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Ethiopian Crash Could Have Been Prevented If Boeing Took Pilots’ Concerns seriously, Union Says

A spokesman for Allied Pilots Association tells CNN that Ethiopian crash might have been prevented if Boeing took them seriously. (CNN)

CNN

Atlanta (CNN Business) — American Airline’s pilots’ union is calling Boeing’s response to two fatal plane crashes “inexcusable,” claiming the crashes might not have happened if the company had listened to pilots.

Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for Allied Pilots Association — a union of American Airlines pilots — told CNN Business that Boeing had “a poisoned, diseased philosophy” for a global company.

“Shame on you… we’re going to call you out on it,” Tajer said.

Boeing did not comment on the union’s position early Thursday morning.

In recent weeks, both Boeing’s CEO and the acting Federal Aviation Administration administrator have said that the actions of the pilots were in part to blame for the recent Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes. Both planes were Boeing 737 Max 8 planes.

Tajer pointed instead to Boeing’s software, about which he said American Airlines’ pilots had expressed concerns in a November 2017 meeting with the company. The meeting was a few weeks after the Lion Air crash, but months before the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

It would be fair to conclude, Tajer said, that if Boeing had taken the suggestions of the pilots, the Ethiopian Airlines crash might have been prevented.

On the Ethiopian flight, pilots struggled to right the plane after the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) software, which pushes the nose of the aircraft down if it senses a stall, erroneously activated and as the plane traveled at a high speed, according to a preliminary report.

The software pushed the Ethiopian Airlines plane into an aggressive downward angle, according to Tajer.
The pilots did what they were instructed to do, he said.

“They had wired that thing so that is was irrecoverable,” Tajer said. “It just blew us away.”
In the meeting, American Airlines pilots made suggestions including having a way to turn off MCAS and adding an angle of attack disagree alert on all planes, he said. Tajer said Boeing dismissed the concerns.

The changes will be a part of a new software fix, Tajer said, but were not implemented before the Ethiopian crash.

Read more »


Related:
Leaked Audio: Before Ethiopia Crash Pilots ‘Raised Boeing Safety Fears’

Watch: Ethiopian CEO on The Future of Boeing 737 Max Planes — NBC Exclusive

Boeing Was Aware of 737 Max Problem Long Before Ethiopia Crash – Report
Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

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EDTF Ethiopia Board Announced

Of the 11-member Board of Directors five are chosen from the Diaspora representing "different parts of the globe," the announcement stated. (Image: @PMEthiopia)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 20th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – The long-awaited selection of the Board of Directors for the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund was announced today.

“The EDTF Board of Directors is the apex governance body which will provide overall leadership and set the strategic direction, policy, oversight and accountability of the EDTF,” the PM’s office stated. “It will, among others, review and approve EDTF financed projects that are identified and vetted by the EDTF Secretariat.”

As of this week, eight months after it was officially launched last October, the fund has raised about 3 million dollars so far from approximately twenty thousand donors worldwide. The aim is to hopefully reach the estimated three million Ethiopians residing in the Diaspora and to generate about a billion dollars annually through the fund.

How Democratic was the Board Selection Process?

The initial announcement of the creation of the Board of Directors had stated that it “will comprise of eleven persons drawn from the Ethiopian Diaspora, Civil Society and the Ethiopian Government.” Notably, in comparison to the EDTF advisory council membership, the new Board of Directors includes more female members and appears to be more gender-balanced. However, the process of how the individuals were selected was not clear in the recent announcement.

During a press conference last December organized by EDTF at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Advisory Board members had emphasized that the selection process for the Board of Directors would be more transparent and promised to engage the public in making recommendations. Since then there has not been much public discussion dedicated to the subject. Nor is there any publicly available document showing the pool of potential candidates that were considered for the positions representing the larger Ethiopian Diaspora.

Of the 11-member Board of Directors five are chosen from the Diaspora representing “different parts of the globe recommended by the EDTF Advisory Council,” the announcement stated. Three members of Civil Society representing Women, Youth and the Ethiopian public; and three members of the Ethiopian Government.”

At the media briefing the idea of using voting mechanisms was also briefly mentioned, but quickly dismissed as being impractical — although it’s worth mentioning that many Diaspora communities in the United States do vote on a regular basis, including online, to select their representative leaders.

The announcement did not state for how long the new Board members will serve and when the next elections will be held.

While we congratulate EDTF on the formation of the new Board of Directors, we continue to encourage the fund to engage the Ethiopian Diaspora not only to discuss fundraising concerns, but to develop more transparency on how representation in governance is decided, and if possible to create a participatory electoral process in the future.

The full names of EDTF’s new Board of Directors are listed below:

Sirgut Yadeta, Editorial Lead, Lloyds Bank Group, London, U.K., representing Diaspora in Europe

Dr. Mehret Mandefro, Founder and President, Truth Aid and Executive Producer, Director of Social Impact, Kana Television, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, representing diaspora in North America

Chernet Debele, Founder and General Manager, Kia Travel & Business LLC, Maryland, USA, representing diaspora in North America

Yohannes Asefa, Director, Agriculture & Agribusiness, USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, Nairobi, Kenya, representing diaspora in Africa

Dr. Abdulwehab Ibrahim, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Engineering, Technology and Science, Abu Dhabi, UAE, representing diaspora in the Middle East

Sister Zebider Zewdie, Founder and Executive Director of Mary Joy Ethiopia, representing women

Mr. EyesusWork Zafu, Chairman of the Board of Directors of United Bank, representing the Ethiopian public

Selamawit Dawit, Director General, Ethiopian Diaspora Agency, representing the Ethiopian Government

Hirut Zemene, State Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bilen Mamo, Advisor, Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation.


Related:
Few Takeaways From EDTF Press Conference at Ethiopian Embassy in DC
Interview: Dr. Lemma Senbet on the Diaspora Trust Fund & Chapter Formation
Interview with Dr. Bisrat Aklilu About the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia (Tadias Editorial/July 10th, 2018)

You can learn more about the fund and contribute at ethiopiatrustfund.org.

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In Ethiopia, PM Abiy Hosts $173,000-a-seat Dinner to Beautify Capital

The event, 'Dine for Sheger,' was held at the Menelik palace in Addis Ababa on Sunday May 19, 2019. (@PMEthiopia/Twitter)

AFP

Scores of wealthy Ethiopians paid an eye-watering $173,000 (150,000 euros) to attend a dinner thrown by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, to raise funds to beautify the capital Addis Ababa, state media reported Monday.

The state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate published pictures of diners, some wearing tuxedos, seated at a long rose-covered banquet table.

“A seat at the event is valued at 5 million birr,” the report said.

The dinner was held to raise funds for a three-year project by Abiy to “lift the image” of the capital, a bustling, fast-changing city where modern buildings have shot up, construction is ever-present and greenery scarce.

“The rapid growth and expansion of the city over the past few years has not adequately utilised the natural resources and beautiful topography that the city is endowed with,” according to a video of the project posted on Abiy’s website.

The video said that currently green cover is only 0.3 square metres per capita in Addis Ababa, and the project hopes to raise this to seven square metres per capita — in line with average green coverage in Africa.

The project along an area of 56 square kilometres (21 square miles) envisions parks, bicycle paths and walkways along the rivers of the capital, the planting of trees and the development of urban farms.

The project is estimated to cost $1 billion, according to Fana.

It was not known how many people attended the dinner, or who they were.

Abiy’s website said that those present would have a plaque with their name on it placed along the project route, and would have a private photo-op with the prime minister. The pictures would be compiled into “an album of individuals who changed the face of Addis Ababa.”

Abiy has won praise for his reformist agenda since taking office in April last year.

Ethiopia is home to over 100 million people, the second most populous country on the continent after Nigeria, and its economy is the fastest growing in the region.

However, it is also one of the poorest, and the World Bank estimates average earnings of $783 per year.


Related:


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Review of the Play ‘EthiopianAmerica’

“EthiopianAmerica,” is a new play by Sam Kebede making its world premiere at Definition Theatre in Chicago. (Photo: Simon Gebremedhin and Freedom Martin in "EthiopianAmerica" by Definition Theatre Company/ by Joe Mazza)

Chicago Tribune

‘EthiopianAmerica’ really captures immigrant, teenage lives as they are lived.

The children of immigrants long have written plays and novels about what it’s like to be a first-generation American, trying to build a life in a new country under the watchful eyes of foreign-born parents.

In such works, mostly penned by the young and the restless (you know, Eugene O’Neill, Ayad Akhtar and so on), these parental figures are most usually severe, determined and troubled figures whose own lives involved great risk and who are determined that their offspring will recognize the importance of an education that might help them thrive and prosper in a new world these parents both admire and deeply distrust. For their part, the kids want to respect the traditions and ancestors of whence they came, but also make their own path in a country with different priorities. Their work is usually about trying to reconcile the pull of two forces that seem to be thrusting them in different directions.

“EthiopianAmerica,” a new work by Sam Kebede now in its world premiere by Definition Theatre, is one of those plays, the work of a first-generation American with Ethiopian-born parents. But it’s far more interesting and original than most. That’s partly because of its topic: When did you last see a play about Ethiopian Americans? I have known some members of that community in Chicago very well, and over a long period of time, and, for much of “EthiopianAmerica,” I was thinking it was time to get on the phone and make a recommendation, until Kebede took his play in a different and more critical turn toward his father’s generation of men. Even so, I think “EthiopianAmerica” would be widely respected.

