:
President Obama’s Landmark US-Africa Summit (The New York Times Editorial)
Why the US-Africa Summit Was Important and Why It Wasn’t Enough
After U.S.-Africa summit, ‘hard work’ ahead
President Obama Gives Progress Report on U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit
Media Panel Shares Recommendations at Capitol Hill During US-Africa Leaders Summit
Photos & Video: President Barack Obama’s Historic U.S.- Africa Summit
Obama Announces $33B Commitment at Africa Forum
African & U.S. Scientists Hold Technology & Innovation Symposium at US-Africa Summit
Civil Society Forum Kicks Off at Historic US-Africa Summit in DC
US-Africa Summit Events Under Way in Washington
First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks on Girls’ Education at YALI Presidential Summit
Bill Clinton, Michael Bloomberg at Africa Summit
Meet the Mandela Washington Fellows From Ethiopia
Obama Renames Africa Young Leaders Program For Nelson Mandela
U.S.-AFRICA SUMMIT 2014: Preview
Transport Chiefs From Five Countries to Visit Chicago Ahead of U.S.-Africa Summit
Ambassador David Shinn on the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

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President Obama’s Landmark US-Africa Summit (The New York Times Editorial)

Obama and Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.(Photo: Getty Images)

The New York Times

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

President Obama’s Africa Push

One major purpose of President Obama’s landmark White House summit meeting on Africa last week was to advertise this often underrated continent’s economic potential and ensure it a brighter future. But determined follow-through will be required if the aspirations of the president and more than 40 African heads of state who were his guests are to be realized and Africa is to satisfy its promise as the world’s last big economic frontier.

Despite the event’s heavy focus on trade and investment, African leaders could not completely ignore (even though some tried) the manifold challenges — conflict, corruption and disease — that still confront them. The ability to achieve real and sustained prosperity will be compromised if such problems are not addressed as robustly as efforts to land lucrative business contracts.

The summit meeting, a mix of plenary sessions and elaborate dinners that also included leaders of major American corporations, was a determined, and splashy, initiative by Mr. Obama to stake a claim for the United States against other countries doing business there, especially China, which is investing heavily in infrastructure projects and using Africa as a source of vital oil and metals. It was also an opportunity to counter critics who say he has devoted insufficient attention to the land where his Kenyan father was born. Billions of dollars in deals and projects were announced, including an expansion of Mr. Obama’s Power Africa initiative, which aims to bring electricity to 60 million houses and businesses, up from a goal of 20 million announced last year.

Read more at NYT »

Related:
Why the US-Africa Summit Was Important and Why It Wasn’t Enough
After U.S.-Africa summit, ‘hard work’ ahead
President Obama Gives Progress Report on U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit
Media Panel Shares Recommendations at Capitol Hill During US-Africa Leaders Summit
Photos & Video: President Barack Obama’s Historic U.S.- Africa Summit
Obama Announces $33B Commitment at Africa Forum
African & U.S. Scientists Hold Technology & Innovation Symposium at US-Africa Summit
Civil Society Forum Kicks Off at Historic US-Africa Summit in DC
US-Africa Summit Events Under Way in Washington
First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks on Girls’ Education at YALI Presidential Summit
Bill Clinton, Michael Bloomberg at Africa Summit
Meet the Mandela Washington Fellows From Ethiopia
Obama Renames Africa Young Leaders Program For Nelson Mandela
U.S.-AFRICA SUMMIT 2014: Preview
Transport Chiefs From Five Countries to Visit Chicago Ahead of U.S.-Africa Summit
Ambassador David Shinn on the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

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Eritrea Faces Youth Drain (VOA News)

In this photo released by the Italian Navy on Monday and taken on Sunday, June 29, 2014, a boat overcrowded with migrants is pictured in the Mediterranean Sea. (AP)

VOA News

Joe DeCapua

August 11, 2014

A new report said a lot of young people are leaving Eritrea due to authoritarian rule, growing dissatisfaction and long-term national service. The International Crisis Group has called for both domestic and international action to reduce the youth drain.

Listen to De Capua report on Eritrean youth exodus

Many young Africans are leaving the continent hoping to find jobs and opportunities elsewhere. But the International Crisis Group said the youth exodus from Eritrea is acute.

It said the Eritrean government’s demand to “sacrifice individual ambition for the greater good of the nation” is causing people to leave.

Dr. Cedric Barnes, ICG’s Horn of Africa Project Director, said, “The primary driver at the moment seems to be because people are fed-up with the national service, where people are required to either join the army or work for the government in various capacities for very little money and with no prospect of being released. We are seeing people voting with their feet, as it were, to avoid these demands.”

Many risk their lives doing so.

“Well, that’s clear that that’s happening at various stages of the journey – even at the end stages in terms of the overloaded boats that seem to be arriving on the southern shores of Europe, especially Malta and Italy, where boats are overloaded. And these vessels are sinking, often drowning many of their occupants,” he said.

But their lives are in danger even before they get on the boats. They have to travel through lawless and dangerous parts of Sudan and Libya, for example. Barnes said for a time Eritrean forces prevented border crossings by lethal force if necessary.

Initially the government tried to crackdown on the migration. Then, Barnes says, it saw an economic opportunity through remittances and a two-percent tax imposed on the migrants. But Barnes said that’s not forestalling long-term issues.

“They’re losing their working population. They are losing the relatively scarce human capital that Eritrea has. This is affecting from the army to the national services, as well as families, especially the farms and other productive activities that need man and woman power.”

The International Crisis Group recommended that Eritrea re-set its relationship with the outside world by becoming more engaged diplomatically. It also recommends that Eritrea gradually demobilize its national service – and ease border tensions with Ethiopia.

Barnes said, “The kind of isolationist position that Eritrea has found itself in is preventing a society where people’s individual social / economic freedoms can be pursued – which is encouraging people to leave and look for better alternatives.”

The ICG also said that Eritrea should seek assistance from the European Union and the U.N. to help restructure the country’s economy to create more jobs for young people.

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Ethiopian Meron Wudneh Crowned Miss Africa USA 2014

Meron Wudneh was crowned Miss Africa USA 2014 on Saturday, August 9th in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photograph courtesy: Miss Africa USA)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – Ethiopian-born beauty queen Meron Wudneh has been crowned Miss Africa USA 2014. Meron, who beat 20 other contestants, is the first Ethiopian to win the Miss Africa USA pageant since it was launched nine years ago. Meron received the sought-after tiara on Saturday evening during the Grand Finals held at the Strathmore Theater in North Bethesda, Maryland.

In her statement posted on the Pageant’s website Meron states: “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.” Meron is a resident of Montgomery County, Maryland and a graduate of Bowie State University where she studied Health Sciences.

Last year’s winner was Kathy Onmu of Nigeria.



Related:
Meron Wudneh at Miss Africa USA 2014

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Watch: Ethiopian Student Rahel Bogale – 2014 AVID Summer Institute Speaker

Rahel Bogale, 2014 Philadelphia Summer Institute student speaker. (Photo: AVID Center/YouTube)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – The soon-to-be first generation college student, Rahel Bogale, who is a student at Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria, Virginia, was selected as the 2014 Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Summer Institute student speaker for the national convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to her high school “Rahel’s essay was chosen from thousands of applicants and comes with a $500 award.”

“My whole life I have been shy, reserved and often kept to myself,” Rahel said in her speech to her classmates. “As a student, I was the same way, not many teachers paid attention to me, because I earned decent grades in all my classes and I barely spoke up.” Rahel added: “As a young Ethiopian immigrant, I understood the value of education, and the pressure to somehow prove my parents’ sacrifice to leave everything – a lucrative accounting firm, two houses, and anything familiar to them – to move half-way around the world so I can have a better chance at life was something that I had to prove and it is all worth it.”

Watch: Rahel Bogale – AVID Philadelphia Summer Institute 2014 (Video by AVID Center)


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Opinion: Why the US-Africa Summit Was Important and Why It Wasn’t Enough

Photo: Larry Downing/Reuters

The Daily Beast

By John Prendergast

08.09.14

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….
It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.

Those words penned by Charles Dickens about the period leading up to the French Revolution seem quite applicable to Africa today on the heels of the first-ever U.S.-Africa Summit. The Summit rightly focused primarily on the “spring of hope” being experienced by many in Africa’s burgeoning middle and upper classes, fueled by impressive economic growth data and lucrative trade and investment opportunities in a continent which hosts six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world. But life remains truly a “winter of despair” for the millions of hungry, impoverished, displaced, and conflict-affected people who don’t fit easily into the “Africa Rising” narrative being burnished around Washington this week.

The Summit had many objectives: increasing trade and investment between the U.S. and Africa; delivering messages about the critical need for better governance; showing strong support for African civil society’s contribution to state-building; the list could go on and on. And there was important progress made on a number of these goals. But underlying all this was a more general and ambitious aspiration: to change the narrative about Africa from that of a basket case to a land of opportunity.

Americans’ perceptions of Africa remain rooted in troubling stereotypes of helplessness and perpetual crisis. Therefore, the Summit’s focus on positive trends on the continent is crucial to beginning to re-calibrate the story of Africa to one more balanced between progress and setbacks. But addressing that “winter of despair” should not reinforce the inaccurate perceptions.

There are three ways to counter the negative stereotypes when dealing with African crises that avoid the “heart of darkness” trap of hopelessness that so many commentators fall into.

Read more at The Daily Beast »


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After U.S.-Africa summit, ‘hard work’ ahead
President Obama Gives Progress Report on U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit
Media Panel Shares Recommendations at Capitol Hill During US-Africa Leaders Summit
Photos & Video: President Barack Obama’s Historic U.S.- Africa Summit
Obama Announces $33B Commitment at Africa Forum
African & U.S. Scientists Hold Technology & Innovation Symposium at US-Africa Summit
Civil Society Forum Kicks Off at Historic US-Africa Summit in DC
US-Africa Summit Events Under Way in Washington
First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks on Girls’ Education at YALI Presidential Summit
Bill Clinton, Michael Bloomberg at Africa Summit
Meet the Mandela Washington Fellows From Ethiopia
Obama Renames Africa Young Leaders Program For Nelson Mandela
U.S.-AFRICA SUMMIT 2014: Preview
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Ambassador David Shinn on the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

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Ethiopian Pianist Girma Yifrashewa’s Stellar Performance in Bethesda

Ethiopian composer & pianist Girma Yifrashewa live at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club in Bethesda, Maryland on July 30th, 2014. (Photo by Matt Andrea)

Tadias Magazine
By Matt Andrea

Published: Saturday, August 9th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – On Wednesday July 30th, Ethiopian composer and pianist Girma Yifrashewa performed to a sold-out audience of more than 300 at the legendary art deco Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, close to Washington, DC. His concert coincided with the release of his new CD Love & Peace by Unseen Worlds.

