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U.S. Exhibition Highlights the Vibrant Art and Storied History of Ethiopian Icons

(Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, January 25th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — 60 Ethiopian church icons and artifacts are currently on display at The Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, Massachusetts. The paintings, mostly gathered from a European private collection, date back to the 16th century and represent Ethiopia’s ancient Christian tradition. The exhibition, which is on view through April 18th, features “60 small scale icons triptychs, larger icons and illuminated manuscripts. There will also be several cast-brass hand-held processional/benediction crosses with intricate designs for the Museum’s own collection as well as some small pendant/pectoral crosses worn by priest as part of their sacred vestments.”

The announcement adds: “The majority of paintings are religious in nature, often decorating church walls and bibles. From the 16th century, Roman Catholic church art and European art in general began to exert some influence. However, Ethiopian art is highly conservative and retained much of its distinct character until modern times. The production of illuminated manuscripts for use continues up to the present day. Pilgrimages to Jerusalem, where there has long been an Ethiopian clerical presence, also allowed some contact with a wider range of Orthodox art.”


If You Go:
The Vibrant Art and Storied History of Ethiopian Icons
On View January 23 through April 18, 2015
The Museum of Russian Icons
203 Union Street
Clinton, Massachusetts 01510
Telephone 978.598.5000
ADMISSION
Adults $10, Seniors (59 and over) $7
Students (with ID) & children (3-17) $5
Children under 3 FREE
Group Rates: CLICK HERE
museumofrussianicons.org

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First US-Cuba Talks Conclude in Havana

Roberta S. Jacobson (Right), U.S. Assistant Secretary of State of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs in Havana, Cuba, Jan. 22, 2015. (AP photo)

VOA News

January 23, 2015

A U.S. official has wrapped up a visit to Havana, saying her talks there mark an “important step forward” in restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba, but noting they are “just a first step” and that the road ahead is long and complex.

The U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta Jacobson, made the comments Friday after two days of talks with Cuban officials. She said in addition to discussing their shared interests, the two delegations addressed continuing areas of “deep disagreement,” including human rights.

Jacobson, however, said such differences do not mean the two countries cannot have a relationship.

“We will continue to both speak out about human rights publicly and directly now with the Cuban government,” said Jacobson. “I think that it is obviously part of what we’re talking about when we say we have profound disagreements with the Cuban government, when we talk about democracy and human rights and support for civil society and independent actors.”

This week’s meetings come a month after U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced the two countries were prepared to normalize ties after more than 50 years.

Jacobson also held talks Friday with leading Cuban dissidents. The head of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, Elizardo Sanchez, said the meeting was “cordial” and that the dissidents were satisfied despite the fact that not all civil society members were present.

The leader of the Patriotic Union for Cuba, Jose Daniel Ferrer, said the question of whether everyone in the opposition agrees with the new dialogue between the U.S. and Cuba should be a secondary issue.

“What’s important is for us to maintain unity in (our struggle for) freedom, democracy and respect for human rights, which are the fundamental issues in this case,” said Ferrer.

Jacobson said her discussions with Cuban government officials were also “cordial and respectful.” She said the U.S. is “extremely committed” to moving ahead with the dialogue.

Jacobson said the first day of discussions centered on the two nations’ regular migration talks. The second day focused on the steps for re-establishing relations and went beyond the reopening of embassies to cover a range of shared interests, including global health, counternarcotics, environmental cooperation and human trafficking.

Jacobson also stressed the importance of ensuring that the Cuban people have the information they need to make their own decisions. She said the new U.S. regulations put in place this month to allow greater telecommunications exports to Cuba was one of the subjects raised.

A Cuban diplomat told state news agency Granma the process of “normalizing” relations between Washington and Havana will take longer than merely re-establishing a diplomatic dialogue.

The unnamed official said, “We must not pretend that everything can be resolved in a single meeting.”

Last month’s diplomacy breakthrough occurred after secret negotiations that involved the Catholic Church. The talks led to Havana’s release of U.S. government contractor Alan Gross after five years behind bars. Cuba has also released 53 political prisoners, followed by the Obama administration easing some travel and trade restrictions.

Watch: US diplomat: Normalization will take time (MSNBC Video)


Related:
US & Cuba Hold Historic Talks in Havana
Mr. Obama’s Historic Move on Cuba (NYT Editorial)
U.S. to Restore Full Relations With Cuba (NYT)

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HRW Accuses Ethiopia of Journalist Crackdown Ahead of Elections

Human Rights Watch report on Ethiopia media. (Photo: Public domain)

VOA News

By Marthe van der Wolf

January 22, 2015

ADDIS ABABA — A new report by Human Rights Watch accuses the Ethiopia’s government of systematically cracking down on media ahead of the May 2015 elections. The report, released Thursday, details how Ethiopia has restricted independent reporting since 2010.

Researcher Felix Horne says there are patterns of government abuses against independent journalists.

“After articles are written, harassment comes from government officials, security officials and cadres in the form of threatening phone calls and SMS messages [text messages] and in person visits trying to get the individual to tone down the writings to comply with government perspectives on different issues,” Horne notes. “The next level is threats and harassment against family members, quite often arbitrary detention to intimidate and to pressure the journalist into censoring their writings. If that doesn’t work, the next step seems to involve criminal charges.”

According to the report, “Journalism Is Not A Crime”, six independent publications closed down in 2014 because of government pressure, 22 journalist, bloggers and publishers were criminally charged and more than 30 journalist fled the country. Most journalists are charged under the widely criticized anti-terrorism proclamation. Currently there is a high profile terrorism case going on in Ethiopia against bloggers of the Zone9 group.

HRW says the repression described in the report is leading to self-censorship. The rights group also claims that citizens and junior government officials are afraid of speaking to media, out of concern of being disciplined.

Horne says the repression has led to a reality where alternative views about the upcoming elections are rarely discussed in the media.

“It is crucial and critical that there will be a vibrant and flourishing independent media that can contribute to the political discourse and the political dialogue within the country that can provide critical information and critical analysis about the political issues of the day,” Horne says. ” But sadly, given the decimation of private media that we’ve seen since 2010, that’s just not happening.”

The ruling party, which has been in power since 1991, won over 99 percent of the votes in the 2010 elections, with only one parliament seat going to the opposition.

Responding to the report’s accusations, Getachew Redda, Special Advisor to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister said “HRW had lost their credibility long time ago, even by their own supporters, so there is no point for us to respond to their remarks.”

Asked about the issue of imprisoned journalist, Redda responded that “You can be anything, a journalist or pretending to be a journalist, but being involved in criminal activity is still a crime and they will be held responsible.”

HRW is calling on the Ethiopian government to release those imprisoned journalist and bloggers and to amend legislation such as the anti-Terrorism proclamation.

Video: Ethiopia Media Being Decimated: Reforms Crucial Prior to May Elections (HRW)


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From Ethiopia to Israel to Harlem: Q&A with Beejhy Barhany, Owner of Tsion Cafe

Beejhy Barhany. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Hasabie Kidanu

Published: Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

New York (TADIAS) – In the historic neighborhood of Sugar Hill, Harlem we celebrate one of its newest additions — Tsion Café and Bakery. Formerly known as Jimmy’s Chicken Shack, 763 St. Nicholas Ave had housed the famous eatery and hangout frequented by jazz musicians, writers and poets; Malcolm X worked there washing dishes. Now converted into a trendy cafe and bakery Tsion is located a few doors away from the former St. Nick’s Pub – a renowned jazz club established in the 1940s. That’s where, according to The New York Times, “The musicians Frank Lacey, Olu Dara, Sarah Vaughn and Wynton Marsalis played through Harlem’s ups and down. The pub drew famous faces and busloads of tourists.”

Today, the most delicious Ethiopian food with a Mediterranean and Israeli twist comes out of the same kitchen as Jimmy’s Chicken Shack. It’s a space where you can finish your novel, meet a friend for lunch, sip on fair trade, organic coffee, or simply hang out.

The owner and founder, Beejhy Barhany, was born in Ethiopia, raised in Israel and moved to New York fifteen years ago. Beejhy says her mission is to carry on the essence of the establishment’s former identity – a meeting place for wholesome food, art, culture and musical performance. Behind Tsion Café is an incredibly rich life story that led her here; from bungee and cliff jumping in the Amazon, to trading diamonds in New York, to serving in the army in Israel. Her passion to communicate her Ethiopian heritage, while highlighting her Jewish upbringing has led her to establish a space and platform where the richness of her life experience can be heard, seen, tasted, and experienced. Tsion Café is the physical manifestation of Beejhy Barhany’s personal story spanning continents and cultures.

With sweet traditional tunes humming in the background, we start our chat.

TADIAS: What was the inspiration behind Tsion Café, and why did you choose a location in Harlem?

Beejhy Barhany: It is important for me to highlight Ethiopian culture and its rich heritage, and paying homage to my Jewish background. I moved to New York in 2000, and after living and working here for a few years, I founded BINA (Beta Israel of North America) as a way to create a platform to raise greater awareness about Ethiopian Jews. I started organizing events, film screenings, showcasing cuisine, stories, and music. It kept growing, expanding, I had an office, but I always wanted a venue. And I always wanted something in Harlem; it’s historical, it has some connection to Ethiopia. I was looking at a lot of different places, and I was interested in this particular venue. Jimmy’s Chicken Shack was once this exact place, where all the poets and musicians were spending time, I wanted to bring that back and carry on the tradition, I wanted to honor writers, artists, have readings and performances, and this place simply worked.

TADIAS: Your drive to highlight the beauty of Ethiopian culture is so heavily influenced by your life; you’re Ethiopian, Jewish, a New Yorker. It seems Tsion is a byproduct of your experiences, and even with heavy revision, you’ve had a jam-packed life so far, so I wanted to start at the beginning, tell us a bit about your childhood.

Beejhy: I was born in Tigray, in a small village; I don’t have much memory of Ethiopia since I left at a very young age. From the stories and vague memories, it was a peaceful life, surreal; I remember rivers, cornfields, eating fruit, climbing trees. I left the country with my family and started a journey to Israel, the holy land; we did it because of a strong determination connected to our religious ideology. In a way, we escaped with a mission in mind. We had people show us the way, make sure we didn’t bump into roadblocks, maneuver between villages, take us to Jewish villages to stock up with food and water.

TADIAS: I think this particular journey that you have partaken in comes in story form to the rest of the country and the West, do you think the stories of the Ethiopian Jewish community may be somewhat misrepresented?