That’s because Kebede writes about domestic life (in California, but if could be anywhere in America) with real veracity. Anyone who has teenage kids (I have two myself), or tough parents, can relate to the inter-generational struggle that fills this play. Kebede really gets the clash of the authority figure and the young person, striving to find a place in a changed world, and he does so with real understanding of what it is like to be the child of someone born in a different country. (It’s not easy.)

Read more »


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Ethiopia Starts Rationing Electricity

A farmer naps in a barley field next to an electricity power plant, north of Addis Ababa October 25, 2013. (Photo: by Kumerra Gemechu/REUTERS)

Reuters

By Dawit Endeshaw

Ethiopia has started to ration electricity for domestic and industrial customers after a drop in water levels in hydroelectric dams led to a production deficit, the minister for water and electricity, Seleshi Bekele, said on Friday.

The drop in water levels at the country’s Gibe 3 dam had led to a deficit of 476 megawatts, Seleshi told a news conference, more than a third of the country’s electricity generation of 1,400 MW.

Ethiopia has also suspended electricity exports to neighbouring Djibouti and Sudan, which earns the country $180 million a year, the minister said.

Under the rationing programme, which runs until July, domestic consumers will face blackouts for several hours each day, while cement and steel firms will have to operate fewer shifts due to the cuts, Seleshi said.

Reporting by Dawit Endeshaw; Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Catherine Evans and Louise Heavens


Related:
Ethiopia hit by power cuts (BBC)

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Brookings Institution Appoints Lemma Senbet to Africa Board

Professor Lemma Senbet, the William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, also serves on the advisory council of the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund. (Photo: @AERCAFRICA)

Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park

Professor Lemma Senbet at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business has been appointed to the Distinguished Advisory Board of the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC.

“You join a panel of select, high-level policymakers, academics and practitioners on African socio-economic development issues,” Africa Growth Initiative director Brahima S. Coulibaly writes in a March 7, 2019, letter to Senbet.

The advisory board provides guidance to the Africa Growth Initiative on key issues facing Africa.

Senbet, the William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance at Maryland Smith, also serves on the advisory council of the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund.

He finished a five-year term as executive director and CEO of the African Economic Research Consortium in summer 2018. The nonprofit organization is the largest and oldest economic research and training network in Africa. During his African tenure, Senbet visited and led missions to 25 countries.


Related:
Tadias Interview: Dr. Lemma Senbet on EDTF

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Ethiopia- Eritrea Filmmaker Refugee Stuck in Libya Amid Raging Civil War

At a refugee detention centre in Tripoli, Libya last month. (Photo: © UNHCR)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 15th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Abraha Taeme, who is in a refugee camp near Tripoli in Libya, has a bachelor’s degree in theater arts from a university in Ethiopia, and he has been sending out desperate calls for help through Facebook to whoever may listen to his plea. His heart-wrenching messages was recently forwarded to Tadias by an American filmmaker in California who happened to be researching human trafficking in the region and befriended Abraha through Facebook messenger.

Abraha says he was staying in Qasir bin Gashir detention center along with several hundred East African refugees, which he described as including “children, women and sick people among us” before he was transferred into another camp.

“Yesterday UNHCR transfer 140 refugees from Zahawia to the GDF and I am one of them,” he wrote last week. “Zahawia is dang near a death camp due to disease and IF they’re taken there ….they won’t get them because of fear of spreading infection.” He also mentioned that a local charity organization is helping to supply one meal a day as well as access to electricity. “These are the good news so far,” he adds. “About the war, still it is close to our center. Restless heavy weapons bursts close to our ears. We can’t get sleep. When we see the children and our sisters our hearts sunken in a deep grief. Literary they are shocked.”

According to AP: “The self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, launched an offensive on Tripoli last month. His force, based in eastern Libya, is battling rival militias loosely allied with the U.N.-supported government in the capital.”

Caught in the middle are foreign refugees like Abraha. Last month around 146 asylum-seekers arrived in Italy as part of a U.N.-backed humanitarian evacuation from Libya. The Associated Press notes that “the U.N. refugee agency says it’s the fifth such evacuation since 2017, though previous airlifts have taken migrants to Niger and elsewhere. Dozens of the asylum-seekers are minors, many of whom are unaccompanied. They hail from Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Ethiopia.”

But Abraha was not among them and his Facebook friend Flip Webster of Jurupa Valley, California hopes that Ethiopian or the Eritrean government will step in to help or international media agencies like Voice of America could try to locate him.

Webster said Abraha is originally from Eritrea. “I am a refuge from Ethiopia (Addis Abeba) I was a film maker, I have BA Degree in Theater Arts,” Abraha wrote to Webster. “I was working with a lot of governmental and non-governmental organizations during my stay in Ethiopia.” He added: “I had my own theater and film company. Unfortunately right now I am here. What are my hopes? I spent two solid years here in Libya in a warehouses owned by smugglers. They hit us, gave us small portion of meal two times a day, no medication, even sun light was luxury.”


If you are able to assist Abraha to leave Libya you can contact Flip Webster at flenoit@gmail.com.

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Ethiopia Tops List of Countries with Displaced People – The Economist

Ethiopia tops the list of countries with displaced people, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. (The Economist)

The Economist

After drought, famine and war, ethnic conflict now plagues Ethiopia

FOR MANY years Ethiopia struggled with drought and starvation, creating a population that moved frequently in search of food and water. Now it is violence that millions of Ethiopians are fleeing. Last year it topped the list of countries with displaced people, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), an NGO.

There are nearly 70m forcibly displaced people in the world. Refugees and asylum-seekers have rights and protections, but the roughly 40m who are “internally displaced” do not. Two-thirds are in African and Middle Eastern countries. And 2018 was another awful year, with an additional 10.8m newly-displaced people.

Read more »


Related:
‘Go and we die, stay and we starve’: the Ethiopians facing a deadly dilemma (The Guardian)

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New Freedom of Expression in Ethiopia

Whether it was ruled by an aging emperor, Soviet-backed army officers or former rebels, Ethiopia was rarely a place where you could criticize leaders so openly. Until last year, there were dozens of journalists and opposition politicians in jail or exile. (Photo: Ethiopian activist Eskinder Nega (2nd right) answered questions from BBC presenter Jonathan Dimbleby (center) at BBC's World Questions program held in Addis Ababa on Monday. The other panelists from left include Mustafa Omar, president of the Somali Region, Tsedale Lemma, editor of the Addis Standard and on the far right academic Merera Gudina. (Henock Birhanu/BBC)

The Washington Post

‘We don’t want another messiah’: Newly vocal Ethiopians debate an uncertain future

In a scene that would have been unimaginable just a year ago, some 200 Ethiopians in the capital debated their country’s politics, economics and expressed their fears over the rise in ethnic violence.

The BBC’s “World Questions” current events program came to Addis Ababa on Monday demonstrating how much freedom of expression has changed in Africa’s second-most populous nation.

After decades of authoritarian governments that tightly controlled the press, the new reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has transformed the country by taking the shackles off the media and promising wide-ranging reforms.

But the loosening of such restrictions in Ethiopia has been accompanied by an explosion of ethnic conflict in the countryside. Millions of people have been displaced as long-simmering disputes over land boil to the surface — and as Monday’s discussion showed, people are frightened. Just in the week before the show, there were reports of tit-for-tat massacres between the Amhara and Gumuz peoples in the northern part of the country that killed dozens.

“I used to be afraid of the government; now I’m afraid of the people,” said one audience member, citing a common concern over the rise in lawlessness. “Before it was dictatorship we were afraid of; now it’s about the [lack] of rule of law.”

The prime minister himself was not spared criticism, either, with some singling him out for the speed and what they called the recklessness of his reforms and a personal style of leadership that often bypasses the country’s institutions.

“I believe that Dr. Abiy is a problem because we want a systematic change that can sustain itself whether there is a messiah or not,” said one man. “We don’t want another messiah.”

Whether it was ruled by an aging emperor, Soviet-backed army officers or former rebels, Ethiopia was rarely a place where you could criticize leaders so openly. Until last year, there were dozens of journalists and opposition politicians in jail or exile.

Read more »


Related:
Spotlight: Voice of America’s Negussie Mengesha on New Media Freedoms in Ethiopia
After years of repression, Ethiopia’s media is free — and fanning the flames of ethnic tension
World Press Freedom Day events raise alarm on fake news (AP)
Ethiopian Selected as Official Carrier for 2019 World Press Freedom Day
Tadias Reflection on PM Abiy’s One Year in Office

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Meet the 2019 Obama Foundation Fellows

Here are 20 reasons to be hopeful this week: The Obama Foundation just announced its new class of Obama Fellows — comprising of educators, organizers, problem-solvers, and entrepreneurs from around the world. (Photo: The Obama Foundation)

Press Release

The Obama Foundation Fellowship supports outstanding civic innovators—leaders who are working with their communities to create transformational change and addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems. The program selects 20 community-minded rising stars from around the world for a two-year, non-residential program, designed to amplify the impact of their work and inspire a wave of civic innovation.

The second-ever class of Obama Foundation Fellows represents a diverse set of leaders who all model a powerful truth: that each of us has a role to play in making our communities better. These Fellows are building cultures of entrepreneurship in neighborhoods that need it most. They’re protecting our environment and ensuring we can live sustainably for generations to come. They’re showing the world that criminal justice can be restorative justice. And they’re proving that our most disadvantaged and disconnected communities can also be our most vital and innovative.