The show included exquisite renditions of Yifrashewa’s compositions Ambassel, Sememen, Chewata and The Shepherd With the Flute, which he performed as piano solos, as well as Elilta, Hope and My Strong Will, which he performed as ensemble pieces, accompanied by Besufekad Tadesse (Clarinet), Christein Kahrazian (Violin) and Elise Cuffy (Cello). While many describe Yifrashewa as a classical Ethiopian pianist, his music clearly defies category, as it fuses classical structure with traditional Ethiopian melodies and chromatics, in a blend that is truly sublime and transcendental.

Yifrashewa was introduced by Rick Brown, the proprietor of venue, and Tommy McCutchon, producer of Unseen Worlds. While supper clubs can often be somewhat noisy venues, the audience for this performance was very hushed and respectful. Each piece was exquisitely rendered and transported the audience to otherworldly realms. The concert concluded with standing ovations, followed by encores of classical and Ethiopian compositions.

The significance of this performance was reflected not only with the size of the audience, but also the prominence of those who attended, including Alemtsehay Wodajo, founder of the Tayitu Cultural Center; Francis Falceto, creator of the Ethiopiques series, which has brought world-wide attention to Ethiopian music; Charles Sutton, a pianist and massinko player, who served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia during the reign of Haile Selassie; and Alemayehu Gebrehiwot, who was instrumental in publishing the late Tesfaye Lemma’s book Ye Itiyopia Muziqa Tarik (The History of Ethiopian Music).

Unseen Worlds Records shares via Facebook: “With the success of this concert, Girma’s CD proudly entered the Billboard Classical Music Chart at #23!”

Below are photos from the event:



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UPDATE: US Conducts New Iraq Airstrikes

(Photo: Reuters)

VOA News

Updated: August 10, 2014

The United States carried out a new round of airstrikes against Islamic State militants in northern Iraq on Sunday.

The Pentagon said fighter jets and drone aircraft destroyed an armed truck that was firing on Kurdish forces near Irbil, and then followed up with four more attacks on other armed trucks and a mortar position.

It was the fourth set of U.S. airstrikes since President Barack Obama last week authorized the country’s first campaign in Iraq since he withdrew all U.S. forces at the end of 2011 after nearly a decade of American involvement.

U.S. forces are attempting to blunt an offensive by the extremist Islamic State group that threatens to overrun Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region. U.S. and British aircraft also are supplying humanitarian aid for thousands of displaced Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities trapped in the area.

Late Sunday, the U.S. State Department said it has temporarily removed some staff from the U.S. consulate in Irbil.

A statement said some of the personnel were dispatched to the southern city of Basra, and others to the Jordanian capital, Amman. It said the move was made “out of an abundance of caution rather than any one specific threat.”

Watch related video by VOA’s Michael Bowman:

Concern over militants’ brutality

​Iraq’s Human Rights Minister Mohammed Shia al Sudani told Reuters that Islamic State militants executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing the town of Sinjar, and that some of the victims had been buried alive.

The U.S. military made three airdrops with more than 52,000 meals and thousands of liters of fresh drinking water for the displaced people on Mount Sinjar. British forces made their first humanitarian airdrop to the region on Sunday and France said it would supply “several tons” of aid.

Obama said Saturday the U.S. military’s airstrikes in Iraq have successfully destroyed arms and equipment that Islamic State militants could have used against Irbil. He said the problem posed by the group will not be solved in weeks and is going to take some time.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he is “deeply concerned” about the evolving humanitarian and security situation in Iraq. The U.N. chief called for “reason and wisdom to prevail.” He urged all Iraqi leaders “to form a broad-based government that is acceptable to all components of Iraqi society.”

Pope Francis on Sunday urged the international community to find a solution to the problems in Iraq, where he said the situation leaves him in disbelief.

French FM visit

On Sunday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius arrived in Iraq for talks in Baghdad and Irbil. He urged Iraqi leaders to form a broad-based unity government.

At a press conference with Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani in the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan he said that Islamic State militants were extremists who cannot accept those with different beliefs

He said that people are suffering because the Islamic State group, which he called the “Caliphate of Hate,” wants to kill or enslave all those who do not believe as they do.

For his part, Barzani thanked the U.S. and France for their assistance and indicated the Kurds were not demanding that their allies “fight for them,“ but help by giving “needed weaponry” and “air support” to the Peshmerga fighters to defend themselves.

The International Organization for Migration says the number of internally displaced people in Iraq now totals more than 1 million.

Islamic State extremists, most of whom are Sunni Muslims, have captured significant amounts of military hardware that U.S. troops turned over to Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government and to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters before the U.S. military withdrawal in 2011.

The Islamic State group, known for particularly brutal tactics, currently controls a large swath of eastern Syria and northwestern Iraq. It has declared the area a “caliphate,” and is actively recruiting other fighters to join the group.

On the ground

Meanwhile, Kurdish fighters known as Peshmerga say they have regained control of a district near Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan region.

Talking to VOA’s Kurdish Service Sunday, a Peshmerga fighter said his forces repelled an attack on Makhmur district from fighters of the Islamic State group.

Saber Ismael said that there were no more gunshots inside Makhmour city and that the Daesh, as Kurds refer to Islamic State militants, have fled.

He said local people now feel safe from an immediate threat by the radical group of Sunni fighters that have taken control of several areas of Iraq.

Speaking from Duhok, another town in the Kurdish region of Iraq, a VOA stringer said U.S. air strikes against Islamic State fighters are proving effective.

“People in the area are relieved and highly motivated because they now see that Peshmerga fighters are now being backed up by U.S. air strikes against the militants of Islamic State fighters,” said VOA Kurdish Service stringer Salam Balayi.



Edward Yerenian contributed to this report from Cairo, Kokab Farshori contributed from Washington. Some information provided by Reuters and AP.

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Over 1000 Attend 5th DC Africa Festival

Held on the eve of President Obama’s historic U.S. Africa Leaders Summit on Sunday, August 3rd, 2014, Mayor’s 5th Annual DC Africa Festival boasts record number of attendees. (Photo Courtesy: OAA)

OAA Press Release

Friday, August 8, 2014

Washington, DC – On Sunday, August 3, 2014, Mayor Vincent C. Gray and his Office on African Affairs (OAA) held its 5th Annual DC Africa Festival at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. A record number of people registered to attend the festival, which coincided with President Barack Obama’s historic US-Africa Leaders Summit and served as a welcome to the 50 African leaders being hosted in our nation’s capital. Over 1,000 attendees joined Mayor Gray and the Office on African Affairs for the festivities, held outdoors in the Reagan Building’s adjoining Moynihan and Woodrow Wilson Plazas.

“President Obama’s US-Africa Leaders Summit was a historic gathering, and our world class city was honored to host the African heads of state. The occasion warranted a parallel celebration of our city’s diverse African diaspora community. Therefore, we seized the moment to showcase their presence, culture and economic contributions to the District of Columbia,” said Mayor Gray. The Mayor also acknowledged the importance of Africa as a partner in trade and investment, noting the role of African diaspora businesses in cultivating meaningful links to the continent.

Emcee’d by Voice of America broadcast journalist Ndimiyake Mwakalyelye, the program kicked off with remarks from OAA Director, Ngozi Nmezi who stressed the importance of the festival theme, “From Africa to DC: Showcasing Diasporan Diversity, Building One City, highlighting its special focus on the migration of Africans to DC and the rapid growth of the District’s African population, which has experienced a near 70% increase over the past decade. Director Nmezi also introduced the office’s first-ever African Business Directory designed to serve as a tool for expanding African business networks and to educate the larger community on the presence of the city’s African businesses. The Directory is currently available on OAA’s website and a public launch is scheduled to take place in the coming months.

The festival program was packed with music by popular DC-based African bands and dance performers of international repute, including, Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Wayna, Cheik Hamala Diabaté, KanKouran West African Dance Company, Sahel, Moto Moto Marimba, Kignet Traditional Ethiopian Band and Emé & Heteru. DJ Underdog filled the air with rhythms and sounds from the African continent and beyond. The crowd was further captivated by Omenana Igbo, USA whose traditional Nigerian masquerade performance told the story of a young Igbo bride and groom. Festival goers got their own opportunities to share the spotlight when they participated in the customary Parade of African Flags procession which was accompanied by facts on each country and displayed the pride and connection that the District’s African Diaspora held for their countries of origin. The Community to Runway Fashion Show further showcased the variety of clothes, hairstyles, cultural identities, and historical roots of Africans in DC. African diversity was equally well represented in over 40 food, arts, and crafts vendors who displayed a variety of savory dishes, handmade and imported crafts, attire, and other artistic creations.

The connectivity of African cultures was difficult to miss at the Woodrow Wilson Plaza and this was matched in intensity with the variety of activities and demonstrations on the Moynihan Plaza. The quiet concentration of children playing African games and learning basket making activities at the Children’s Village; the robust resource corner featuring over 20 District government agencies and community based organizations who shared resources and information on available programs and services; the Wellness Pavilion where participants were offered advice on nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices and; the Culture Hut, where festival goers witnessed demonstrations on African acoustic instruments and hair braiding styles from east, west, and southern regions of the continent – all enriched the festival’s artistic, cultural and informational landscape. The festival wound down with a raffle draw in support of ‘We Count!’ – OAA’s demographic data collection initiative. Ritza Yana Hendricks of Southeast Washington, DC and Ihuoma Pearl Woko won round-trip tickets to any destination in Africa, courtesy of corporate donors, Ethiopian Airlines.