Beejhy: I think it is something that is a bit exaggerated, we didn’t suffer in Ethiopia, I think that history needs a bit of revision. It depended on what area you came from. The image of Ethiopia in general that is exported into the West is not completely accurate. Surely, it was a difficult journey but it was a pure and spiritual passage that Ethiopian Jews carried out, not for economic opportunities, not because we were unhappy in Ethiopia, but because we wanted to be in Israel. The level of devotion was incredible, it was difficult on various levels but the people had an unbelievable drive. For instance, there was a pregnant woman walking among us, when she gave birth, people waited until she recovered to continue. We wouldn’t walk during Shabbat – the group had that level of devotion.

TADIAS: I would imagine you had to take intentional detours, to avoid roadblocks and dangers?

Beejhy: Yes, so we walked to Sudan and we stayed there for almost three years. I had a few family members and a cousin who worked with different NGOs and Mossad (the national intelligence agency of Israel) who had secret missions to get families to Israel. So, we were told to prepare, take pictures, pack, and one night we were picked up with a Land Rover and a Scottish and Kenyan driver, all under a secret operation. At the age of 7, I continued this epic journey, I remember sitting on the roof of the truck amongst suitcases looking at wild animals in the safari. It was magnificent time for me, but surely, for the elders it was frightening, especially passing through borders with a Scottish driver who was up for much interrogation. He was consistent in claiming he was a “tour guide.” The authorities wanted to know more, but with the connection and good sum of money, they were able to transport us through multiple borders. At some point I could see Ethiopia from Kenya, but that was the route you used to smuggle. We arrived in Uganda and hid there two weeks, until proper documentation was ready, from there we flew to Israel.

TADIAS: So, after several years, you were finally in Israel. How was the first reaction, reception, and adjusting to a new life?

Beejhy: It was a group of incredibly sincere people who had carried out this journey, and it was an absolutely emotional moment for us. The reception was two-pronged. There were so many who were excited to welcome us, the new Jewish Diaspora! Yet, there was some discrimination. The whole interaction between white and black was not easy – there was name calling on both sides. There was also the notion that you were not good enough, even after that level of devotion during the trip you had to reclaim your religion anew with Mikveh (the ritual immersion in a bath to symbolize the conversion into Judaism, to regain purity before entering the Temple). I was young, but I understood the process of the ‘new immigrant.’ I started a new life, new language, new home. I was integrated into all of it. I learned Hebrew. I met kids form Ethiopia and Russia, and after some time I started taking regular classes – I grew up. I learned to be very independent since all of my family members were integrating into a new life as well. I had to do homework by myself for instance. I decided to do my high school in a Kibbutz (a collective community based on agriculture, a co-operative life where everything is shared). Then I decided to join the army, and I served for three years. After that I wanted to travel the world, so I started with the U.S.

TADIAS: Okay, so now we are getting closer and closer to New York and Tsion. Tell us about the journey that ended in you moving to New York City in 2000.

Beejhy: I had saved some money and went backpacking. I was twenty-two. I traveled a bit in the U.S., the Islands, then to Latin America. I traveled to Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, hitchhiking and backpacking. I did the Machu Picchu trail for a week. I mean the adventures were endless – I bungee-jumped, trekked snow mountains, did 100 feet jumps from bridges into rivers, walked the jungles of Peru. It was madness. I went back to Israel and I could not stay. I had seen too much. I went back to New York in 2000 and started babysitting for a Jewish family. I soon started a job in the diamond district managing an office. I started designing jewelry and trading diamonds while going to school, and graduated with a Liberal Arts degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

In 2003 I founded Beta Israel of North America Cultural Foundation (BINA). Throughout my encounters in life, people did not know about Ethiopian Jews or Ethiopia in general. I wanted to create a platform to bring that richness to the world. I started organizing events and BINA was incredibly important in its role of discarding the negative images of Ethiopia; we are strong people with such a magnificent history, and it was important to underline that. After some years, it was clear that I wanted a venue, so the scouting for Tsion Café started.

TADIAS: How did you decide on this particular location?

Beejhy: It is quite ironic because when I first moved here, people told me not to go to Harlem. Now I live and work here. It was serendipity that we ended up here. I wanted a location that was near to home, because of my family, but also a place that demonstrated the history of Harlem. When I first saw the space I felt there was something to it, but didn’t know what. It was only just before construction began that we learned of the historic significance — any lingering doubts about the space was removed at that time. But, the place was like a junkyard, layers of flooring had to be taken out, walls taken down, everything had to be cleaned up. But eventually, it was up and running.

TADIAS: Your staff is a creative bunch; the head chef is a bass player for ARKI sound, an Ethiopian Jazz band. Beniam Asfaw is the Art Director and curates work for the Tsion Art Show. Was that intentional when it came to things like designing the menu or the general ambiance?

Beejhy: The food celebrates my upbringing, so we wanted to craft up something that was Ethiopian with a Middle Eastern, Jewish twist, a sort of hybrid. So we have something like Firfir (a dish made from shredded Injera, in a spicy buttery sauce) that is traditionally Ethiopian/Eritrean, but we also have the Malawa (a layered puff pastry dish served with eggs and tomato dip or honey), which is more of a reference to Yemen/Israel. We also try to be efficient with our ingredients; we serve fresh, organic food. The Ethiopian influence is there for sure, but we add a bit more to it. Soon, we will have some fresh bread and pastries to sell. We also have Ethiopian honey wine, and of course, we will have the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

TADIAS: What are your hopes for Tsion Café in the coming years?

Beejhy: I see it becoming a gathering place for the community – where writers can be comfortable to come here and finish their books for instance. We want to highlight art and culture. I see it as a place where we celebrate the diversity within Harlem, a place for growth of ideas, spirituality, and respect for one another, and in a way you will have a better understanding of Ethiopia. It is a space that is envisioned as a positive addition to Harlem. A gift from my family and me to the Harlem community. Tsion means the ‘ultimate spiritual place.’ You come here, and we fill you with good food and a good cultural grounding to all things Harlem — old and new.



If You Go:
Tsion Cafe
763 St. Nicholas Ave.
Harlem, NY 10031
www.tsioncafe.com

To submit artwork: Please be ready to provide your artist bio and artwork list (i.e. title, medium, dimensions and retail price for each artwork). Please include your name, address, email and phone number on your artist bio and artwork list and submit your art to Tsioncafe@gmail.com to be considered.

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US & Cuba Hold Historic Talks in Havana

A woman walks past a bicycle taxi displaying the U.S. and Cuban flags in Havana, Dec. 17, 2014. (Reuters)

Reuters

WASHINGTON — The United States will urge Cuba to lift travel restrictions and agree to establishing U.S. and Cuban embassies in historic talks in Havana this week aimed at restoring diplomatic ties, a senior State Department official said on Monday.

Roberta Jacobson, the top U.S. diplomat for Latin America, will lead the talks scheduled Wednesday through Friday. It will be the first visit to Cuba in 38 years by a U.S. assistant secretary of state.

“We are looking forward to the Cubans lifting travel restrictions, to trying to lift the caps on the number of our diplomatic personnel, to trying to gain unimpeded shipments for our mission and to the free access to our mission by Cubans,” the official said in a conference call.

The official said the outcome of the first round of normalization talks would depend on how far Cuba was willing to go.

“It is hard to know exactly what will come out of this first conversation,” the official said. “I am not oblivious to the weight of history.”

U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro on December 17 announced plans to restore relations between the Cold War foes, with a view to ending the 54-year-old U.S. trade embargo against the communist-led island.

Cuba has released 53 political prisoners it had agreed to free and last week the United States announced the first easing of trade and investment restrictions against Havana.

Washington has said it will press Cuba to release more political prisoners and end short-term detentions.

The official said Obama’s new policy depends on “mutual consent” between the United States and Cuba. “We are ready to accelerate the pace of engagement as it regards our interests and the Cuban people, but a lot will depend on the tolerance of the Cuban government for that engagement,” the official said.

Washington intends to raise its concerns over Cuba’s human rights record, and the U.S. delegation hopes to meet with human rights and dissident groups while in Havana, the official added. “It has always been our practice to engage with civil society. … I really don’t see any need to change that.”

Related:
Why History Will Be Very Kind to Obama (New York Magazine)
Mr. Obama’s Historic Move on Cuba (NYT Editorial)
U.S. to Restore Full Relations With Cuba (NYT)

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Azarias Reda, GOP’s Chief Data Officer, On Forbes 30 Under 30

Ethiopian-born Azarias Reda is the Republican Party’s New Chief Data Officer. (Photo: Forbes Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, January 19th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American Azarias Reda, The Chief Data Officer for the Republican party, has been named by Forbes Magazine as one of thirty promising young leaders below the age of thirty in Law & Policy. The Wall Street Journal notes: “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.” Since then, of course, as evidenced by the GOP’s recent takeover of the U.S. Senate, the party’s voter operation has dramatically improved.

Forbes editors of the 2015 list share that “Reda was born in Ethiopia and moved to the U.S. while he was in college.” In its profile of Reda published this past Fall The Wall Street Journal stated: “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…The RNC line is that it intends to leapfrog Democrats in the technology of turnout.”

We congratulate Azarias Reda on a well deserved recognition.

Related:
Presenting the 30 Under 30 2015 in Law & Policy (Forbes)
Azarias Reda Helps Republicans Leapfrogg the Democrats’ Tech Advantage (WSJ)

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Spectacular Photos of Timket Festival

Ethiopian Orthodox Christians celebrate Timket at the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and city of Gondar.

Daily Mail

By RUTH STYLES

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

While for most of us, January means cutting down on alcohol and getting to grips with a new workout regime, for Ethiopia’s Orthodox Christians, it marks one of the most colourful celebrations of the year. Timkat, the Ethiopian Orthodox take on Epiphany, brings thousands of pilgrims flocking to the ancient rock-hewn churches at Lalibela and to the ancient city of Gondar nearby each winter.

Taken by French photographer Eric Lafforgue, who has travelled widely in Ethiopia meeting local people, the images offer a unique insight into one of the world’s oldest Christian ceremonies. And as the incredible photos reveal, there’s more to the celebration than prayer and contemplation, with colourful parades and late night dips in the river all part of the plan.