GET TO KNOW THE 2019 CLASS OF OBAMA FOUNDATION FELLOWS


Related:
I spent my 20s as an Obama speechwriter. Here’s what he taught me about growing up.

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DC Area U.S. Firm FAAZ Apologizes for ‘No Ethiopians’ Need Apply Job Posting

(Image courtesy Pixabay under Creative Commons license)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 3rd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — A Washington, DC area hiring firm, FAAZ Consulting, is apologizing to the Ethiopian community for its recent offensive job posting that appeared on LinkedIn declaring in all capital letters that “no Ethiopians and no Federal government employees” need apply for the position. The job placement that has since been taken down had shocked many Ethiopians and created a firestorm on social media.

Contacted by Tadias Magazine the company’s owner Fatima Ali was profusely apologetic and stating that the announcement was a blunder by a rookie employee. Ali also denied that the posting was made at the request of the firm’s client as indicated in the job description that was seeking qualified SharePoint developers.

“Only apply if you are a SharePoint developer with strong .NET experience,” the job posting had stated. “Please no Ethiopians and no Federal government employees as per client.”


FAAZ Consulting job post on Linkedin looking for SharePoint Developer in the DC area. (Image: Screen shot)

“This posting was a mistake by a new team member which didn’t go through proper internal review,” Ali told Tadias. “The information contained in the posting negates the values we stand by.” She added: “I would personally like to apologize to each one of those who have been inadvertently affected by this mistake. We would further investigate internally to understand how it happened and would take appropriate disciplinary action to ensure that such unfortunate mistakes never happen again.”

Ali said that FAAZ Consulting, which is based in Mclean, Virginia, is a minority-owned small business and is sensitive to these type of issues.

“FAAZ is a small minority women owned small business,” Ali said. “We have hired and placed people from all races, ethnic backgrounds, cultures, and regions.” She added: “Our recruitment only focuses on applicant’s skill set. As a minority woman and a person of color I understand the challenges faced by minority communities.”

Ali said they are working to remove the content from the internet. “The position was posted on one job board which essentially mass posted the job on different websites,” she said. “We have requested every website to take the content down and await for them to honor our request.”


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CPJ on Media in Ethiopia

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is an American independent non-profit based in New York City. It promotes press freedom and defends the rights of journalists. CPJ says "since Abiy's election, conditions for Ethiopia's journalists have improved, but some challenges remain." (Photo: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks during a press conference in Addis Ababa, in August 2018/AFP/Michael Tewelde)

CPJ

Under Abiy, Ethiopia’s media have more freedom but challenges remain

During a trip to Addis Ababa in January, it was impossible to miss the signs that Ethiopian media are enjoying unprecedented freedom. A flurry of new publications were on the streets. At apublic forum that CPJ attended, journalists spoke about positive reforms, but also openly criticized their lack of access to the government. At a press conference, journalists from state media and the Oromia Media Network, an outlet previously banned and accused of terrorism, sat side by side.

Mesud Gebeyehu, a lawyer who heads the Consortium of Ethiopian Rights Organizations, an alliance of human rights groups, told CPJ he had been on television “many times” in the past year to speak about human rights, an issue that was previously taboo for the media.

Ethiopia, which was one of the most-censored countries in the world and one of the worst jailers of journalists in sub-Saharan Africa, has gone through dramatic reforms under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took office last April. In 2018–for the first time in 14 years–CPJ recorded no journalists behind bars in its annual census. And the country ended its block of over 260 websites and ban on media outlets forced to work in exile.

“I was fighting for [press freedom], but I did not expect it to happen in such a short time,” said Abel Wabella, a journalist who was detained and charged with terrorism under the previous government.

In May, Ethiopia will host UNESCO’s annual World Press Freedom Day: a reflection, UNESCO said, of the country’s commitment to democratic and media reforms.

Though the Ethiopian press is much freer today than before Abiy took power, CPJ spoke to over a dozen journalists and rights defenders who said that challenges remain, including the risk of attack and arrest, especially in restive regions; attracting advertisers in a market where businesses are wary of being seen to support critical publications; accusations of sowing divisiveness; and a proposed law that could curtail their newly found freedoms.

CPJ also attempted to reach the government for comment on conditions for the press. The Prime Minister’s press secretary, Billene Seyoum, acknowledged receipt but did not respond to CPJ’s emailed questions sent on April 24.

Perhaps most fundamentally, journalists told CPJ they are anxious for the freedoms they are enjoying to be rooted in law, rather than guaranteed only by the good will of the Abiy government.

The reforms “are not legally nor institutionally guaranteed until now. They are so because the leaders on top are willing, but neither their willingness nor their hold on power is permanent,” Befekadu Hailu, a journalist and social activist who edits the Addis Maleda weekly, told CPJ.

A council established under the attorney general’s office is reviewing a raft of laws including those previously used to restrict the press, such as the anti-terror proclamation and the mass media law, according to media reports.

Most of the journalists with whom CPJ spoke with said they were happy with the reform process, which included public consultations. Befekadu said he believes those involved are “independent.” Jawar Mohammed, executive director of the Oromia Media Network, said that those involved could move faster and communicate more frequently and clearly with the public.

However, a proposed law on hate speech is splitting opinion.

The government last year said it would draft the law in response to concern abouttoxic rhetoric online that some say amounts to incitement to violence or has the potential to exacerbate divisions, largely along ethnic lines, according to reports. The government has previously responded to tension by cutting off access to the internet. CPJ documented two such shutdowns under Abiy’s government, during unrest in Addis Ababa in September and in the Somali region during a crisis in August.

Yared Hailemariam, the executive director of the Swiss-based Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia, told CPJ said that the media stand accused of “aggravating” tension. “It is a reflection of the political situation in the country, tension is high,” he said.

Most of those who spoke with CPJ said they felt there was a need for Ethiopian media to grow into “professionalism” and to act more “ethically” and “responsibly” within the newly opened space. But even so, some, like Befekadu, said they feared the hate speech law could have a “chilling effect on freedom of expression.”

“They want to give the government more power to regulate speech. Given the divisiveness in the country, it is understandable. But we need to be careful… we should not allow government to pass legislation which gives them reason to take down content they don’t like,” said Endalk Chala, assistant professor at Hamline University in Minnesota, who has studied Ethiopian media.

A copy of the draft law, viewed by CPJ, includes criminal penalties for hate speech and publishing “false news.” The privately owned Addis Fortune warned in an April 13 article that the draft law would not be a “golden bullet … to contain hate speech” and raised concerns that it harks back to laws Ethiopia previously used to suppress critical speech.

Eskinder Nega, who launched the weekly Ethiopis last year, months after he was freed from almost seven years in prison, said that ideas ought to be allowed to flourish, hate will be “filtered out”. Jawar said it was “dangerous” to invite government regulation of speech, suggesting instead a peer regulatory mechanism for the media.

Jawar and Eskinder are among the prominent media personalities whose work has been criticized for inflaming tensions, according to media reports.

Both strongly refuted these views. Jawar said that a strong political and advocacy position was being conflated with divisive speech. Eskinder said that while he has strong opinions, he has never advocated for violence. In a follow up email exchange on April 26, Eskinder told CPJ that the allegations of divisiveness were part of a “manufactured debate” and based on a misinterpretation of his work.

For the new papers that have mushroomed in Addis Ababa, financial concerns are urgent.

Abel can attest to that– he established the weekly Addis Zeybe in October, only for the paper to go out of print after four editions following financial pressures and distribution challenges.

Abel told CPJ that publications have a hard time attracting advertisers, whom he said can be shy of being associated with critical publications. This was a sentiment echoed by Jawar, who recently established a magazine, Gulale Post.

“Businesses are cautious. This is a popular government so they don’t want to be seen as being anti-government,” said Eskinder.

The government has also not been very open to the media, with Abiy hosting only a couple of press conferences with local journalists since he came to power, according to media reports and two of the journalists with whom CPJ spoke.

Journalists in Ethiopia also still face the risk of attack. CPJ has documented how mobs attacked a crew from the state-run Dire Dawa Mass Media Agency, in Meiso, in the Oromia region in July, in an incident that killed their driver, and how two journalists with the privately owned Mereja TV were briefly detained by police in Legetafo, in the same region, and assaulted by a mob upon their release in March . The regional government made initial promises to investigate, but Mereja TV chief executive Elias Kifle told CPJ in April that authorities had not investigated the crime.

Oromia government spokesperson Admasu Damtew did not answer CPJ’s phone calls or text messages on April 24 and April 27.

“They [have fulfilled] their obligation of respecting human rights, but the Abiy administration also has to protect people, to protect journalists, to protect human rights organizations from being attacked,” Yared, from the Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia, told CPJ.

The Economist reported last month that reform under Abiy “is not the first blossoming of free media,” pointing to how liberalization in the 1990s was followed by crackdowns in the 2000s. When CPJ asked Befekadu if he thought this current era of freedom would last he said, “I cannot say yes or no. But there is equal chance for the change to regress as it can progress. It needs collective effort of the media, civil society, and government to save it from falling into the vicious cycle.”


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Biden Releases New Video Starring Obama, Says Trump Should be Impeached (Update)

U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden has released a second campaign video in less than a week, this time featuring his close friend former president Barack Obama. Biden is also making national news after he told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday that Congress would have “no alternative” but to impeach President Trump if he blocks investigations of issues raised in the special counsel’s report on Russian election interference. (Photo by Pete Souza)

The Washington Post

Biden says Congress will have ‘no alternative’ but to impeach Trump if he blocks its investigations

Former vice president Joe Biden said in an interview broadcast Tuesday that Congress would have “no alternative” but to impeach President Trump if his administration seeks to block its investigations of issues raised in the special counsel’s report on Russian election interference.

Appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Biden said that the report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III left several unanswered questions related to whether Trump obstructed the nearly two-year probe, and he argued that Congress should follow up.

“What the Congress should do and they are doing is investigate that,” Biden said. “And if in fact they block the investigation, they have no alternative to go to the only other constitutional resort they have: impeachment.”

“My job in the meantime is to make sure he’s not back as president of the United States of America,” added Biden, who formally launched his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination last week.

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Watch: Biden Releases New Video Starring Obama:


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In US the Growing Neo-Nazi Violence Takes Center Stage in 2020 Election

In the last couple of years the lack of a strong political and media leadership in the U.S. against the growing menace of neo-Nazi violence and the outdated ideology of white-nationalism & supremacy has severely damaged America's global brand as a multicultural and forward-looking country. But the conversation may now be changing thanks to Joe Biden's blockbuster campaign video released last week in which he tackled the issue straight ahead while speaking truth to power. Below is a new Washington Post article focusing on the timely topic. (Getty Images)

The Washington Post

As Trump stands by Charlottesville remarks, rise of white-nationalist violence becomes an issue in 2020 presidential race

First came Joe Biden’s campaign announcement video highlighting President Trump’s “very fine people on both sides” comment about the 2017 white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville that left a counterprotester dead.

Then Trump dug in, arguing that he was referring not to the self-professed neo-Nazi marchers, but to those who had opposed the removal of a statue of the “great” Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Less than 24 hours later came another act of violence described by authorities as a hate crime: Saturday’s shooting at a synagogue in Poway, Calif., in which a gunman killed one person and injured three others.

Those events have pushed the rising tide of white nationalism to the forefront of the 2020 presidential campaign, putting Trump on the defensive and prompting even some Republicans to acknowledge that the president is taking a political risk by continuing to stand by his Charlottesville comments.

“The president’s handling of Charlottesville was not one of the finer moments of his time in office,” Republican strategist Ryan Williams said. “He shouldn’t take Joe Biden’s bait and re-litigate this controversy.”..

Nonetheless, the rise of white-nationalist violence during Trump’s tenure is emerging as an issue as the president turns his attention toward his reelection campaign.

According to the most recent annual report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which has long tracked extremist activity, 39 of the 50 extremist-related murders tallied by the group in 2018 were committed by white supremacists, up from 2017, when white supremacists were responsible for 18 of 34 such crimes.

Read the full article at The Washington Post »


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Joe Biden Officially Announces He is Running for U.S President in 2020

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Dr. Negasso Gidada, Former President of Ethiopia, Dies at 76

Dr. Negasso Gidada served as President of Ethiopia from 1995 until 2001. (Photo: @PMEthiopia/Twitter)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 27th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia is mourning the passing of Dr. Negasso Gidada, who served as President of Ethiopia from 1995 until 2001. Dr. Negasso passed away on Saturday at the age of 76.

According to local media reports the former president died in Germany where he was undergoing medical treatment.

“It is with deep regrets that we share the passing of former FDRE President, H.E. Dr. Negasso Gidada. PM Abiy Ahmed extends his condolences to the people of Ethiopia and his family,” Office of the Prime Minister shared on social media. “A national committee to oversee the funeral arrangements is being established & will share details.”

Fana Broadcasting noted that “similarly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the House of People’s Representatives, the House of Federation, the Ministry of Transport and regional states also expressed their deepest condolences.”


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Ethiopia to Extradite U.S. Murder Suspect

22-year-olds Henok Yohannes and Kedest Simeneh were killed in Fairfax County, Virginia in December 2016. The suspect Yohannes Nesibu who fled to Ethiopia soon after the incident is set to be extradited to face murder charges in the U.S. (Image: fox5dc.com)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 26th, 2019

The Story Behind Yohannes Nesibu’s Imminent Extradition From Ethiopia to U.S.

New York (TADIAS) — You may remember this shocking and disturbing story of a brutal double murder in Virginia two and half years ago involving Ethiopian victims Henok Yohannes and Kedest Simeneh, both 22, of Fairfax County. The suspect Yohannes Nesibu had escaped to Ethiopia and was seen roaming around Addis Abeba, freely club-hopping and sharing his adventures on social media.

As The Washington Post put it succinctly at the time: “After a young couple was killed, the alleged gunman fled to Ethiopia. He may never face trial.”

That’s about to change as Ethiopia prepares to extradite Yohannes Nesibu, who is currently under detention, to the U.S. According to the spokesperson for the office of Ethiopia’s Attorney General who spoke with the state affiliated Fana Broadcasting the decision to extradite Yohannes was made following “the request of the United States Department of Justice Criminal Division for his extradition.”


Henok Yohannes (left) and Kedest Simeneh. (fox5dc)

“Authorities are confident they know who carried out the brutal double slaying in Northern Virginia last December. A witness places an aspiring rapper at the scenes of the killings,” The Washington Post had noted in its October 2017 article. “A Fairfax grand jury indicted him for murder. Detectives know where he lives. Nessibu is out of reach because he boarded a flight to his native Ethi­o­pia, just before police closed in on him…Kedest’s family said detectives told them Nessibu paid about $3,000 in cash for a one-way plane ticket from Dulles International Airport to Addis Ababa, leaving the same day Kedest’s body was found.”

Fana added: “His extradition also took into account his nationality, the pledge made by the U.S. to treat him properly and the positive cooperation currently existed between the two countries in the justice sector.”


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Joe Biden Raises $6.3 Million on 1st Day of 2020 U.S. Presidential Campaign (UPDATE)

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden formally announced the launch of his 2020 Presidential campaign on Thursday declaring that he is on a rescue mission to save America's 'Soul.' Biden has said he would campaign as an “Obama-Biden Democrat." (Photo: Joe Biden Facebook)

CNN

Updated: Fri April 26, 2019

Joe Biden tops Democratic field with $6.3 million haul on first day of 2020 bid

Washington — Joe Biden’s campaign said it raised $6.3 million in the first 24 hours of his presidential campaign launch, a haul that surpassed the Day One amounts collected by his rivals in the crowded Democratic field.

Biden’s fundraising total underscores his prominence in the party — as a former vice president with near-universal name recognition and a cadre of supporters built up over decades in the Senate and eight years at President Barack Obama’s side.

More than 96,900 people donated online to the former vice president’s campaign, his aides said in a news release Friday.

A source familiar with the figures said the total does not include any general election funds. That means the money can all be used for the nomination battle against the 19 other Democrats seeking the party’s nod.

Of that haul, $4.4 million was raised through online donations, his campaign said.

“We are incredibly heartened by the energy and enthusiasm displayed throughout the country for Joe Biden,” his deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement.

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Joe Biden Officially Announces He is Running for U.S President in 2020

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 25th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has officially announced that he is running for president in 2020.

In a video posted on Twitter this morning Biden took an immediate aim at the current president citing Trump’s infamous response in the aftermath of the deadly neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia two years ago in which he had claimed there were some “very fine people” on both sides of the violent confrontation between white supremacists and counterprotesters.

“We are in the battle for the soul of this nation,” Biden said. “If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation — who we are. And I cannot stand by and watch that happen.”

Watch: Joe Biden Announces 2020 Presidential Campaign:

The Associated Press notes that “the 76-year-old Biden becomes an instant front-runner alongside Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is leading many polls and has proved to be a successful fundraiser. Among Democrats, Biden has unmatched international and legislative experience, and he is among the best-known faces in U.S. politics. He quickly racked up endorsements on Thursday morning, becoming the first Democrat running for president with the backing of more than one U.S. senator. Still, Biden must compete in a field that now spans at least 20 Democrats and has been celebrated for its racial and gender diversity. As an older white man with occasionally centrist views, Biden has to prove he’s not out of step with his party. He’s betting that his working-class appeal and ties to Barack Obama’s presidency will help him overcome those questions. Biden has said he would campaign as an ‘Obama-Biden Democrat,’ who is as pragmatic as he is progressive.”

President Obama also weighed in on Thursday releasing a statement via his spokeswoman Katie Hill.

“President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made,” Hill said. “He relied on the vice president’s knowledge, insight, and judgment throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency. The two forged a special bond over the last 10 years and remain close today.”

AP adds: “Privately, Trump allies have warned that Biden might be the biggest re-election threat given the former vice president’s potential appeal among the white working class in the Midwest, the region that gave Trump a path to the presidency. Biden is paying special attention to Pennsylvania, a state that swung to Trump in 2016 after voting for Democratic presidential candidates for decades. The former vice president will be in the state three times within the opening weeks of his campaign. He’ll be in Philadelphia on Thursday evening headlining a fundraiser at the home of David L. Cohen, executive senior vice president of Comcast. Biden is aiming to raise $500,000 at the event. He will hold an event in Pittsburgh on Monday and will return to Philadelphia in the next two weeks for a major rally. He’s scheduled to make his first media appearance as a 2020 presidential contender Friday morning on ABC’s “The View,” a move that may help him make an appeal to women whose support will be crucial to winning the primary.”