The Mayor’s Office on African Affairs is deeply appreciative of the support from our major partners: Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, DC Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, DC Office of the Secretary, DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, DC Office of Human Rights, the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, and AmeriHealth. We are equally grateful to our corporate donors – Capital Petroleum Group, LLC, Ethiopian Airlines, and Safeway, and our incredible team of 50+ volunteers! Our thanks also go to photographers Adedayo Kosoko and Kaveh Sardari whose images capture the energy and dynamism of the festivities.

Related:
Tadias Interview: Ngozi Nmezi, Director of the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs

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Founders of Ethiopian Academy of Sciences

The Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (EAS) headquarters in Addis Ababa. (Photo courtesy: EAS)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, July 8th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – Founders of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (EAS) Professor Masresha Fetene (Plant Ecophysiologist & EAS Executive Director) and Dr. Brhane Gebrekidan (Agronomist and EAS Vice President) will be speaking at Sankofa Video & Books in Washington, DC on Thursday, August 14.

Organizers say the presentation entitled “Building a Knowledge Society in Ethiopia” is open to the public and will focus on their efforts to advance scientific innovation and knowledge in Ethiopia: “The purpose of this discussion is to introduce this organization to the diaspora community, expand the Academy’s network, and explore partnership opportunities.”

Per the announcement: “The Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (EAS) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2010 in Addis Ababa to promote scientific culture and innovation and advance knowledge of the sciences in Ethiopia. Understanding the critical role that science academies play as a strong public voice for the promotion of both scientific excellence and science-based development, Professor Masresha and his colleagues founded the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences in 2010. Founding members shared the belief that a strong scientific community enables citizens to address critical economic, environmental, and social issues in systematic and effective ways. One of the objectives of the Academy is to promote scientific culture in Ethiopia and to nurture interest and curiosity in science. It is to inspire people to engage with science-related activities and pursue science as an enjoyable and worthy pursuit. The goal is to ultimately produce a scientifically and technologically literate and informed citizenry that empowers people to make informed decisions on issues that have bearing on their day-to-day lives. EAS envisions Ethiopia developing upon sound scientific and technological bases and emerging among those at the forefront of science and technology.”


If You Go:
Thursday, August 14, 2014
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Sankofa Video & Books
2714 Georgia Avenue NW
Washington, D.C.
Phone:(202) 234-4755

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Wayna to Perform at Ginny’s in Harlem – August 14th

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, July 8th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – iRock Jazz Presents Wayna at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem on Thursday, August 14th.

Ethiopian-born singer Wayna Wondwosen paid tribute to her mother, Tidenekialesh Emagnu, in her first album Moments of Clarity, and she was nominated for a Grammy award for her song Loving You.

“Her life in Washington DC exposed her to the problems facing immigrant communities,” the event announcement notes. “Recently, Wayna released her music video for My Love, a song that tells the story of a woman trapped in a relationship with an abusive husband. The video features fellow Ethiopian musician B Sheba and Tsdale Worku, who performs as Wayna’s mother. Her music is an empowering blend of the soulfully spiritual and playful. For inspiration, Wayna looks to her mentor Stevie Wonder, as well as many other musicians she’s worked with over the years.”

Ethiopian food and drink specials will be served at Wayna’s show to celebrate the upcoming Ethiopian New Year.


If You Go:
Wayna at Ginny’s Supper Club
Thursday, August 14th, 2014
Showtime: 8:30 PM
310 Lenox Ave.
New York, NY, 10027
Tickets at www.ticketfly.com

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President Obama Gives Progress Report on U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

President Obama delivered a closing statement on Wednesday, August 6th, 2014 summarizing the progress leaders have made during the three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C. (AP)

The Washington Post

By Juliet Eilperin

President Obama wrapped up a three-day summit with African leaders Wednesday, making a rare foreign policy advance even as his administration continues to face daunting challenges abroad.

The massive gathering of nearly 50 African heads of state and government in Washington allowed top U.S. officials to broker deals between American companies and African dignitaries, as well as press privately for action on security and human rights concerns. And at a time when Europe and major economies such as China are expanding their foothold in Africa, the conference gave the United States a chance to reinforce its long-standing connection to the continent.

While the summit yielded a handful of high-profile announcements — including new public and private investments in economic, agricultural and health development totaling $37 billion — it also featured the kind of behind-the scenes diplomatic interactions that could produce meaningful benefits later on. Elected U.S. officials and their African counterparts discussed issues ranging from tensions within the Great Lakes region to the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.

Read more at The Washington Post »

Video: President Obama Post U.S.-Africa Summit Press Conference


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Ethiopian Airlines CEO Says Company Plans to Expand Flights to U.S.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam says plans call for flights from Addis Ababa to Los Angeles, through Dublin, by June 2015. (Photo: Bart Jansen, USA TODAY)

USA TODAY

By Bart Jansen

The airline has quadrupled in size during the last decade, with 68 planes flying to 18 domestic airports and 82 international destinations on five continents.

Gebremariam was in Washington for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, where he called announcements of $33 billion in public and private U.S. investment in his continent “very encouraging.”

“Of course, we have isolated problems here and there,” Gebremariam said. “But overall the continent is doing well. The growth is very impressive.”

He acknowledged the challenges of dealing with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and avoiding conflict zones around the globe. But he said Africa is a popular and growing tourist destination with attractions such as Mount Kilimanjaro and Serengeti National Park.

“We encourage American tourists to visit,” Gebremariam said, where the entire continent is just a connecting flight away. “You will be connecting to 49 destinations all over the continent in a couple of hours.”

Read more »

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Ethiopia and Its Press: The Noose Tightens

Photos from top left: Imprisoned Ethiopian journalists and bloggers Woubshet Taye, Reeyot Alemu, Eskinder Nega, and members of the Zone9 Collective (File images)

The Economist | From the print edition

Aug 9th 2014

ADDIS ABABA – A RANKING that countries do not aspire to ascend is the one compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based group. It reckons that Ethiopia is Africa’s second-worst jailer of journalists, ahead only of its ultra-repressive neighbour and bitter enemy, Eritrea. Cementing its lamentable reputation, on August 4th Ethiopia briefly resumed the trial of ten journalists and bloggers, nine of whom it has kept in prison since April; one is being tried in absentia. The court proceedings are to start again in earnest on August 20th.

The ten are accused of several offences, including breaches of the country’s controversial anti-terrorism laws. These include having links to banned opposition groups and trying to cause instability via social media. The government says the journalists and bloggers are connected to two groups that it deems terrorist organisations: the Oromo Liberation Front, a rebel outfit that seeks a better deal for Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, which predominates in the south; and Ginbot 7, a leading opposition movement formed after widespread protests following Ethiopia’s general election in 2005.

Read more »

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Media Panel Shares Recommendations at Capitol Hill During US-Africa Summit

Panelists for media task force at African Civil Society Conference at Capitol Hill during US-Africa Summit on August 6th, 2014. (photo: Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine

by Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Washington, DC (TADIAS)  — The African Civil Society Conference, organized by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its partners, brought together African civil society leaders, journalists and members of US Congress at Capitol Hill as part of the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit on Wednesday, August 6th. The conference theme entitled ‘Towards an Action Program for Democracy’ comprised of 6 panels addressing Human Rights, Good Governance & Accountability, Elections, Media, Conflict & Security, and Civil Society Challenges. Martin Frost, NED Board Chair, Hon. Karen Bass (D-CA) and Hon. Chris Smith (R-NJ) gave welcoming remarks.

Each panel presented recommendations forwarded by their respective task force, which met earlier in the week. Spokesperson for the media panel, Henry Maina, Director of East & Horn of Africa for Article 19, stated the media task force recommendations.  Members of the Media Task Force included journalists and activists from Mali, Tunisia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Morocco, Malawi, Kenya, and Nigeria. Several Ethiopian civil society leaders participated in the conference including scholar & political activist Birtukan Mideksa (Human Rights task force) Dr. Merera Gudina, Professor at University of Addis Ababa (Elections task force), and civil society advocates Teklu Tessema Gudeto and Debebe Hailegebriel (Civil Society Challenges task force).

Spokesperson Henry Maina highlighted media repression in several African countries and cited the current plight of Ethiopia’s Zone 9 bloggers who he described as “just using mobile phones and websites.” He added: “They have done nothing wrong.”

Maina also emphasized that media must be seen as a central topic to be addressed when discussing post 2015 development goals. Recommendations by the media task force included encouraging international media organizations to have more comprehensive coverage of news in Africa and to “move away from the narrative of Africa as the hopeless continent.” The task force would also like African governments and leaders “to establish independent media regulation mechanisms as well as clear and transparent criteria” so that media organizations are not stifled.

“Media is a mirror where leaders can perceive themselves,” one panelist stated, without which “journalists find themselves in situations of self-censorship and leaders may be going the wrong way.”

The media task force addressed the need for organizations such as USAID to support media by including programs in its portfolio that addresses the needs of African media organizations. Panelist John Gatluak from South Sudan shared the necessity for funding for the media sector to help develop professional media training programs. Likewise, the task force recommended that UN agencies and the African Development Bank lead the way to promoting access to information.

Addressing the African commission on human and peoples rights, the media task force stated that it must show leadership in encouraging Africa’s 53 countries to meet their obligations under international law, especially in regards to media law. Maina also shared the task force’s recommendations for media professionals stressing the need to form solidarity networks to support each other “whenever they find themselves in distress.” Addressing the private sector Maina asked for more efforts in allowing ICT and knowledge transfer so that Africa need not go through the slow progress of development and instead leapfrog to the digital economy.

A member of Facebook’s policy team also announced their recent collaboration with Airtel to provide free internet access along with healthcare and job information via their new initiative, Internet.org, in Zambia. Facebook reiterated that key issues in media include access and affordability of Internet as well as freedom of information as outlined by the media task force.

Panelist Kumba Gborie from SKYY Radio in Sierra Leone brought forth the issue of the under-representation of women in media in African countries and called for greater efforts to increase access to formal education for girls so that they may have better opportunities in the future to join media organizations. She likewise called for greater representation of women in the area of politics and leadership as well.

Several panelists stressed the need for the U.S. government to engage with African leaders to enhance and ensure the safety of media professionals. They also recommended that media workers in African countries consider forming trade unions for greater security.

During the Q&A session an audience member from South Sudan raised the question of hate speech on social media, which oftentimes exacerbates conflicts on the ground. Media panelist Mandala Mambulasa from Malawi acknowledged the need to address this critical issue while noting that there are no laws that address hate speech.

