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

Gambella, Ethiopia. (Photo: VOA)

VOA News

By Marthe van der Wolf

October 30th, 2014

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

Ethiopia’s South Sudan Refugees Beyond Capacity

VOA News

By Marthe van der Wolf

October 27, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


“Made in China” may be leaving your wardrobe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at NPR.org »

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Abaynesh Asrat Honored with People of Distinction Humanitarian Award

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, October 26th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Business Standard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »

Doctor in NYC is Diagnosed With Ebola
Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola
Ebola: Africa’s Image Takes a Hit
U.S. Embassy: No Confirmed or Suspected Cases of Ebola in Ethiopia
Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

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Ebola Comes to New York

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

The New York Times


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

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

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

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

Read more at The New York Times »

Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola
Ebola: Africa’s Image Takes a Hit
U.S. Embassy: No Confirmed or Suspected Cases of Ebola in Ethiopia
Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

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

Photo Courtesy: Hub of Africa Fashion Week.

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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International Symposium: Legacies of the Italian Occupation of Ethiopia

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

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Press release

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

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

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

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

11:15-11:30 Coffee break

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

1:00-2:30 Lunch Break

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

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

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

If You Go:
OCTOBER 24, 2014
NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò
24 West 12th Street, NYC

(Cover images courtesy: NYU & DCStamps)

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14th Anniversary of Taitu Cultural and Educational Center

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Arabica in Addis Ababa: Climbing the Coffee Ladder in Ethiopia

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

Aljazeera America

By James Jeffrey

October 20, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »

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

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

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

Bloomberg News

Oct 19, 2014

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

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

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

Read more at Bloomberg News »

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

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In Ethiopia, Foreign Investment is a Fancy Word for Stealing Land

Executive director Birinder Singh in the Ethiopian offices in Addis Ababa for Bangalore-based Karuturi. (Photo Credit: Alfredo Bini)


By Daniel A. Medina

It’s been called by some to be a new form of colonialism. Others say it is outright theft.

Since 2000, over 37 million hectares of land, mainly in the world’s poorest nations, have been acquired by foreign investors “without the free, prior, and informed consent of communities” in what, according to Oxfam and other organizations, constitutes a “land grab.” It’s a portion of land twice the size of Germany, according to researchers.

More than 60% of crops grown on land bought by foreign investors in developing countries are intended for export, instead of for feeding local communities. Worse still, two-thirds of these agricultural land deals are in countries with serious hunger problems. A report by the University of Virginia in collaboration with the Polytechnic University of Milan says that a third to a fourth (pdf, p. 1) of the global malnourished population, or 300 to 550 million people, could be fed from the global share of land grabs.

Instead, the land is used to grow profitable crops—like sugarcane, palm oil, and soy. The benefits of this food production “go to the investors and to the countries that are receiving the exports, and not to the benefit of local communities,” says Paolo D’Odorico, professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia. He attributes the phenomenon to a global “commodification of land” and says the problem will only get worse in the coming years as food prices continue to rise globally.

Land grabs in the developing world create a system so unequal that resource-rich countries become resource dependent.

In Ethiopia, one of the world’s largest recipients of foreign aid, the problem is particularly acute. In a country where over 30% of the population (pdf) is below the food poverty line, crops are exported abroad—primarily to India, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.

Multinationals buy up the land from the Ethiopian government for lease and bring in workers to farm it.
Favorable climate conditions and government relief have led Ethiopia to be chosen as a new production site by many flower growers present in Kenya. Bangalore-based Karuturi Global, the world’s largest rose exporter, has rose plantations in the country, and is planning the development of a 300,000-hectare lease in the Gambella area.

Read more and view photos at qz.com »

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Genzebe Dibaba Makes Final Shortlist for 2014 IAAF World’s Athlete of the Year

Ethiopia's Genzebe Dibaba has made the final three-person shortlist for the 2014 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Athlete of the Year Award. (Photo: Wikimedia)



October 17, 2014

Kenya’s Dennis Kipruto Kimetto and Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba have made the final three-person shortlist for the 2014 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Athlete of the Year Award.

The duo are the only Africans still in contention to become the 2014 IAAF World Athletes of the Year after the IAAF announced the names of the three men and three women finalists for the award on Friday.

Dennis Kimetto, the new world marathon record-holder, has had an incredible year after smashing the previous world record held by compatriot Wilson Kipsang in 2:02:57 at the Berlin Marathon on September 28.

Kimetto, 30, also holds the Chicago Marathon (2:03:45) and the Tokyo Marathon (2:06:50) course records.

Genzebe Dibaba also had an unbelievable year. The Ethiopian became the World Indoor 1500m champion in Sopot in March, and broke three indoor world records before taking the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech in September and winning IAAF Diamond Race.

The finalists were selected after a two-week-long poll of the world athletics family – made up of IAAF & IAF Council members; IAAF national member federations; IAAF Committee & Commission members; IAAF meeting directors; IAAF athlete ambassadors; athletes’ representatives; top athletes; members of the international press; IAAF staff members and the IAAF’s official partners.

Read more and see the finalists for the IAAF World Athlete of the Year »

Genzebe Dibaba Wants More World Records

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Fastest Growing African Shoe-Brand ‘SoleRebels’ Launches Flagship US Store

SoleRebels' Founder and CEO Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu. (Courtesy photo)

Forbes Magazine

By Farai Gundan

Named one of the 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa in 2011 by FORBES, celebrated Ethiopian entrepreneur, Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu launched her first US offering at the beginning of this month; a flagship store of her eco-friendly shoe brand, SoleRebels, in Silicon Valley, California. The Ethiopian shoe brand’s first international retail space is located at Westfield Valley Fair Mall in San Jose, California, an upscale indoor shopping mall in Silicon Valley.

The SoleRebels founder & Chief Executive Officer said in a statement, “I am totally vibed to open our first US soleRebels store in Silicon Valley. We have waited a while to open our first US store because we wanted to find the perfect place to open our first US location.” Alemu described her company’s new store location in the Bay Area as “a place that epitomized the creativity, innovation, craziness, disruption and the overall WALK NAKED ethos that soleRebels is all about. Silicon Valley is the epicenter of all these things and so it’s the perfect place to launch our US retail store business and I imagine there are quite a few folks in and around Silicon Valley who can’t wait to be able to ‘walk naked.’”

Read more at Forbes.com »

Silicon Valley: Here Come Ethiopia’s SoleRebels
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Still No Sign of Missing Ethiopian Mom Almaz Gebremedhin in Wylie, Texas

Almaz Gebremedhin, a mother of two, hasn't been seen since October 2nd, 2014. (Family photograph)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Nearly two weeks after the disappearance of Almaz Gebremedhin in Wylie, Texas police say there is still no break in the case. Almaz, a 42-year-old mother of two who’s employed at a nearby nursing home, was last seen leaving her house headed for work at five a.m. on Thursday October 2nd.

The spokesperson for Wylie Police Department, Detective Nuria Arroyo, told Tadias Magazine the authorities are still investigating all clues that may lead to Almaz and her car — a silver 2004 Chevrolet Ventura van with the license plate CVZ-8041 — which also has not been located since the day Almaz went missing.

“Detectives continue to search for her, her vehicle, and are following up on any possible leads they may receive,” Detective Arroyo said.

Meanwhile the local Ethiopian American community is offering reward money of over $15,000 for information on the whereabouts of Almaz Gebremedhin who is originally from Ethiopia and is married to Sisay Zelelew, her husband of 16 years. They have two children, ages 8 and 10.

Wylie Police asks that anyone with information should contact the department at 972-442-8171.

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

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Census: Foreign-born Africans Most Educated Immigrants in the U.S.

(Graph: U.S. Census Bureau, 2008-2012 American Community Survey, 5-years estimates)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Thursday, October 16th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest American Community Survey 41% of the African-born population in the United States obtained bachelor’s degrees or higher between 2008 and 2012 compared with 28% of the overall foreign-born U.S. population.

The study, which was released this month, indicates a rapid population growth among the foreign-born African community in the United States. In the past two decades, the document says, a large number of Africans came to America through the Green Card lottery system, which partially explains African immigrants’ higher educational level. “A relatively high proportion of immigrants from Africa entered the United States on diversity visas (24 percent as compared with 5 percent of the overall foreign born), which require a high school diploma or equivalent work experience,” the report states.

The survey gives a conservative estimate of the total number of African immigrants currently residing in U.S at less than 2 million. Nonetheless the census report, authored by Christine P. Gambino, Edward N. Trevelyan, and John Thomas Fitzwater, provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date data on the community. The document notes that between 2008-–2012 there were “39.8 million foreign-born people that resided in the United States, including 1.6 million from Africa.” Since the 1970s, “during the following four decades, the number of foreign born from Africa grew rapidly, roughly doubling each decade.”

The report states that a vast majority of the foreign-born population from Africa migrated to the United States after 1990. “The timing of this movement was driven in part by historical changes. Outmigration from Africa increased rapidly after World War II, as migrants responded to the pull of educational opportunities and jobs abroad. While the first waves of postwar migrants went to other African countries and former colonial powers of Europe, migration to the United States increased in the 1970s as economies faltered and new restrictions were placed upon immigration in Western Europe. More immigrants from Africa were admitted to the United States after the U.S. Immigration Act of 1965, which replaced the national origin quota system favoring immigration from Europe with a new law prioritizing skilled labor, family unification, and humanitarianism. In addition, nearly a quarter of all immigrants from Africa to the United States in 2010 entered as refugees or received asylum as a result of ethnic conflict or civil war, particularly in countries such as Somalia, Liberia, and Sudan. The rate of African-born immigrants arriving and staying in the United States accelerated further as immigrant networks grew and pathways were established.”

In terms of geographic distribution, New York, California, Texas, and Maryland are listed as the top four states that are home to more than 100,000 residents from the African continent. “The largest African-origin countries for Washington DC were Ethiopia and Nigeria. The largest African-born populations in Minneapolis-St. Paul were from Somalia and Ethiopia. In Los Angeles and San Francisco, leading African countries of birth included Egypt, Nigeria, and Ethiopia. The largest African-origin countries in the New York metropolitan area were Egypt and Ghana, each composing just under 20 percent of the total African born.”

In the Washington, DC, metro area the foreign-born population was more than three times the national percentage (13 percent). In addition, several other U.S. cities are spotlighted as having pockets of African-born populations (between 20,000 and 35,000) such as Columbus, Ohio and Baltimore, Maryland. While Midwestern states like Minnesota are mentioned as magnets that attract East African immigrants including Ethiopians and Somalians, the West Coast numbers are below the national average: Los Angeles (1.5 percent), San Francisco (1.8 percent), and San Diego (2.2 percent).

“Of the 1.6 million foreign born from Africa in the United States the largest African-born populations were from Nigeria and Ghana in Western Africa; Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia in Eastern Africa; Egypt in Northern Africa; and South Africa in Southern Africa,” the report continued. “Of these seven, the four largest were Nigeria (221,000 or 14 percent of the African-born population), Ethiopia (164,000 or 10 percent), Egypt (143,000 or 9 percent), and Ghana (121,000 or 8 percent), together constituting 41 percent of the African-born total.”

You can read the full report at www.census.gov.

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Marcus Samuelsson’s Latest Project: New Book Called ‘Marcus Off Duty’

Marcus Samuelsson's latest project is a new cookbook, “Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home.” The book is a collection of recipes – many of them inspired by his travels across America. (NYT)

The New York Times

By Anahad O’Connor

The chef Marcus Samuelsson has a rule: No matter where he is in the world, he has to exercise at least four times a week.

Often that means he runs. Running is how Mr. Samuelsson clears his mind, mulls over projects and thinks up new recipes. It is a process that has apparently served him well.

Mr. Samuelsson, who was born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden, rose to fame in the food world as the executive chef of Aquavit. He is a best-selling author, winner of the show Top Chef Masters, and owner of the Harlem restaurant Red Rooster.

Mr. Samuelsson’s latest project is a new cookbook, “Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home.” The book is a collection of recipes – many of them inspired by his travels across America – that he uses in his own kitchen, where he cooks for his wife, friends and family.

Recently, I caught up with Mr. Samuelsson in Harlem, where we talked about his approach to food and health. Mr. Samuelsson let me tag along on one of his workouts in Marcus Garvey Park, then whipped up a recipe from his new book: quinoa with broccoli, cauliflower and toasted coconut.

Here are edited excerpts from our conversation, along with the recipe for his quinoa dish, which was both healthy and tasty.

Read the Q & A and watch video at NYT »

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Lelisa Desisa and Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia Win Boston Half-Marathon

The 2014 Boston Half-marathon winners and Ethiopian natives Lelisa Desisa and Mamitu Daska congratulate each other after their victory in Boston on Sunday, October 12th. (Associated Press )

By Associated Press

Sunday, October 12, 2014

BOSTON — Mamitu Daska and Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia have won the Boston Athletic Association Half Marathon.

Daska established a new event record Sunday of 1:08:20.

Desisa earned his second consecutive B.A.A. Half Marathon victory in 1:01:38. He won last year’s Boston Marathon and B.A.A. Half Marathon.

The B.A.A. Half Marathon is the third and final event of the 2014 B.A.A. Distance Medley, a three-race series combining the B.A.A. 5K on April 19, the B.A.A. 10K on June 22 and B.A.A. Half Marathon. More than 2,000 of the half-marathon’s entrants were participants in the three races this year.

Speaking through a translator, Daska said she hoped to set a course record.

The 30-year-old Daska won $40,000. She pledged to donate $5,000 to The One Fund Boston in honor of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Read more at The Boston Herald »

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

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‘Difret’ Submitted for Oscar Consideration for Best Foreign Language Film

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, October 11th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The Ethiopian film Difret, written and directed by Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, has been submitted as Ethiopia’s entry for Oscar consideration under the Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language Film category.

Difret is one of a record 83 foreign-language films being considered for the 2015 Oscar, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced Friday.

“Countries from around the world were invited to submit one film each by October 1st. The films will now be screened for Academy committees, which will winnow the list down to a short-list of nine films that will be announced in December,” The Hollywood Reporter notes. “The five nominees, that will be drawn from that list, will be announced on Jan. 15, when the full list of nominees for the 87th Academy Awards are revealed.”

The award ceremony is due to be held on February 22, 2015 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

According to the Oscar nomination rules for foreign-language movies: “Films competing must have been first released in the country submitting them and must have been exhibited for at least seven consecutive days in a commercial movie theater.”