Read more at Daily Mail »

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Julie Mehretu Awarded 2015 Medal of Arts by U.S. State Department

Julie Mehretu has been awarded the 2015 US State Department Medal of Arts. (Photo: ©Sarah Rentz)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, January 16th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) – The U.S. Department of State has named Ethiopian American artist Julie Mehretu as a recipient of its 2015 Medal of Arts in recognition of her internationally acclaimed work and her impact in promoting cultural diplomacy. Julie is one of seven artists who is receiving the recognition for her “outstanding commitment and contributions to the Art in Embassies program and international cultural exchange” a State Department spokeswoman told ARTnews.

“The 2015 winners are Xu Bing, Mark Bradford, Sam Gilliam, Maya Lin, Julie Mehretu, Pedro Reyes, and Kehinde Wiley. The biennial award began in 2013 and that year went to Cai Guo-Qiang, Jeff Koons, Shahzia Sikander, Kiki Smith, and Carrie Mae Weems.”

Julie, who lives and works in New York City, was the featured guest speaker at the 2014 American Artist Lecture Series in London this past September sponsored by the Art in Embassies program, Tate Modern and US Embassy London, which brings “the greatest living modern and contemporary American artists to the UK.”

Julie, who was also one of the Executive Producers of the film Difret, was born in Addis Ababa in 1970 and immigrated to the United States with her family in 1977. She is one of the leading contemporary artists in the United States, and has received numerous international recognition for her work including the American Art Award from the Whitney Museum of American Art and the prestigious MacArthur Fellow award.

Congratulations to Julie Mehretu!

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

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British MPs to Visit Ethiopia in Bid to Secure Release of Andy Tsege

Mr Tsege has been held in solitary confinement for the past six months. (Photo via independent.co.uk)

The Independent

By JONATHAN OWEN

Thursday 15 January 2015

A delegation of British MPs will visit Ethiopia next month in a bid to secure the release of Andargachew “Andy” Tsege, a British father of three who is under a death sentence.

Mr Tsege, 59, a leading critic of the Ethiopian government who came to Britain as a political refugee more than 30 years ago, has been held in solitary confinement for the past six months.

He vanished during a stopover in Yemen last June, during a trip from Dubai to Eritrea, in what campaigners say was a politically motivated kidnapping. Weeks later it emerged he had been imprisoned in Ethiopia.

His precise whereabouts remain unknown.

The Briton, who is the secretary-general of a banned Ethiopian opposition movement, is facing a death sentence imposed at a trial held in his absence in 2009.

The announcement of the visit by British Parliamentarians, yesterday, is in stark contrast to the efforts of Prime Minister David Cameron, whose response to desperate pleas for help from Mr Tsege’s family last year was to write a letter to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister.

Jeremy Corbyn, vice-chair, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Rights, and Mr Tsege’s constituency MP, will lead the delegation. “He is a British citizen so there is no reason on earth why the British government should not take a very robust view on this,” he said.

Read more at The Independent »

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Ethiopian Opposition Faces Difficulty in Entering Upcoming Elections

Voters at a polling station in Ethiopia during the 2010 elections. (Photo: Reuters)

VOA News

By Marthe van der Wolf

January 14, 2015

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopian opposition parties say they are facing roadblocks in their efforts to register for the May elections. The parties say the National Election Board is complicating procedures for no good reason, and raising doubt that the elections will be free or fair.

The Unity for Democracy and Justice party has the only opposition member in Ethiopia’s 547-seat parliament. But it is unclear if the party will be allowed to participate in the May elections, as the National Election Board has rejected UDJ logos.

Wondimu Golla of the National Election Board said it was not about the logos, but about procedural rules.

“According to their bylaws it says, the president of the party shall be nominated or elected by the general assembly. But they nominate by some few persons, the high officials there. So we oppose this. They have to strictly follow the bylaws, their own bylaws,” said Golla.

The National Election Board has given UDJ two weeks to organize a general assembly, and if its conduct is approved the party will be allowed to participate in the May elections. But the UDJ has decided to not hold another general assembly.

UDJ vice chairman Girma Seifu — the only member of parliament not affiliated with Ethiopia’s ruling party — said the election board’s actions were not justified.

“They do not have any legal ground or moral ground or administrative guideline to do these things. Because this is just an interference just to put a block on our active participation in the election,” said Seifu.

Voter registration in Ethiopia began last week and up to 60 parties may run for seats in the upcoming elections.

The Blue Party, formed in 2012, will be contesting elections for the first time. Blue Party chairman Yilkal Getnet said he was pessimistic about the elections as the party has repeatedly and unsuccessfully tried to work with the election board on certain issues.

“They are reluctant, and they did not give us any positive report or signs to improve these things. We did not get any signs that improve the political climate. Now for the coming elections to be free and fair we need to discuss about the political climate, to have a free media, to have international observers to observe the election, and including the budget sharing systems, and so on,” said Getnet.

During the 2005 elections opposition parties won about a third of the seats, but accusations of vote rigging led to mass demonstrations in which at least 200 protesters died and thousands were arrested.

The ruling Ethiopia’s Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front has been in power since the overthrow of the military junta in 1991.
—-
Related:
The Role of Civil Society in Upcoming Ethiopia Elections: CREW Conference in Washington DC
African Elections in 2015: A Year of Promise and Peril

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Pictures: Taitu Hotel A Precious National Treasure Burns in Ethiopia

A painting of Empress Taitu hangs inside the now burned-out historic Itegue Taitu Hotel in Addis Ababa at the conference room located on the top floor of the building called "Ergebe Bete." (Photograph: Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, January 13h, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — For more than a century Ethiopia’s iconic Taitu Hotel in Addis Ababa, which was badly burned by a raging fire last weekend, had stood tall bearing the namesake of its founder and the most admired woman in Ethiopian history — Itegue Taitu Bitul who was also one of the leading architects of Ethiopia’s winning strategies at Battle of Adwa on March 1st, 1896.

Empress Taitu opened the hotel a few years after Adwa as the nation’s first full-service hotel prompted by the increasing number of international dignitaries and travelers visiting Ethiopia after the country’s decisive victory against Italian colonial powers at Adwa. Encyclopaedia Aethiopica notes that for a time the Hotel was nicknamed Bollotatos Hotel for its Greek manager. Taitu Hotel was favored by Emperor Menelik as well as Ethiopian students returning from overseas and the political elite of the times. According to historian Ayele Bekerie, an Associate Professor at the Department of History & Cultural Studies at Mekelle University, Ethiopia hosted a reception at Taitu Hotel in 1903 in honor of the centennial anniversary of the Haitian revolution. Furthermore, Taitu Hotel was where war correspondents and photojournalists from around the globe covering the second Italian invasion of Ethiopia were housed in 1935.

Professor Ayele had written extensively about the significance of that era in modern African history and beyond. “Following the war Taitu and Menelik shared the enormous task of building a newly reconstituted country with diverse population and cultures,” notes Professor Ayele. He shared an article honoring Taitu for Women’s History Month two years ago published here. “Empress Taitu Bitul was actively involved in Menelik’s government. It is worth mentioning that she was married to Menelik at the age of forty-three and she was four years older than him,” Professor Ayele states. “Taitu’s pioneering and enduring work in politics, economics, culture, social welfare, military have added to the definition and implementation of a national agenda. The founding of Addis Ababa as a new capital city allowed people to migrate and settle in this new town from all regions of the country.”

Professor Ayele says the Taitu Hotel is a monument not only to the timeless legacy of our forefathers and mothers who kept Ethiopia free, but also stood as a tribute to the woman who established the capital city that today millions of residents call their home. “Taitu Hotel is one of the most important historic landmarks of Addis Ababa,” he said. “Terribly saddened by what happened. It is a precious national treasure. I am hopeful that the building will be restored as soon as possible.”

Below are photos courtesy Professor Ayele, who visited Taitu Hotel’s burned site on Monday morning along with images from Facebook and other media sources.



Related:
Ethiopia’s Historic Landmark Taitu Hotel Sustains Fire Damage

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Eat, Drink & Be Literary 2015 Featuring Acclaimed Writer Dinaw Mengestu

Dinaw Mengestu. (Illustration by Nathan Gelgud)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, January 12th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Acclaimed Ethiopian-born writer Dinaw Mengestu is the featured guest speaker at this month’s “Eat, Drink & Be Literary 2015″ program presented by BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) in partnership with the National Book Foundation, which celebrates today’s most renowned authors.

Dinaw’s latest book All Our Names tops The New York Times’ list of 100 notable books published last year. The editors of NYT’s Book Review state: “With great sadness and much hard truth, Mengestu’s novel looks at a relationship of shared dependencies between a Midwestern social worker and a bereft African immigrant.”

In addition, Dinaw is the author of the novels How to Read the Air and The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, and is a recipient of the 2012 MacArthur Foundation genius grant. He currently teaches at Brooklyn College and Georgetown University.

Dinaw is scheduled to appear at BAMcafé on Tuesday Jan 27th, 2015. The announcement states: “each event begins with a buffet dinner, including wine and dessert, accompanied by live music. Following dinner, the evening’s featured author reads from his or her work and discusses the creative process. Guests are encouraged to ask questions and have their book signed at the conclusion of the evening.”

All events begin at 6:30pm. Doors open at 6pm, and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Incomplete parties are not permitted to save seats.

If You Go:
Tue, Jan 27, 2015
6:30pm – 8:30pm
Peter Jay Sharp Building
BAMcafé
30 Lafayette Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Subscription Price: 51
Single Ticket Price: $60
Ticket price includes wine, dinner, tax, and tip
www.bam.org/programs/2015/eat-drink-and-be-literary

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Historic Taitu Hotel Sustains Fire Damage

The fire-hit Taitu hotel in Addis Ababa. (Photograph: Zacharias Abubeker/AFP/Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, January 11th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The historic Itegue Taitu Hotel in Addis Ababa sustained serious fire damage today. The blaze also destroyed Jazzamba, the popular jazz club located inside the legendary hotel. Located in the Piazza neighborhood Taitu Hotel is the country’s first establishment providing accommodations, meals, and other services both to travelers and locals since 1898 (Ethiopian Calendar).

No deaths were reported in the incident, but commander Tadesse Gemechu, a fire department official, told the Associated Press that “two people were taken to the hospital after being rescued from the fire at the Taitu Hotel which was built in 1907.”