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In US Call for Trump Impeachment Grows

Senator Kamala Harris became the latest U.S. presidential candidate to call on Congress to impeach President Trump in the wake of the explosive Mueller report released last week. (Photo: Reuters)

CNBC

Sen. Kamala Harris calls on Congress to take steps toward Trump impeachment

Sen. Kamala Harris late Monday said she would support Congress starting impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

That comes on the heels of fellow Democratic presidential contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren last week calling for impeachment.

“I think we have very good reason to believe that there is an investigation that has been conducted, which has produced evidence that tells us that this president and his administration engaged in obstruction of justice,” Harris said in response to a question at a CNN town hall in New Hampshire. “I believe Congress should take the steps toward impeachment.”

Harris, the junior senator from California and a member of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee and Select Intelligence Committee, said the report released following Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election made it clear there was “good evidence” to make a case for obstruction of justice.

“For those of us who have been following the investigation, and have seen any part of that report, it’s very clear that there’s a lot of good evidence pointing to obstruction and obstruction of justice,” said Harris, a former prosecutor who once served as district attorney in San Francisco and later as California attorney general.

Added Harris: “I believe that we need to get rid of this president.”

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Pelosi’s impeachment dam has been breached — The Washington Post

The Washington Post

Pelosi’s impeachment dam has been breached

Monday was the day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had to know might be coming but did her best to forestall. It was the day the dam she had erected against the Democrats’ impeachment fervor was breached.

Despite polls long showing about three-quarters of Democratic voters favor impeachment, Pelosi and her fellow leaders had done a good job keeping their party’s congressional contingent unified behind a more cautious approach. While a handful of mostly backbenchers have kept beating the impeachment drum, it hadn’t really filtered up into the ranks of top leaders and presidential candidates.

After the release of the Mueller report, that’s changing. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was the first big-name 2020 candidate to come out in favor of impeachment, and on Monday Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) joined her.

In some ways, it’s a wonder it’s taken this long…

But while the vast majority of Democratic voters have told pollsters they favor impeachment, there hasn’t really been a national movement. Part of that was because everyone was waiting to see the Mueller report, and part of that was that there really hasn’t been a national leader for the movement.

Neither of those reasons applies any more.

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Paranoia, Lies and Fear: Trump’s Presidency Laid Bare by Mueller Report


In his highly anticipated report released to the public on Thursday, April 18th former FBI Director Robert Mueller painted a damning portrait of Trump in the White House outlining in a cinematic fashion 10 “episodes” of obstruction of justice evidence and jarring scenes of presidential scheming, paranoia, fear and fabrication of false record. (AP photo)

The Washington Post

The moment President Trump learned two years ago that a special counsel had been appointed to investigate Russian election interference, he declared in the Oval Office, “This is the end of my presidency.”

Trump nearly made that a self-fulfilling prophecy as he then plotted for months to thwart the probe, spawning a culture of corruption and deception inside the White House.

Trump’s advisers rarely challenged him and often willingly did his bidding, according to the special counsel’s report released Thursday. But in some cases, they refused when Trump pushed them to the brink of committing outright crimes.

Trump ordered Donald McGahn to instigate special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s firing, but the White House lawyer decided he would resign rather than follow through.

Trump urged Corey Lewandowski to ask then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to curtail the investigation, but his former campaign manager only delivered the message to an intermediary.

And Trump demanded that Reince Priebus procure Sessions’s resignation, but the White House chief of staff did not carry out the directive.

The vivid portrait that emerges from Mueller’s 448-page report is of a presidency plagued by paranoia, insecurity and scheming — and of an inner circle gripped by fear of Trump’s spasms. Again and again, Trump frantically pressured his aides to lie to the public, deny true news stories and fabricate a false record.

“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” the report says. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

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The Media is Failing Ethiopia

We are only a year away from a major and historic election season in Ethiopia, but is the media ready for the challenge ahead? “This opening up is sort of an ultimate test for us, and we are failing it, I’m afraid,” Tsedale Lemma, editor of Addis Standard, told The Washington Post in a recent interview. “That is damaging, not just to the industry, not just media, but to the social cohesion in a country that’s deeply polarized, ethnicized and going through a fragile moment of transition.” Below is an excerpt from The Post article published on Sunday, April 21st, 2019. (Photo: Paul Schemm/The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

After years of repression, Ethiopia’s media is free — and fanning the flames of ethnic tension

Ethiopia has been a rare bright spot of increased rights and democracy on a continent more known for leaders overstaying their mandates. Its progress in media freedom — there are no longer any imprisoned journalists — has been so dramatic that it was chosen to host World Press Freedom Day next month.

The changes have also prompted conflicts and unearthed long-buried grievances, often revolving around land and ethnicity. To many, a newly polarized press is making things worse.

In the 2019 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders, Ethi­o­pia rose 40 places, from 150 out of 180 countries to 110 — the biggest improvement this year in any country.

Next year, Ethi­o­pia will hold its first free elections in 15 years, and there are fears that the toxic media environment could lead to violence.

“This opening up is sort of an ultimate test for us, and we are failing it, I’m afraid,” said Tsedale Lemma, editor of the English-language Addis Standard. “That is damaging, not just to the industry, not just media, but to the social cohesion in a country that’s deeply polarized, ethnicized and going through a fragile moment of transition.”

Read the full article at The Washington Post »


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Artnet News on Ethiopia’s Zoma Museum

‘It’s All About Life’: Ethiopia’s newest art museum doubles as an experiment in environmental sustainability. The Zoma Museum, an alternative arts and ecological institution in Addis Ababa, opened in March. (Photo by Michel Temteme, courtesy of Zoma Museum)

Artnet News

A museum made of mud and straw has opened its doors in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia.

When the Zoma Museum’s co-founders, curator Meskerem Assegued and architect Elias Sime, decided to build a museum in their home city 20 years ago, they knew they didn’t want it to be just another brick-and-mortar building with statement architecture. “As high-rise concrete and glass buildings are crowding the city with fewer and fewer green spaces, Elias and I felt strongly [about building] a large museum with huge garden where city dwellers can be connected to nature,” says Assegued, who is the museum’s director as well as an anthropologist.

To that end, the Zoma Museum, which opened its doors on March 23, is a low-lying, eco-sensitive arts center with farming plots, herb gardens, grazing animals, and traditional Ethiopian houses for artist residencies, workshops, and exhibitions. A small family of cows lives in an on-site stable, their dairy production supervised by a previous landowner. In short, it’s a haven.

Visitors to the museum “come to experience the sources of food,” which is cultivated on site at Zoma, Assegued says. It is both a literal source of nutrition and a symbolic one aimed at providing Ethiopians an alternate view of how to live in the increasingly crowded city. “Most children don’t know where milk comes from, so they come to see how cows are milked or smell the aroma of herbs. It is all about life and love.”

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ABIY AHMED By Feyisa Lilesa (TIME)

In the following article published by Time magazine Ethiopian Olympic-silver-medalist marathoner Feyisa Lilesa honors Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who has been named one of Time's 100 most influential people of 2019. (Photo: Yonas Tadesse—Getty Images)

TIME

By Feyisa Lilesa

In 2016, the situation in Ethiopia was very bad. People were being killed and many were in jail, and I wanted the world to know what the government was doing. That’s why, during the 2016 marathon at the Rio Olympics, I crossed my wrists at the finish line—to symbolize that the Ethiopian people want to stop the killing, stop the jailing. We don’t want a dictatorship.

After that, I knew I wouldn’t be able to go back. The government was killing dissidents. I missed my country; I missed my mother. She cried to me on the phone every day for two years.

Then last March, while I was training in Kenya, I heard that Dr. Abiy Ahmed would be the next Prime Minister. In Ethiopian history, we have never seen a leader like him. He’s an educated person who talks about unity. He has released thousands of people from jail. He brought peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea after 20 years of war. And he made it possible for me to come home.

Yes, people are still protesting. But now, when they protest, they aren’t going to jail. To me, that is democracy. That is hope.

See the full list at Time.com »


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US Elections 2020|In NJ Cory Booker Kicks Off Bid With Echo of MLK: “We can’t wait.”

U.S. presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker formally Kicked off his campaign in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey this past weekend with a speech that echoed the world famous Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail: “We can’t wait.” (Photo: Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) takes a selfie with his supporters during a hometown kickoff for his presidential campaign in downtown Newark on Saturday, April 13th, 2019/AP)

The Washington Post

Sen. Cory Booker formally joins presidential race with an echo of Martin Luther King Jr.: “We can’t wait.”

NEWARK — Speaking in the rejuvenated downtown of the city he helmed as mayor for seven years, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) offered himself as an optimistic and hopeful counterpoint to President Trump who would heal political and social toxicity that Booker said extends far beyond the White House.

Like most of the Democrats running for president, he mentioned Trump sparingly in his remarks during his hometown kickoff — and then only as a symptom of a more pervasive problem in American society.

“We can’t wait when powerful forces are turning their prejudice into policy and rolling back the rights that generations of Americans fought for and died for,” he told the crowd of 4,100…

“And we can’t wait because many of our most serious challenges as a nation were with us long before Donald Trump entered the White House.”

Booker, the mayor of New Jersey’s largest city from 2006 until 2013, when he was elected to the U.S. Senate, finds himself solidly in the middle of a presidential pack that now numbers 18. Booker raised more than $5 million in the two months since he announced his bid for the presidency, a number that places him behind other high-profile aspirants like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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Corey Booker begins tour for president with ‘hometown kickoff’

UPI

April 13 (UPI) — U.S. Sen. Cory Booker began a two-week tour for president with a “hometown kickoff” Saturday in Newark, N.J., where still has a house and was mayor.