The first Oscar submission from Ethiopia was Atletu, a 2009 film about Abebe Bikila, directed by Davey Frankel and Rasselas Lakew.

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

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

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Oregon’s First Lady Admits to Secret Past: A Green-Card Marriage to Ethiopian Teen

First Lady of the state of Oregon, Cylvia Hayes, at a news conference in Portland, Oregon on Thursday, October 9th, 2014. Hayes admitted that she had married an Ethiopian teen for a green-card. (AP photo)

The Washington Post

By Lindsey Bever

A few years ago, Oregon’s first lady, Cylvia Hayes, shared her rags-to-riches journey — from her dilapidated childhood home in Washington state, to a tent on government land in Oregon, to the governor’s mansion, where she now lives with Gov. John Kitzhaber (D).

But she never mentioned the Ethiopian immigrant she married 17 years ago and divorced in 2002. When stories seeped out this week that she helped him obtain U.S. residency in exchange for $5,000, she said she needed the cash.

“It was a marriage of convenience,” she said in a statement. “He needed help, and I needed financial support.”

Hayes, 47, wiped away tears during a news conference Thursday, explaining that when she married the 18-year-old immigrant in 1997, she was “associating with the wrong people” and attempting to pay for classes at Evergreen State College near Seattle. She said she used the money to buy a laptop and cover school expenses. She was so “ashamed and embarrassed” of the illegal union she never even told Kitzhaber, her fiance — until the Willamette Week peeked into her past earlier this week.

Hayes was twice divorced and not yet 30 when she married an Ethiopian teenager identified as Abraham B. Abraham, who she met through a mutual acquaintance in Washington state. He was allegedly trying to stay in America to earn a college education.

Hayes said the two saw each other only a handful of times and never lived together.

Abraham eventually earned a mathematics degree from Greensboro College in North Carolina. He now lives in the Washington, D.C., area, according to public records. He declined to respond to calls and texts from the Willamette Week, and he refused to speak to a reporter who went to his home.

Read more at The Washington Post »

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Reward Increased to $15,000 for Tips on Missing Ethiopian Woman in Texas

Almaz Gebremedhin hasn't been seen since Thursday, October 2nd, 2014. (Family photo: WFAA)

Dalla News

By Valerie Wigglesworth

A reward has been increased for $15,000 for information on the whereabouts of a Wylie woman missing since Oct. 2.

Wylie Police say Almaz Gebremedhin, 42, was last seen at 5 a.m. that day as she left her home in the 1500 block of Windward Lane to go to work at a nursing home. She is 5 feet tall, 150 pounds, and has black hair and brown eyes. She was wearing scrubs when she disappeared.

Her vehicle — a silver 2004 Chevrolet Ventura van with the license plate CVZ-8041 — is also still missing, police say.

Gebremedhin has been married for 16 years to Sisay Zelelew. The couple have two children, ages 8 and 10.

Anyone with information should call Wylie Police at 972-442-8171.

Local Ethiopian Community Offers Reward for Clues on Missing Texas Woman
Texas Police Searching for Missing Mother of Two Almaz Gebremedhin

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Ethiopia Nominates Dr. Catherine Hamlin for Nobel Peace Prize

Dr. Catherine Hamlin, founder of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, has been nominated for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, which will be announced Friday, October 10th. (Photo courtesy: Hamlin Fistula USA)

VOA News

By Marthe van der Wolf

October 09, 2014

ADDIS ABABA — The Ethiopian government has nominated 90-year-old Dr. Catherine Hamlin for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. The doctor has been running a fistula clinic for 40 years.

On a beautiful compound hidden in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, you can find the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.

Fistula is an abnormal connection between an organ, vessel or intestine and another part of the body.

The fistula hospital was established by Australian doctor Catherine Hamlin and her late husband in 1974.

Unlike other hospitals

Unlike many other hospitals, this one is not overcrowded and the facility is very well maintained. There are a total of 147 beds. In one of the rooms lies 35-year-old Rahima from Arsi, a southwestern part of Ethiopia.

Rahima gave birth to a baby three months ago, but labor complications led to fistula.

She says that due to the labor problems she would leak urine. It wasn’t that much in the beginning, but she was ashamed and tried hiding it by staying at home for weeks. She says that when the flow increased she went to her local hospital and was told to be treated in Addis Ababa.

Rahima is not the only fistula patient.

Poor access to health facilities leaves 1 in 16 women in Africa with fistula and other serious risks during pregnancy or childbirth, especially those living in rural areas. Fistula is caused due to prolonged and obstructed labor.

It leaves women incontinent and without having control over their bladders. Urine can flow continuously and because of this; many women are isolated and rejected from their communities.

Midwife training

Australian doctor Catherine Hamlin and her husband came to Ethiopia in 1959 to train midwifes. They were faced with the fistula problem and noticed the lack of knowledge and treatment for this injury.

The Hamlins developed and improved treatment technologies to help Ethiopian women. Their work has now resulted in a nomination for this years’ Nobel Peace Prize.

According to hospital director Martin Andrews, Dr. Hamlin’s humble personality makes her not want to seek attention for herself. Andrews says that she is delighted with the recognition and hopes the nomination will create more awareness:

“Her biggest concern is the lack of health professionals in rural Ethiopia. And anything that will raise awareness to that problem and trying to bring a solution for that problem is what would really help,” said Andrews.

Besides having set up five fistula clinics in Ethiopia, the Hamlin doctors have treated over 40,000 women and trained many nurses.

Nurse Tenadew Bekele was selected in nursing school to come work at the fistula hospital and has been working there for 26 years. She says that Dr. Hamlin has been a great teacher and mentor for her:

“Anyone can learn form her just by observing, just by following her, by what she is doing. Her activity expresses what she wants to tell for other people to do for the others. So that’s the way of her teaching,” said Bekele.

While fistula was eradicated in the industrialized world in the 1920’s, many developing countries still have thousands of women suffering from fistula.

Hamlins’ practice

The Hamlin way of treating fistula is now being practiced all over the developing world. Every year the hospital brings doctors from the developing world to Ethiopia to teach them about fistula treatments.

The costs are mostly funded by private donations. But the hospital is free of charge for the patients. Fistula patient 30-year-old Amarech says she is happy with the care she has been receiving in the hospital.

She says that if this hospital weren’t here, her only choice would have been to stay home until she would die.

The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize will be announced Friday.

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Local Ethiopian Community Offers Reward for Clues on Missing Texas Woman

42-year-old mother of two, Almaz Gebremedhin, who works as a nurse's assistant, hasn't been seen since she left her home in Wylie, Texas on Thursday, October 2nd, 2014. (Family photo: WFAA)



Family members are still searching for any clues to the whereabouts of Almaz Gebremedhin, 42, a Collin County woman who has been missing since last week.

The local Ethiopian community is also rallying support and has raised money for a reward, which will be offered to anyone offering a significant tip to police that brings Gebremedhin home.

The Wylie Police Department said Gebremedhin has not been seen since Thursday at 5 a.m. as she left her home in the 1500 block of Windward Lane in Wylie to head to her job at a nursing home.

“Four days, no sign of her car — we are in the dark. I am in the dark,” Gebremedhin’s husband Sisay Zelelew said Monday.

The two have been married for 16 years and have two children, ages 10 and 8.

Zelelew says he’s known his wife since she was 16 when the two were living in their native Ethiopia.

“She’s a near perfect person,” he added.

Zelelew said he knew something was very wrong when his children’s school called him, informing him his wife had not picked up the children.

When he called the nursing home to see if she was busy at work, co-workers told him she’d never shown up for her shift.

She is 5 feet tall, 134 pounds, and has black hair and brown eyes. She was wearing scrubs when she disappeared.

Her vehicle — a silver 2004 Chevrolet Ventura van with the license plate CVZ-8041 — is also still missing, according to Wylie police.

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

Texas Police Searching for Missing Mother of Two Almaz Gebremedhin

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Texas Police Searching for Missing Mother of Two Almaz Gebremedhin

Almaz Gebremedhin, 42, hasn't been seen since she left her home in Wylie, Texas on Thursday, October 2nd, 2014. (Family photo: WFAA)


Jobin Panicker, WFAA

WYLIE — Almaz Gebremedhin has been missing now for five days. The 42-year-old mother of two of Ethiopian descent was last seen leaving for work last Thursday.

Sisay Zelelew is hoping for any news that points to where his wife is.

“Every minute, every second, every hour… it’s just like being in the dark,” Zelelew said.

Gebremedhin left for work Thursday morning, but her employer told Zelelew that she didn’t show up there. She also didn’t pick up her two kids from school later that day.

“I don’t how I’m going to handle it without her. I don’t know…I don’t know,” the forlorn father said, standing next to his two young children.

Gebremedhin is a nurse’s assistant, and she works three miles from her home. Zelelew and the Ethiopian community have looked everywhere along that route.

“We don’t get reports like this often,” said Wylie Police Department spokesperson Nuria Arroyo. The department was notified about the disappearance on Thursday afternoon.

“We’ve been looking for her or her vehicle everywhere we can think of, and we have not located either,” Arroyo said. Police are hoping for more tips from the public.

Read more »

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DC Ethiopian Embassy Shooting Sparks Rival Protests

United States Secret Service police are seen standing in front of the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington Sept. 29, 2014, in connection with a shooting incident at the compound. (Photo: Reuters)

VOA News

By Pamela Dockins

October 07, 2014

STATE DEPARTMENT— There is more fallout from a shooting last month near the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington that resulted in the embassy security attache being sent home. The incident sparked rival protests Tuesday near the U.S. State Department, with one group urging the United States to do more to protect the diplomatic compound.

As they waved banners and the Ethiopian flag, about 20 protesters calling themselves Ethiopians for Peace called for more security at the Ethiopian embassy in Washington.

Moulou Assefa said an incident, which resulted in an embassy staffer firing shots at protesters, never should have happened.

“We felt like we had been violated. We had been let down by the [U.S.] Secret Service. They should have protected the embassy,” said Assefa.

He said his group is not against protests, but feels that demonstrators should not be allowed to, in his words, “occupy” embassy grounds.

“Literally, there was a fight. They just took down the Ethiopian flag and they were trying to replace it. This is unheard of,” said Assefa.

As he spoke, about 15 people who were part of that embassy confrontation held a counter-demonstration across the street.

Elizabeth Altaye said they had a warning for the United States concerning the TPLF, the main branch of the Ethiopian government’s ruling party.

“I am protesting to tell America and the American people, TPLF is a terrorist group. [They] take over and become a government and [are] still terrorizing East Africa.”

The two sides were separated by police barricades as they voiced their opposing views.

Diplomat Memo: Ambassador Girma Biru on DC Ethiopian Embassy Shooting

Ethiopia’s ambassador to the US, Girma Biru. (Diplomat News Network)

Diplomat News Network

Washington (Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – The Ethiopian government has pointed its finger at Eritrea and Ethiopian opposition groups over a disturbance that took place at the Ethiopian embassy in Washington.

Ethiopia’s ambassador to the US, Girma Biru, said around 15 people had been involved in the incident, which occurred at the embassy on Monday.

“They first went to the consular service office and rudely demanded to speak to the ambassador. And when the officer told them that they needed an appointment, they insulted him and went out and tried to take down the Ethiopian flag,” he said.

US security forces subsequently took members of the group into custody after they refused to leave peacefully.

The culprits were detained for an hour, with authorities recording their names and addresses, before they were released.

According to the ambassador, no legal demonstration had been planned on the day in question and group members are known to US authorities.

He further went onto saying that the culprits were mercenaries of Eritrea and Ethiopia opposition groups who are reportedly upset by the successful outcome of recent discussion between the leaders of Ethiopia and the United States on boosting cooperation in the areas of trade, peacekeeping and fighting terrorism.

“The individuals are lackeys of few political parties and Shaebia (Eritrea) who use cheap and nasty language to insult Ethiopian government officials that come to the country for business,” he said.

The ambassador said the attack was as a “desperate act” in response to the growing relationship between the two countries.

Ethiopian Diplomat Flees US to Dodge Prosecution, US Official Confirms

A 46-year-old security attache for the Ethiopian Embassy in DC, Solomon Tadesse, whom authorities charged in connection with a Sept. 29 shooting near the building, has left the country, officials said.

The Hill

By Mario Trujillo

An Ethiopian diplomat who allegedly fired a gun during a protest this week at his country’s embassy in Washington, D.C., has left the United States to escape prosecution.

The State Department on Thursday confirmed that it had asked Ethiopia to waive the diplomat’s immunity so he could be prosecuted in U.S. courts, which was refused.

“In this case, we requested a waiver of immunity to permit prosecution of the individual involved in that incident,” State Department press secretary Jen Psaki said. “The request was declined and the individual involved has now left the country.”

Diplomats are expelled from the United States when their host country declines to waive diplomatic immunity.

Psaki, who did not identify the diplomat, said once expelled, individuals typically are not allowed back to the U.S. for any other reason but prosecution.

The Secret Service responded to reports of a gunshot at the Ethiopian Embassy compound on Monday and detained an individual believed to have fired the shot.

No injuries were reported from the incident, which was partially caught on camera with a man in a black suit wielding a handgun amid a small crowd of people before the gunshot is heard.

Reuters reported the man turned himself into authorities but he was not arrested because of his diplomatic immunity.

Ethiopian-Diplomat Flees US After Embassy shooting, State Department Official Says (AFP)

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. (Getty Images)

Washington – An Ethiopian diplomat who opened fire to quell a protest outside his country’s embassy in Washington has left the United States to avoid prosecution, a US official said Thursday.

Secret Service agents arrested the man on Monday after shots were fired in the air in the embassy’s outside compound in the US capital.

Video shown by Ethiopian television ESAT showed a man brandishing and firing a handgun as a small crowd of protesters took down the Ethiopian national flag.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said her bureau had requested that Addis Ababa lift the man’s diplomatic immunity “to permit prosecution of the individual involved in that incident.”

The “request was declined” and in line with State Department regulations “the individual involved has now left the country.”

Psaki gave no further details about the shooting or the person involved.

Read more »

Ethiopian Embassy security attache charged in shooting at building – The Washington Post

The Washington Post

By Victoria St. Martin

A 46-year-old security attache for the Ethio­pian Embassy, whom authorities charged in connection with a Sept. 29 shooting near the building, has left the country, officials said.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said the attache, Solomon Tadesse G. Silasse, was charged with assault with intent to kill while armed in connection with a shooting outside the embassy on International Drive NW.

Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said Silasse has diplomatic immunity. Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the State Department, said authorities requested a waiver of immunity to prosecute Silasse, but the request was denied.

Read more and watch video at The Washington Post »


Video: Shot Fired outside Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, .D.C (FOX)


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

2013 Boston Marathon champion Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia is one of the elite runners scheduled to participate in the 2014 New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 2nd. (Photograph: Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, October 6, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The annual New York City Marathon is upon us. And this year Ethiopia’s hope in the elite men’s competition rests on 24-year-old Lelisa Desisa, the 2013 Boston Marathon champion. The Ethiopian athlete was recently added to the field of “international record-setters and distance-running greats” expected to take part in the 2014 NYC Marathon, which is scheduled for Sunday, November 2nd.

It was also made public this past weekend by Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of New York Road Runners, that defending women’s champion Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya and her fellow countryman, 2014 London Marathon runner-up Stanley Biwott, have withdrawn from the upcoming race due to leg injuries.

In the women’s category 2013 Chicago Marathon runner-up Jemima Sumgong of Kenya has likewise made the roster: “Sumgong will join a decorated collection of past New York City Marathon champions, including Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia (2011), Edna Kiplagat of Kenya (2010), and two-time champion Jelena Prokopcuka of Latvia (2005, 2006).”

Lelisa, who will be making his New York City Marathon debut, is “currently ranked fifth in the 2013–2014 World Marathon Majors Series standings, will challenge a historic men’s field, featuring former world record-holder Wilson Kipsang and two-time defending New York City Marathon champion and second-fastest performer of all time Geoffrey Mutai, both of Kenya,” states the press release.

It’s to be remembered that it was exactly a year ago this month, amidst sporting disappointments for Ethiopia (with the crushing home defeat of the Walyas by Nigeria that interrupted the Ethiopian national soccer team’s momentum to join the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil), that Lelisa once again rose to the occasion delivering the only uplifting news of the day for his country on October 13th, 2013 when he claimed victory at the BAA Half Marathon in Boston, where he had won the full distance six months earlier.

In its news release the New York Road Runners, the organization that overseas the New York City Marathon, added: “[Lelisa] had an exceptional 2013 marathon campaign, recording victories in Dubai and Boston and earning a silver medal at the IAAF World Championships. His time in Dubai, 2:04:45, is the fifth-fastest debut in history. This year, he won the super-competitive RAK Half-Marathon, leading a record eight men under the one-hour barrier.”

The 2014 NYC Marathon on November 2nd will be televised live nationally on ESPN and broadcasted in the New York City metropolitan area on WABC-TV from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Organizers point out that “last year, 50,266 runners crossed the finish line of the New York City Marathon, making it the world’s largest marathon ever. Runners from more than 100 countries and each of the 50 states participated.”

Lelisa Desisa and Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia Win 2014 Boston Half-Marathon
Lelisa Desisa Delivers an Ethiopian Victory Amidst Sporting Disappointments

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Q & A with General Manager of Hilton Addis Ababa Haakon Gaarder-Larsen

Haakon Gaarder-Larsen, General Manager of Hilton Addis Ababa. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, October 3rd, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Hilton Addis Ababa first opened its doors in 1969 with an inaugural ceremony for the ages — led by Emperor Haile Selassie who helped celebrate the launch of the hotel by hosting international dignitaries and diplomats while using the special occasion to introduce international hospitality to Ethiopia. “From that early significant opening, Hilton Addis Ababa has been part of the Addis Ababa city landscape and a leading member of the city’s community for 45 years, and has proudly witnessed the capital’s development into the economic powerhouse it is today” says the hotel’s current General Manager Haakon Gaarder-Larsen in a recent interview with Tadias Magazine. He adds: “As one of the first international hospitality operators in the capital, Hilton Addis Ababa was in the unique position to lead the hospitality sector and has served as a standard-bearing role model for Ethiopia’s evolving tourism industry, setting the standard for others to merge in to the city.”

Haakon, who joined Hilton Addis Ababa in April 2013, has been working in the hospitality industry for 26 years in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Africa. “My first experience with Hilton Worldwide was in Cairo in 2007, where I joined as Director of Operations for Nile Hilton, a hotel with extensive restaurant and bar operations,” he told Tadias.

Hilton Worldwide, Haakon points out, is “the pre-eminent global hospitality company” and remains “synonymous with the word ‘hotel.’ From inaugural balls and Hollywood award galas to business events and days to remember, a Hilton hotel is where the world makes history, closes the deal, toasts special occasions and gets away from it all. Today, the brand continues to be one of the most recognized names in the hospitality industry as an innovative, forward-thinking global leader of hospitality.”

Below is our Q & A with Haakon Gaarder-Larsen, General Manager of Hilton Addis Ababa:

TADIAS: Tell us about some of the unique and historic design features of Hilton Addis Ababa (such as its amenities including a pool that is heated from natural hot springs)?

Haakon Gaarder-Larsen: Hilton Addis Ababa has many unique characteristics designed to reflect the pride we have in Ethiopia and in the capital. The building showcases the unique architectural style of the famous Ethiopian Lalibela Church, globally recognized by UNESCO as an important Historic Heritage Site. The renowned hotel swimming pool was specially designed to mirror the Lalibela Cross and is, uniquely, the only geothermal spring water pool, providing a rare and distinctive attraction for hotel visitors as well as local residents.

TADIAS: As Addis Ababa continues to grow dramatically we have also seen the rise of several high-end hotels in Ethiopia. What are some of the services that make Hilton stand out from the competition?

Haakon: Hilton Worldwide is proud to have been the pre-eminent pioneer to Ethiopian Hospitality Industry and to have encouraged other key players to join the market. As Addis Ababa has grown in size and status in the past 45 years, hospitality has become a significant contributor to the capital’s economic welfare.

Another advantage of being a Hilton Worldwide hotel is the company’s Hhonors loyalty program, it is really more than just a guest loyalty program. With more than 40 million members worldwide, the program goes far beyond the standard with regular, exciting update benefits for members across more than 4200 hotels in 93 countries. Ethiopia also benefits from the system, providing exposure for Addis Ababa as a prominent leisure and business destination to over 40 million potential visitors.

Hilton Addis Ababa’s well known advantage is its compound, and its diverse range of restaurants and bars. From the main Kaffa House restaurant serving various Ethnic food such as Asian Cuisine, Italian, Middle Eastern, Ethiopian are few to mention our famous Gazebo Bar & Restaurant poolside restaurant is also serving a la carte menu. The hotel also offers a fully-equipped Health Club with Geothermal Pool, Massage Rooms, Sauna, Steam Room, Jacuzzi and Hair Salon for both male and female guests. We like to think we cater for all guest needs during their stay.

The hidden advantage of Hilton Addis Ababa is the hotel’s fully equipped long stay apartments. With private entrance and parking, this allows an element of privacy for longer stay guests, corporate business and Embassies.

Finally, and equally important, the hotel is served by a team of well experienced and professional staff. The teams not only expect to meet guest requirements but to also anticipate their needs and there are many examples of delighted guests becoming loyal clients as a result of the difference the staff make to their stay at the hotel. Staff instinctively understand the needs of guests and know their preferences and remember the small details that make people feel so much at home when they come to our hotel.

As many have told us on different occasions they feel an attachment with Hilton Addis Ababa one way or another, some had their own or close family weddings at the hotel; others have fond childhood memories from our recreation center or just hanging out with friends, but all feel a connection as part of us. That’s why the hotel has special packages for diaspora community to come and enjoy everything they remember and to create new memories.

Hilton Addis Ababa recognizes the importance of the Ethiopian key personalities and influencers for the industry, and what better way for us to welcome them back then by offering special packages at the familiar and historic Hilton Addis Ababa, which for most has been a positive part of their lives.

TADIAS: Addis Ababa also serves as the headquarters of both the African Union and UN ECA. How does Hilton Worldwide cater to the city’s diplomatic and international conference needs?

Haakon: Hilton Addis Ababa has been catering to the city’s diplomatic and international conference market from the first day of opening until today. With one of the largest and flexible conference spaces in the capital, we attract the vast majority of the country’s high profile delegations, meetings, balls and conferences. As a Hilton Worldwide hotel, our guests know they have the support, reassurance and quality associated with one of the world’s leading hospitality operators as well as the backing of a team of exceptionally experienced staff members, dedicated to ensuring that every hotel event is a successful one. Guests and event booking specialists can also enjoy the benefits of programs such as “Meeting Simplified” by Hilton. Designed for up to 25 delegates, the system encourages repeat business with an inclusive price from $1,000 and has proved a popular option for many guests.

TADIAS: When did you join Hilton Ethiopia and what was your previous professional background?

Haakon: I have been working in the hospitality industry for 26 years in Europe, North America, Middle East and Africa. My first experience with Hilton Worldwide was in Cairo in 2007, where I joined as Director of Operations for Nile Hilton, a hotel with extensive restaurant and bar operations. I then moved on to Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa located in the Northern Emirate of the United Arab Emirate as a Resort Manager and this led me to opening the first Hilton Garden Inn in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where I worked for four years. I joined Hilton Addis Ababa in April 2013 and have been enjoying every moment since.

TADIAS: Is there anything else that you’d like to share with our readers?

Haakon: We want to let readers know that any visit to Ethiopia would not be complete without a stay at the hotel that pioneered hospitality in the country. And we continue that proud legacy by welcoming guests from around the world with the highest levels of service and the philosophy that at Hilton Addis Ababa our passionate and devoted staff will always go above and beyond the typical hotel service to make it right for guests at all times.

TADIAS: Tell us more about Hilton’s community involvement?

Haakon: Hilton Worldwide believes in making a difference in every community we are part of, one of the means is to provide opportunity to the next generations. Hilton Addis Ababa has been working regularly with schools like Catering and Tourism Training Institute (CTTI) to boost the future of the Hospitality industry by offering first-hand experience for students in the hotel. To support the program, we recently organized a career day to showcase the benefits to local youth of working with a major hospitality company.

We also work with the Ethiopian Red Cross Society and the National Blood Bank, with staff from Hilton Addis Ababa organizing an annual event to contribute blood and supporting the service. This year we took it to the next level by inviting our corporate customers to join us in our annual blood drive and, as a result, collected a record breaking amount. As a key member of the community, Hilton Addis Ababa organizes numerous activities through the year to help make a difference to local people and local communities.

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Motown Founder Salutes Ethiopia Habtemariam at Heroes & Legends Awards

Ethiopia Habtemariam, President of Motown Records. (Photo:Universal Music Group)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Los Angeles (TADIAS) — “I just wanted everybody to know how proud I am of her and how proud I am of the whole company. It’s in great hands now,” said Motown Founder Berry Gordy in a tribute to the historic music label’s current President Ethiopia Habtemariam.

Mr. Gordy was speaking last Sunday at the 25th Annual Heroes and Legends (HAL) Awards ceremony in Hollywood, where Ethiopia was recognized with the HAL Triumph Award. Other honorees at the star-studded event — held at the legendary Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles — included New Edition, the Mary Jane Girls, Warner Music Group’s Ryan Press, and Eddie Floyd.

Ethiopia was promoted to President of Motown Records this past Spring following a major reorganization at Universal Music Group, where she also heads the company’s urban music division.

Video: Motown Legend Berry Gordy Salutes Ethiopia Habtemariam at HAL Awards 2014

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

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In Ethiopia, Paleontologists Are Pushing Back the Clock on Humanity’s Origins

Paleoanthropologist Zeresenay Alemseged beside his discovery, a 3.3 million year old child, an early species in humankind’s lineage. (Image by Amy Maxmen. Ethiopia, 2014.)



Two hammers, two shovels, four rifles. They carried their own tools. Zeresenay Alemseged, a young and driven Ethiopian fossil hunter, joined by four armed soldiers and a government official, was on a mission to the Afar Depression, a region shaped like a tornado in Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley. The Afar is bone-dry, scorching hot, and riddled with scorpions and vipers. It is regularly shaken by earthquakes and sinking deeper into the Earth as the converging tectonic plates beneath it pull apart, and molten magma bubbles up through the cracks. When the magma cools, it forms sharp, basaltic blocks.

Along the road, the boulders blocked Alemseged’s path. He had to stop the car, lift the boulders, drive further, repeat. Dry riverbeds were smoother, but frequently the tires sank in the fine sand, and the men, sweating in the afternoon sun, pushed the jeep onward.

Alemseged was headed to the most dangerous spot within the Afar, which even Indiana Jones-types avoided because of constant conflicts between local tribes. The armed soldiers were his security. Alemseged had no salaried scientific position, and refused to accompany teams led by accomplished researchers going to safer areas with fat grants. If he struck out on his own, he felt sure he could discover academic gold: ancient traces of humankind’s past. This meant funding the expedition out of pocket. “I was the driver, so I didn’t need to pay a driver; I was the cook, so I didn’t need to pay a cook; and I was the only scientist,” Alemseged said.

His aim was to explore an area called Dikika, across from a bank on the Awash River where an American paleontologist, Donald Johansen, had discovered Lucy in 1974. Her ancient skeleton’s partially human, partially chimpanzee features were a clear indication of our descent from the apes. Dikika was the logical next place to look for more fossils, but no one had done so because of the risk presented by battles waged over water and land between the Afar and the Issa, pastoral tribes who inhabit Dikika. But Alemseged, who goes by Zeray (pronounced Zeh-rye), was not deterred.

Alemseged’s bare-bones team reached a vast plain of sand and volcanic ashes. He knew this sediment yielded the type of fossils he was after. In December of 2000, one of the men spotted the top of a skull the size of a small orange in the dirt. Slowly, over a period of years, he and his colleagues carefully unearthed a petite skeleton of a child who had likely died in a flood and been buried in soft sand, 3.3 million years ago. She was a member of Lucy’s species, Australopithecus afarensis, from a period about halfway between today and the time when our lineage went one way and that containing chimpanzees went the other. In 2006, Alemseged and his colleagues published their findings in Nature.

The child was named Selam—a word for peace in several Ethiopian languages, a wish to end the fighting in Dikika. Selam’s gorilla-ish shoulder blades and long fingers betrayed a penchant for swinging on braches. But bones at the base of her head showed that she held it upright and therefore walked on two legs. The size of her skull suggested her brain developed slowly through early childhood, a distinct characteristic of humans from long before modern humans evolved.