A fire department official says the fire has damaged the hotel which featured the city’s famous jazz club “Jazz Amba”, now destroyed, which was frequented by foreigners and locals alike. (AP)


Firemen walk through wreckage at the Taitu Hotel following a fire at the historical landmark, built in 1907, in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Elias Asmare)

AP adds: “Tadesse says the cause of the fire is being investigated. Many of the hotel’s rooms, its historic pieces and a bank office were completely burned down before firefighters put out the fire. The city’s famous jazz club that used to be frequented by foreigners and locals alike, Jazz Amba, was also completely destroyed by the inferno. Addis Ababa’s Deputy Mayor Abate Sitotaw said efforts will be made to restore the Taitu Hotel.”

—-
Related:
Fire Damages Historic Hotel in Ethiopia (AP)

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African Elections in 2015: A Year of Promise and Peril

Voters queue to cast their ballots at a polling station in Ethiopia during the 2010 elections. (AP photo)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Press Release

U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations

2015 is a critical year in the governance and political landscape of Africa, with national and parliamentary elections taking place across the continent. There are currently 14 legislative and presidential elections scheduled for 2015, including those in Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR), Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Guinea, Lesotho, Nigeria, Somaliland, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia.

While nations such as Tanzania and Zambia seek to extend their advancements in peaceful, democratic transitions in 2015; other African nations face the prospect of holding elections in the context of conflict or post-conflict settings with significant ethnic and/or regional tensions, such as those in Sudan, South Sudan, Nigeria and the Central African Republic. These elections could present serious challenges to internal and regional stability across the continent, and will require vital technical, logistical and security-related support from the African Union and the international community.

In addition to these challenges, close attention should be paid to the issue of electoral term limits continent-wide. While there are several African nations where strong adherence to constitutional term limits has taken root – such as Ghana, Namibia and Mozambique; there is an unsettling trend towards constitutional amendments to extend term limits in Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some African leaders argue that without a competent and organized opposition; they are justified in extending their terms in the best interest of their nations. The rejoinder to this argument, from many in African civil society, and the international community is that this logic creates a perennial excuse for African leaders to suppress dissent and political opposition in order to retain power. This same trend was the root cause of the civil unrest late last year in Burkina Faso, which ultimately led to the removal of President Compaore from office.

As Africans across the continent engage in the democratic process, African governments and regional bodies must work to provide maximum transparency and security; as well as mechanisms for electoral grievances and support for the acceptance of results. They should not however, be expected to do this alone. US foreign assistance agencies, the broader international community, and the relevant agencies of the United Nations system must be poised to provide necessary support in this year of numerous African elections.

Related:
The Role of Civil Society in Upcoming Ethiopia Elections: CREW Conference in Washington DC

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The Role of Civil Society in 2015 Ethiopia Elections: Women Conference in DC

Dr. Maigenet Shifferaw (R) President of Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women CREW. (Photo: Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, January 9th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — Organizers of the fourth annual International Conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora, which is scheduled to take place on March 7th, 2015 in Washington DC, are calling for presentation proposals regarding “The Role of Civil Society Organization (CSOs) in the Upcoming Elections in Ethiopia.”

“The main objective is to create an understanding of the magnitude of the negative impact of the Societies and Charities Law on the activities of nongovernmental organizations,” states the event host, U.S.-based Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW). “As a women’s civil society organization, CREW will also pay special attention to Ethiopian women’s participation in the political process. Thus, one of the major questions that the conference will address will be the role of women’s organizations in mobilizing women to seek their rights for fair and free elections.”

The announcement notes that between the early 1990′s and mid-2000s civil society organizations had actually flourished in Ethiopia, but that changed following a 2009 law called “the Societies and Charities Proclamation” that, organizers point out, neutralized the activities of such associations. The press release added: “Individual initiatives through CSOs are based on the inalienable right to participate in addressing vital political and socio-economic issues, without belonging to political parties. Civil society organizations are autonomous means of participating in public life. They are systems promoting initiatives to ensure that people have the opportunities to pursue their preferred directions in their political, economic or social lives. Without the active role of CSOs therefore, creating awareness of the rights and responsibilities of citizens and having fair and free elections is going to be impossible.”

Organizers emphasize that the conference is intended to address the following themes: “Assessment of the Societies and Charities Law and its impact on the activities of civil society organizations in the upcoming elections: lessons learned from previous elections and challenges and opportunities for the upcoming elections; women’s participation in the political process and women’s advocacy for free and fair elections; plans of action and advocacy strategies for encouraging women to seek political leadership positions; and encouraging the international community to promote free and peaceful elections in Ethiopia.”

If you are interested in presenting papers on any of these areas, CREW asks that you submit a one-page proposal by January 30th, 2015. Learn more at www.centerforethiopianwomen.org.

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US Updates African Diaspora on Ebola

Medical supplies from the U.S. delivered in Monrovia, Liberia to assist in the fight against Ebola. (AP Photo)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Press Release: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs

Last month, the State Department’s Bureaus of Public Affairs and African Affairs, in coordination with interagency colleagues, hosted a conference call with Assistant Secretary of African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield and approximately 200 representatives of the African diaspora community from across the United States. Together with officials from USAID, the National Security Council (NSC) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Assistant Secretary of African Affairs, provided an update on the ongoing response to the crisis.

In December 2014, Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield was part of a U.S. delegation to Liberia, led by Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Lumpkin, to assess the current state of Liberia’s fight against Ebola and U.S. response efforts on the ground. On this call, she reviewed her trip and commended the efforts of U.S. Embassy personnel in Monrovia, who are working around the clock, to support the anti-Ebola effort. She also stressed that the U.S. Government response to Ebola has been a “whole of government” effort.

In response to questions from call participants, Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield noted that, after several very difficult months, Liberia has made significant gains in the fight against Ebola. She also added that more work remains to be done until Liberia is Ebola-free. To that end, she urged Liberians not to change the practices that have been put in place to ensure the eradication of this disease.

The Assistant Secretary also remarked that Ebola is a “regional problem,” not a Liberian problem, and one that requires tremendous teamwork and international coordination. In that regard, she described the collaborative efforts of the U.S. embassy, USAID, the CDC, the African Union and Liberians as nothing short of “impressive.”

Thomas-Greenfield remains engaged in coordination efforts with other U.S. Government agencies and colleagues in the international community around the recovery program in the region, the state of the health sector, and the conditions for improvement in education and infrastructure.

The U.S. Government continues to stand with Liberia, and knows that this is a situation that they cannot fight alone. Liberia and other Ebola-affected countries need the support of the international community and we are committed to providing that support. President Obama made that very clear when he said that this is a national security crisis, not only for the region, but for the world.

For more information on the ongoing U.S. response to the virus, please visit the State Department page here.

About the Author:
David Duckenfield serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Public Affairs.

Related:
WHO: Ebola Death Toll Passes 7,500
Ethiopians arrive in West Africa to fight Ebola
Ethiopia Holds Farewell Gala for Volunteer Doctors Headed to Ebola-Hit Countries
Africa Sets Up $28.5m Ebola Crisis Fund
Don’t Let Ebola Dehumanize Africa
5,000 Ebola Health Care Workers Needed In West Africa: WHO
Ethiopia to Deploy 210 Health Workers in Ebola-Hit West Africa
In first case, Doctor in New York City is Diagnosed With Ebola
Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola
Ebola: Africa’s Image Takes a Hit
U.S. Embassy: No Confirmed or Suspected Cases of Ebola in Ethiopia
Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

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Ethiopian Christians Celebrate Christmas

Night masses were conducted at churches across the country. At dawn, a cannon was fired nine times to mark the occasion. (Photo: AA)

Anadolu News Agency

By Abebech Tamene

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas on Wednesday – along with other Eastern Orthodox Christians around the world – on Jan. 7, some two weeks after December 25, when their Western counterparts celebrate Jesus’ birth.

“Celebrating Christmas on this day [Jan. 7] makes our church unique,” Abba Haile Mariam Melese, the church’s deputy general manager, told The Anadolu Agency.

Two main versions of the Christian calendar are currently in use around the world – the Julian calendar and the Gregorian calendar. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church, for its part, uses the former, introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C.

The difference between the two calendars lies in the way they estimate the length of the tropical year, and how they calculate when Easter falls.

“The [Ethiopian] church follows the Julian calendar because it believes it is the most appropriate for counting days and years,” Melese told AA. “Besides, the Julian calendar is derived from the Bible; it is not good to deviate from it when counting days and years.”

Late Tuesday, nighttime masses were conducted at churches across the country. At dawn, a cannon was fired nine times to mark the occasion.

Read more »

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A 40-Day Vegan Fast, Then, At Last, A January Christmas Feast

Ethiopians around the world celebrated Christmas on Wednesday, January 7th. The following is NPR's highlight of the Ethiopian holiday feast that follows 40 days of vegan fast. (Photo: NPR)

NPR

By Gregory Warner

An Ethiopian kitchen can be a place of both succulence and self-denial.

In the kitchen of Abyssinia, a popular Ethiopian eatery in Nairobi, the owner, Abebe, demonstrates how his cook prepares the dish called kitfo. It’s raw minced beef whipped together with cardamom and chili and a spicy butter, with a texture and taste closer to delicate cheese than to steak tartar.

Kitfo is actually Abebe’s favorite food, but it’s one he hasn’t been allowed to eat for the past month. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church, one of the world’s oldest, observes Christmas on Jan. 7, following a calendar similar to the Coptic Church. The 40 days prior to Christmas (including Dec. 25) are observed with a vegan fast.

This 40-day Nativity Fast — also observed by the Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Catholic and Coptic Church, among others — typically prohibits meat, dairy, eggs, oil and wine. (Some traditions are ambiguous about whether fish may be eaten.)

The church considers refraining from some meals and some foods to be a form of purification and spiritual preparation. While the term “vegan” was coined only 70 years ago, prohibitions against eating meat and dairy for extended periods have been around for millennia. But no church has as many fasting days as the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

Abebe says that at a time of year when others are gorging, there’s something gratifying in self-denial.

Read more »

Listen to the story:


Related:
Ethiopian Christians Celebrate Christmas

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Liccardo Inaugurated Mayor of San Jose

San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo high-fives supporters after the City of San Jose 2015 Inaugural Ceremony at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. (Photo: Bay Area News Group)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

San Jose (TADIAS) – The City of San Jose 2015 Inaugural Ceremony for the new Mayor Sam Liccardo took place at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts in downtown San Jose, California on Tuesday, January 6th. Liccardo, who was endorsed by the Ethiopian American Council (EAC), was elected Mayor of San Jose following a hotly-contested race against county Supervisor Dave Cortese during the 2014 midterm elections in November. The city, which is home to tens of thousands of immigrants from Ethiopia and their first generation American-born children, is the 10th most populous city in America and the largest in Silicon Valley.