A crowd of around 4,000 to 5,000 people, according to police, turned out at Military Park for a campaign stretch billed as a “justice for all tour” — including criminal, economic and environmental. Because the supporters were slow in arriving, Booker’s speech was delayed by one hour, CNN reported.

Booker, who was elected senator in November 2012 after serving two terms as Newark’s mayor, announced his candidacy for president on Feb. 1 by emailing supporting with an email announcement.

Booker was the eighth Democrat to announce he was running for president. The Democratic field has ballooned to 17 other candidates, including six U.S. senators. He is backed by 3.8 percent of voters, according to RealClearPolitics, way behind 31.1 percent for Joe Biden, who hasn’t announced he is running for president, and 21.2 percent for Bernie Sanders, who ran in 2016 for president. All of the other candidates are in single digits.

“Together, we will fulfill our pledge to be a nation of liberty and justice for all,” Booker said in downtown Newark. “Together, we will win. And together, America, we will rise.”

Booker next plans to campaign in Iowa, Georgia and Nevada. He will be focusing on communities that have been left out, according to his campaign.

RELATED Democrats begin reporting funding totals; Sanders hauls $18.2M
“Too many people believe the forces that are tearing us apart are stronger than the bonds that hold us together. I don’t believe that,” the 50-year-old Booker told his supporters. “I believe we will achieve things that other people say are impossible. I believe we will make justice real for all.”

Booker, the first African-American to represent New Jersey in the chamber, mentioned Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” written in 1963, and its declaration that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

“We are here today to say, we can’t wait,” Booker said.

Read more »


Related:
Addisu Demissie to Manage Cory Booker’s 2020 U.S. Presidential Campaign

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Ethiopia’s ‘Roof of Africa’ Forest Burns: Israel Joins Fire Combat

A wildfire burning in Ethiopia's Semien National Park. (Photo via Africa News)

Africa News

Israeli firefighters are the latest addition to a growing list of experts in Ethiopia to help authorities deal with a rampaging forest fire that has hit the Semien National Park in the northern Amhara region.

Fire have been raging in parts of the historic national park for the past few months but it wasn’t until last week that external intervention was sought for to combat the crisis.

Experts from South Africa, Kenya and France were among the first to offer their assistance as of last week. Media reports quoting an Amhara regional state official said after weeks of battling fires, a renewed forest fire had broken out as of April 9.

The Times of Israel said the team joining the efforts “is being led by Zion Shenkar, who was born in Ethiopia and was the Israel Defense Force’s first-ever battalion commander from the Ethiopian community.”

Local media portal, Addis Standard added that the fire has been on and off for the last two weeks with efforts aimed at controlling it largely unsuccessful. South Africa agreed to send six firefighter planes to help.

Kenya which is also dealing with a similar case in the Mount Kenya area could not deliver on its promised assistance as at close of last week. The regional state president admitted yesterday that the issue had gotten beyond their control and needed federal intervention.

The nature of gorges and the landscape of the area is also said to be a major contributory factor that largely hampered earlier efforts at extinguishing the blaze.

A BBC reporter said: volunteers and residents had joined in the effort to put out the blaze. Another fire broke out in the park last month, destroying 340 hectares (840 acres) of forest and grass. The cause of the fires have yet to be established.

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Los Angeles: Nipsey Hussle, A Hometown Hero, Immortalized at Memorial

People watch as a hearse carrying the casket of slain rapper Nipsey Hussle passes Hussle's clothing store The Marathon, Thursday, April 11, 2019, in Los Angeles. Hussle’s casket, draped in the flag of his father’s native country, Eritrea, embarked on a 25-mile tour of the city after his memorial service, drawing thousands to the streets to catch a glimpse of the recently-anointed hometown hero. (AP Photo)

AP

By JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr. and MESFIN FEKADU

LOS ANGELES — Nipsey Hussle’s legacy as a persistent rapper, community activist, uniter, doting father, protective sibling and a loving son were underscored at his public memorial service on Thursday, with deeply personal testimonies from those closest to the rapper, including his actress-fiancee Lauren London, collaborator and dear friend Snoop Dogg and his mother, who said she was at peace with the death of her “superhero” son.

Beyonce and Jay-Z were among the big-name celebrities who attended the three-hour event in Los Angeles at the Staples Center, where the last celebrity funeral held at the concert arena was Michael Jackson’s in 2009.

The arena was packed with more than 21,000 fans and drove home the important impact Hussle — just 33 when he died — had on his city and the rest of the world.

“I’m very proud of my son. My son Ermias Joseph Asghedom was a great man,” said Angelique Smith, dressed in all white. Standing onstage with Hussle’s father, Dawit Asghedom, she declared: “Ermias was a legacy.”

London, who was in dark sunglasses, was emotional but stood strong onstage as she told the audience: “I’ve never felt this type of pain before.”

London called Hussle “majestic” and “brilliant” and said she had learned so much from his presence. She added that though she was hurting, she was really sad for their son Kross, whom she feared wouldn’t remember his dad: “My pain is for my 2-year-old.”

Snoop Dogg’s words to immortalize his friend were both serious and silly, as he told old stories about Hussle and their brotherhood.

“This a tough one right here,” he said, visibly shaken but keeping his composure.

Snoop thanked Hussle’s parents multiple times and told his father that “you picked up another son in me.”

Hussle’s father said he knew his son was strong because when he was born, the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck but he prevailed.

“He was a fighter,” he said.

Earlier in the ceremony, Hussle’s children also appeared onstage to pay tribute. London’s son with rapper Lil Wayne, Cameron Carter, said days after Hussle died, he had a dream he saw the rapper.

“I realized Ermias told me what heaven was like. He told me it was paradise,” Cameron said.

Cameron then told the audience that Hussle would look at him through the window at times and say “respect.” Cameron then asked the crowd to say “respect” in unison, and they complied.


Nipsey Hussle

Hussle was slain last month in front of a store that he tried to use to empower his South Los Angeles neighborhood. The public memorial service kicked off by paying respect to Hussle the rapper, as songs from his latest Grammy-nominated album, “Victory Lap,” filled the arena.

“Everybody put your hands in the air,” the DJ said as one of Hussle’s songs played. “It’s a celebration.”

Indeed, his mother danced in the aisle as R&B singer Marsha Ambrosius sang the Mariah Carey song “Fly Like a Bird” while fighting back tears. “This is for Nipsey y’all,” Ambrosius said before she started as she tried to gain her composure, sighing heavily.

But soon the focus was squarely on the person behind the persona. A montage of photos featuring the rapper from infancy, childhood and adulthood, with fellow rappers, his family and London, were shown to the crowd, set to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”

Stevie Wonder was the last performer to pay tribute to Hussle, who he said he had the chance to meet, saying: “We had a good conversation.” Before he sang “Rocket Song,” one of Hussle’s favorites, Wonder denounced gun violence and told the audience “there’s enough people being killed by guns and violence.”

Anthony Hamilton invoked the spirit of a church service when he performed in Hussle’s honor. Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan hailed Hussle’s ability to bring different factions together. And blogger and media figure Karen Civil read a letter sent by former U.S. President Barack Obama, who wrote that he never met Nipsey but heard of his music through his daughters.

“While most folks look at the Crenshaw neighborhood where he grew up and only see gangs, bullets and despair, Nipsey saw potential. He saw hope. He saw a community that even through its flaws taught him to always keep going. He chose to invest in that community rather than to ignore it,” the Obama letter read. “He set an example for young people to follow and is a legacy worth of celebration. I hope his memory inspires more good work in Crenshaw and communities like it. Michelle and I send our sympathies to Lauren, Emani, Kross and his whole family and to all those who love Nipsey.”

Father Thomas Uwal read a scripture in Tigrinya — the native language in Eritrea, the African country where Hussle’s father was from. Uwal spoke of Hussle being “proud to be an Eritrean-American,” later saying to the late rapper’s family: “On behalf of all Eritreans … we say our condolences to you.”


A makeshift memorial site for Nipsey Hussle is filled with candles outside The Marathon Clothing store. (AP photo)

Books with an image of Hussle on the cover were handed out to service attendees. The book of nearly 100 pages contained numerous photos of Hussle with London, his children, and friends like Russell Westbrook and Snoop Dogg. It also had heartfelt messages from Rick Ross, The Game and LeBron James.

“I’ve never cried myself to sleep over any public figure before, but Nipsey’s presence meant so much for our community,” actress Issa Rae said in her message inside the book.

The hearse carrying Hussle’s coffin went through a 25-mile (40-kilometer) lap through the city, including past the property where Hussle had planned to turn an aging strip mall into new businesses and affordable homes.

Thousands of people crowded the streets, some on bicycles and motorcycles, following and surrounding the vehicle as it slowly wound its way to the funeral home. The silver Cadillac passed the rapper’s childhood home in Watts. It came to a halt at times, unable to move in the vast crowd of people.

Police kept an eye on the crowd, which appeared largely peaceful. At one point, people sat atop a police car spray-painted with the words: “Nips in Paradise.”

At one point during the procession, there was a brief stampede, apparently because of some kind of startling noise that may have been Mylar balloons popping. The Fire Department said several power lines were downed by the metalized balloons. There also were reports of people feeling unwell from the heat and the packed conditions. The Fire Department said it treated 15 people, including five who were taken to local hospitals.

There were reports of leg pain and dehydration but no reports of major injuries, fire officials said.