“It’s the earliest child in the history of humanity,” Alemseged said, enunciating each word slowly. “That discovery was 100 percent Ethiopian. It was by Ethiopians, on Ethiopian land, led by an Ethiopian scientist.”

Read the full story at Nautilus »

Tadias Interview with Zeresenay Alemseged (2009)

Watch: Dr. Zeray explains the discovery of Selam

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U.S. Secret Service Director Resigns Over Safety Concerns for President Obama, Family

Embattled United States Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned Wednesday following embarrassing missteps that placed President Obama and the first family at risk. (Photo: Getty Images)

The New York Times


October 1st, 2014

WASHINGTON — Julia Pierson, the director of the Secret Service, is resigning in the wake of several security breaches.

The resignation came less than a day after lawmakers from both parties assailed Ms. Pierson’s leadership and said they feared for the lives of the president and others in the protection of the agency.

On Wednesday morning, Ms. Pierson met with Jeh C. Johnson, the secretary of Homeland Security, the department that oversees the Secret Service. In a statement, Mr. Johnson said that he had accepted Ms. Pierson’s resignation, and that he had appointed Joseph Clancy, a former agent in charge of the Presidential Protective Division, to become the agency’s acting director.

Mr. Johnson also said that he was directing his deputy at the Department of Homeland Security to oversee an internal review of the Sept. 19 incident in which an intruder jumped over the fence around the White House and penetrated deep inside the mansion.

Read more at The New York Times »

Video: Threats to Obama last straw, Julia Pierson out (MSNBC)

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U.S. Secret Service Investigating Shooting at Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, DC

The U.S. Secret Service detained a man who officers believe fired a gun near the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, DC on Monday. Witnesses said the gunfire took place inside the embassy compound. (AP)

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP/WJLA) – Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said in an e-mailed statement that Secret Service officers received a report of shots fired near the embassy around 12:15 p.m. Monday. When they arrived, officers detained a man believed to be the shooter.

The Secret Service said there were no reported injuries as a result of the incident.

The embassy is at 3506 International Drive in Northwest Washington. There was no immediate answer at a main embassy telephone number Monday afternoon.

A protest was apparently taking place outside the embassy when the gunshots were fired. A video of the incident was posted to YouTube by Ethiopian Satellite TV [ESAT].

Watch: Man Waves Gun Outside Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C., Shots Fired

A Gunman Opens Fire During Ethiopian Embassy Protest in Washington (Reuters)

A gunman opened fire during a protest on the Ethiopian Embassy grounds on Monday, according to a video of the incident, but no injuries were reported.

A spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service said it had detained a possible shooter after a report at about 12:15 p.m. EDT that shots were fired near the embassy in northwest Washington, D.C.

Witnesses said the gunfire took place inside the embassy compound during a protest against the Horn of Africa nation’s government.

“About half a block from the embassy, I heard at least four shots, and I thought there were people killed,” demonstrator Tesfa Simagne told Reuters Television.

A video taken inside the embassy gates and carried by the website of Ethiopian Satellite Television shows a man wearing a dark suit and brandishing a silver handgun.

He points the weapon at others who argue with him and fires a single shot. Still waving the gun and arguing with protesters, the man backs up to an embassy door and goes inside.

A separate video made by a protester and provided to Reuters showed a bullet hole in the windshield of a car protesters said was outside the embassy gates.

A State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said that no one was hurt. The person believed to have fired the shots turned himself in to authorities, and no arrests were made because he has diplomatic immunity, the official said.

Repeated phone calls to the embassy went unanswered.

Video: Shot Fired outside Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, .D.C (FOX)

By Maureen Umeh

WASHINGTON – Shots were fired outside the Embassy of Ethiopia in D.C. on Monday afternoon.

It happened around 12:15 p.m., according to the U.S. Secret Service.

Officers responded immediately after hearing reports of shots being fired, and they detained and questioned an Ethiopian guard who works at the embassy. He is believed to have fired the shots.

An Ethiopian television network caught the shooting on camera while they were covering a protest at the embassy. FOX 5′s Maureen Umeh has been told similar anti-government protests happen frequently here and are usually peaceful. However, some protesters went onto embassy grounds on Monday and taunted the guard. He responded by firing warning shots, one of which struck a woman’s car and shattering her front window.

No injuries were reported.

The Embassy of Ethiopia is located at 3506 InternationalDrive, NW.

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A Gunman Opens Fire During Ethiopian Embassy Protest in Washington (Video)

United States Secret Service police stand in front of the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington September 29, 2014. (Photo: DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG)


A gunman opened fire during a protest on the Ethiopian Embassy grounds on Monday, according to a video of the incident, but no injuries were reported.

A spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service said it had detained a possible shooter after a report at about 12:15 p.m. EDT that shots were fired near the embassy in northwest Washington, D.C.

Witnesses said the gunfire took place inside the embassy compound during a protest against the Horn of Africa nation’s government.

“About half a block from the embassy, I heard at least four shots, and I thought there were people killed,” demonstrator Tesfa Simagne told Reuters Television.

A video taken inside the embassy gates and carried by the website of Ethiopian Satellite Television shows a man wearing a dark suit and brandishing a silver handgun.

He points the weapon at others who argue with him and fires a single shot. Still waving the gun and arguing with protesters, the man backs up to an embassy door and goes inside.

A separate video made by a protester and provided to Reuters showed a bullet hole in the windshield of a car protesters said was outside the embassy gates.

A State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said that no one was hurt. The person believed to have fired the shots turned himself in to authorities, and no arrests were made because he has diplomatic immunity, the official said.

Repeated phone calls to the embassy went unanswered.

Video: Shot Fired outside Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, .D.C (FOX)

By Maureen Umeh

WASHINGTON – Shots were fired outside the Embassy of Ethiopia in D.C. on Monday afternoon.

It happened around 12:15 p.m., according to the U.S. Secret Service.

Officers responded immediately after hearing reports of shots being fired, and they detained and questioned an Ethiopian guard who works at the embassy. He is believed to have fired the shots.

An Ethiopian television network caught the shooting on camera while they were covering a protest at the embassy. FOX 5′s Maureen Umeh has been told similar anti-government protests happen frequently here and are usually peaceful. However, some protesters went onto embassy grounds on Monday and taunted the guard. He responded by firing warning shots, one of which struck a woman’s car and shattering her front window.

No injuries were reported.

The Embassy of Ethiopia is located at 3506 InternationalDrive, NW.

Video: Man brandishes gun near Ethiopian embassy, shots fired (ESAT video via Reuters)

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A Video-Art Exhibition in Germany by Ethiopian Curator Meskerem Assegued

Curated by Meskerem Assegued the show at the Dresden State Art Collections museum in Dresden, Germany (October 17, 2014 to January 4, 2015) also features work by Ethiopian artist Abel Tilahun.

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: October 1st, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – A video-art exhibition by Ethiopian anthropologist and curator Meskerem Assegued, Founder and Director of Zoma Contemporary Art Center in Addis Ababa, opens this month at Germany’s Dresden State Art Collections (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden) — one of the oldest museum and cultural institutions in the world. The show entitled “Curvature of Events” is an analysis of European art history as interpreted by contemporary video artists, including Ethiopian-born animator Abel Tilahun who teaches at American University in Washington D.C.

“The exhibition is a window into the way Renaissance, Baroque and Romantic artists depicted their society and how artists of our time interpret that perception relating it to the present,” the museum announced. “The curator’s selection and interpretation of the pieces is influenced by a different cultural background than the artists who created them. The curator invited three video artists to look at the selected works and to choose those that interested them most. The video artists used modern media to create a contemporary reaction to art from an earlier time.”

In addition to Abel Tilahun the other artists featured in the exhibition include Gunter Deller of Germany and Barbara Lubich from Italy. The museum notes that Meskerem came up with the idea for “Curvature of Events” during a visit to Dresden (sponsored in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Sub-Sahara Africa) to do research and to develop a concept for an exhibition there. The video display is based on pieces she selected from the permanent collections at the Old Masters Gallery and the Albertinum dating from the mid-1500s to the early 1900s but excluding the last 100 years from 1914 to 2014.

Meskerem has worked with several prestigious art festivals including Venice Biennale (2007), Dak-Art Biennale (2004), as well as organizations such as the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and Santa Monica Museum of Art. “Meskerem Assegued’s curatorial career goes back over twenty years,” states the press release. “During the last sixteen years she has curated several exhibitions in Europe, Africa and North America. She is interested in contemporary artistic expressions that deal with historical and socio-cultural contexts. She believes all social issues are relevant everywhere regardless of socio-political, socio-economic and geographical differences.”

If You Go:
“Curvature of Events”
Baroque. Romanticism. Video
October 17, 2014 to January 4, 2015
Opening event: October 16th, 2014 at 7pm
Galerie Neue Meister, Albertinum
Dresden, Germany

Cover image: Courtesy of Meskerem Assegued

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Ethiopian American Council Endorses Mike Honda for Re-Election

Congressman Mike Honda represents California's 17th Congressional district in Silicon Valley. (AP photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, September 28th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Few politicians in America could claim as close a relationship with the Ethiopian community in their district and beyond as U.S. Congressman Mike Honda of California. Mr. Honda, who is the Founder of the Ethiopian American Congressional Caucus, was also one of the keynote speakers at the recent Ethiopian soccer tournament held in San Jose. Tadias Magazine has learned that Congressman Honda, who is up for re-election in November, will be endorsed by the Ethiopian American Council (EAC) in his bid to retain his seat, which he first assumed in 2001.

In a letter sent to Mr. Honda’s office this week, and shared with Tadias, EAC informed the Congressman that given his “long years of service” to the community the Ethiopian American organization is prepared to back his campaign both in fundraising and voter drive efforts.

“The Ethiopian-American Council of North America wishes to thank you for your past service, and your record holds vast evidence that you are concerned with the rights and general welfare of all Americans – with a keen eye on immigrant and ethnic communities,” stated the letter. “We will endorse you and we will lend as much financial and social support as we deem appropriate to ensure that Ethiopian-American voters, and any other citizens we are able to encourage, will go to the polls for you.”

The letter mentions Honda’s commitment to provide “a meaningful path to citizenship for law-abiding undocumented immigrants” and his heritage as a third generation Japanese American and his experience in an internment camp in Colorado where his family was sent when he was only one year old. “With people such as yourself in office, hope remains that such an egregiously wrong action will never happen again to any ethnic or immigrant community in the United States of America,” wrote EAC.

In a statement posted on his website Congressman Honda, who is now 73-years-old, explains his early life as follows: “Though I was born in Walnut Grove, California, I spent my early childhood in a Japanese American internment camp in Colorado. It was there that I experienced first-hand the injustices that many minorities face in the United States. Even though my family and I were law-abiding citizens of this country, we were treated like enemies of the public solely because we were of Japanese descent. When I returned to California in 1953, I attended Andrew P. Hill High School and eventually graduated from San José High Academy. While attending college at San José State, I heard President Kennedy’s call for young Americans, like myself, to serve their country, and I joined the Peace Corps. As a volunteer in El Salvador, I spent two years building schools, constructing bridges and roads, and providing vaccinations to children. My Peace Corps experience sparked my lifelong passion for teaching and education. After completing my B.S. in Biological Sciences and Spanish and my Masters in Education, I became a science teacher, working my way up to becoming the principal of two schools and conducting research at Stanford University.”

California’s 17th congressional district, which Mr. Honda represents, is located in the heart of Silicon Valley and companies such as Apple, Intel, Yahoo, and eBay are all members of the district’s constituency. The area comprises North San Jose, the cities of Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Fremont, Newark, and Milpitas.

In the upcoming election Congressman Honda faces fellow Democrat and Indian American attorney, Ro Khanna, who is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Department of Commerce.

EAC added that it will issue a press release in the coming days to announce its endorsement.

You can learn more about Congressman Mike Honda at honda.house.gov.

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Ethiopian Artist Melaku Belay’s Quest to Save Fendika

Melaku Belay (right), leader of the traditional Ethiopian dance artists Fendika. (Photo by Nacho Gonzalez)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, September 26th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — If Ethiopia is to have a cultural dance ambassador, Melaku Belay will likely be a front runner. The New York Times described the leader of the Fendika dance troupe as “a happily superlative artist” following his live show here three years ago at the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors concert stating “The rhythmic virtuosity of Mr. Melaku was often astounding.” Raving about his Guraginya performance, the newspaper added: “Sometimes the feet alternated, sometimes he hopped, and on one occasion, while hopping brilliantly, he mimed strumming on the other leg, which he kept stretched out like a guitar…At the climax of one amazing dance cadenza, his own body became a trill — initiated, it seemed, from somewhere around the diaphragm and midspine, but with the whole body shaken into a blur — and then he began to turn in a traveling diagonal across the stage.”

Since then, of course, Melaku who also runs the Fendika cultural dance club in Addis Ababa, has returned to the United States for several sold-out events including in Washington, D.C., Boston and Philadelphia.

Currently, however, the renown Ethiopian performing artist says he is busy raising funds to purchase his club property (Fendika Azmari Bet) in his hometown of Addis, where “the land where the club sits is due to be sold imminently.”

In a press release the artist’s friends announced the launch of a crowd-sourcing campaign via Indiegogo entitled “Save the FENDIKA cultural club in Addis Ababa.” In addition, organizers indicated there will be a benefit concert at Jazzamba nightclub in Taitu Hotel on Sunday September 28th beginning at 6 PM.

“Located in the Kazanchis neighborhood of Addis, the vibe and smell and feel of Fendika could not be more authentic,” the press release added. “It is a place of feeling, of heart, of connection, creativity, the jokes of the azmaris and their clever lyrics, [as well as] Melaku’s group Ethiocolor’s inspired and traditional dance, you will not experience a more vibrant, living and breathing venue anywhere in the world.”

Fendika’s trademark vibrancy was certainly on display during their 2011 appearance in New York. As NYT recorded “They regularly returned, individually or together, to the stage. The singer Selamnesh Zemene always enriched the spell; Asrat Ayalew’s playing of kebero (traditional drums) had complexity and brilliance; and Mr. Melaku and Zinash Tsegaye, the two dancers, provided most of the program’s most remarkable highlights.”