Below are a few photos from the event via Bay Area News Group.


San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo waits on stage before being sworn in next to his wife Jessica García-Kohl during the City of San Jose 2015 Inaugural Ceremony at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts in downtown San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)


The audience listens to speakers during the City of San Jose 2015 Inaugural Ceremony at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts in downtown San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)


San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo, right, takes a “selfie” with Melvis Cruz, left, after the City of San Jose 2015 Inaugural Ceremony at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts in downtown San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

1420674255_SJM-LICCARDO-0107-007-L
San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo greets supporters after the City of San Jose 2015 Inaugural Ceremony in the lobby of the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts in downtown San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

See more photos at San Jose Mercury News »


Sam Liccardo to be Inaugurated New Mayor of San Jose, California


The newly elected Mayor of San Jose, California Sam Liccardo. (Photo: The Ethiopian American Council)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopian American friends and supporters of the new Mayor of San Jose Sam Liccardo, who officially takes office today, are expected to attend his inauguration ceremony this evening. The Office of the new Mayor has already moved the inauguration venue once due to capacity issues. “Tuesday evening’s inaugural ceremony surprisingly outstripped the 1,100-seat California Theatre even before Liccardo officially took office,” reports The San Jose Mercury News. “Fortunately, this was an easy one to fix, and the ceremony has been moved to the roomier Center for the Performing Arts.” The newspaper adds: “With the extra space, registration has been reopened for the free event, which starts at 6 p.m. (Doors open at 5:30 p.m.).

Liccardo, who was endorsed by the Ethiopian American Council (EAC), was elected Mayor of San Jose, California following a hotly-contested race against county Supervisor Dave Cortese during the 2014 midterm elections in November. The city, which is home to tens of thousands of immigrants from Ethiopia and their first generation American-born children, is the 10th most populous city in America and the largest in Silicon Valley.

Regarding the inaugural ceremony today, the San Jose Mercury News notes that you can “register in advance online until noon Tuesday, http://conta.cc/1BC91R6, or by emailing mayorevents@sanjoseca.gov or calling 408-535-4800. Anyone interested in seeing the event without joining the audience Tuesday can watch the ceremony on CivicCenterTV at www.sanjoseca.gov.”


(Photo: Courtesy The Ethiopian American Council)
—-
Related:
Sam Liccardo Elected Mayor of San Jose
Sam Liccardo Wins San Jose, California Mayoral Primary Election
San Jose Mayoral Candidate Liccardo Releases Amharic Campaign Literature
Ethiopian American Council Endorses Sam Liccardo for San Jose Mayor

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Model & Designer Hiwot Bekele Represents Ethiopia at 63rd Miss Universe Pageant

Hiwot Bekele Mamo, 24, is the current Miss Universe Ethiopia. (Photo: Miss Universe )

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, January 5th, 2015

New York (TADIAS) – 24-year-old Hiwot Bekele will represent Ethiopia at this year’s Miss Universe contest, which will be held on January 25th, 2015 at Florida International University (FIU) in Doral, Miami. Hiwot was crowned Miss Universe Ethiopia in November following a competition held at the Radisson Blu hotel in her hometown of Addis Ababa.

According to the Miss Universe Organization:

Hiwot Bekele was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. At a very young age, she fell in love with pageants and fashion design. At 16, she started modeling and doing pageants. When she turned 17, she joined Next Fashion Designing Institute to develop her knowledge and her passion fashion designing. She is a hard worker. She graduated high school first from her department and joined Addis Ababa University School of Commerce. She had one of the best GPA’s at her university, and on top of school and modeling she started working for a production company as a marketer. After a few months she was promoted to Marketing Manager. After graduating from AAUSC, Hiwot started developing her own fashion line. She won several prizes over the years working as a model, designer and a pageant girl. She is now 24 years old, working as one of the top models in Ethiopia and running her own line as a fashion designer.


Left: Hiwot Bekele designing a dress. Right: celebrating her third birthday. (Credit: Miss Universe)

Per the the announcement the upcoming 63rd annual Miss Universe pageant in Florida features 88 participants from around the world and the crowning of the new queen by last year’s winner Gabriela Isler of Venezuela. Organizers add: “Thomas Roberts and Natalie Morales will host the event with live musical acts performing during the show.”

In the United States the competition will be televised live on NBC from the FIU Arena on Sunday, January 25th at 8/7c.



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Tsion Cafe in Harlem Combines Ethiopian & American Cuisine with Community Art

Tsion Bakery and Cafe is located in the historic Sugar Hill section of Harlem at 763 St. Nicholas Avenue between 148th and 149th Street in New York City. (Photo: Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

New York (TADIAS) — The newly opened Tsion Cafe in Harlem — which is owned by the founder of the annual Sheba Film Festival, Beejhy Barhany, and her husband Padmore John — will launch the Art at Tsion Series event at a reception on January 22nd featuring four up-and-coming local artists including Brooklyn-based Maro Haile of deseta.net, the Addis Ababa-born and NYC-raised painter and fashion artist Miku Girma (Rep1), graphic designer Jason Auguste, and photographer Feruze Zeko. Tsion Café is extending an invitation to all emerging and established artists to submit artwork for future exhibitions at the cafe.

In addition to serving the residents and visitors of this historic neighborhood a delicious combination of Ethiopian and American food, the owners envision Tsion growing as a platform to showcase new and established artists, both locally and internationally. “Tsion Café is a hip cosmopolitan community space dedicated to serve as a cultural platform where local and traveling musicians, poets, writers and artists can present their work,” the announcement stated.

Tsion Cafe is at a historic location where Malcolm X once worked, we are told, and beginning in February during African-American History Month the place will also introduce open mic poetry evenings.



If You Go:
Art at Tsion Series
Opening Reception January 22nd, 2015
6:30pm to 8:30pm
Tsion Cafe
763 St. Nicholas Ave.
Harlem, NY 10031
www.tsioncafe.com

To submit artwork: Please be ready to provide your artist bio and artwork list (i.e. title, medium, dimensions and retail price for each artwork). Please include your name, address, email and phone number on your artist bio and artwork list and submit your art to Tsioncafe@gmail.com to be considered.

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Ethiopia Dam Project Could Start Power Generation by June – Official

Construction site of the Gilgel Gibe III dam in Ethiopia. (Photo: grandmillenniumdam.net)

Reuters

BY AARON MAASHO

ADDIS ABABA — A much-delayed $1.8 billion dam project under construction along Ethiopia’s Omo river could begin generating power by June and be fully operational by early 2016, an official said on Thursday.

Gilgel Gibe 3 will nearly double the country’s energy output, helping to resolve chronic power outages and sustain a booming economy. Work started in 2008 and was due to be completed around three years later, but the project has faced funding shortages over concerns about its environmental impact.

“88 percent of the work for the Gibe 3 hydropower project has already been completed,” Azeb Asnake, chief executive officer of the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation, told Reuters.

Two of ten units would be ready by June, Azeb said, while one additional unit would come on line each month after that. Upon completion the project will generate 1,870 MW of power.

Ethiopia plans to spend a total of $12 billion to tap the rivers that cascade down its craggy highlands over the next two decades in a bid to beat energy shortages and become Africa’s biggest power exporter.

Read more »

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Celebrating the New Year Around the World

From Sydney, Australia's iconic Opera House (above) to New York's Times Square, people across the globe held New Year celebrations last night welcoming 2015. (Photo: VOA News)

VOA News

Published: Thursday, January 1st, 2015

People around the world welcomed the New Year with fireworks, glitter, song and dance, and well-wishing. At least for this day, the world seemed to have one unique goal – to join in celebration, although it was subdued in Indonesia, where people mourned those killed in this week’s AirAsia plane crash.

VOA’s Zlatica Hoke reports that world leaders took the opportunity to broadcast messages of peace.

Watch: Celebrating the New Year Around the World (VOA Video)


Related:
Tadias Year in Review: 2014 in Pictures
Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2014

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People of Ethiopia’s Omo Valley Inspire Dolce & Gabbana 2015 Collection

The brightly colored and evocative traditional style of the Bana people of Ethiopia's Omo Valley is attracting the attention of international fashion designers like Dolce & Gabbana. (Photograph credit: Eric Lafforgue)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The colorful hairwear of the people of Ethiopia’s Omo Valley is inspiring international fashion — just take a look at the 2015 collection by style powerhouse Dolce & Gabbana that’s taking the world by storm. “When Dolce & Gabanna sent models sporting piles of colourful hair accessories down the catwalk during their S/S15 show, the fashion world swooned in delight,” notes the Daily Mail. “But the designers’ source of inspiration for the look is an unlikely one – the colourful Bana people of Ethiopia’s Omo Valley, who like nothing better than intricate piles of brightly coloured hair clips.”

The Daily Mail also points out Japan’s Kawaii girls also share a similar tradition of adoring their hair with colorful clips, but the Japanese seem to prefer different shades of a single color – pink.

For Ethiopia’s Bana tribe “getting dressed is less about showing individuality and more about looking as bright and cheerful as possible. Beadwork has long been part of their culture, with many opting for colourful beaded headbands – sometimes combined with the hair clips. Others, regardless of sex and age, adorn themselves with piles of arm bands, heavy metal necklaces and beaded belts in eye-popping shades of yellow and crimson. However they are worn, piles of colourful hair clips have proved one of the most universally popular trends of 2014, with devotees also spotted at Glastonbury in the summer and at festivals across the globe. And with scores of colourful hair accessories cropping up on the S/S15 catwalk, it is probably just a matter of time before they show up on a high street near you.”


Beautiful: Bana woman in Ethiopia — As this photo reveals, her simple t-shirt is almost hidden by her beaded belt and breast plate and she also carries an umbrella. ((Photo credit: Eric Lafforgue)

Read more at www.dailymail.co.uk »

Related:
Tadias Year in Review: 2014 in Pictures
Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2014

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Tadias Year in Review: 2014 in Pictures

On the eve of the historic US-Africa Summit, Michelle Obama speaks at the summit of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in Washington on July 30th, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, December 29th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – This year President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) launched the first annual Mandela Washington Fellowship, which included 13 young professionals from Ethiopia. Closing events for the fellows coincided with the historic U.S.-Africa Summit held in Washington D.C.