Organizers of the conference have noted that recommendations presented by the various panels during the African Civil Society Conference “will be incorporated into an Action Program, addressed to African governments, civil society, and citizens, as well as the international community, on the occasion of the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit.”

U.S. House Democratic Whip, Congressman Steny Hoyer gave the closing remarks and noted that “this gathering is so critical because it highlights the role of civil society in Africa’s development.” He added: “I see and hope you see as well a continent of opportunity. Activists are building democratic institutions.”


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Photos & Video: President Barack Obama’s Historic U.S.- Africa Summit

First lady Michelle Obama takes her seat following President Barack Obama's toast at a dinner for the U.S. - Africa Leaders Summit, on the South Lawn of the White House, Aug. 5, 2014. (Photo: AP)

VOA News

August 06, 2014

President Barack Obama and African leaders have opened talks on expanding trade, improving security and strengthening government accountability across Africa.

The talks, at a series of forums Wednesday, are a highlight of a massive three-day summit in Washington involving some 50 African heads of state and government.

In opening remarks Wednesday, President Obama said a “new Africa” is emerging.

“With some of the world’s fastest growing economies, a growing middle class and the youngest and fastest-growing population on earth, Africa will help shape the world as never before,” Obama said.

The president said increased business opportunities in Africa could help transform the relationship between the U.S. and the African continent.

“It is time for a new model of partnership between America and Africa, a partnership of equals that focuses on African capacity to solve problems and on Africa’s capacity to grow, and that is why we are here,” he said.

Late Tuesday, the White House hosted a state dinner for the visitors, where the president noted his African heritage and said that for his family, the bonds between the U.S. and Africa are deeply personal.

Private, public investment

Earlier, Obama announced $33 billion in U.S. private and public investment in various African countries.

Speaking at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, he said the investment and financing commitments will support both African and American jobs. The bulk of the commitments will come from private sector companies like Coca-Cola and IBM.

The president emphasized that the U.S. is interested in more than just the abundance of natural resources to be found in Africa.

WATCH: President Obama Addresses US-African Leaders Summit

He said the Power Africa program introduced last year will aim to bring electricity to 60 million Africans, triple the previous goal.

But he cautioned that Africa’s future will be made on the continent, not the United States.

Obama said the U.S. will do more to help African nations trade with each other. He said it should not be harder to export goods to your neighbor than to export goods to Los Angeles or Amsterdam.

As the worst Ebola outbreak on record rages on in West Africa, Obama told African leaders that keeping their citizens healthy and putting a health care system in place will ensure their countries’ future economic success.

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African & U.S. Scientists Hold Technology & Innovation Symposium at US-Africa Summit

Panelists at the Science, Technology & Innovation Symposium at US-Africa Summit in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, August 5th, 2014. (Photo by Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – When Ethiopian-American IBM scientist and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, Solomon Assefa, took the podium to make his presentation on private sector contributions to science & technology in Africa he reiterated that the focus needs to be on fostering local innovation by Africans for Africa. “Mobile money is a prime example,” he told the audience gathered at the Symposium on Science, Technology & Innovation for Economic Growth & Development in Africa held at the Keck Center of the National Academies today in conjunction with the US-Africa Summit. “By 2015, mobile money is expected to generate a $160 billion industry.”

Solomon also drew attention to shifting African demographics. “52 cities in Africa have a population of over a million people,” Solomon said. “And by 2035 the labor force in Africa could be as big as China or India.” Calling for long-term research development, innovation and investment in skills development, Solomon cited IBM’s efforts to expand its presence from 4 countries to 24 countries in Africa in the past decade alone while also building the first commercial research and development lab in Africa. Bringing entrepreneurs and local partners together to work with IBM Solomon notes that efforts range from working on cutting-edge nanotechnology to creating plant innovation centers across the continent.

The Science & Technology symposium brought together delegates of African Academies of Science, policymakers, scientists, and executives from the private sector to assess innovative approaches to improve infrastructure for advances in science and technology in African countries.

The morning program started with introductory remarks from Foreign Secretary of the National Academies of Sciences John Hildebrand and President of the National Academy of Engineering C. D. Mote. South African Minister of Science & Technology Grace Pandor addressed the need to strengthen local institutions of higher education and in particular institutions of science and technology. Minister Pandor noted that four out of ten African scientists currently live and work in high income countries away from their home countries. “So we are losing our human capital,” she stated. In order to retain African scholars and scientists to work in their respective nations “we need to invest in local institutions,” she added. Developing a skilled workforce, a strong research base, and making Africa a fertile environment for innovation are some of the suggestions that Minister Pandor shared with the audience to foster a “vibrant, active higher education sector.”

Geneva-based Under Secretary for the UN International Strategy for Disaster Risk, Margareta Wahlstrom, highlighted disaster risk reduction, post 2015 sustainable development goals and the climate change agenda as three key global issues to contend with. Wahlstrom emphasized focusing on data and interdisciplinary as well as multi-stake holder research as the most critical calls for action.

Panelist Wole Soboyejo, President of Africa University of Science & Technology shared how the US/Africa Materials Institute was launched at Princeton in collaboration with the National Science Foundation. Soboyejo traveled to over 35 African countries in an effort to establish collaborations between universities in the United States and those in Africa. “Our vision is to be a meritocracy..to replace brain drain with brain circulation, work towards transparency in governance, and build links across the world to diffuse innovation across Africa,” he stated.

Farid Fezoua, CEO & President of GE Healthcare Africa noted how Africa is a young continent in the sense that 60% of the current population is under the age of 20. He noted that General Electric’s first overseas branch was established in South Africa, and GE remains a key stakeholder in encouraging innovation in Africa. Fezoua gave several examples of  what he called ‘reverse innovation’ developed in Africa including the creation of solar-powered surgery kits, and hand-held ultrasounds.

“At the end of the day sustainability is what matters,” added Fezoua. “As an ex-banker converted to healthcare with a passion for Africa I have seen that financial investment alone cannot solve Africa’s challenges. We need the expertise and knowledge of scientists.”

Director of the US Global Development Lab, Dave Ferguson, moderated the second panel and shared the announcement of a $100 million pledge in collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation to jumpstart a ‘Resilience Partnership.’

Ambassador & Global AIDS Coordinator at the US Department of State, Deborah Birx, highlighted progress in several African countries including Malawi whose HIV/AIDS prevention programs were effective and successfully scaled up at the national level. However, she urged more efforts need to be made to reduce the rates of infection, especially among young women who make up the largest proportion of affected populations.

Harvard Professor Calestous Juma wrapped up the morning session by highlighting the accomplishments of Arthur Zang, a youth entrepreneur from Cameroon who created the continent’s first tablet and who won the 2014 Rolex Award for inventing a mobile cardiac test device. “Every two years there is more knowledge than has ever existed in the entire history of technology,” Calestous stated. ” This type of thinking moves us away from the scarcity of knowledge to understanding how to harness abundance of information. The lesson of many of the presentations today is to look at technology in the context of problem solving.”


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Obama Announces $33B Commitment at Africa Forum (Video)

President Barack Obama speaks at the US - Africa Business Forum during the US - Africa Leaders Summit, Aug. 5, 2014, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington. (Photograph: Associated Press)

VOA News

August 05, 2014

President Barack Obama says the United States is making a major and long-term commitment in Africa with $33 billion in new investment.

Speaking Tuesday at the U.S.- Africa Business Forum in Washington, Obama said the new investment and financing commitments will support both African and American jobs. The bulk of the commitments will come from private sector companies like Coca-Cola and IBM.

Obama emphasized that the U.S. is interested in more than just the abundance of natural resources to be found in Africa. He noted that trade with Africa still represents a small fraction of overall U.S. commerce, adding that “we’ve got to do better, much better.”

The three-day Africa summit concludes Wednesday.

Obama said the Power Africa program he announced last year will triple its previous commitment of bringing electricity to 20 million more African homes and businesses, and said it is raising the bar to bring good things to life for 60 million African people.

But he cautioned the roughly 50 African heads of state gathered at the summit that the future of Africa is to be found on the African continent, not in the United States.

The president said the U.S. will do more to help African nations trade with each other. He said it should not be harder to export goods to your neighbor than to export goods to Los Angeles or Amsterdam.

As the worst Ebola outbreak on record rages on in West Africa, Obama told African leaders that keeping their citizens healthy and putting a health care system in place will ensure their countries’ future economic success.

s in the energy, banking, construction and information technology fields.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced an additional $10 million for a U.S. initiative to finance clean energy sources in Africa.

He said the U.S. wants to see millions of Africans gain access to power in their homes.

“More than 600 million Africans live without access to electricity today. And, our challenge is clear. We need to change those numbers and replace them with a partnership that benefits all sides by making sure that African companies, African cities, African towns, African families have access to clean and renewable energy,” said Kerry.

The U.S.-African Leaders summit opened on Monday with forums touching on a range of issues, including regional security, health, the environment and corruption.

50 heads of state

It comes on the second day of a U.S.-Africa summit involving nearly 50 African heads of state.

​”These investments will deepen U.S. economic engagement in Africa, fueling growth that will support broader African prosperity and emerging markets for U.S. businesses, which will support jobs in both the United States and Africa,” the White House official said.

Obama will take part in a discussion with corporate chief executives and government leaders at the event on Wednesday, which will be attended by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and former President Bill Clinton.

The business forum will allow dozens of African heads of state to mingle with U.S. and African executives, the official said. It will focus broadly on investment in finance, infrastructure, energy, agriculture and consumer goods.

More than 90 U.S. companies are slated to participate including Chevron Corp., Citigroup Inc., Ford Motor Co., General Electric Co., IBM, Lockheed Martin Corp., Marriott International Inc., Morgan Stanley and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Several African companies were also expected to attend.

In a brief preview of Obama’s remarks, the White House did not give specifics on the nature of the business deals or identify which companies were involved.

“These agreements represent conclusive evidence that America is open for more business with Africa as the continent’s economic ascent is just beginning,” Pritzker said in a statement.

“Each day, 250,000 Americans go to work in jobs supported by exports to Africa and these deals will lead to increased prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic in the months ahead,” she said.