What sets Fendika apart from being merely a house of traditional music, Melaku’s friends point out, is its open-door policy for global music. “Melaku welcomes visiting musicians, dancers, poets, singers, artists who join in to share their creativity in the warm embrace of the club,” the press release states. “He believes that this is his mission together with all artists – to exchange culture and promote peace through music and art. If he is successful in buying Fendika from its present owner, Melaku plans to add to the building, keeping Fendika exactly as it is but adding some income-generating aspect to the upper floors, most probably a small hotel where visiting artists and musicians can stay.”

save the FENDIKA – an extract from “Jamming Addis” from Dirk van den Berg on Vimeo.

You can support the fundraising campaign at indiegogo.com.

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Lincoln Center Presents Wayna & Akua Naru – October 23rd

Grammy–nominated Ethiopian-American singer/songwriter Wayna and American lyricist and poet Akua Naru will perform live at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center in NYC on October 23rd, 2014.

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Lincoln Center Press Release

New York – Grammy–nominated Ethiopian-American singer/songwriter Wayna has received accolades from popular music’s highest echelons: Stevie Wonder calls her “incredible.” Essence magazine deemed her “one to watch,” and Billboard declared her a “stand-out on the indie front.” The singer’s unique blend African and reggae-inspired soul with classic and alternative rock—aptly named “world soul”—earned her two chart-topping singles (from her sophomore LP Higher Ground) and a coveted Grammy nomination for Best Urban/Alternative Performance.

Wayna’s newest album, The Expats, represents a departure from her previous work. Named as an homage to its Toronto-based backing band and internationally born production team—contributors hail from Ethiopia, Japan, Israel, Germany, Jamaica, and India—the album draws from diverse influences to create an alternative environment where Sade and The Police meet Lauryn Hill and Radiohead. Wayna’s lyrics continue to push the envelope, addressing thought-provoking subject matter including racial and economic inequality, love, individuality, and life choices.

Wordsmith Akua Naru travels the world recording her experiences and fusing musical genres, solidifying herself as a model of what women can be in the hip-hop world. Her debut album . . . The Journey Aflame (2011) reached number one on the US college radio charts.

With classic boom bap hip-hop sounds, a profound mastery of lyricism, socially conscious rhymes, and astonishing musicianship, Akua has garnered critical attention and accumulated rave reviews. Her associations with the 90s hip-hop era and acts including Lauryn Hill and The Roots have earned her appreciation within and beyond hip-hop circles. Accompanied by her band DIGFLO, a six-piece ensemble including drums, keys, saxophone, flute, bass, guitar, and turntables, Akua has a reputation for captivating audiences, hyping crowds, inspiring many, and forcing some to encounter and dispel the myths they’ve been taught about women and hip-hop. Her music and performances are a testament to the legacy of soul music and the powerful trailblazing female artistic tradition on which it builds.

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

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Five Questions for Prof. Lemma Senbet

Professor Lemma Senbet is the Executive Director of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) in Nairobi. He is currently on sabbatical from the University of Maryland, College Park. (Courtesy photo)

The UB Alumni

As a freshman at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, Lemma Senbet clearly remembers his first day on campus standing in line to register for his engineering classes. Noticing a large number of students filing up for another subject, he asked what the line was for. When he learned that students were enrolling in for the university’s newly established business school, he decided to switch majors.

Unbeknownst to Senbet, that moment would lead to a successful career in economics and a position as William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance at the University of Maryland.

Senbet earned a Bachelor’s degree in accounting from Addis Ababa University and an MBA in finance from the University of California in Los Angeles. After graduation, Senbet planned to return to Ethiopia. However, civil unrest in the country forced him to wait out the war in a doctorate program in the United States. After searching for universities in New York, he chose UB over Columbia University for the personal attention and family-like atmosphere the university’s doctoral program offered.

Senbet’s first academic appointment was as an assistant professor of finance at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

He progressed rapidly along the tenure track, earning the rank of full professor after seven years, and later, the Charles Albright Chaired Professorship! However, the chance to help build a finance program led him to the University of Maryland.

Currently, Senbet is on sabbatical from Maryland, working as the head of the African Economic Research Consortium, a Kenya-based non-profit organization that conducts research on the management of economies in sub-Saharan Africa.

Five Questions with Lemma:

If you could create another national holiday, what would it be called?
Holiday for Immigrants. The United States is a country of immigrants and that doesn’t receive much attention. The holiday would celebrate the energy and vibrancy that led to the creation of U.S. And it would honor both current immigrants and historic immigrants, and the opportunities created for them to make it in a different environment.

Read the rest of the Q & A at alumni.buffalo.edu »

Tadias Interview with Professor Lemma Senbet: New Head of AERC

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‘Difret’ Nominated for Best Directorial Debut Award at London Film Festival

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, September 22nd, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — The producers of the award-wining Ethiopian film Difret have told Tadias Magazine that they have amicably resolved the claim that halted the premiere screening in Addis Ababa earlier this month and its subsequent release in theaters there. The filmmakers told Tadias that they expect Difret to premiere in Ethiopia shortly, although they did not give exact dates for the screenings.

Meanwhile, the film’s Director and Writer Zeresenay Berhane Mehari has been nominated for Best Directorial Debut Award at the upcoming London Film Festival that will be held from October 8-19, 2014. “I am thrilled that Zeresenay has been nominated for the First Feature award,” Co-producer and Academy Award Nominee Leelai Demoz said in an email to Tadias. “Zeresenay Berhane Mehari is a great new talent. He asked me to produce his film and as soon as I read the first 10 pages of his script I called him and said yes.” Leelai added: “I had been looking for something to produce in Ethiopia for many years and I knew that this was the project.”

Difret, which won the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, is currently showing at the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain and at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival in Port of Spain, Trinidad. It was also featured at the recently concluded Urbanworld Film Festival in New York.

The feature drama recounts the true story of Aberash Bekele’s traumatic experience as a teenager in the late 1990s when she was arrested and charged for the murder of a 29-year-old farmer who had kidnapped her with the intention to marry her. At the time, the man was engaged in a widespread cultural practice in rural Ethiopia known as Telefa. The victim was successfully defended by attorney Meaza Ashenafi, who made international headlines when her client was acquitted on the grounds of self defense, heralding a historic legal achievement for women and girls’ rights in Ethiopia.

Difret 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.

A Huffington Post article entitled “Difret: Building a Culture of Courage” was published on September 4th by producer Dr. Mehret Mandefro stating “Difret can be more than a film: we hope it will stimulate a global social action campaign that empowers people to build a culture of courage that supports and protects women and girls.”

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

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

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

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Ebola Update: Tons of Supplies on the Way

(Getty Images)

Bloomberg News

By Caroline Chen

Aid organization Direct Relief had 100 tons of gloves, masks, medicines and gowns stockpiled in a California warehouse. Doctors fighting Ebola were calling from West Africa desperate for supplies.

Getting it there was the challenge. With airlines halting flights and borders closing to stop the disease from spreading, the nonprofit took matters into its own hands, chartering a Boeing 747 that left New York yesterday for Sierra Leone and Liberia. It’ll figure out how to pay the $500,000 bill later.

“Sometimes we need to do the work, then hope the financial support follows,” Chief Executive Officer Thomas Tighe said.

The shipment, the 11th one Direct Relief has sent to West African nations, is part of newly urgent efforts by agencies and governments to accelerate aid as estimates of the potential spread of the Ebola epidemic grow exponentially.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s model for a worst-case scenario, presuming no additional aid beyond current resources, shows 550,000 infected people by the end of January. Sierra Leone ordered residents to stay home under a three-day curfew while 28,500 volunteers go door-to-door in an education campaign.

Since the start of the outbreak, the virus has infected 5,357 people, killing 2,630, according to a Sept. 18 World Health Organization report. The disease has spread through five countries, accelerating in cities, including Monrovia, the capital of Liberia.

Read more at Bloomberg News »

Ethiopian American Doctors Release Communiqué on Ebola Outbreak

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Azarias Reda: The Republican Party’s New Chief Data Officer

Azarias Reda, the RNC's new chief data officer, is leading an internal incubator to change the way the party uses technology for campaigns—and taking a page from the Obama campaign's playbook. (RNC)

The Wall Street Journal


No evidence exists that Francis Bacon made it to Ethiopia, but in a back room of the Republican National Committee building there is a lot of evidence that Azarias Reda absorbed one of the English philosopher’s more famous observations: scientia potentia est. The 28-year-old data evangelist is helping lead the effort to transform the GOP’s knowledge of voters into the power to win elections.

Republicans got thumped in the 2012 elections in no small part because of a voter-data failure. The Obama team crushed the Romney campaign and the RNC: on turnout, on targeting and in social media. Democrats are betting heavily that their operation will once again save the day—turning out enough voters in key states to save their Senate majority in November.

Mr. Reda, Ethiopian by birth, American by choice, was recruited by the RNC in November as its chief data officer. He and the nearly 50 data scientists and engineers he has recruited to an in-house tech incubator—Para Bellum Labs—are a mind-blowing sight at RNC headquarters. Hipsters in T-shirts and jeans wade through besuited politicians toward a digital room that sports rows of computers and dry-erase walls.

This room is where I met Mr. Reda last week and pointed out that Democrats are already ridiculing the Republicans’ big-data effort, claiming that there’s no way the GOP can catch the Obama turnout machine.

The comment causes the otherwise serious young engineer to break out in a mischievous grin. “I don’t want to catch up to a presidential campaign from 2012,” he says, making 2012 sound like so last century. “What we’re doing here is what a tech startup would do in 2014. Data science has traveled a lot in just the past few years.”

The RNC line is that it intends to leapfrog Democrats in the technology of turnout, and a lot is riding on the claim. Twenty years ago the GOP created the first voter “file” on millions of Americans. Democrats spent years catching up, only to get outpaced again in 2004 by the Republican innovation of microtargeting, which allowed campaigns to contact and turn out subgroups of voters.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal »

The GOP arms itself for the next “war” in the analytics arms race

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Yegna: Meet the Spice Girls of Ethiopia

Women’s rights activists Yegna have established themselves as the Spice Girls of the Horn of Africa. (Photo courtesy of Yegna)

Mail & Guardian


“Women are sisters, women are mothers, women are wives. Let’s respect them. Tell that guy to respect girls and we will respect him.”

So go the lyrics of the song This House, sung by Yegna (pronounced Yen-ya, meaning “ours” in Amharic), an all-girl Ethiopian acting and pop group created in April 2013 by the internationally funded nongovernmental organisation Girl Hub.

The organisation’s country director for Ethiopia, Jillian Popkins, says that “52% of women aged 18 to 49 in the Amhara region are married by the age of 15. Once they marry it’s quite likely they will never have contact with their peer group or their family.”

The five-member band follows a tradition of media as a way for development across the continent. Their aim is to reach out to empower the young women of Ethiopia in ways that are accessible and relevant.

Each member of the group has a different stage persona and nickname. Melat (Teref Kassahun), the “city-girl princess”, dreams of becoming a singer, but her wealthy family has no time for her ambitions. Mimi (Lemlem Haile Michael) is the “tough, swaggering streetwise girl” who left the husband she was forced to marry at 13. “Steady maternal” Lemlem (Rahel Getu) is the only girl in her family, who takes care of her ill mother. Emuye (Zebiba Girma) is the “vivacious music-lover” whose father is a physically abusive alcoholic. Sara (Eyerusalem Kelemework), the “quiet, studious one”, comes from a well-educated family.

Yegna performs a biweekly radio drama and talk show broadcasting on Sheger FM in Addis Ababa, with a reach of 20-million listeners.

More than 500 girls were brought in as Yegna ambassadors with a mandate to organise listening parties, at which young people come together to listen to the drama and talk about what they’ve heard.

Their music is an upbeat mix of traditional Ethiopian music with pop and rock music references that appeal to Ethiopia’s youth.

Read more »

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Hamlin Fistula USA Hosts 90th Birthday Celebration for Dr. Catherine Hamlin

A celebration honoring Dr. Catherine Hamlin will be held in DC on Sept. 27th, 2014. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, September 18th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Last January in Addis Ababa friends and supporters of Dr. Catherine Hamlin held a celebration marking her 90th birthday and 55 years of service in Ethiopia in the presence of invited guests from around the world and dignitaries including Ethiopian First Lady Roman Tesfaye. When it was her turn to take the microphone Dr. Hamlin joked: “Only Ethiopians can throw a party like this.”

Dr. Hamlin is about to receive another birthday bash, this time from the Diaspora, on Saturday, September 27th at the Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C. Organizers announced that the program “will consist of a special message from Dr. Hamlin and several notable guests, all gathered to support Dr. Hamlin’s call to eradicate childbirth injuries.”

In his speech at the January celebration Martin Andrews, CEO of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, noted that the Australian native and a gynecologist has treated over 40,000 fistula patients in her adopted country over the past five decades. “Through her love and her compassion for these patients, she has ensured that we have restored the dignity of those patients, and given them their lives back, which is far more than their medical treatment,” Andrews said. “We all know that Dr. Hamlin’s passion is to eradicate fistula in Ethiopia and she has started to fulfill that dream by establishing the midwifery college.”

Dr. Hamlin, who is the founder of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital (along with her late husband Dr. Reginald Hamlin) has lived in Ethiopia since 1959 and has since built five additional regional Hamlin Fistula centers. In an interview with Tadias Magazine several years ago she described her first day in Ethiopia as love at first sight. “When we first arrived we were rather taken with the country because we saw our eucalyptus trees,” recalled Dr. Hamlin. She had a three-year government contract to establish a midwifery school at the Princess Tsehay Hospital. “I felt very much at home straight away because the scenery seemed very familiar to us,” she said. “We got a really warm welcome so we didn’t really have culture shock.”

But what shocked her was the lack of medical care for young mothers, especially in rural areas, that suffer from obstetric fistula – a preventable childbirth injury as old as humanity itself. “There is currency dug out of pyramids containing images of fistula,” Dr. Hamlin told us. “Yet in the 21st century it is the most neglected cause.” Fistula affects one out of every 12 women in Africa. In remote areas where access to hospitals are difficult to find, young women suffer from obstructive labor which can otherwise be successfully alleviated with adequate medical support, such as Caesarean section.