There was more uplifting news as Ethiopia nominated Dr. Catherine Hamlin for the Nobel Peace Prize. And it was a pleasure to root for Genzebe Dibaba who shattered multiple world records in 2014. The 23-year-old running star, who has yet to reach the pinnacle of her career, went on to earn a nomination for the prestigious annual IAAF Athlete of the Year award, getting a well-deserved seat as one of the finalists at the World Athletics Gala held in Monaco on November 21st, 2014. The award-winning film Difret also sparked a great deal of praise in our community, not to mention the ads directed by David Mesfin, in collaboration with Wondwossen Dikran and Ezra Wube, for the 2014 FIFA World Cup multi-platform commercials for Hyundai car company.

This year also brought a significant share of difficult news, from the arrest of the Zone Nine blogging collective to the violence against student protestors in the Oromia region, as well as the recent hard-hitting television documentary by Dan Rather exposing “The Shameful Side of International Adoption,” which focuses on adopted Ethiopian children in the United States who have been “re-homed, and moved to new adoptive families with little oversight and assistance.” And certainly a review of the past twelve months would not be complete without mentioning the deployment of 187 Ethiopian medical professionals to Ebola-hit West African countries.

Indeed 2014 was also a year where social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter played a key role in bringing global attention to the maddening and heartbreaking case of a 16-year-old girl in Ethiopia who died after being kidnapped and raped by a gang of five men in Addis Ababa a few weeks back: The Yellow Movement at Addis Ababa University Update on Abduction of Hanna Lalango.

The most viewed photograph of the year on our website was our highlight of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s fun dining experience at an Ethiopian restaurant in Bay Area, California this past summer: Cool Moment – Zuckerberg Enjoys Ethiopian Food at Walia Restaurant in San Jose.

We wish all of you the best in the new year! And we look forward to covering more stories in 2015.

Photos: Tadias Year in Review – 2014 in Pictures


Related:
Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2014

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Lemma Guya: Ethiopian Painter Still Going Strong at 87

Lemma Guya: "I am an African and my Africanness is uniquely rooted in my Ethiopianness." (Photo: AA)

Anadolu Agency

By Seleshi Tessema

ADDIS ABABA – Renowned Ethiopian painter Lemma Guya has just put the finishing touches on his goat skin-mounted portraits of the 53 African leaders who founded the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963.

“I am an African and my Africanness is uniquely rooted in my Ethiopianness,” the 87-year-old Guya told The Anadolu Agency from his mansion-turned-gallery in Bishoftu, located some 40km south of Addis Ababa.

“Throughout my career I have shuttled between these two mutually complementary identities,” he added. “In my paintings I have tried to depict and narrate our acceptable and unacceptable traditions and lives.”

Maybe that’s why visitors to his mansion, which sits on 10,000 square meters of land, will find a yellowish bronze bust of a smiling Nelson Mandela, the late South African leader, as soon as they step into the place.

“Mandela is the most perfect embodiment of Africa’s rise,” Guya asserted. “He radiates dauntless moral courage, a peaceful transition of state power, equality, justice, inclusiveness and democracy.”

Guya traces Mandela’s story to Ethiopia, where the liberation icon received his first military training and his first handgun.

“This is why he stands here as a philosophical inspiration of my works and our lives,” he said.

The veteran painter, who looks much younger than his age, established his “African Art Museum” in 1983 inside his gallery.

“I wanted to make it an African visual art center of excellence,” he said. “But its fundamental objective was to initiate dialogue about African art with the aim of achieving Africa’s rebirth.”

“The then Organization of African Unity joined the vision and it was inaugurated by its then secretary-general, Ahmed Salim Ahmed,” Guya said.

Yet the pan-African body’s promises to financially support the center and turn it into a hub for African painters never materialized.

“I was disheartened by the backpedaling on promises. After years of waiting, I decided to go my way,” he said.

But despite the passage of years, Guya never forgot his artistic engagement with Africa.

“I have presented a project that aims to produce the portraits of the founding fathers of the African body on goat or gazelle skin,” he said.

The idea – along with some sample portraits – was well received by African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in 2013.

In a hand-written note, she promised to stand foursquare behind the artist and his project.

“We are grateful for all the works of art you have produced in authentic African style for the history of Africa, the OAU and AU in a unique way,” Dlamini-Zuma wrote. “Our support is guaranteed.”

Guya has already completed the portraits to be displayed at the AU’s Addis Ababa headquarters.

Read more »

Related:
Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2014

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Ten Arts & Culture Stories of 2014

The late artist Asnaketch Worku in the new film "Asni," which chronicles her life. (Courtesy photograph)

Tadias Magazine
By Tigist Selam

Published: Monday, December 22nd, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – As we wrap up the year we wish our audience around the world a happy and safe holiday season. And, as always, we look back at some of the top arts & culture stories that captured our attention in 2014. The list is organized in no particular order. Enjoy and see you in 2015!

‘Asni’: A Documentary on the Legendary Ethiopian Performing Artist Asnaketch Worku

The movie Asni was, hands down, one of the best Ethiopian documentary films released in 2014. Directed by Rachel Samuel and edited & co-produced by Yemane Demissie (Associate Professor of Film & Television at New York University), the documentary features the life and times of legendary Ethiopian musician and actress Asnaketch Worku. The captivating narrative gives us a glimpse into the performer’s popular and controversial past through her own words as well as those of her peers. The interview was recorded inside her humble home in Addis Ababa, while she was in bed-rest, a few years before she passed away. After watching the film my first thoughts were “What a woman Asnaketch was!” Free spirited, talented, curious, stylish, beautiful, outspoken and a trailblazer on the stage. It’s moving that at the end Asni — whom in her younger age was in many ways ahead of her time from the rigid and conservative societal norms of her generation — left us a lasting legacy that was built on passion for her profession and pure labor-of-love instead of on feckless pursuit of money and fame. That’s why, I personally believe, that today as Ethiopians everywhere we should cherish and celebrate Asni for she is our cultural treasure and irreplaceable. They did not call her The Lady with the Kirar for nothing. Asnaketch Worku was a born Ethiopian star.

Watch the trailer here: Asni – Courage, Passion & Glamor in Ethiopia

Dinaw Mengistu’s New Novel ‘All Our Names’


Dinaw Mengestu, author of the new book ‘All Our Names.’ (Photograph credit: Michael Lionstar)

Dinaw Mengistu dropped another of his mesmerizing and culturally-transcending novels this year (his third), firmly establishing himself as one of the most important writers of our generation. His latest book All Our Names was published in 2014. The New York Times notes: “All three of Dinaw Mengestu’s novels are about people who, for various reasons, come to this country and fashion new lives…For while questions of race, ethnicity and point of origin do crop up repeatedly in Mengestu’s fiction, they are merely his raw materials, the fuel with which he so artfully — but never didactically — kindles disruptive, disturbing stories exploring the puzzles of identity, place and human connection.” In addition I would say that All Our Names is a great read so share it with friends and family.

Difret Wins Audience Awards at Two Major International Film Festivals: Sundance & Berlin


(Photos credit: Haile-Addis Pictures)

The year started off with a bang for Ethiopian cinema on international big screens with Difret by Zeresenay Berhane Mehari winning two audience awards — at Sundance and Berlin film festivals. And it ended with the feature drama becoming Ethiopia’s 2014 official Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film. Although there could be no doubt that Difret was the most talked-about Ethiopian movie of the year, I hope the film continues to invite conversations about the inherent cruelty of child marriage. (Here is a great review by The Los Angeles Times).

Taitu Cultural and Educational Center Celebrates 14th Anniversary


(Photo courtesy: The Taitu Cultural and Educational Center)

The Taitu Cultural Center marked its 14th anniversary in 2014. Perhaps it speaks more to the vision and determination of Ethiopian actress and playwright Alemtsehay Wedajo, the Founder & Director, that the organization survived for more than a decade without much resources in comparison to institutions of the same category in the Washington. D.C. metropolitan area. Over the last decade-and-half the center has become a staging-ground for established and aspiring Ethiopian artists, including poets, painters, musicians, comedians and Amharic book authors residing near the U.S. capital and beyond. The 14th anniversary celebration took place on November 2nd at Tifereth Israel Congregation in Washington. The event’s program featured a play called Yasteyikal. A comedy and selected poems of the year were also recited by legendary performers, including Alemtsehay Wedajo herself and Tesfaye Sima. Wishing Taitu much success for many years to come!

Aida Muluneh’s Addis Photo Fest


Photo courtesy: Addis Foto Fest (AFF)

The Addis Photo Fest, founded by Ethiopian photographer Aida Muluneh, held its 4th exhibition in Addis Ababa this year. It’s not an easy task to curate an annual show not only because photography as an art form is still a complex subject, but also because choosing the right theme and artists is an even more daunting challenge. The reward, when done properly, is that photography exhibitions could actually be an effective medium to explore pertinent and timely social issues (both local and global) beyond the abstract and academic that are positive, as well as negative, and require the public’s attention. We congratulate Aida on her efforts and we look forward to the Addis Photo Fest continuing to receive the international recognition that it deserves.

Marcus Samuelsson’s Latest Book: “Marcus Off Duty”

Marcus Samuelsson never stops! And that’s not surprising given that he lives in a city that never sleeps either. The New York-based restaurateur and celebrity-chef, who was born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden, highlights in his latest book, Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home, the eclectic tastes and cooking-sensibilities of the world’s most diverse ethnic communities found right here in the United States. The following video is our interview with Marcus during his book talk and signing event last month in Washington D.C. where he was hosted by Joe Yonan, the Food & Travel Editor of The Washington Post. His book is available at Barnes & Noble or online at Amazon.com.

Ethiopia Habtemariam: Billboard Women In Music 2014


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

When it comes to climbing the corporate ladder in the American music industry, it almost can’t get any better than reaching the helm of the country’s historic label — Motown Records. In 2014 34-year-old Ethiopia Habtemariam was promoted to President of Motown Records following a major reorganization at Universal Music Group. It was announced over the summer that Ethiopia will also remain in her previous role as Head of Urban Music division at Universal Music Publishing Group. She was one of Billboard magazine’s “Women in Music 2014″ honored in New York this month along with Beyonce, Aretha Franklin, Taylor Swift and many more. We congratulate Ethiopia on her accomplishments and wish her continued success!