The Obama administration has billed the summit as the first of its kind, but it comes long after Africa gatherings hosted in recent years by China, India, Japan and Europe, suggesting the United States is largely playing a game of catch-up for access to a market in several growing industries.

Opening day

The U.S.-African Leaders summit opened on Monday with forums touching on a range of issues, including regional security, health, the environment and corruption.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaking on Monday said the African continent has some of the world’s fastest growing economies, and that those countries will help shape future developments in the world.

“We’re on the cusp where the continent of Africa establishes itself as among the ranks of the world’s most prosperous economic and free nations,” Biden said.

“In your hands, with your help, Africa can and will go so much further. You’re the fastest growing economies in the world, and quite frankly the success of the rest of the world depends in part on your success,” he added.

Later Tuesday, Obama is hosting dinner at the White House for the African leaders.

The White House said singer Lionel Richie will entertain the leaders during the dinner on the South Lawn. For dinner, guests will dine on chilled spiced tomato soup, chopped farm-stand vegetable salad, grilled dry-aged beef and cappuccino fudge cake, according to The Associated Press.

The leaders of Sierra Leone and Liberia canceled their trips to Washington because of the Ebola epidemic facing their countries.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

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Civil Society Forum Kicks Off at Historic US-Africa Summit in DC

Civil Society Leaders & Panelists from Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Tunisia at the US-Africa Summit in Washington D.C. on Monday, August 4th, 2014. (Photograph by Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, August 4th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — The Civil Society Forum, one of six U.S. Government-sponsored “Signature Events” at the historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., commenced today at the National Academy of Sciences setting the stage for the high-level discussions that President Obama will chair during the subsequent Summit leader meetings.

Themes at the Civil Society Forum included building momentum towards open government in Africa, the role of civil society, and translating ideas into action. Featuring civil society leaders from Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Tunisia the forum started with an introduction from Sarah Sewall, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights. Ms. Sewall noted two main goals of the forum — fighting corruption and working with civil society organizations and the private sector to advance open government and to enhance transparency. The Open Government Partnership (OGP) was launched by the U.S., South Africa, Tanzania and five other countries who issued national action plans and made commitments to greater transparency. Today there are 8 African countries and a total of 64 nations worldwide participating in OGP.

Sewall quoted Obama’s support of OGP stating that “openness will strengthen our democracy and increase our efficiency. OGP is a new way of doing business.”

The Civil Society Forum panel was moderated by United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power who called for the reduction of paperwork and other government bureaucracies in pushing the efficacy of the Open Government Partnership. “We want to bring domestic reformers and those fighting corruption together so they can be talking to one another,” she stated. The OGP aims to include both civil society organizations and the private sector in collaborating with governments participating in the initiative.

Amira Yahyaoui, Civil Society Leader and panelist from Tunisia shared that her country joined OGP a week after they voted on a new constitution in January 2014, which was also the second anniversary of their revolution. Coming from the anti-censorship movement she is a strong advocate of access to information. Describing Tunisia’s involvement in OGP Ms. Yahyaoui noted that “Three years ago when you reported on corruption you could get five years jail time. Today we have language that supports whistle blowers.” Yahyaoui emphasized that “The commitment is really good, but the question remaining is one of implementation.. OGP should be a results-oriented process.”

Civil Society Leader Rakesh Rajani from Tanzania discussed the importance of citizen participation to hold governments accountable. “One of the things that we inherited from our colonial history is that we have to be afraid of the people,” he said. “But one of the things to realize is that people are your assets and they can share the burden” in building society.  He drew from his own personal story where he was initially viewed by his government as a staunch critic. “But now we share ideas on how we can unlock two or three bottlenecks that we have in this open government initiative,” he added. Rajani acknowledged that OGP “is government-led, but it is very collaborative and includes both civil society and the private sector. This engenders trust. When governments open up and build credibility..you don’t have to spend so much money on security. Instead you can spend it on making lives better.”

Deputy Minister & President’s Lead for OGP in South Africa gave examples of how the South African government is participating by simplifying the way information is disseminated. “We have established a department that deals specifically with ICT and outreach, she shared. And the information provided to citizens is tailored to their needs and in a language that is easy to understand.

During the Global Town Hall session of the forum the Coordinator of the Open Government Partnership in Sierra Leone, Amadu Massally, spoke first and called for a moment of silence for the victims of the Ebola virus in his country and in several West African nations. Massally also shared with the audience that Sierra Leone would like to host the regional open government partnership initiative in 2015. Massally had a strong message for all African leaders: “If you are not open to open government partnership you will become obsolete.”

From the private sector, Microsoft pledged its commitment to OGP by asking to partner with two countries by the end of 2014 and offered to host 100 Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) fellows in Microsoft offices across Africa. A representative from IBM also shared that they are engaging with 10 countries in Africa and glad to be part of the Open Government Partnership. “We’re not just talking about open data, we’re publishing it ourselves and understanding the challenges involved,” he said. IBM is scheduled to host an Africa open data jam session tomorrow.

A representative from the Kenyan government highlighted their 1-stop shop for services that is currently available in 16 counties, which they hope to expand to over 45 counties and also make it accessible via mobile phones for their citizens.

Discussing the inclusion of media in OGP, Rakesh Rajani asserted that “media is absolutely crucial to open government partnership” and that “countries which clamp down on media do the wrong thing.”

Elected Chair of the Refugee Council in Washington addressed the audience and reminded African leaders to acknowledge the voices of refugees and vulnerable populations as part of open government initiatives. Mandela Washington Fellow Fouzia Dahir from Kenya likewise told the panelists and audience that it’s time for the youth to be included in initiatives such as Open Government. “We as young people want to sit with government and work alongside you,” she stated.

Hundreds of individuals from Ethiopia and several from the Democratic Republic of Congo protested outside the National Academy of Sciences calling for accountability for human rights violations in their countries.

Below are photos from the Civil Society Forum:

 


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How Ethiopians in the US Cling Onto Their Heritage – BBC News

(Photo: BBC News)

BBC News

By Damian Zane

August 2014

Washington – The traditional music plays and children, some dressed in Ethiopian costume, perform a traditional dance: Raising and lowering their shoulders to the beat.

Like millions of other children in the United States, these American-Ethiopians are at summer camp.

However, this one is about maintaining their connection with their roots abroad.

It is in a regular office block on one of the main roads out of the US capital, Washington DC.

A 21-minute drive away is the grand venue where African heads of state and President Barak Obama are discussing US-Africa relations.

As the leaders try to negotiate a new phase of that relationship, the Ethiopian diaspora community is grappling with how it should relate to back home.

Estimates vary, but there are thought to be more than 200,000 Ethiopians in the Washington metropolitan area, by far the city’s largest and most visible African diaspora group.

While integrated into American life, many of them do not want to lose that connection and are keen for their children to know where they have come from.

Read more at BBC News »

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UK Summons Ethiopian Diplomat Over Opposition Official’s Arrest

Andargachew Tsige (center) is pictured above during a Congressional hearing on Ethiopia in 2006 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Flickr)

Reuters

Mon Aug 4, 2014

LONDON – Britain summoned Ethiopia’s chargé d’affaires on Monday to raise its concerns about the arrest of a British national being held in Ethiopia who has been sentenced to death over his involvement with an opposition political group.

Andargachew Tsige was sentenced to death in 2009 in absentia and another trial handed him life behind bars three years later. He was arrested in Yemen earlier this year and extradited to Ethiopia. [ID:nL6N0PK3GT]

On Monday, Britain summoned one of Ethiopia’s top diplomats in London to meet Foreign Office minister Mark Simmonds, who expressed “deep concern” that Andargachew had not been granted access to the British consulate.

“Mr Simmonds asked the chargé to urge his government to deliver on previous commitments to provide consular access without further delay, and to provide assurances that they do not intend to carry out the death penalty imposed in absentia,” a statement from the Foreign Office said.

Andargachew, secretary-general of the Ginbot 7 group, was among 20 opposition figures and journalists charged with conspiring with rebels, plotting attacks and attempting to topple the government.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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Washington Meeting of African Leaders Opens to Protests

Joseph Kabila, left, president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Secretary of State John Kerry at a news conference on Monday during a summit meeting with African heads of state. (Getty Images)

The New York Times

By ANDREW SIDDONS

AUG. 4, 2014

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the State Department on Monday, the start of a summit meeting here of more than 40 African heads of state, to denounce some of the leaders as “torturers” and “killers.”

The protesters, who were mostly from Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, said they were angry that the White House was looking to enhance economic ties with repressive governments. “Stop financing dictators,” the crowd chanted. “President Obama, shame on you.”

Obang Metho, director of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia, referenced Mr. Obama’s message to African leaders during his 2009 trip. “Africa doesn’t need strongmen. It needs strong institutions,” Mr. Obama said at the time.

“Now he is sitting with strongmen,” Mr. Metho said. “Where are the strong institutions?”

Read more at NYT »

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U.S.-Based Blogger Elias Kifle Files Lawsuit Against Ethiopia’s Government

(Image courtesy: IT Web Africa)

IT Web Africa

By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba

Published: 04 August 2014

US-based blogger Elias Kifle has filed a $120 million counter lawsuit against Ethiopia’s government, US lawfirm DLA and Saudi Arabian billionaire Mohammed Al Amoudi.

Kifle, a blogger for Ethiopianreview.com, says he filed the lawsuit in Atlanta’s US District Court for the Northern Georgia District.

Kifle alleges that Al Amoudi, the government of Ethiopia, DLA Piper, the deputy prime minister of Ethiopia Debretsion Gebremichael, and the Ethiopian government’s chief of security Getachew Assefa of “serially harassing” him.

Kifle’s lawsuit follows a defamation claim filed against him by Saudi Arabian billionaire Mohammed Al Amoudi’s business partner, Jemal Ahmed.

Kifle stands; though, accused of falsely reporting that Ahmed — who owns farms in Ethiopia that exports farm products to Saudi Arabia through his companies Saudi Star and Horizon Plantations — is engaged in human trafficking and the illegal grabbing of land from small farmers.

And Kifle says that since writing his report on Ahmed, he has been harassed, “hindering his constitutionally protected work, causing emotional distress to his family, and causing severe economic harm to him.”