In an article published in The New York Times last February, marking her 90th birthday, Nicolas Kristof called Dr. Hamlin: “the 21st-century Mother Teresa.” And more recently Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom nominated her for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

If You Go:
Saturday, September 27, 2014
11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
The Ritz-Carlton Washington, D.C.
1150 22nd Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20037
$100 contribution per guest

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Interview with Selam Bekele: Oakland’s Home Away from Home Art Project

Selam Bekele giving artist talk at the 'Home Away from Home' festival in Oakland, California last week. (Photo: Jon Teklai)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – In a short, experimental film entitled Prince of Nowhere Ethiopian-born filmmaker Selam Bekele reflects on the exiled life and death of Prince Alemayehu Tewodros, the son of Emperor Tewodros II of Ethiopia. Alemayehu was taken prisoner by the British army in 1868 after his father committed suicide following the infamous Battle of Magdala. The child was initially accompanied by his mother, Empress Tiruwork Wube, but she died halfway through the trip. In England, the orphaned Ethiopian prince received some education under various caretakers and even briefly attended officers’ training at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He died of lung problems at the age of 18 on November 14th, 1879 and was buried outside Windsor Castle. Queen Victoria is quoted to have written in her diary noting the passing of Prince Alemayehu as “too sad.” Wiki adds: “She also mentioned how very unhappy the prince had been, and how conscious he was of people staring at him because of his colour.”

In her movie Selam holds an imaginary interview with Alemayehu before he dies in which she asks the prince about his feelings of being away from his family and country. “It’s mostly a conversation about displacement and how we continue to survive when we are away from home,” said Selam in an interview with Tadias Magazine. The aspiring filmmaker, who herself left Ethiopia at the age four in 1995, recently graduated in Communication & Film Studies from the University of California, Davis. “I was in London for the first half of this summer as part of my research and study abroad program and it was during this time that I rediscovered the amazing story of Prince Alemayehu,” she said. “I realized just how much I can relate to him as a person that left Ethiopia at a young age and kind of had to adopt to a new world. I kind of wanted to connect his story with the similarity of stories from the Diaspora today in regards to migration, relocation and adapting to a new society while maintaining our ties to our culture and history.”

Left: Prince Alamayou as a child – photo by Julia Margaret Cameron. Right: Alamayou in his teens in England – photo from Brotherton Library, University of Leeds.

Prince of Nowhere was screened last week in Oakland, California at the Home [away from] Home visual arts and music festival held in celebration of Enkutatash and featuring the works of several up-and-coming East African artists in Northern California including Ethiopian-born singer and songwriter Meklit Hadero, Eritrean American filmmaker Sephora Woldu, Ethiopian American musician Ellias Fullmore as well as Ethiopian painter Wosene Kosrof. The centerpiece of the week-long festivities in Oakland was a pop-up art installation in the form of a Gojo that was built by the artists and set-up on Lake Merrit. “You walk inside and you see the commissioned arts on display. It had an entrance door and the exit door is your way to the festival,” Selam said. “It was something that basically took the whole summer to organize. She added: “We found taxi cab stories from Ethiopian and Eritrean cab drivers. Basically we interviewed them and got them to tell us a bit of their stories. Then, we sent the stories to the artists to help them find some sort of inspiration based on the kinds of things the taxi drivers had shared and we made art out of it and each artist had their own interpretation.”

The outdoor event was attended by a diverse crowd of 300 to 400 people. “We attracted kids, elders, Ethiopians, Eritreans and members of the larger Oakland community,” she said.

As to her own film project, Selam notes that as part of her research she visited Alemayehu’s burial site at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle and the major museums in London housing any information on Alemayehu, Tewodoros, and the 1868 British expedition to Ethiopia. “I got to see some incredible photographs of Alemayehu that were taken of him both alone and with his caretaker,” Selam said. “I use some of those images in my film.” Selam continued: “I found out that Prince Alemayehu was extremely homesick. They could not figure out what was really wrong with him, he had breathing problems that caused him to die at such a young age. I believe that his sadness contributed to his death,” Selam stated. “I was thinking that sadness, that feeling of emptiness, is easily relatable by those of us living in the Diaspora.” She added: “And his name Alemayehu is kind of ironic too, if you break it down Alem ayehu it means “I saw the world,” but in his case when you are forced or taken away without choice and not exactly for the best reasons, it has that ironic undertone. So I wanted to capture that in a modern, bright, experimental and artistic way, but at the same time save a piece of history.”

The film project came out of Selam’s study abroad experience: “I felt that we were not discussing enough when it came to some of the greater effects of the British Empire has had on the rest of the world and that conversation was kind of being left out. And that’s why I started to dig a little bit into what exactly was the historical relationship between Britain and Ethiopia?”

In addition to carrying off Prince Alemayehu, the British army employed elephants and hundreds of mules to transport royal loot of priceless Ethiopian treasures that to date remain unreturned. In an article published in 2007, BBC reported that “Many of them are still in Britain and the Queen has some of them – notably six of the very finest illuminated manuscripts, which are part of the royal collection in Windsor Castle.” The same article adds that “Ethiopia’s president has sent Queen Elizabeth II a formal request for the remains of a prince who died in Britain more than a century ago. The royal household at Windsor Castle, where Prince Alemayehu was buried, is said to be considering the request.”

That was seven years ago, but today Selam said she will be bringing her 18-minutes film to the East Coast this Fall “to keep the story alive” and hopes to screen in DC in late October and in New York sometime in November.

Below are photos from Oakland’s Home Away from Home Arts & Culture Festival:

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NPR Highlights The Nile Music Project

The Nile Project started in a bar in Oakland. Egyptian-American Mina Girgis and his friend, Ethiopian-American singer Meklit Hadero, were talking about the musical connections between their two countries.



Listen to the program:

In a quiet park in Kampala, Uganda, 14 musicians from seven East African countries sit together under a tree. They’re working on an idea from Ugandan musician Lawrence Okello.

“This is what I would suggest for this piece: That we have a conflict,” Okello says to the group. “And then all of us will keep on adding flavors from different cultures, but maintaining the water that flows.”

The musicians speak many languages, which means ideas and instructions have to get translated multiple times. They use different rhythms, even different tonal systems. And they play many instruments: Sudanese harps, Kenyan kettle drums, Ethiopian violins, Burundian thumb pianos, Egyptian flutes.

But under this tree, they’re listening for what’s shared: conflict that resolves into harmony.

This is the Nile Project — an education and development initiative that uses music to help find new ways to share an ancient resource.

“When we divert and go to your culture, give us that authentic touch of it,” Okello continues. “Ah, that is Egypt. Mm, that is Rwanda. And then we go back to the Nile, and continue. We have a journey to make.”

Read more at NPR »

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In Pictures: Ethiopia’s Thriving Art Market

Business and art are becoming increasingly entwined in the Ethiopian capital, but journalist James Jeffrey asks if this has come at a cost to creativity and true artistic experimentation. (BBC Africa)

BBC News

By James Jeffrey

Until recently the buying and selling of modern and contemporary art in Ethiopia was all but non-existent. The entrance to Makush Art Gallery & Restaurant in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, attests to how things have changed thanks to a burgeoning new art scene. Makush has about 70 artists on its books and a collection of more than 650 paintings from which customers can choose.

“Progress is just a miracle,” says Makush owner Tesfaye Hiwet, who began visiting his homeland after the 1991 revolution that brought down the Derg, Ethiopia’s communist-inspired military dictatorship. Mr Tesfaye remembers the sorry state of Ethiopia’s economy following 17 years of botched socialist economic policies: “After the Derg fell, there was not even toilet paper.” While living in the US, he opened a restaurant and nightclub in Washington DC, decorated with Ethiopian art sourced during his visits to Addis Ababa. After noticing the lack of galleries, he moved back 12 years ago.

Makush owner Tesfaye Hiwet. (BBC News)

Click here to see the rest of the photos at BBC.com »

Ethiopia’s Emerging Art Scene Pits Creativity Against Profits

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The DC Mayor’s Office Announces 2015 African Community Grant

Mayor Vincent Gray with OAA Director Ngozi Nmezi, top right. (Photo: Matt Andrea/Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – For fiscal year 2015 the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (OAA) will be awarding 8 grants up to $25,000 for organizations based in the District and involved in economic and workforce development, health and human services, youth engagement and education, promotion of arts, culture and the humanities.

“The grant is intended to fund programs that provide targeted services and resources to the District’s African residents and/or business owners in areas of need in the community,” OAA’s announced. “For FY15, OAA’s African Community Grant will fund culturally and linguistically appropriate programs with demonstrated tie in to the Mayor’s priority areas and community needs.”

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

In order to qualify for the African Community Grant organizations seeking to apply must have a 501(c)(3) status, serve the District’s African residents or business owners and be located in the District of Columbia.

Requests for Applications (RFA) will be posted on September 19th at OAA’s website and on the District’s Grant Clearinghouse website.

Grant Orientation is scheduled for October 7th, 2014 (10am – 12pm) at the Franklin D. Reeves Center of Municipal Affairs (2000 14th Street, NW 2nd Floor, Edna Cromwell Community Room Washington, DC 20009).

You can learn more about the FY15 African Community Grant at www.oaa.dc.gov.

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Ethiopia Welcomes Year 2007

Addis Ababa. (Credit: dailysabah.com)

Daily Sabah

Published : 12.09.201

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia marked the arrival of 2007 on Thursday according to a unique calendar that reflects a blend of religious and seasonal/natural phenomena. “The Ethiopian calendar is ancient [and] takes its logic from lunar, solar and astrological considerations,”

Henok Yared, author of “Bahre Hasab,” a book which gives accounts of the origins of the Ethiopian calendar, told Anadolu Agency. “The four seasons also make up the basis for the composition of the Ethiopian calendar,” he said.

The Ethiopian calendar has 13 months, including twelve of 30 days each.

The 13th month consists of five days – although every fourth year it lasts for six days.

The Ethiopian New Year falls as the sun begins to make itself felt after three months of rain in most parts of the country.

The streets were packed with people shopping for live lambs, roosters, butter and eggs, among other things.

Lambs and roosters are traditionally slaughtered at home.

Some families pool their money to purchase bulls, sharing the meat between them.

Alazar Samuel, a renowned Ethiopian artist, sees the Ethiopian New Year as both real life and drama. “The real life is that it is one day added to the river of life, and [it's] drama due to all the rituals-slaughters, get-togethers, bonfires and all,” he told AA.

Emebet Tesfaye, a statistician, plans to welcome the New Year with joy and a sense of rejuvenation. “Our New Year is very expensive, though,” she told AA, noting that it coincided with the start of the new school year. “Costs have gone up by the day,” she added.

Read more »

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Silicon Valley: Here Come Ethiopia’s SoleRebels

SoleRebels will open a new store in San Jose, California on October 1st, 2014. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, September 11th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – What better location in the U.S. than California’s famed Silicon Valley to sell comfortable and fashionable footwear that are made from recycled materials with the added value of being 100 percent vegan? That’s what the Addis Ababa-based environmental-friendly shoe brand SoleRebels is promising to bring to its newest international store in San Jose scheduled to open on October 1st.

SoleRebels’ footwear are produced using indigenous practices such as hand-spun organic cotton, artisan hand-loomed fabric and recycled tires for soles.

The San Jose location will be the Ethiopian brand’s first retail space in the United States. In a statement the company’s Founder & CEO Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu described the Bay Area as the “perfect place” adding that it “epitomized the creativity, innovation, craziness, disruption and the overall ‘Walk Naked’ ethos that SoleRebels is all about.”

“I am totally vibed to open our first US SoleRebels store in Silicon Valley,” she added. “Silicon Valley is the epicenter of all these things and so it’s the perfect place to launch our US retail store business and I imagine there are quite a few folks in and around Silicon Valley who can’t wait to be able to ‘walk naked.’”

The 1270 square foot store will be located at San Jose’s Westfield Valley Fair mall on the 2nd floor near the Men’s Macy’s department.

You can learn more about SoleRebels at www.solerebels.com.

People of Our Time Who Are Changing the World

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VOA Interview with Miss Africa USA Meron Wudneh (Video)

Meron Wudneh worked with boys and girls in Addis Ababa at the Mary Joy Foundation. (Courtesy photo)

VOA News

By Yeheyes Wuhib

September 10, 2014

When she was crowned Miss Africa USA at a national pageant on August 8 at the Music Center at Strathmore in the Washington area, the tall and striking model and youth recreation director Meron Wudneh paid tribute to the country where she was born.

“I am honored and delighted to represent Ethiopia,” she said. Wudneh described her homeland as “an ancient African country with amazing bio-diversity, people who take pride in preserving their diverse culture, its great warriors, kings and queens.”

Video: Voice of America Yeheyes Wuhib’s interview with Meron Wudneh

I love dancing our traditional dances Eskista, playing sports and bringing visibility to our culture through our fashion which inspired my greater love of modeling.” Wudneh currently works in New York as a model while she continues her career developing youth programs for Montgomery County in Maryland. She is represented by a Christian Ruart Fashion Group.

She wanted to build children’s futures

Wudneh was seven years old when her family emigrated to the United States. The family settled in the state of Maryland where she attended Wheaton High School. As she and her sister grew up, their parents wanted them to remember their African roots, so the girls had to always speak their native Amharic at home.

The six-foot tall student received an athletic scholarship to attend Bowie State University, where she played women’s basketball and earned a Bachelor’s degree with a major in biology.

Last year she spent six months in Ethiopia working with some non-government organizations supporting then needs of Ethiopian children. She volunteered with the Mary Joy Foundation in Addis Ababa serving destitute seniors, people living with HIV/AIDS, orphans and disadvantaged Ethiopians.​

She witnessed the plight of the children first-hand, an experience that has energized Wudneh to further her cause for Ethiopia’s children.

“I learned how one person can truly change a child’s future,” she says.

“Since I was a child growing up in Ethiopia I always had the desire to help people, especially kids.” In high school in Maryland, Wudneh spent more than a thousand hours working with children in community service projects (athletic programs, health programs?) in her Maryland neighborhood.

She founded her own NGO

Two years ago she founded Kids First Ethiopia, to send school supplies, clothes and shoes to Ethiopian children who lost one or both parents to death from HIV/AIDS or are homeless.

Ethiopia has one of the largest populations of orphans in the world: 13 per cent of children throughout a country of 96 million are missing one or both parents. This represents an estimated 4.6 million children – 800,000 of whom were orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

After winning the Miss Africa USA competition, Wudneh wants to strengthen her Kids First Ethiopia project to develop strategies and funding to help needy children in Ethiopia to continue in school, graduate and become successful. She also hopes to expand these services to other countries in Africa.

“The pageant is not only about beauty but goes way more than that,” she says. “As contestants and goodwill ambassadors, the organizers demand that we constantly work for the betterment of Africa.”