Ethiopian American Painter Julie Mehretu at the Tate Modern in London


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

Ethiopian-born American painter Julie Mehretu, who was also one of the Executive Producers of the film Difret, was the featured guest speaker at the fifth American Artist Lecture Series at the Tate Modern in London on September 22, 2014. The program, a partnership between Art in Embassies, Tate Modern and US Embassy London, “bring the greatest living modern and contemporary American artists to the UK.” Julie, who was born in Addis Ababa in 1970 and immigrated to the United States with her family in 1977, is one of the leading contemporary artists in the United States. She has received numerous international recognition for her work including the American Art Award from the Whitney Museum of American Art and the prestigious MacArthur Fellow award. She had residencies at the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (1998–99), the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2001), the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota (2003), and the American Academy in Berlin (2007). Julie is an inspiration for many young people around the world and we look forward to more brilliant work in the future.

The 2014 Hub of Africa Fashion Week in Ethiopia


The 3rd Hub of Africa Fashion Week was held in Addis Ababa in October 2014. (Courtesy photograph)

The 2014 Hub of Africa Fashion Week took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on October 23rd and 24th at Galani Coffee and Gallery. The international runway show is getting bigger and stronger. The event this year was dubbed the “Editorial Edition” and included a special event at Monarch Hotel on October 25th targeting buyers and fashion industry players. The participating designers included Modanik (DRC); Ruald Rheeder (South Africa); Katungulu (Kenya) Yohannes Sisters (Ethiopia); Abugida (Ethiopia); Cepha Maina (Kenya); Mela (Ethiopia); Sandstorm (Kenya), Assi’s Collection (Ethiopia) Rooi (Nigeria/London): and Mataano (Somalia). (Click here to see some wonderful photos)

UNICEF Ethiopia Appoints Young Rap Star Abelone Melese as its New National Ambassador


Abelone Melese. (UNICEF video)

Last, but not least, in November 2014 UNICEF Ethiopia named young rap star Abelone Melese, a citizen of Norway with Ethiopian origin, as its new National Ambassador at a signing ceremony held at the UNICEF Ethiopia office in Addis Ababa. The organization notes that “the event was attended by Patrizia DiGiovanni, Acting UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia, Mrs. Tove Stub, Minister Counsellor/Deputy Head of Mission, Royal Norwegian Embassy, members of the media and UNICEF staff.” Big congratulations to Abelone Melese!
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WHO: Ebola Death Toll Passes 7,500

The World Health Organization (WHO) says as of last week the 2014 Ebola epidemic, which is the largest in history, has killed more than 7,500 people in West Africa. (AP Photo)

VOA News

Updated:December 22, 2014

The World Health Organization says the death toll from the Ebola outbreak has risen to more than 7,500 people and the number of cases is nearing 20,000.

The latest data, posted Friday, reflects recent trends with Liberia and Guinea seeing a decrease in the rate of Ebola transmissions, while Sierra Leone’s cases continue to rise. Those three West African countries account for almost all the Ebola deaths.

The death toll in other countries remains the same with six deaths in Mali, eight in Nigeria, and one in the United States. Spain and Senegal have both had one case each, but no deaths.

Also Friday, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the international community needed to better prepare for the next global outbreak of disease, which he said was “a test that is sure to come.”‘

Ban recently returned from visiting the West African countries hit hardest by Ebola. He said the world must learn the lessons from this outbreak, which he said go beyond strengthening public health systems.

“The international community needs better early warning and rapid response. I intend to engage member states in a serious effort to explore what more we can do to stay ahead of the next outbreak of disease — a test that is sure to come,” he said.

The secretary-general said his presence at the United Nations should send an important message that people without signs of Ebola infection should not be shunned.

“People who have travelled to Ebola-affected countries and have no signs of infection, are no threat. I also repeat my call to avoid travel restrictions, border closures and other counter-productive obstacles. As we fight the Ebola virus, it is equally crucial to combat the contagion of fear,” said Ban.

Some material for this report came from AP, AFP and Reuters.

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

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U.S. to Restore Full Relations With Cuba

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

The New York Times

By PETER BAKER

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

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

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

Read more at The New York Times »

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


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

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Interview With Award-Winning Poet From Ethiopia Liyou Libsekal

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

Tadias Magazine
By Hasabie Kidanu

Published: Monday, December 15th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TADIAS: Any writing rituals?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Ethiopia Habtemariam: Women In Music 2014

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, December 13th, 2014

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, December 12th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Below are photos of Miss World Ethiopia 2014 Yirgalem Hadish:



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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, December 8th, 2013

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

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

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

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


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

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

(Photo: UNDP.org)

Venture Africa

December 7, 2014

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

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

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

Read more »



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US Protests Against Police Continue

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

VOA News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Cities

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Legitimate concerns’

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

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

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

“Such practices must be eradicated,” he said.

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

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



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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

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

VOA News

December 05, 2014

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

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

The cases have sparked nationwide protests.

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

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

Myriad incidents

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

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

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

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

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

New York

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, December 4th, 2014

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

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

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


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


(Photo: ©Rolex Awards/Ambroise Tézenas)

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

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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

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

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

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

Below are photos courtesy of IAAF World Athletics Club Facebook:



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Interview with Tour Guide Yohannes Zeleke

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

PrivateFly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »

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

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

The New York Times

By LIBBY BANKS

DECEMBER 1, 2014

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

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

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

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

Read more at The New York Times »

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

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

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

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


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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos from the Dallas event:

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, November 24th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Ethiopian Airlines’ Sales Hit by Ebola Fears

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

The Wall Street Journal

By ROBERT WALL

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at The Wall Street Journal »

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

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Obama Unveils Sweeping Immigration Reform

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

VOA News

November 20, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Republican responses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Immigration lawyers warn of troubles

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

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

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

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

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

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

Executive orders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cover photo: Reuters

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Below are photos from the book courtesy of the author:



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

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Tadias Interview With Marcus Samuelsson About His Latest Book “Marcus Off Duty”

(Photo courtesy: Maya Haile)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

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



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

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

IAAF Magazine

Genzebe Dibaba

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full article at iaaf.org »

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


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In Ethiopia’s Capital, a Resurgent Jazz Scene

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

The New York Times

By RACHEL B. DOYLE

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

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

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

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

Read more at NYT »



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New Film Puts Spotlight on Legendary Ethiopian Artist Asnaketch Worku

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

BBC News

13 November 2014

Asnaketch Worku ‘Ethiopia’s Edith Piaf’

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

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

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

Sophie Ikenye reports.

Read more and watch the video at BBC News »

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

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Zone 9: Court Requests Detailed Charges

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

Bloomberg News

By William Davison

Nov 12, 2014

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

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

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

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

Read more at Bloomberg News »


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How Ethiopians in Texas Assisted in Discovery of Almaz Gebremedhin

The body of Ethiopian mom Almaz Gebremedhin who disappeared on her way to work in early October in Wylie, Texas was found Sunday in a pond along the road to her job, Wylie police said. (Family photo/DMN)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – In an interview with Tadias Magazine on Monday Mac Mekonnen, Executive Director of the Mutual Assistance Association For Ethiopian Community in Dallas, said that the family of Almaz Gebremedhin — the Ethiopian-born mother of two children who had been missing for almost five weeks and whose body was found last Sunday — will move into St Michael Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Dallas for three days of mourning. Mr. Mekonnen said they will wait for the autopsy reports to be completed before announcing plans for the funeral. Almaz is survived by her husband of 16 years, Sisay Zelelew, her 10-year-old son, an 8-year-old daughter, and her mother who resides with the household in Wylie.

The Ethiopian community in the Dallas/Forth Worth area has stood beside Almaz’s distraught family, quickly mobilizing to raise reward money within days and even hiring the private detectives who eventually led the discovery of her remains submerged in a pond inside her car, between her home and her work in Wylie, Texas. 42 year-old Almaz had been reported missing since Thursday, October 2nd, 2014. Almaz was employed by the Garnet Hill Rehabilitation and Skilled Care, which is located approximately three miles from her residence and less than a mile from the Muddy Creek Farms pond, where the body was found.

“To begin with the Wylie Police Department was really cooperative in helping out in the search. They did a helicopter search. They also conducted a horseback search, and they did what they could given the circumstances and that was pretty much about it,” said Mr. Mekonnen. “We really appreciate what they have done, but there wasn’t much progress after that. As you know Almaz was missing for over one month.”

A week and half into the investigation, Mr. Mekonnen said, they created a task force within their organization regarding the case. “Not only did we raise $15,000 from the community, but we also offered $10,000 reward money for anyone who had any information leading to the discovery of Almaz,” he shared. “And while we were waiting to hear from the police department, and when it took time, the task force decided to hire private investigators.” He added: “We set up a budget and they started working on it and they were also trying to coordinate with the police department.”

Mr. Mekonnen continued: “Our private investigators contacted a non-profit organization out of Illinois that is a water search organization called Team Waters Sonar Search & Recovery Incorporated. They asked us just a minimum fee to do the search and they came on Sunday. They drove all the way from near Chicago with the technology and they went to the area where we suspected Almaz might have been missing. True enough there was a pond, about 12 feet deep. Inside the water when they stared using their sonar technology they located the car. And immediately they notified the Wylie Police Department. Then divers from the County’s Sheriff’s office were called in. They dove and they pulled out the vehicle and, of course, her body.”

In a press release the Wylie Police Department said that officers “were dispatched to the area to assist in the search as well as Collin County Sheriff’s Office Dive team.” The statement added: “The family was immediately notified by Wylie investigators. This case is still under investigation as to how the vehicle ended up in the pond.”

The pond is a mile and half from where Almaz lived, noted Mr. Mekonnen. “So it’s not too far really, it’s a short distance,” he said. “From what I hear right now in the news it’s that the Wylie Police Department is saying that they did not have the right technology to do the water search in that kind of deep water.” Mr. Mekonnen stated: They definitely give credit to the sonar search company out of Illinois.”

“And obviously this task force that we have assembled here in the Dallas/Fort Worth Ethiopian community was determined to see this to its conclusion,” Mr. Mekonnen added. “On behalf of the task force I would like to thank our community, and the Dallas community in general for their concern and assistance. At the moment, as a community, in spite of a lot of talk out there of what happened, we are focused on bringing everybody together to help the family. We are in support mode right now.”

Video: Texas Woman Missing Since October Found in Wylie pond


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Lucy Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Photo from the New York exhibition of the world-famous fossil from Ethiopia Lucy (Dinknesh) at the Discovery Time Square Exposition on Wednesday, June 24, 2009. (Photograph: Tadias Magazine file)

Science News

BY TOM SIEGFRIED

Donald Johanson is always looking at the ground.