“Mr Kifle also accuses DLA Piper, a large law firm with 4,000 lawyers, of extortion, racketeering and a relentless campaign of harassment on behalf of the Ethiopian government and its supporters,” says Kifle in a statement.

In his lawsuit, Kifle alleges “civil rights violations,” “abuse of process,” and “economic harm” against him.

Read More »

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In Ethiopia, A Stranglehold on Freedom By Meron Ahadu & Lulit Mesfin

Secretary of State John Kerry with jailed Ethiopian blogger Natnael Feleke in Ethiopia last year. (File photo)

Los Angeles Times | OP-ED

By MERON AHADU AND LULIT MESFIN

August 3rd, 2014

When Secretary of State John F. Kerry traveled to Ethiopia last year, he met a young blogger named Natnael Feleke. When he returned a few months ago, Kerry found that Feleke, along with five other bloggers and three journalists, had been arrested — the latest in a long line of journalists the Ethiopian government has detained on the claim that they were trying to incite terrorism. Although Kerry addressed the arrests with officials he met, and President Obama has spoken forcefully on the importance of good governance in Africa, preoccupation with immediate security priorities — in particular counter-terrorism — trumps the fine words.

It is our hope that President Obama will use the summit of African leaders he is hosting this week to launch a new chapter in U.S.-African relationships — one in which support for good governance will guide U.S. policy, in deed as well as in word. If not, the result is likely to be more of the very violence and instability that counter-terrorism is supposed to curb.

In our country of Ethiopia, the government maintains a stranglehold on freedom of expression. Journalists or activists who question the ruling party or its actions face arbitrary arrests and repression. After his April visit, when Kerry made the long overdue comment that it was important for anti-terrorist mechanisms to avoid curbing the free exchange of ideas, Ethiopian democracy activists around the world were thrilled.

Yet at the same time, we know that words, even from a U.S. secretary of State, will not be sufficient to counter years of repression and disregard for human rights. The Ethiopian ruling regime — like many others in Africa — has ignored criticism from abroad; indeed, Feleke’s and the other journalists’ arrests came just days before Kerry’s visit to Ethiopia.

In spite of Ethiopia’s well-documented record of oppression and corruption, it has become the biggest recipient of U.S. foreign aid in sub-Saharan Africa.
-
Shortly after his election in 2009, Obama delivered a speech in Accra, Ghana, sketching the elements of his policy toward Africa, which involved focusing on “good governance,” “the rule of law” and “civic participation.”

Ethiopia, though projected by Washington as well as Addis Ababa as an important U.S. ally, violates these principles at every turn. The regime’s draconian Charities and Societies Proclamation Act in essence criminalizes civil society. Under the terms of its 2009 anti-terrorism law, security forces can enter any home and seize any person or belonging. Presumed sympathy to anyone suspected of “terrorism,” which is very broadly defined, is punishable by death. It was under this law that Natnael Feleke was arrested.

Read more at Latimes.com »

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Ethiopia, Kenya Boost Anti-Ebola Measures

(Image: MENAFN.com)

MENAFN – AFP

Kenya and Ethiopia, home to some of Africa’s largest transport hubs, said Thursday they had boosted measures to combat possible Ebola cases arriving in their countries.

Kenya’s National Disaster Operation Centre said in a statement that “port health services are on standby, with enhanced screening at border points to prevent and contain any possible disease threat”.

Meanwhile Ethiopia Airlines said it was taking “extraordinary precautions in connection with the outbreak of the disease”.

Ethiopia’s national carrier is a major airline connecting countries across Africa, as well as flying to the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

“Stringent and specific surveillance is being carried out regarding all flights from west Africa at Addis Ababa airport,” the airline said in a statement.

Fears that the outbreak of the virus in west Africa could spread have grown in recent days.

Almost 700 people have been killed since the first case was detected in February.

Read more »

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UPDATE: Police Confirm Athletes Defected, At Least One May Seek Asylum in U.S

Zeyituna Mohammed (right) told authories she may seek asylum in the U.S., but she is not certain of her plans. (Photos: Meaza Kebede, Zeyituna Mohammed, Dureti Edao, Amanuel Abebe Atibeha/via (ODE)

Oregon Live

By Ian K. Kullgren

The four Ethiopian runners who disappeared from the IAAF Junior World Championships in Eugene this past weekend defected from their home country to avoid returning to widespread civil unrest there, police confirmed in a report released late Friday.

The report, provided by police in Federal Way, Washington, describes an interview with Zeyituna Mohammed, an 18-year-old woman runner on the Ethiopian national team. She told police that she and the other athletes decided to stay in the U.S. because they were too afraid to return to Ethiopia.

The report confirms for the first time what many close to the case, including the team’s coaches, had suspected — that the athletes’ disappearance was part of a plan to defect from Ethiopia.

Mohammed told authories she may seek asylum in the U.S., but she is not certain of her plans. It remains unclear whether the other three athletes, whom police found in Beaverton earlier this week, are planning to do so.

Read more at Oregon Live »

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US-Africa Summit Events Under Way in Washington

Secretary of State John Kerry, center, flanked by World Bank Chairman Jim Yong Kim, right, and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, addresses a meeting of the AGOA Forum, Aug. 4, 2014. (AP)

VOA News

Updated: August 04, 2014

Events surrounding the summit between President Barack Obama and some 50 African heads of state have kicked off in Washington.

Secretary of State John Kerry urged African ministers to embrace free-market ideals and U.S.-African cooperation Monday at a forum focused on the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The secretary is due to meet with at least eight visiting African leaders by the end of day.

President Obama will address a U.S.-Africa Business Forum on Tuesday and take part in sessions focused on economic growth, regional security, and good governance on Wednesday.

Summit agenda

The U.S. is set to unveil nearly $1 billion in business deals, more funding for peacekeeping, and billions of dollars for food and power programs during the three-day summit.

China, Europe and Japan have all held similar events to encourage investment in Africa, but the White House denies its Africa Summit is in response to increasing investment in Africa from China.

U.S. businesses have generally been hesitant to invest in Africa despite the high growth rates seen in many countries.

Billions of dollars in new funding is expected to be announced for Power Africa during the summit. The program’s goal is to add 10,000 megawatts of generation capacity and 20 million new electric customers in Africa by 2018.

Private industry has committed $7 billion to the program since it was announced last year by President Obama.

Countries have also said they will use the summit to lobby their interests in the U.S. For example, South Africa has already said its delegation will push for a 15-year extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

The law gives eligible Sub-Saharan Africa countries preferential treatment in their exports to the U.S., but the program that began in 2000 is set to expire next year.

Excluded

U.S. officials say only four African leaders were excluded from the talks – the presidents of Zimbabwe, Sudan, Eritrea and the Central African Republic.

The summit convenes at the same time several West African nations are facing an Ebola virus outbreak.

President Obama said Friday the United States is closely following the situation. He said African officials from at-risk countries will be screened for the disease before entering the U.S.

The leaders of Sierra Leone and Liberia have canceled their summit trips to Washington because of the Ebola outbreak.

US-Africa Summit to Focus on Stability, Youth

Obama Tadias Magazine cover

President Barack Obama speaks to participants of the Presidential Summit for the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in Washington, July 28, 2014. (Photo: AP)

VOA News

By William Eagle

WASHINGTON — Over 50 African heads of state are expected at the summit of U.S. and Africa leaders August 4 through 6.

Not invited are the presidents of four countries with a record of human rights violations: Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Sudan and Central African Republic.

Administration officials say it’s an opportunity to discuss the future of an economically-growing continent, and address questions about how the U.S. can become a closer partner.

Themed “Investing in the Next Generation,” the summit meetings will be designed to identify shared interests that will be needed if the continent is to meet the needs of its young people: health care, education, and work place opportunities.

Story continues after video report by VOA’s Miriama Diallo:

At a time when armed conflict has created a humanitarian emergencies in Central African Republic and South Sudan, and East and West African countries are fighting the spread of radical Islamists, the first goal is to ensure peace and stability needed for development.

Summit participants will discuss how to end violence and ensure both regional and domestic security.

Listen to report on the U.S.-Africa summit

That effort will include reforms to national militaries, says Joseph Siegle, research director for the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at National Defense University in Washington, D.C.

“There’s a recognition that part of the challenge is that Africa’s police and military aren’t always very professional, and this can lead to inappropriate or heavy-handed responses, especially when dealing with domestic security threats, which involve [the killings] a lot of innocent bystanders,” he said. “This tends to alienate the local population and further fuel grievances.”

“The challenge [for Obama and the heads of state] is how do you [separate and address] the domestic issues and then the transnational components of those threats?”

Trade, investment

On Tuesday, African leaders will meet with government officials at a business forum to address economic security. The gathering is expected to bring together 200 U.S. and African business leaders in order to find ways to strengthen financial ties by boosting trade and investment.

An important part of U.S. trade with Africa trade is the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), U.S. legislation designed to assist economies of sub-Saharan Africa and improve economic relations.

AGOA gives African countries with a good records of economic management and human rights duty-free access to U.S. markets. Today, Africa sells about seven thousand products to the U.S., worth about $27 billion.

More than 20 countries participate in AGOA, but U.S. officials say more could take part.

Experts such as Witney Schneidman, senior international advisor for Africa at the global law firm of Washington-headquartered Covington and Burling, says AGOA should be renewed for 15 years to ensure a stable investing environment.

“Another idea being considered by government officials is to enhance USAID trade hubs in Africa,” he said, explaing that the hubs, or information centers, help African businesses export their goods to the U.S. market.

Schneidman also says they should be renamed trade and investment hubs that also help U.S. companies interested in the African market.

“Those trade hubs need to pull together,” he said. “We need a whole of government approach so that you have our ambassadors and embassies in lockstep with our commerce and agriculture officials, along with officials from [the Export-Import Bank of the United States] and the [Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries].

“[This way] we can present one face,” he said. “A one-stop shop to U.S. companies on how the U.S. government can help them be successful in Africa.”

Human rights

The summit agenad also includes a session on governance, though some activists say the current meeting schedule does not pay enough attention to human rights and democratization issues.

Civil society groups have voiced displeasure at not being invited to take part in any roundtable discussions with African leaders despite a civil society forum scheduled for Monday.