The hearse finally arrived Wednesday evening at a funeral home in the city’s hard-scrabble Crenshaw district, where the rapper was born on Aug. 15, 1985.

Hussle was shot to death March 31 while standing outside The Marathon, his South Los Angeles clothing store, not far from where the rapper grew up.

Eric R. Holder Jr., who has been charged with killing Hussle, has pleaded not guilty. Police have said Holder and Hussle had several interactions the day of the shooting and have described it as being the result of a personal dispute.

For a decade, Hussle released much sought-after mixtapes that he sold out of the trunk of his car, helping him create a buzz and gain respect from rap purists and his peers. His said his stage name, a play on the 1960s and ’70s rhyming standup comic Nipsey Russell, was given to him as a teen by an older friend because he was such a go-getter — always hustling.

Last year he hit new heights with “Victory Lap,” his critically acclaimed major-label debut album on Atlantic Records that made several critics’ best-of lists. The album debuted at No. 4 on Billboard’s 200 albums charts and earned him a Grammy nomination.

But the rapper was also a beloved figure for his philanthropic work that went well beyond the usual celebrity “giving back” ethos. Following his death, political and community leaders were as quick and effusive in their praise as his fellow hip-hop artists.

His family and friends vowed to continue his work, and London told the crowd: “The marathon continues!”

Associated Press Writers Andrew Dalton, Amanda Myers and John Rogers contributed to this report.
___

In Ethiopia Candlelight Vigil Held for Slain Eritrean American Artist Nipsey Hussle


Hundreds of Ethiopians and Eritreans living in Addis Ababa attended a memorial service for Eritrean American rapper, Nipsey Hussle who was shot dead last month near a clothes shop he owned in Los Angeles. (AFP)

AFP

Ethiopians bid farewell to slain rapper Nipsey Hussle

Addis Ababa — With poems and speeches, Ethiopians have held an emotional farewell for murdered rapper Nipsey Hussle, whose roots in neighbouring Eritrea won him admirers in both countries.

Known for his Grammy-nominated debut album, Hussle was shot dead last week in front of the clothing store he owned in the US city of Los Angeles, whose violence-plagued neighbourhoods he had tried to revitalise.

On Friday, 29-year-old Eric Holder pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder over the shooting that also wounded two other men.

At the Saturday evening memorial in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Hussle was remembered as a rare entertainer who bridged his American upbringing with his roots in the Horn of Africa.

“When we heard there’s an Eritrean rapper out there, we were fans before we heard his music,” said Ambaye Michael Tesfay, who eulogised Hussle at the event held in a darkened parking lot. “He was an icon for us.”

Before his 2018 debut album “Victory Lap” scored a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album, Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, had won the attention of rap fans from both Ethiopia and Eritrea for his embrace of his father’s Eritrean heritage.

Eritrea was a province of Ethiopia until 1993, when it voted for independence after a decades-long independence struggle, but both countries still have close cultural and family ties.

“It’s just really tragic what happened,” said Tezeta Solomon, an Ethiopian living in Los Angeles who attended the memorial in Addis Ababa.

“When he first came out, we were all so excited. To know there was a habesha rapper out there definitely sparked some pride,” she said, using a common term to describe people from the Horn of Africa.

Hussle embraced his Eritrean heritage, visiting the country last year and telling state media, “More than anything I am proud of being Eritrean.”

Read more »


Nipsey Hussle’s Eritrean American Dream (The Atlantic)


As the staff writer for The Atlantic magazine Hannah Giorgis highlights in the following article: “The slain rapper, who was known for his investment in his Los Angeles community, also inspired fans and fellow musicians who share his East African heritage.” (Getty Images)

The Atlantic

By HANNAH GIORGIS

Updated: APR 4, 2019

In April 2018, the Los Angeles–born street rapper Nipsey Hussle traveled to his father’s native Eritrea for the first time in 14 years. The trip found the musician, née Ermias Davidson Asghedom, both contemplative and triumphant: After a prolific run of mixtapes spanning more than a decade, the fiercely independent artist had recently released his major-label studio debut, Victory Lap. (The February 2018 record, which debuted at No. 4, would later earn him a nomination for Best Rap Album at this year’s Grammys.)

While in the East African country, Hussle and his brother, Samiel “Blacc Sam” Asghedom, followed their father’s lead: They traveled to historical sites and met the country’s divisive president; they were blessed by their 90-year-old grandmother with himbasha, the slightly sweet bread most often served during celebrations. Hussle was also interviewed by a number of state-run media outlets. In one interview, which was posted to Eritrea’s Ministry of Information website, the Eritrean journalist Billion Temesghen told the musician that his listeners, particularly those on the continent, saw his hard-won successes as their own. Hussle’s response at the time was gracious and affirming. “I want to thank my Eritrean fans for feeling connected to me and for supporting me. I feel extremely grateful,” he replied. “I am going to keep coming back here and make frequent returns … Thank you for keeping my name alive out here.”

But now, less than a year later, Hussle’s connection to his fans, Eritrean and American alike, has taken on a far more tragic valence. On Sunday afternoon, Hussle was fatally shot outside the store he co-owned in South L.A., the neighborhood Hussle celebrated in his music, advocacy, and philanthropic ventures. The Los Angeles Police Department has since apprehended a suspect in the case, but the rapper and activist’s killing remains a devastating blow to his family and to fans around the world, many of whom have likened him to the late Tupac Shakur.

Read more »


How Nipsey Hussle (Ermias Asghedom) Connected to His Eritrean Roots


Grammy-nominated Eritrean-American rapper Nipsey Hussle whose real name was Ermias Asghedom was shot and killed on Sunday outside the clothing store he founded in Los Angeles. He was 33. (Getty Images)

CNN

Rapper Nipsey Hussle’s death in a shooting near his clothing store was greeted with shock and disbelief by celebrities and fans alike.

The 33-year-old musician, real name Ermias Davidson Asghedom, was shot dead in an attack on Sunday that also left two others injured.

The city of Los Angeles where he grew up and dedicated his life to helping kids break out of the cycle of gang violence mourned his passing.

But somewhere, thousands of miles away in east Africa, Nipsey’s death was felt even more keenly by the people of Eritrea.

His father, Nipsey once said, fled a war in Eritrea to settle in the US.

Hussle visited Eritrea twice in his lifetime: first as an 18-year-old when he spent three months and most recently in April 2018.

With his brother Samiel and their dad, Hussle met the Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and sat down with the Ministry of Information’s website for a wide-ranging interview about his life and experiences growing up in Los Angeles in a culture of gang violence.

Then he spoke of his love for Eritrea and his desire to connect with his extended family after fourteen years since his last visit.

“I am here to visit my family and reconnect with my grandmother, my cousins and everybody else,” Hussle said during the interview.

“I love to be here. The people, the food, the culture, and the lifestyle are extremely good.”

During his trip back to his father’s country, Hussle also visited a local textile factory in the capital Asmara to explore business opportunities.

Eritrea’s Minister of Information Yemane Meskel led the tributes to Hussle after news of his death broke.

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

US-Ethiopia Launch $4m Justice Project

(Picture Courtesy: U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia)

Press Release

U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia

The United States and Ethiopia Launch New $4 Million Project to Improve Rule of Law Institutions

Today, the United States announced the launch of its new two-year, $4 million Feteh project to support the strengthening of independent rule of law institutions in Ethiopia. Feteh (meaning “justice” in Amharic) is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and will provide technical support to the Attorney General’s Office and the Supreme Court’s efforts to expand their independent decision-making and oversight capacity.

USAID’s Feteh project will strengthen the overall capacity of the Attorney General Office (AGO) directorates and agencies, and provide technical support to the AGO advisory council and secretariat for their ongoing legislative initiatives. The project will also support the Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia in its efforts to strengthen commercial benches, revise various framework laws – including the Law on Judicial Administration and the Law on Federal Courts – and enhance its case flow management to improve efficiency.

President of the Supreme Court Meaza Ashenafi joined USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick and Ambassador Michael Raynor to announce the new collaboration at a launch event in the capital city.

“Today, we are opening a new chapter in our partnership. The United States is committed to investing in the capacity of Ethiopian legal institutions to achieve their goals of ensuring free and fair elections, promoting human rights, citizen engagement, and greater representation,” said USAID Deputy Administrator Glick.

The United States has invested approximately $4 billion in development and humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia over the past five years to enable people across the country lead healthier and more prosperous lives.


Related:
Q&A: Ethiopia’s First Female Chief Justice Says “Women Shouldn’t Be Silent Victims”

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

In Ethiopia Candlelight Vigil Held for Slain Eritrean American Artist Nipsey Hussle

Hundreds of Ethiopians and Eritreans living in Addis Ababa attended a memorial service for Eritrean American rapper, Nipsey Hussle who was shot dead last month near a clothes shop he owned in Los Angeles. (AFP)

AFP

Ethiopians bid farewell to slain rapper Nipsey Hussle

Addis Ababa — With poems and speeches, Ethiopians have held an emotional farewell for murdered rapper Nipsey Hussle, whose roots in neighbouring Eritrea won him admirers in both countries.

Known for his Grammy-nominated debut album, Hussle was shot dead last week in front of the clothing store he owned in the US city of Los Angeles, whose violence-plagued neighbourhoods he had tried to revitalise.

On Friday, 29-year-old Eric Holder pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder over the shooting that also wounded two other men.

At the Saturday evening memorial in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Hussle was remembered as a rare entertainer who bridged his American upbringing with his roots in the Horn of Africa.