“I find more quarters by parking meters than anybody I know,” he says.

As he was looking at the ground four decades ago, in a region called Hadar, named for a dry riverbed in Ethiopia, he saw something a lot more exciting than a quarter. It was a fossil bone.

“I found a little piece of elbow,” he said last week in Columbus, Ohio, while addressing a conference of science writers. “And I knew from studies of osteology and comparative anatomy that this had to be from a human ancestor.”

By two weeks later, Johanson and his colleagues had collected enough bones to reconstruct about 40 percent of a skeleton. Those bones belonged to a primitive human forerunner now known as Lucy.

[This] month paleoanthropologists will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Johanson’s discovery of the elbow bone on November 24, 1974. In the intervening four decades, many more fossils along with other clues have been discovered, rewriting the story of the human race. The evolution of earlier humanlike species and eventually modern humans has grown from the outline of a play with a small cast to an elaborate production with more characters than an Agatha Christie mystery, many remaining enigmatic with relationships still unclear.

Read more at ScienceNews.org »

Video: ‘Lucy’ returns home after 6-years US Tour (CBS News)


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Body of Almaz Gebremedhin Found (Video)

Police believe they have found the body of Almaz Gebremedhin, who had been missing since Oct. 2, 2014.

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Press Release – City of Wylie Police Department

Wylie, Texas – On Sunday, November 09, 2014, at approximately 2:00 pm, Wylie Investigators received a call from a search and rescue crew advising they have located what they believed to be a van in the Muddy Creek Farms pond located at 2500 McMillen Road in Wylie. After a Collin County dive team took to the waters, they discovered the silver Chevrolet Venture with a body believed to be that of Almaz Gebremedhin inside. Gebremedhin had been missing since October 2, 2014.

The family hired a private detective to assist in her search. The private detective then hired a search and recovery team out of Illinois who arrived in the area and began the search this morning. They were instructed to search both sides of the roadway from the residence to where Gebremedhin worked. They came the 2500 block of McMillen where the pond was fenced in. They utilized their sonar showing the van in the pond. Wylie Police Officers were dispatched to the area to assist in the search as well as Collin County Sheriff’s Office Dive team. The family was immediately notified by Wylie Investigators.

This case is still under investigation as to how the vehicle ended up in the pond.



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Yacob Amare: “I Want to be a Senator”

Immigrants take the citizenship oath before the Columbus International Festival on Saturday, October 8th, 2014. (Columbus Dispatch)

The Columbus Dispatch

By Steve Wartenberg

For 22 years, Yacob Amare has waited to say his first words as an American citizen.

He finally got his chance yesterday, at the start of the annual Columbus International Festival at the Ohio Expo Center. U.S. District Judge Edmund A Sargus Jr. presided over a naturalization ceremony there for about 75 people from 35 countries who ranged in age from 18 to 73.

Each new citizen stood and stated his or her name and birth country. Many added how happy they are to be citizens; others said they look forward to voting for the first time.

“My name is Yacob Amare from Ethiopia, and I’ll be running for office one day,” said the 34-year-old believer in the American dream.

“I want to be a senator,” he said later.

Amare and the other new citizens joined the growing melting pot of central Ohio, or what Sargus described as “a fine mosaic.”

While many festivals focus on “one ethnicity, one country or one faith, we are international,” said Dr. J.S. Jindal, a retired dentist from India who is chairman of the International Festival, which was first held in 1955.

The goal is to bring people together.

Read more at The Columbus Dispatch »

Related:
Jersey City welcomes new U.S. citizens with naturalization ceremony

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, November 7th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CNBC Africa

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

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

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


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Sam Liccardo Elected Mayor of San Jose

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

San Jose Mercury News

By Mike Rosenberg

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

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

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

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


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

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Republican Congressman Mike Coffman Visits Four Ethiopian Churches in Colorado

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, November 3, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Below are photos courtesy of the organizers:



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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

One Month Later, Almaz Gebremedhin Still Missing in Texas

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

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Monday, November 3rd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Related:
Still No Sign of Missing Ethiopian Mom Almaz Gebremedhin in Wylie, Texas
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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US Election 2014: A Record Number of African Americans Running for Office

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

The Associated Press

By JESSE J. HOLLAND

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

2014 New York City Marathon Results

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

The Associated Press

November 2nd, 2014

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

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

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

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

Two-time defending champion Geoffrey Mutai was sixth.

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

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

Photos: Kenyans Dominate NYC Marathon (VOA)

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

USA Today

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

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

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

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

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


Getty Images

Read more at USA Today »

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In Pictures: Hub of Africa Fashion Week

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, November 1st, 2014

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

Below are photos from the event courtesy of the organizers:



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Buzunesh Deba Greets Nike NYC Runners at Queen of Sheba Restaurant

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, October 31st, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Below are photos from the event:



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

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

Gambella, Ethiopia. (Photo: VOA)

VOA News

By Marthe van der Wolf

October 30th, 2014

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



Related:
Ethiopia’s South Sudan Refugees Beyond Capacity

VOA News

By Marthe van der Wolf

October 27, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VOA News

October 31, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some material for this report came from Reuters.

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


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

BBC News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more and watch video at BBC News »

Photos: Protesters Storm Burkina Faso Parliament (VOA)


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

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

The Huffington Post

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at The Huffington Post »

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

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

NPR

“Made in China” may be leaving your wardrobe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at NPR.org »

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Abaynesh Asrat Honored with People of Distinction Humanitarian Award

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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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 »

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

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Ebola Comes to New York

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

The New York Times

By MARC SANTORA

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

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

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

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

Read more at The New York Times »

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

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

Photo Courtesy: Hub of Africa Fashion Week.

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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International Symposium: Legacies of the Italian Occupation of Ethiopia

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

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Press release

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

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

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

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

11:15-11:30 Coffee break

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

1:00-2:30 Lunch Break

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

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

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

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

(Cover images courtesy: NYU & DCStamps)

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14th Anniversary of Taitu Cultural and Educational Center

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

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

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


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


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


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

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

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Arabica in Addis Ababa: Climbing the Coffee Ladder in Ethiopia

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

Aljazeera America

By James Jeffrey

October 20, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »

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

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

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

Bloomberg News

Oct 19, 2014

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

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

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

Read more at Bloomberg News »

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

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In 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)

Quartz

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)

Athletics-Africa

By YOMOG MEJE

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 »

Related:
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 »

Related:
Silicon Valley: Here Come Ethiopia’s SoleRebels
People of Our Time Who Are Changing the World

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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.



Related:
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 »

Related:
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.

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

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

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Blessed Coffee Wins Start Up Africa Entrepreneurship of the Year Award

The husband and wife team of Tebabu Assefa and Sara Mussie, co-founders of Blessed Coffee, were honored with the annual Start Up Africa Entrepreneurship of the Year Award on September 29th, 2014.

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, October 10, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – When the founders of Blessed Coffee initially ventured into “the business of coffee” four years ago, they did an informal survey to see what “the American market perceives the drink to be,” says co-owner Tebabu Assefa. “To my surprise most of the people we interviewed thought that coffee came from Columbia.” He adds “I was amazed and I said to myself wait a minute.” That was the trigger point, Tebabu recalls, for his Blessed Coffee brand — one of the first enterprises established under Maryland’s pioneering benefit corporation law.

The coffee brand incorporates the retelling of the popular beverage’s storied “African heritage” juxtaposed with the cultural Ethiopian coffee ceremony. The latter, Tebabu points out, was designed to highlight his wife’s and his own birth country Ethiopia where the world’s most traded agricultural product was first cultivated. “At the end of the day we are talking about a muti-billion dollar industry here,” Tebabu argues. “So what we did was set out to redefine the market and create an economic space for our small business.”

Since it was launched in 2010 the venture has received several national accolades, including from President Obama’s administration, which named the founders “Champions of Change” at a White House ceremony two years ago. And last week the benefit corporation was honored by a Wilmington, Delaware-based African Diaspora business association — Start up Africa - with the 2014 Entrepreneurship of the Year Award. “They liked the fact that Blessed Coffee was introduced as a model and that Blessed Coffee aspires to connect growers and producers in Africa with the market here vis-à-vis the African Diaspora,” Tebabu said. “And they did their research and they were fascinated by the social business development and the recognition we have gained. They looked at it as a model that can inspire the African business community; that’s what the founder said when he introduced us.”

Start up Africa was set up in 2001 as the “Delaware Kenyan Association (DELKA),” but it was letter reorganized as “Start up Africa” with a focus on nurturing entrepreneurial innovations both on the continent and in the Diaspora following the 2007-2008 post-elections violence in Kenya. Tebabu continued: “It’s a sign of new African immigrants being savvy in terms of business, economic development, and in terms of politics; they are forming development oriented organizations and they are exciting a new movement for US-Africa relations through the engagement of the African Diaspora.”

“Although it was started as an informal group several years prior to that, the group went into full action as a response to the election crisis in Kenya. The founders saw the signs of unemployed youth in Africa being frustrated, and to provide their own little answer they formed Start up Africa to excite business to employ youth in Kenya. That’s a very sober and wise response. And I feel so honored to receive such a recognition from this organization. We Africans are finally coming together despite our regional or national differences for the common good. For me that’s profound enough and I value the award more than any other prize.”

There is additional good news on the horizon for Blessed Coffee as the company at the moment is actively vying for a possible $150,000 grant sponsored by Chase Bank that requires public voting to advance to the next round. “Beyond the $150,000 dollars we like the fact that the competitors will be invited to Google’s Headquarters,” Tebabu enthused. “We are waging two wars simultaneously: the cultural war and the battle to gain an economic space for our business model, so it’s of profound importance as to what our trip to Google could bring to the equation.” He shares: “We will use the money towards opening the roasting component of our business plan and it will give us an opportunity to showcase the Ethiopian cultural coffee ceremony on the Google platform. Google is a platform that we seek to have in order to broadcast our story far and wide. We are very excited about that.”

You can learn more about Blessed Coffee at www.blessedcoffee.us.

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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.



Related:
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)

KXAS/NBC-5

By CATHERINE ROSS

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.



Related:
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)

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 »

Related:

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

DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

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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.”

Related:
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



Related:
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.)

Nautilus

By AMY MAXMEN

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 »

Related:
Tadias Interview with Zeresenay Alemseged (2009)

Watch: Dr. Zeray explains the discovery of Selam

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