Ethiopian Meron Wudneh Crowned Miss Africa USA 2014

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People of Our Time Who Are Changing the World

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, shoe manufacturer. (BMW Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — “These people are driven by their passion. They are changing the world, each in their own way. They are People of our Time.”

The above quote opens the latest edition of BMW Magazine, a biannual lifestyle publication introducing international heroes of this generation, including Ethiopian shoe manufacturer Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, who rose from humble beginnings in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Addis Ababa to become Founder & CEO of one of the fastest growing footwear companies in the world. SoleRebels has earned Bethlehem the respect and admiration of many individuals and organizations globally.

“The best remedy for poverty? Creating world-class products,” Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, a mother of three, says. “SoleRebels is like hip-hop, something that started really small and today can be found in every country on the planet.”

“One thing Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is not lacking in is self-confidence,” notes BMW Magazine. “Is this overconfidence? Perhaps, but the last few years have given Alemu every reason to be bold and optimistic.”

The magazine adds: “Having grown up in a poor suburb of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, she soon realised that there was only one way to defeat poverty – with products that could compete in the global marketplace. Footwear, for example. Shoes are traditionally made in Ethiopia in a very special way: from indigenous jutes, recycled coffee sacks, organically tanned leather and the treads of car tyres for the soles. Alemu started off with five shoemakers. Today 70,000 pairs of shoes leave her factory in her native town every year. Forbes magazine voted the founder one of “Africa’s most successful women”. The colourful shoes are popular in the west, too, especially among a young, fashion-conscious, urban clientele where buzzwords like sustainability have the desired effect. For years now soleRebels has been expanding and today exports to no fewer than 45 countries. A small global brand – and the only one with its flagship store in Addis Ababa.”

Earlier this summer Bethlehem was also honored by The Oprah Magazine (South Africa) on its fourth annual O Power List featuring 21 inspiring female leaders from the African continent, as well as by pan-African media company Face2Face Africa, which bestowed on her the “Entrepreneur Award” during a ceremony held here in New York on July 26th for her pioneering work as a head of SoleRebels. More recently former President George W. Bush named her Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Ambassador for Ethiopia to serve as an advocate for 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).

In addition to Bethlehem, BMW Magazine highlighted other modern heroes including German-Taiwanese race driver Vivianne Mainusch and Greek fashion designer Mary Katrantzou.

Read their profiles at BMW Magazine.

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African Union Meets in Ethiopia For Ebola Crisis Talks

African Union commission Chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. (Credit: Standard Media)

Standard Media

Updated Monday, September 8th 2014

African Union chiefs held an emergency meeting Monday to hammer out a continent-wide strategy to deal with the Ebola epidemic, which has killed over 2,000 people in west Africa.

“Fighting Ebola must be done in a manner that doesn’t fuel isolation or lead to the stigmatisation of victims, communities and countries,” AU commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, speaking at the opening of the meeting.

Dlamini-Zuma told the executive council of the 54-member body, meeting at the bloc’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, of the urgent need to “craft a united, comprehensive and collective African response” to the outbreak.

The meeting came as hopes rose of a potential vaccine to provide temporary shield against Ebola.

A novel vaccine tested so far only on monkeys provided “completely short-term and partial long-term protection” from the deadly virus, researchers reported in the journal Nature Medicine.

The study endorsed approval for tests on humans, which would begin in early September, with first results by year’s end.

Read more »

Ebola’s Economic Toll on Africa Starts to Emerge (The Wall Street Journal)

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Meet Yirgalem Hadish: Miss World Ethiopia

Yirgalem Hadish, Miss World Ethiopia 2014. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, September 7th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Yirgalem Hadish will represent Ethiopia at the 64th edition of the Miss World pageant on December 14th in London, England. The 23-year-old, who lives in Addis Ababa, was named Miss World Ethiopia 2014 last month by a combination of points both by a panel of celebrity judges and online public voting. Organizers revealed the winner via Facebook on August 20th. Yirgalem’s other competitors included top three finalists Mahilet Berhanu and Hiwot Bekele.

In London Yirgalem will face 130 contestants from around the globe. Last year Miss Philippines (Megan Lynne Young) won the Miss World 2013 title in Bali, Indonesia. Megan, who is the first woman from the Philippines to win the international pageant, will pass on the crown to the new Miss World.

Below are photos of Miss World Ethiopia 2014 Yirgalem Hadish:

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In Pictures: Teddy Afro at Echo Stage in DC

Teddy Afro at Echo Stage in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, August 31st, 2014. (Photograph: Matt Andrea)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, September 6th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – From SummerStage to Echo Stage this has been a busy year for Teddy Afro who also recently released a new single (Be 70 Dereja), and last Sunday the Ethiopian star performed in Washington, DC.

“Labor Day weekend concert in Washington DC was an incredible show,” Teddy Afro said in a statement. “Thanks for all our fans in Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland areas for your support and making the show interesting night.”

Below are photos from the event:

Audio: Teddy Afro New Song Be 70 Dereja (በ70 ደረጃ)

Video: Teddy Afro Rocks New York’s SummerStage, B.B. King Blues Club
Photos: Teddy Afro at SummerStage 2014 Festival in New York

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In Celebration of Ethiopian New Year, Metro Los Angeles Presents Ethio-Jazz

Ethio Cali, a California based Ethio-jazz band, will perform at Union Station in Los Angeles on Friday, September 12th, 2014. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, September 5th, 2014

Los Angeles (TADIAS) – In celebration of Ethiopian New Year, Metro Los Angeles is presenting an evening of Ethio-jazz on Friday, September 12th at the historic Union Station featuring the multicultural Ethio Cali band.

“We’re excited to present Ethio Cali, a Los Angeles based Ethio-Jazz ensemble, led by trumpeter, arranger, and composer Todd Simon,” Metro Los Angeles announced. “The ensemble’s sublime sound is inspired by the golden age of Ethiopian music of the 1960s and 70s, filtered through a lens that is uniquely Los Angeles. Acknowledging the diverse musical foundations of Ethio-Jazz, the ensemble also draws inspiration from the rhythmic and melodic textures of Sudan, Somalia, Ghana, and Colombia.”

The major operator of bus and rail service in L.A. County, California features a variety of free arts and cultural programs at Union Station — “one of the county’s busiest and most beautiful transit hubs.”

The Ethiopian New Year concert in the Fred Harvey Room also highlights DJ Jeremy Sole (KCRW / theLIFT) who will be spinning before and in between sets.

If You Go:
Metro Presents: Ethio Cali
Friday, September 12
7:45pm Doors open
8:15pm Ethio Cali – first set
9:15pm Ethio Cali – second set
LA Union Station, Fred Harvey Room
800 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

New Year’s Eve in Addis: Orit Entertainment Presents Jacky Gosee & Teddy Taddesse
Celebrate Ethiopian New Year at Historic Riverside Church in NYC on September 13th

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Mulatu Astatke: The Man Who Created ‘Ethio jazz’

Mulatu Astatke at 70: Ethiopian tuning, Latin rhythms, the wah-wah pedal – ahead of a festival of African culture, Richard Williams hails a composer who likes to mix it up. (The Guardian)

The Guardian

Richard Williams

Friday 5 September 2014

Everybody knows that Ethiopian jazz is the only kind worth listening to these days,” a bored Roman socialite remarks during one of the many party scenes in Paolo Sorrentino’s film The Great Beauty. It sounds like an epitaph. How could something so special, so original, survive the embrace of people so devoted to superficiality, so quick to move on to the next sensation?

As a fashionable novelty, Ethiopian jazz may indeed have had its moment in the spotlight. As an evolving form, however, it demonstrates greater resilience. Its roots lie deep within the musical culture of a country that, with the exception of a brief period under Italian occupation between 1936 and 1941, has enjoyed 3,000 years of independence. The first to realise that its distinctive indigenous modes and textures could be blended with those of American jazz was Mulatu Astatke, the composer and bandleader whose early recordings began to attract a cult following 15 years ago, after being unearthed and reissued by an enthusiastic Frenchman.

Astatke, whose appearance in London on 13 September will be a highlight of the Southbank Centre’s Africa Utopia festival, was supposed to devote his life to aeronautical engineering. Instead, he invented a musical genre and became the central figure in an enormously successful series of anthologies that dug deep into the origins of a fascinating but long-hidden world.

The 16-year-old Astatke had arrived in Britain in 1959, sent from Addis Ababa to North Wales by his wealthy parents, first to Lindisfarne College and then to Bangor University. But music got in the way of those initial career plans, and his gifts took him to Trinity College of Music in London, where he studied piano, clarinet and harmony, and to the Eric Gilder School of Music in Twickenham, whose pupils included the Ghanaian saxophonist Teddy Osei – later to found Osibisa, the pioneering Afro-rock group – and Labi Siffre, the singer-guitarist. He began playing vibraphone and piano in the clubs of Soho with expatriate African and Caribbean jazz musicians, and in dance halls with the popular Edmundo Ros orchestra.

Leaving London in 1963, he enrolled as the first African student at the jazz-oriented Berklee College in Boston, whose alumni include the vibraphonist Gary Burton and the pianist Keith Jarrett. Moving to New York, he pursued his interests in jazz and Latin music.

Read more at The Guardian »

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Ethiopia Premiere of Award-Winning Film ‘Difret’ Interrupted by Court Order

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, September 4th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The much anticipated Ethiopia premiere of the award-wining film Difret took a dramatic turn on Wednesday when police informed the director and producers of the film that the screening must be halted due to a court order. Prior to the interruption, a video of Executive Producer Angelina Jolie thanking the Difret team was played to the audience.

In a recording of the interruption Director & Writer Zeresenay Berhane Mehari announced to the audience that they had received news of a court order barring the screening. Regarding the premiere at the National Theater, Zeresenay told the audience: “The Ministry of Culture was aware of it, the government was aware of it,” and added that the organizers had not received any information of pending issues. Details of the court order have not yet been released.

Difret, which won the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and the Panorama Audience Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, is based on a true story and chronicles the ordeal of a teenager who was a victim of telefa — a traditional custom of marriage by abduction in Ethiopia — and her attorney Meaza Ashenafi’s success, against all odds, in helping to free her client on the grounds of self-defense, and subsequently outlaw abduction for marriage in Ethiopia.

The film 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.

A Huffington Post article entitled “Difret: Building a Culture of Courage” was published today by producer Dr. Mehret Mandefro stating “Difret can be more than a film: we hope it will stimulate a global social action campaign that empowers people to build a culture of courage that supports and protects women and girls.”

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

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

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

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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 U.S. 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 the 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 are 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; 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 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 USA:

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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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 »

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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‘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

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

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


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)

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

Kenenisa Bekele to Run Chicago Marathon

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UNDP Ethiopia Announces Goodwill Ambassador for Entrepreneurship

(Photo courtesy: United Nations Development Programme - 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.

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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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.


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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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)


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)

‘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)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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)

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

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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)


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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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:

Ethiopian Pianist Girma Yifrashewa’s Stellar Performance in Bethesda

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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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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.

Tadias Interview With Zemedeneh Negatu

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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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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.”

Ethiopia Habtemariam Named President of Motown
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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 »

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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.”

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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.

Meron Wudneh at Miss Africa USA 2014

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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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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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NED Hosts Media Panel 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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African & U.S. Scientists Hold 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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Civil Society Forum 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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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.


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.

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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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.

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Bill Clinton, Michael Bloomberg at Africa Summit
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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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Missing Ethiopian Runners in Oregon

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

UPDATE: Last of Four Missing Ethiopian Athletes Found Safe in Washington State

Oregon Live

By Ian K. Kullgren

University of Oregon police are still searching for Zeyituna Mohammad, one of the Ethiopian runners who vanished from the IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene this past weekend.

Mohammad, an 18-year-old who competed in the Women’s 800-meter run, was one of four athletes from the Ethiopian team who disappeared Saturday. Police found the other three — Amanuel Abebe Atibeha, a 17-year-old boy, and Dureti Edao and Meaza Kebede, two 18-year-old women — staying with an acquaintance in Beaverton on Monday. Mohammed was still missing as of Tuesday morning.

Although University of Oregon police believe she is safe, they would not confirm whether Mohammed or the other three athletes are seeking asylum in the U.S.

“We aren’t and won’t be making inquiries with them about their plans, where they’ve been, or anything not related to simply confirming that they are safe, and not missing,” Kelly McIver, a department spokesman, wrote in an email Tuesday.

Read more at the Oregon Live»

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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Obama Renames Africa Young Leaders Program For Nelson Mandela

(Photo courtesy: YALI - Young African leaders Initiative)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – President Obama has renamed the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in honor of Nelson Mandela. Obama made the announcement on Monday during an address to the current class of 500 fellows who are receiving six-week executive leadership training at various universities in the United States.

“The Mandela Washington Fellowship is the flagship program of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and embodies President Obama’s commitment to invest in the future of Africa,” said the press release from YALI. “The first class of Mandela Washington Fellows arrived in June 2014 for six weeks of intensive executive leadership training, networking, and skills building, followed by a Presidential Summit in Washington, DC.” The press release adds: “Through this initiative, young African leaders are gaining the skills and connections they need to accelerate their own career trajectories and contribute more robustly to strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa.”

Meet the Mandela Washington Fellows From Ethiopia
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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On Cusp of President Obama’s Historic U.S.-Africa Summit, DC Presents the 5th Annual Africa Festival

(Photos courtesy: The D.C. Mayor’s Office on African Affairs)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, July 28th, 2014

Washington, .D.C (TADIAS) – As President Obama’s historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit kicks off next week Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray’s Office on African Affairs (OAA) will host the 5th Annual DC African Heritage Celebration right before the summit begins on Sunday, August 3rd at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

The event includes music, dance, wellness pavilion, art exhibitions, fashion show, African culture hut, and children’s village – all highlighting community-based resources. The festival which will be emceed by Voice of America Broadcast Journalist, Ndimyake Mwakalyelye, includes a live performance by Grammy-nominated Ethiopian-American singer and songwriter Wayna. In addition, organizers say, the traditional Ethiopian dance group Kignet is also part of the entertainment roster that showcases local talents such as DJ Underdog — “one of the most sought after DJs in the DC music circuit.”