Adam Shapiro of the human rights group Front Line Defenders said U.S. emphasis on human rights and good governance is what should separate this gathering from recent Africa investment summits held by China, India, Japan and Russia.

“In those summits, there were very low expectations from Africa that any kind of issues about governance or human rights or transparency would be brought up,” Shapiro said. “But when it comes to the U.S., there is an expectation that these kinds of issues would be on the table.”

Shapiro, who wants civil society to be a part of all discussions — especially those on security and good governance — also wants President Obama to publicly identify leaders who’ve gained power through elections and transparency, such as those in Liberia, Ghana, Tanzania and Botswana.

He and other activists have been critical of summit invitations to leaders accused of human rights abuses, such as Teodoro Obian Nguema, long-serving president of Equatorial Guinea, and Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, president of Egypt.

Unlike China’s recent Africa summit, the U.S.-hosted summit will have no one-on-one meetings between the president and the African leaders.

Administration officials say Obama will be spending the entire day meeting with leaders on Wednesday at the heads-of-state summit. Heads of state and business leaders will be able to meet with cabinet-level officials during some of the events.

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Ethiopia’s Armenians: Long History, Small Numbers

The Boyadjian family, one of the earliest members of the Armenian community in Ethiopia. (Facebook)

Associated Press

By BETHAN McKERNAN

Aug 2, 2014

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The numbers at the St. George Armenian Apostolic Church in Addis Ababa are not adding up. Church records show an average of two funerals a year, but a wedding only every three years and a baptism every five.

“Some people don’t come to church vertically. Only horizontally,” Vartkes Nalbandian said with a laugh.

Vartkes is among a small handful of people keeping Ethiopia’s Armenian community alive. Despite a fall in numbers from a peak of 1,200 in the 1960s to less than 100 people today, the Armenian school, church and social club still open their doors.

“There is more to a community than just statistics. We are proud of the Armenian contribution to Ethiopia. It’s worth fighting for,” said 64-year old Vartkes, the church’s fulltime acting archdeacon since the last priest left in 2002.

But given the shrinking numbers, the fight can feel daunting.

Armenian goldsmiths, traders and architects were invited to settle in Ethiopia more than 150 years ago by Emperor Johannes IV. Buoyed by the ties between Ethiopian and Armenian Orthodoxy, the community thrived.

After the Armenian Genocide in 1915, Haile Selassie, Ethiopia’s regent who later became Emperor, opened his arms to the Armenian people even wider, adopting 40 orphans as wards of court. In return, the Ethio-Armenians proved fiercely loyal.

One trader used his European connections to buy arms for Ethiopia’s resistance movement against the Italian occupation during World War II. Others ran an underground newspaper. Several gave their lives in service of their adopted homeland.

“Those were the best days,” said 61-year old Salpi Nalbandian, who runs a leather business with her brother Vartkes and other family members. “We were valued members of the court. We made the crowns the emperors wore on their heads. We were not like the Italians, we weren’t invaders. We contributed.”

But the community’s fortunes have changed through the years.

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Barack Obama’s Ambitions for Africa

President Obama speaking to the 500 YALI Mandela Washington Fellows on Monday, July 29th, 2014. (Photo: AMIP)

The Economist | From the print edition

America and Africa: The next great disruption

Aug 2nd 2014

AIR FORCE ONE AND WASHINGTON, DC – AMERICA, an exceptional place, has long stood out for a willingness to take big bets on the rise of others. Post-war American governments devoted vast amounts of money, attention and military might to rebuilding or being the midwife of economies and democracies in Europe and Asia, with spectacular results. Of the country’s 15 largest trading partners today, 11 are former recipients of American aid.

Now Africa is set to deliver a fresh asymmetric shock to the global order, taking its place as the last great emerging market. Its population is set to double by 2050, and will be astonishingly young. Does Barack Obama’s America have the patience and confidence to welcome this change, harnessing it for mutual gain? Or is today’s America more like an old-world power, risk-averse, inward-looking and fearful of change? Africa may seem a sideshow now, but it is not a bad test of America’s standing in the world…

America has reasons to bet big. It enjoys more latent goodwill than ex-imperial Europe (Nelson Mandela said that the election of Mr Obama, the son of a Kenyan economist, was proof that people everywhere should “dare to dream”). America is more trusted in Africa than China, whose vast investments have at times sparked comparisons with colonial exploitation.

Yet critics accuse Mr Obama of all but ignoring the continent, only paying his first lengthy visit as president in 2013, after his re-election. Asian and European cities have hosted numerous summits for African leaders, ending with ceremonies to sign agreements worth billions of dollars.

Read more at The Economist »

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Transport Chiefs From Five Countries to Visit Chicago Ahead of U.S.-Africa Summit
Ambassador David Shinn on the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

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Tadias Interview: Ngozi Nmezi, Director of the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs

Ngozi Nmezi is the Director of the Washington, DC Mayor's Office on African Affairs - OAA (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, August 1st, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – Did you know that four out of ten foreign-born Africans in Washington, D.C. are from Ethiopia? “In fact, the Ethiopian community makes up 39% of the foreign-born African community here in District of Columbia,” says Ngozi Nmezi, Executive Director of the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (OAA). “That’s followed by Nigeria (16%), Cameroon, Eritrea, Sierra Leone, Morocco, and Ghana.”

Nmezi says that there are over 50 African countries that are represented in the District and since 2010 OAA has hosted an annual festival that celebrates the presence of a diverse and vibrant African community in the U.S. capital – through art, food, culture, history and music – that has quickly become one of the biggest cultural events in Washington. This year’s festival will take place on Sunday at the Ronald Reagan Building (Woodrow Wilson Plaza).

“It will be held on the cusp of President Obama’s historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit,” Nmezi states, noting that the theme of the 2014 event is ‘Africa to DC: Showcasing Diaspora and Diversity and Building One City.’

“Our event is happening on the eve of all the wonderful engagement that our country is doing to strengthen U.S.-Africa relations in terms of building democratic institutions, trade and economic development,” adds Nmezi. She shares that her office also plans to launch an African Business Directory this weekend, “something that we have been working on for the past few months.”

“The directory is going to act as a tool and as a resource for folks who are interested in learning about the wide sector of the African business community in Washington, D.C. from hair-braiders to restaurant owners and from health care providers to attorneys and taxi cab companies. So we are gleaning that information to put together a directory, and at the very least we hope to launch the website by Sunday, August 3rd.”

Current Mayor Vincent Gray will be leaving office soon after losing the Democratic Primary election this past Spring, but Nmezi said she’s hopeful that the Office on African Affairs will continue its service to DC’s African community. “It should not stop from administration to administration,” she said. “The office is here to serve the community and I would hope that the African community really understands that the onus falls on them to continue to be engaged and carry forward all the work we have been able to do as result of them supporting the office.” Nmezi said Mayor Gray has been “a big supporter” of the Office on African Affairs. She highlights September as being “Africa Heritage Month” in DC as declared by Mayor Gray. In addition, Nmezi said, OAA now has legislative grant making authority to issue grants to community based organization that serve Africans. “The Driver’s Safety Act, being able to issue ID cards in the District of Columbia to non-documented immigrants, these are the things that have really benefited and strengthened the African community and it has happened on Mayor Gray’s watch.”

Nmezi states that the upcoming festival features arts and crafts vendors “from a variety of different African countries,” a flag parade around the plaza by community members representing their countries and showing “the fusion of African cultures” in D.C. “We will have a community fashion show and encourage folks who are attending to wear their traditional garbs so that if they are selected they can come up on the stage and detail the history of the garbs that they are wearing,” she said. “We also have wonderful activities for children like face painting, flag making, musical chairs, African games, hair weaving and style demonstrations.”

The entertainment lineup includes a live performance by Grammy-nominated Ethiopian-American singer and songwriter Wayna and the traditional Ethiopian dance group Kignet as well as DJ Underdog (“one of the most sought after DJs in the DC music circuit”), Nmezi states. “We are in for a treat and very excited to bring a diverse set of African Diaspora artists to the festival. Good for family and good people for all ages.”

Ethiopian Airlines is one of the corporate sponsors of the festival and has committed to donating two round-trip tickets to the continent in support of OAA’s ‘We Count Demographics Survey.’ “We encourage everyone to please fill out that survey which will help us understand what the numbers of African immigrants in the District look like, such as what kind of services they are using and of course how we can improve upon those services that they’re using,” she said.


If You Go:
5th Annual DC Africa Festival
Sunday, August 3, 2014 | 12:00 PM – 06:00 PM
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center – Woodrow Wilson Plaza
1300 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington DC 20004
RSVP Required | Register Here

Photos: The 2013 DC Africa Festival

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First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks on Girls’ Education at Presidential Summit for Young African Leaders

Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia Yonas Moges, Helawi Sewnet, Mesganaw Mulugeta Assefa, Michael Addisu, Haleta Fisseha and Edda Zekarias at the YALI Summit in D,C. on July 30th, 2014. (Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tseday Alehegn

Published: Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS)- At yesterday’s Presidential Summit for Young African Leaders First Lady Michelle Obama gave a speech focusing on increasing girls’ access to education. Addressing the 2014 Mandela Washington Fellows and invited guests at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, the U.S. First Lady stated “Many of you are barely half my age, yet you have already founded businesses and NGOs. You’ve served as leaders in your government.. so you all represent the talent, energy, and diversity that is Africa’s life blood, and it is an honor to host you here.” She added “The roots of my family tree is in Africa. The blood of Africa runs through my veins.”

The First Lady pointed out that while great strides have been made by women in Africa — including that “the number of women who serve in parliament in Rwanda is over 50%, which by the way is more than double the percentage of women in the U.S. House” — greater efforts are still needed to address the consequences of harmful traditional practices.

“While I have great respect for cultural differences, I think we can all agree that things like female genital cutting, forced marriages, and domestic violence are not legitimate cultural practices,” The First Lady stated. “They are serious human rights violations, and they have no place in any country on this earth.”

Acknowledging the struggles girls face in pursuing their dreams for education, The First Lady shared her own unlikely ascent to leadership. Quoting Nelson Mandela, she stated “As Madiba once said: ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done,’” and she recounted her beginnings. “My ancestors came in chains. My grandparents and parents knew the sting of inequality. Yet I attended some of the best universities, and today I live in the White House, in a home that was constructed by slaves.” Following a standing ovation, The First Lady continued: “And I know my story and the story of my country is the story of the impossible getting done, and I know that can be your story.”