“Each year, the Mayor’s Annual Africa Festival celebrates diverse communities of the District’s African diaspora through art, culture, food, history, and music,” OAA announced. “Since its inception in 2010, the Festival has fast become one of the District’s most anticipated cultural events drawing thousands of attendees.” The statement adds that “The event stands as a unique testament to the unprecedented growth and presence of the District’s African residents. It further echoes the goals of OAA’s Multicultural Awareness and Community Building Program –celebrating the varied identities of African people; promoting the different cultures within the District’s African community; and encouraging all District residents to learn about African heritage, customs, and history.”

The festival’s major partners include the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Commission on Arts and Humanities, Office of Community Affairs, Commission on African Affairs, Office of the Secretary, Office of Human Rights, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Corporate Donors include Ethiopian Airlines, Safeway, Inc., and Capitol Petroleum Group.

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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, July 27th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – On Saturday evening at New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts a diverse and stylish crowd of African professionals filled the hall to celebrate and honor six trailblazers from the African continent in business, fashion, entertainment, social innovation and democratic governance.

Among those recognized by the pan-African media company Face2Face Africa include Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu of Ethiopia who received the “Entrepreneur Award” for her pioneering work as Founder and CEO of the international footwear brand SoleRebels. The “Humanitarian Honor” was awarded to U.S.-based Ghanaian social entrepreneur Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Founder of FOCUS (Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine) which provides orthopedic care to patients in Ghana and several other African countries.

The Global Ambassador Honor was given to South Sudanese British model and designer Alek Wek who saluted all the honorees and pointed out that “Africa needs more women in business and entrepreneurship like SoleRebel’s Bethlehem Tilahun” and added that above all education is the key for all. She reminded the audience to ” study hard, stay focused and celebrate others.”

The Trailblazer award went to Masai Ujiri – the Nigerian-born President and General Manager of Basketball Operations at the Tronto Raptors organization. The Entertainment Honor was also given to Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Femi Kuti, who spoke about the need to “focus globally not just Africa.”

The Lifetime Achievement Honor was conferred on Sudanese-British mobile communications entrepreneur and billionaire Dr Mohamed “Mo” Ibrahim – who was not present, but sent a video message accepting the accolade.

Below are photos and video from the event:

Video: The Face2Face Africa Awards Gold Carpet Presentation

Oprah Magazine Names Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu to Annual Power List

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Ethiopians Sweep Gold-Silver in 5000m World Junior Championships in Oregon

Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia leads the 5000m at the IAAF World Junior Championships, Oregon 2014. (Photo: Getty Images)


26 JUL 2014

Ethiopia’s world youth 3000m champion Yomif Kejelcha led for most of the last kilometre to win the men’s 5000m in 13:25.19, his best ever clocking.

Kejelcha’s team mate Yomif Haji, with whom he shared pacing duties in the last third of the race, finished in 13:26.21 for silver, giving Ethiopia a gold-silver sweep. Moses Letoyie of Kenya took bronze in 13:28.11.

Two Ugandans, 10,000m champion Joshua Cheptegei and Philip Kipyeko, set the early pace, pulling the pack through the first kilometre in 2:43.21 and the second in 5:28.35.

Kenya’s Fredrick Kipkosgei Kiptoo came up and set a rhythm of surges, pushing through the first bend and down the backstretch, then backing off on the second bend and allowing what remained of the pack to collect. The group of eight runners was thinned to six as the group passed 3000m in 8:12.27, then 10:54.13 at 4000m.

By then Haji and then Kejelcha had moved to the front of the pack, Haji taking over at 3600m. As they left 4000m behind, the pack shrunk to six with Cheptegei struggling to hang on to the eventual medal trio.

When they reached the bell at 12:25.63, Kejelcha was unmistakably building a lead, which he proceeded to extend until he reached the homestretch. With the victory in hand, he backed off, allowing Haji to close the gap somewhat but not enough to give up the win.

The Ethiopian team, watching together on the backstretch, celebrated the sweep boisterously as Kejelcha and Haji lay stretched on the track beyond the finish line. Haji, a more compact runner, was up first, but he was unable to lever the lanky Kejelcha to his feet by himself.

Kejelcha is the eighth Ethiopian to win the 5000m at the World Junior Championships. Of the 15 titles awarded to date, eight have gone to Ethiopia and seven to Kenya.

Read more at IAAF.org »

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Mahmoud Kicks Off Issue Project Room’s Summer Concert Series in NYC on July 26th

Mahmoud Ahmed (Photo: By Damian Rafferty)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, July 25th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – In the ‘Night Life’ section of its latest issue The New Yorker magazine highlights the legendary Ethiopian singer Mahmoud Ahmed as “one of the most exhilarating singers of the past half century” and notes that he “blends traditional Ethiopian Amharic music with sixties and seventies soul, funk, and jazz.”

Mahmoud Ahmed is coming to Brooklyn to kick off Issue Project Room’s summer concert series at Pioneer Works on Saturday, July 26th. The last time that Mahmoud performed in New York was in 2011.

“Now seventy-three, Ahmed was born to an impoverished family in Addis Ababa, and as a young boy had to shine shoes on the street to help support his family,” The New Yorker adds. “He later worked as a handyman at a club that hosted Emperor Haile Selassie’s Imperial Bodyguard Band, and, one night in 1962, when the band’s singer did not show up, Ahmed asked to sit in on a few songs; soon afterward, he became one of the group’s front men…His multi-octave voice made him a household name in Ethiopia, and a star since nearly the moment he started recording.”

If You Go:
Mahmoud Ahmed Live in Brooklyn
Saturday, July 26th, 2014 – 3:00 – 8:00pm
At Pioneer Works:
159 Pioneer St., Brooklyn NY 11231
TICKETS: $20 General / $15 Members + Students

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U.S.-AFRICA SUMMIT 2014: Preview

(Image courtesy: The White House)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – In early August U.S. President Barack Obama will host a historic summit, the first ever gathering of heads of state from across the African continent in Washington, D.C. to discuss the future of the relationship between the United States and Africa. A diplomatic relationship formally began under President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 when the first American diplomatic mission to the African continent arrived in Ethiopia to sign a commercial treaty with Emperor Menelik II.

The White House notes that during the upcoming U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Obama will not hold any one-on-one meetings with heads of state. Instead, the administration will engage guests in group sessions focusing on various topics. The President and First Lady Michelle Obama will also host a dinner at The White House.

“This Summit, the largest event any U.S. President has held with African heads of state and government, will build on the President’s trip to Africa in the summer of 2013 and it will strengthen ties between the United States and one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing regions,” the White House announced. “Specifically, the August 4-6 Summit will advance the Administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people.” The press release adds: “At the same time, it will highlight the depth and breadth of the United States’ commitment to the African continent, advance our shared priorities and enable discussion of concrete ideas to deepen the partnership. At its core, this Summit is about fostering stronger ties between the United States and Africa.”

The theme of the Summit is “Investing in the Next Generation.”

“Focusing on the next generation is at the core of a government’s responsibility and work, and this Summit is an opportunity to discuss ways of stimulating growth, unlocking opportunities, and creating an enabling environment for the next generation,” the announcement stated. “Throughout the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, African leaders will have an opportunity to engage with President Obama, his Cabinet members, and other key leaders, including business executives from the U.S. and Africa, Members of Congress, and members of civil society.”

The Summit agenda includes “key areas that Africans define as critical for the future of the continent” such as trade and investment ties, engaging young African leaders, promoting inclusive sustainable development, expanding cooperation on peace and security, and gaining a better future for Africa’s next generation.

“President Obama invited all African heads of state or governments in good standing with the United States and the African Union to attend the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. An invitation was also extended to the African Union Chairperson.”

Below is a description of events:

AUGUST 4 – Signature Events
The Summit will include six U.S. Government-sponsored “Signature Events,” allowing for in-depth conversations on some of the most pressing issues facing the U.S.-Africa partnership. These sessions will set the stage for the high-level discussions that President Obama will chair during the subsequent Summit leader meetings.

1) Faith Works
2) Civil Society Forum
3) Investing in Women, Peace, and Prosperity
4) Investing in Health: Investing in Africa’s Future
5) Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate
6) Combating Wildlife Trafficking

AGOA Forum
To further demonstrate our commitment to the sustainable economic growth and development in Africa U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will host the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Ministerial at the World Bank. African and U.S. trade officials will discuss the future of the AGOA program and U.S. plans to pursue renewal of AGOA legislation.

Capitol Hill Reception
The Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees will host a welcome reception for African leaders on Capitol Hill in the afternoon.

U.S.-Africa Business Forum
On August 5, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies will co-host the first U.S.-Africa Business Forum, a day focused on strengthening trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa. President Obama will participate in the Business Forum along with Secretary Pritzker and Mayor Bloomberg, as will other senior U.S. government officials. Held at the Mandarin Oriental, in Washington, D.C., the U.S.-Africa Business Forum will intensify efforts to strengthen trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa and seek to create partnerships that will promote trade, accelerate job growth, and encourage investment. The Forum will focus on U.S. private sector engagement in Africa in the areas of finance and capital investment; infrastructure; power and energy; agriculture; consumer goods; and information and communication technology. African leaders will engage with business executives from both sides of the Atlantic to engage in conversations about successes and solutions to increase trade with and invest in Africa. President Obama will participate in the conversation with CEOs and government leaders from the United States and Africa.

White House Dinner on the occasion of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit
On the evening of August 5, President and Mrs. Obama will host a dinner at the White House for African heads of state and government and select guests.

Summit Leader Meetings
African leaders and President Obama will engage in dialogue in three action-oriented sessions that will address issues of shared interest and mutual concern.

Leader Session I – Investing in Africa’s Future
The opening session will discuss inclusive, sustainable development, economic growth, and trade and investment.

Leader Session II – Peace and Regional Stability
A working lunch centered around shared concerns regarding peace and security, including a discussion of long-term solutions to regional conflicts, peacekeeping challenges, and combating transnational threats.

Leader Session III – Governing for the Next Generation
This session will allow for a candid conversation about the greatest challenges and opportunities for Africa’s continued political and economic progress and a specific focus on governance. This session will focus on how to enhance governance in order to deliver services to citizens, attract and prepare for increased domestic and foreign direct investment, manage transnational threats, and stem the flow of illicit finance.

Leader Press Conferences

Spousal Program
On August 6, First Lady Michelle Obama, in partnership with former First Lady Laura Bush and the Bush Institute, will host a day-long spouses symposium at the Kennedy Center focused on the impact of investments in education, health, and public-private partnerships.

Side Events
In order to leverage the presence in Washington, D.C. of so many African leaders as well as the intense interest in U.S.-Africa ties that the Summit has engendered, a number of non government actors – the private sector and non-profit organizations — are organizing events along the margins to coincide with the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.

YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative)
President Obama launched the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in 2010 to support young leaders with opportunities and resources. Through YALI, the United States is committing significant resources to enhance leadership skills, bolster entrepreneurship, and connect young African leaders with one another, with the United States, and with the American people. Investing in the next generation of African leaders is critical to ensuring the success of Africa’s democracies and its economies.

The Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the exchange program of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). This program brings over 500 young leaders to the United States each year, beginning in 2014, for leadership training, academic coursework, and mentoring. It also creates unique opportunities in Africa, through internships and follow-on opportunities, to put those new skills to practical use in propelling economic growth and prosperity and strengthening democratic institutions. To be part of the YALI Network, follow @YALINetwork on Twitter or find us on Facebook.

For more information on YALI, please visit YoungAfricanLeaders.state.gov.

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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Has Ethiopia Slipped in Doing Business? PM Hailemariam – The World Bank is “Wrong”

(Getty Images)

By Alice Tidey | CNBC

July 23rd, 2014

The World Bank is “wrong” about how hard it is to do business in Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn the country’s prime minister has told CNBC.

In its latest report on the country published in May 2014, the World Bank highlighted that Ethiopia had slipped in its Doing Business ranking due to deterioration in investor protection, registration of property, access to finance and competitiveness.

But in an exclusive interview with CNBC’s Yousef Gamal El-din on Access Africa, Desalegn rejected the organization’s latest findings saying “what the report says and what’s happening on the ground are to the contrary”.

With its economic output growing by an average of 10.9 percent over the past 10 years, Ethiopia is the world’s 12th fastest growing economy, according to the World Bank. But growth is starting to slip and in 2012/2013, went below the two-digit mark, at 9.8 percent.

Despite the service sector having overtaken agriculture as the biggest contributor to gross domestic product – it represents 45 percent of the country’s GDP – Ethiopia has, according to the World Bank, “above average restrictions on foreign equity ownership” in many sectors, particularly in the service industry. The list of prohibited sectors includes telecommunications, financial services, media, retail trade and transport.

Read more at cnbc.com »

Video: The World Bank is “Wrong” on Ethiopia – PM Hailemariam Desalegn (CNBC)

Ethiopia Should Consider Currency Devaluation, Says World Bank (Reuters)

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African Art Museum Prunes Plans for Home

Officials are scaling back plans for the Museum for African Art in New York. (Photo: G. TECTS and March)

The New York Times


JULY 22, 2014

A rendering of the new Museum for African Art, with its soaring four-story wall, curved ceiling of rare Ghanaian wood and elaborate spiraling staircase, still sits on an easel in an unfinished concrete skeleton facing Central Park.

But those distinctive features and the $135 million budget that would have paid for them have now been shelved. After years of outsize promises and repeated postponements, officials now acknowledge that fund-raising travails have compelled them to scale back the grand design for the museum’s new home on Fifth Avenue.

The decision to cut the budget by $40 million is a potent reminder of the gulf between blockbuster cultural institutions and everyone else. While lavish building projects are planned or underway at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art, smaller institutions with similarly heady dreams often can’t sustain them.

They lack the hefty endowments, deep-pocketed board members and global stature that can generally immunize even the most grandiose proposals at larger institutions from economic downturns a

Read more at NYT »

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Ukraine Rebels Surrender Downed Airliner Black Boxes to Malaysia

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

VOA News

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

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

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

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

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

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

U.N. Security Council resolution

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

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

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

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

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

Obama Urges Unimpeded Probe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kerry condemns Russia

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

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

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

EU to increase sanctions

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

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

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

Putin response

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

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

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

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

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

Video: Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

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Oprah Magazine Names Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu to Annual Power List

(Image courtesy: Oprah Magazine South Africa and SoleRebels)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, July 21st, 2014

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

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

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

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

2014 Face2face Africa Awards Preview

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

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

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

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

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

See the full results at iaaf.org »

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

Genzebe Dibaba Wants More World Records (TADIAS)

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