The First Lady also highlighted the stories of several Mandela Washington Fellows including that of Fikiri Nzoyisenga from Burundi who created a youth coalition to address violence against girls.

Mrs. Obama’s speech was preceded by a forum on ‘Enabling Inclusive Economic Development,’ hosted by Ambassador Michael Froman. Panelist Steve Case, Founder of AOL, shared how only 3% of Americans were online at the time that he created AOL .”It took us 10 years to get 1 million people online,” he said. “It was not easy in the beginning to literally get Americans online.” Citing how the Mandela Washington Fellows have grown up in a more connected world, he noted: “Now we are seeing some of the great technologies coming out of Africa such as mobile banking. Some of the best ideas may not start in Silicon Valley; they may start in Nairobi.” He added: “The mentality of mobile first would create new infrastructure, but we also must make sure that the regulations in place make it easier for startup culture.”

Responding to a question from Ghanaian Fellow Ethel Delali Cofie regarding how to stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive, Steve Case responded that “competition is a signal that [your idea] is a big idea, so competition is a good thing.” Case also encouraged Fellows interested in entrepreneurship to remember the three Ps: “People, Partnerships, and Possibility.”

Panelist Alexa von Tobel, Founder of Learnvest, encouraged the audience to “dream big and perceive yourself as customer #1 when trying to solve a problem.” She admitted that it does take time to get ideas off the ground, but it helps to “pay it forward, look ahead, and get to work everyday.” Von Tobel also noted that “competition helps to sharpen your decision skills.”

Panelist Tcheguan Adebo Koba, Washington Fellow, addressed the need to go beyond acknowledging the rapid economic growth in African countries and find ways to make societies more inclusive. He lauded the Mandela Washington Fellowship’s public management track and called for greater opportunities for African youth entrepreneurs to gain access to markets across regional borders.

Yonas Moges, one of the 13 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia, told Tadias that he is inspired by his experiences as a participant. “I strongly feel the time has come to shine for Africa with the brilliant fellows I have met,” he said. Yonas has worked for more than a decade in the hospitality industry while focusing on international hotel chains. He is currently Managing Partner at Calibra Hospitality Consultancy and Business Plc, and “advises local developers in hotel design concept development, site selection, conducting feasibility studies, searching and selecting for hotel operators, and sourcing debt and equity finance for hotel projects.”

What has Yonas enjoyed most about the Young African Leaders Summit so far? “The networking, attending Obama’s speech and how he is simple to relate to for any aspiring young person, and community service culture in USA,” he shared.

Below are some photos from the Presidential Summit for Young African Leaders.



Related:
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U.S.-AFRICA SUMMIT 2014: Preview
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Ambassador David Shinn on the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

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The World Tweets for Zone 9 Bloggers

A worldwide, multilingual Tweetathon under the hashtag #FreeZone9Bloggers was held on Thursday, July 31st calling attention to the case of the jailed Ethiopian bloggers and journalists. (Image: Zone9 Tumblr)

Aljazeera

Press freedom activists demand release of Ethiopian bloggers charged with terrorism

July 31, 2014

Calls for press freedom in Ethiopia are resurging with the upcoming trial of 10 bloggers and journalists. Some members of the group are part of the blogging collective Zone 9, and were charged earlier this month under Ethiopia’s widely-criticised anti-terrorism law.

Arrested in April, the bloggers and journalists’ trial begins on August 4, and some predict that it may last until the national elections in May 2015. Atnaf Berahane, Befekadu Hailu, Abel Wabela, Mahlet Fantahun, Natnael Feleke, and Zelalem Kibret are the six Zone 9 bloggers currently in custody, along with independent journalists Tesfalem Waldyes, Edom Kassaye, and Asmamaw Hailegiorgis. The tenth, Soliana Shimeles, lives in the United States and is being tried in absentia.

From Egypt to the United States, many expressed their support for the detained using #FreeZone9Bloggers in a tweetathon on July 31 started by Global Voices. The hashtag has been used over 10,000 times in the past month.

Read more at Aljazeera »

Related:
41 Organizations Call for Release of Detained Ethiopian Journalists and Bloggers
As Ethiopia’s ‘Zone 9′ Bloggers Get Popular, They Get Charged With Terror
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Interview With the Lawyer of Illegally Detained Zone9 Bloggers
CPJ condemns closed court hearings for nine Ethiopian journalists
Zone9 Co-Founder Speaks Out (Video)

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We Must Not Look Away From the Crises in Africa by Maaza Mengiste

A single photo focused the world’s attention on Sudan in 93. As Gaza and MH17 dominate, Africa’s horrors remain invisible. (Photo: Kevin Carter)

The Guardian

By Maaza Mengiste

Thursday 31 July 2014

In the photograph a little girl is hunched low, head bent to the ground, ribs jutting out from a too-small body wasting away from starvation. A few feet behind her, a vulture waits, avid and focused, for her to die. When this photograph, taken in southern Sudan in 1993 by the late photojournalist Kevin Carter, was published, the outcry from the public was immediate and visceral. Questions of ethics, and inquiries on how to help, flooded the New York Times. The Pulitzer prize-winning photo riveted the world and directed attention to the devastating famine in the country.

As controversial as the picture was, as problematic as it may have been for Carter to shoot it while the young girl sat, helpless prey to a vulture, the image sparked worldwide interest in the famine. People noticed and, suddenly, people cared.

Now, three years after independence, South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, is expected to declare that it is once again in a state of famine. The crisis has been caused by conflict between government forces and various opposition groups. Four million people are facing emergency levels of food shortages. One and a half million have been displaced and 50,000 children are at risk of death from malnutrition.

The situation has been called the most rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis today, but without an image startling enough to make the headlines, it has remained invisible. The world’s gaze is being directed elsewhere, towards the devastating news emerging daily from Gaza and the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

South Sudan is not the only African nation in crisis. There is also the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The three cases share one striking similarity: not enough attention is being paid to what’s going on. In trying to explain why, journalists blame the lack of bureau offices outside key cities in a few countries. Some point to news outlets’ financial struggles, and the shrinking number of journalists conducting immersive stories. Time is too short, money too tight, people too few.

Read more at The Guardian »

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Ethiopian Photojournalist Aziza Mohamed Held Without Charge

Ethiopian Photojournalist Aziza Mohamed. (Photo: Facebook)

CPJ

July 31, 2014

Nairobi – CPJ is alarmed by the detention of Addis Guday (“Addis Affairs”) photojournalist Aziza Mohamed, who has been in custody for two weeks without charge. Police arrested Aziza on July 18 while she was covering Muslim protests near Anwar Mosque in the capital Addis Ababa, local journalists told CPJ. She is being held at the Addis Ababa police headquarters.

Police investigators presented Aziza before the Kirkos First Bench Court today but requested further time for their probe before bringing formal charges, local journalists said. According to local journalists who attended the hearing, police told the court that Aziza was inciting protesters to violence during the demonstration. However, Aziza told colleagues who visited her in detention that plainclothes policemen arrested her in a café near the protests, likely after noticing her camera. Police searched Aziza’s home on July 26 and confiscated several music compact discs, local journalists said.

Read more at CPJ.ORG »

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UPDATE: Last of Four Missing Ethiopian Athletes Found Safe in Washington State

From left to right: Amanuel Abebe Atibeha, 17, Dureti Edao, 18, Meaza Kebede, 18, Zeyituna Mohammed, 18. All four were located safe days after being reported missing. (Oregon Daily Emerald)

Oregon Daily Emerald

By Victor Flores

Zeyituna Mohammed, the last of four Ethiopian track and field athletes reported missing from the IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene this past weekend, was found safe in Federal Way, Washington by Federal Way Police Tuesday night, according to University of Oregon Police Department spokesman Kelly McIver.

Federal Way Police located Muhammed, 18, at an acquaintance’s residence. UOPD received information from someone in Federal Way that Mohammed was there and asked Federal Way Police to do a welfare check.

Two Ethiopian track and field coaches reported late Friday evening that Muhammed and three of her fellow Ethiopian athletes had not checked into their rooms in a UO residence hall. Muhammed’s teammates – Amanuel Abebe Atibeha, 17, Dureti Edao, 18, and Meaza Kebede, 18 — were found safe in Beaverton, Oregon by police Monday afternoon.

The missing persons case is now closed, and the UOPD and UO will no longer be involved with these athletes’ situation.

“Law enforcement’s only interest was in confirming the safety of the individuals reported missing,” McIver wrote in a press release.

Some have speculated that the four athletes sought asylum in the United States, but that has not been confirmed. Ethiopians were the third largest group of people to receive asylum in the U.S. in 2012, behind China and Egypt.

Read more at Oregon Daily Emeralds »

Related:
Four Ethiopian athletes missing from World Junior championships (Oregon Daily Emerald)
Ethiopians Sweep Gold-Silver in 5000m World Junior Championships in Oregon (IAAF)

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Ethiopia Says U.K. Review of Aid Is Based on Fabricated Claims

Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry says the Gambella resettlements were voluntary and successfully achieved their goal of improving public services in sparsely populated areas. (Image: Wikimedia commons)

Bloomberg News

By William Davison

Jul 30, 2014

A British court’s decision to allow a judicial review of aid given to Ethiopia is based on “fabrications” about a resettlement program propagated by people outside the country, the Horn of Africa nation’s Foreign Ministry said.

The High Court in London on July 14 said a review could be conducted into whether the U.K.’s aid agency is adequately monitoring the human-rights record of Ethiopia’s government. The ruling came after an Ethiopian citizen said his government had used aid to implement a resettlement program in the western Gambella region under which he suffered abuses. The program forcibly moved tens of thousands of people and involved “serious human rights violations,” according to Human Rights Watch. The U.K.’s development agency said it didn’t fund the program.

Ethiopia is enacting a five-year economic growth plan in a bid to reduce poverty and develop industries beyond agriculture, which accounts for 80 percent of employment, according to the United Nations.

Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry said the Gambella resettlements were voluntary and successfully achieved their goal of improving public services in sparsely populated areas.

Read more at Bloomberg News »

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