“When we heard there’s an Eritrean rapper out there, we were fans before we heard his music,” said Ambaye Michael Tesfay, who eulogised Hussle at the event held in a darkened parking lot. “He was an icon for us.”

Before his 2018 debut album “Victory Lap” scored a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album, Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, had won the attention of rap fans from both Ethiopia and Eritrea for his embrace of his father’s Eritrean heritage.

Eritrea was a province of Ethiopia until 1993, when it voted for independence after a decades-long independence struggle, but both countries still have close cultural and family ties.

“It’s just really tragic what happened,” said Tezeta Solomon, an Ethiopian living in Los Angeles who attended the memorial in Addis Ababa.

“When he first came out, we were all so excited. To know there was a habesha rapper out there definitely sparked some pride,” she said, using a common term to describe people from the Horn of Africa.

Hussle embraced his Eritrean heritage, visiting the country last year and telling state media, “More than anything I am proud of being Eritrean.”

Read more »


Nipsey Hussle’s Eritrean American Dream (The Atlantic)


As the staff writer for The Atlantic magazine Hannah Giorgis highlights in the following article: “The slain rapper, who was known for his investment in his Los Angeles community, also inspired fans and fellow musicians who share his East African heritage.” (Getty Images)

The Atlantic

By HANNAH GIORGIS

Updated: APR 4, 2019

In April 2018, the Los Angeles–born street rapper Nipsey Hussle traveled to his father’s native Eritrea for the first time in 14 years. The trip found the musician, née Ermias Davidson Asghedom, both contemplative and triumphant: After a prolific run of mixtapes spanning more than a decade, the fiercely independent artist had recently released his major-label studio debut, Victory Lap. (The February 2018 record, which debuted at No. 4, would later earn him a nomination for Best Rap Album at this year’s Grammys.)

While in the East African country, Hussle and his brother, Samiel “Blacc Sam” Asghedom, followed their father’s lead: They traveled to historical sites and met the country’s divisive president; they were blessed by their 90-year-old grandmother with himbasha, the slightly sweet bread most often served during celebrations. Hussle was also interviewed by a number of state-run media outlets. In one interview, which was posted to Eritrea’s Ministry of Information website, the Eritrean journalist Billion Temesghen told the musician that his listeners, particularly those on the continent, saw his hard-won successes as their own. Hussle’s response at the time was gracious and affirming. “I want to thank my Eritrean fans for feeling connected to me and for supporting me. I feel extremely grateful,” he replied. “I am going to keep coming back here and make frequent returns … Thank you for keeping my name alive out here.”

But now, less than a year later, Hussle’s connection to his fans, Eritrean and American alike, has taken on a far more tragic valence. On Sunday afternoon, Hussle was fatally shot outside the store he co-owned in South L.A., the neighborhood Hussle celebrated in his music, advocacy, and philanthropic ventures. The Los Angeles Police Department has since apprehended a suspect in the case, but the rapper and activist’s killing remains a devastating blow to his family and to fans around the world, many of whom have likened him to the late Tupac Shakur.

Read more »


How Nipsey Hussle (Ermias Asghedom) Connected to His Eritrean Roots


Grammy-nominated Eritrean-American rapper Nipsey Hussle whose real name was Ermias Asghedom was shot and killed on Sunday outside the clothing store he founded in Los Angeles. He was 33. (Getty Images)

CNN

Rapper Nipsey Hussle’s death in a shooting near his clothing store was greeted with shock and disbelief by celebrities and fans alike.

The 33-year-old musician, real name Ermias Davidson Asghedom, was shot dead in an attack on Sunday that also left two others injured.

The city of Los Angeles where he grew up and dedicated his life to helping kids break out of the cycle of gang violence mourned his passing.

But somewhere, thousands of miles away in east Africa, Nipsey’s death was felt even more keenly by the people of Eritrea.

His father, Nipsey once said, fled a war in Eritrea to settle in the US.

Hussle visited Eritrea twice in his lifetime: first as an 18-year-old when he spent three months and most recently in April 2018.

With his brother Samiel and their dad, Hussle met the Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and sat down with the Ministry of Information’s website for a wide-ranging interview about his life and experiences growing up in Los Angeles in a culture of gang violence.

Then he spoke of his love for Eritrea and his desire to connect with his extended family after fourteen years since his last visit.

“I am here to visit my family and reconnect with my grandmother, my cousins and everybody else,” Hussle said during the interview.

“I love to be here. The people, the food, the culture, and the lifestyle are extremely good.”

During his trip back to his father’s country, Hussle also visited a local textile factory in the capital Asmara to explore business opportunities.

Eritrea’s Minister of Information Yemane Meskel led the tributes to Hussle after news of his death broke.

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report

Below is an excerpt from a preliminary report released on Thursday, April 4th, 2019 by the Ethiopian government concerning Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 that crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa on March 10th, killing all 157 on board. The preliminary report found that the pilots performed all the procedures recommended by Boeing but could not control the plane. The Initial report also pointed out a problem with a flight sensor data that led to the crash. (Photo: An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8/EPA)

The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau of Ethiopia

FOREWORD

The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) is the investigation authority in Ethiopia responsible to the Ministry of Transport for the investigation of civil aircraft accidents and serious incidents in Ethiopia.

The mission of the AIB is to promote aviation safety through the conduct of independent, separate investigations without prejudice to any judicial or administrative action consistent with Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

The AIB conducts the investigations in accordance with the proclamation No 957/16 and Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, which governs how member States of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) conduct aircraft accident investigations internationally.

The investigation process involves the gathering, recording and analysis of all available information on the accidents and incidents; determination of the causes and/or contributing factors; identification of safety issues; issuance of safety recommendations to address these safety issues; and completion of the investigation report. In carrying out the investigations, the AIB will adhere to ICAO’s stated objective, which is as follows:

“The sole objective of the investigation of an accident or incident shall be the prevention of accidents and incidents; it is not the purpose of this activity to apportion blame or liability’’.


Executive summary

On March 10, 2019, at 05:38 UTC, Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, Boeing 737-8(MAX), ET-AVJ, took off from Addis Ababa Bole Int. Airport bound to Nairobi, Kenya Jomo Kenyatta Int. Airport. Shortly after takeoff, the Angle of Attack sensor recorded value became erroneous and the left stick shaker activated and remained active until near the end of the flight. In addition, the airspeed and altitude values from the left air data system began deviating from the corresponding right side values. Due to flight control problems, the Captain was unable to maintain the flight path and requested to return back to the departure airport. The crew lost control of the aircraft which crashed at 5: 44 UTC 28 NM South East of Addis Ababa near Ejere village.

ORGANISATION OF THE INVESTIGATION

On Sunday 10th March 2019 at around 05:47, FDRE Ministry of Transport and AIB were informed the loss of radio and radar contact with flight ET 302 a few minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.

After having established without doubt that the Aircraft had disappeared, the Ethiopian Authorities launched a technical investigation. In accordance with article 26 of the Convention and ICAO Annex 13 “Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation”, an Investigation Committee (IC) from Ethiopian AIB investigators was formed by a ministerial decree issued by the Minister of Transport in order to conduct the technical investigation. An investigator-in-charge (IIC) was designated in the same decree to lead and initiate the investigation immediately. As per Annex 13 provisions, in the investigation participated:

ECAA and Ethiopian Airlines Group – Technical Advisor to AIB
NTSB – Accredited Representative State of Design and Manufacturer
BEA – Accredited representative, State which provided facilities & experts for the read out of DFDR & CVR
EASA -Technical Advisor to AIB

As per the Ethiopian Government decision and agreement between the FDRE Ministry of Transport and the French Bureau d’Enquête Analyse pour la sécurité de l’aviation civile (BEA), the DFDR and CVR were read at the BEA facilities at Le Bourget, near Paris, France. Both recorders were transported directly to the BEA under the custody of the State of Occurrence accompanied by members from the IC and readings were performed by BEA personnel in association with and under the direct supervision of the IC. On request of Ethiopia and as per annex 13 article 5.23, BEA has appointed an accredited representative.

Working groups were formed as follows:
• Operations
• Maintenance & Airworthiness group
• Power plant group
• Autopsy examination group
• DFDR and CVR group

A Search & Rescue (SAR) team performed search by Ethiopian Air force, Ethiopian Air lines Group and Abyssinian flight service. Search operations were conducted in full coordination with Federal, Regional police and other Government bodies.

It was also decided that media relations till the release of the final investigation report were to be handled by the FDRE Ministry of Transport Minister with factual data and information relayed through the IIC directly to the Minister.


1 FACTUAL INFORMATION
1.1 HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On March 10, 2019, at about 05:44 UTC1, Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, a Boeing 737-8 (MAX), Ethiopian registration ET-AVJ, crashed near Ejere, Ethiopia, shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (HAAB), Ethiopia. The flight was a regularly scheduled international passenger flight from Addis Ababa to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (HKJK), Nairobi, Kenya. There were 157 passengers and crew on board. All were fatally injured, and the Aircraft was destroyed.

The following is based on the preliminary analysis of the DFDR, CVR and ATC communications. As the investigation continues, revisions and changes may occur before the final report is published.

At 05:37:34, ATC issued take off clearance to ET-302 and to contact radar on 119.7 MHz. Takeoff roll began from runway 07R at a field elevation of 2333.5 m at approximately 05:38, with a flap setting of 5 degrees and a stabilizer setting of 5.6 units. The takeoff roll appeared normal, including normal values of left and right angle-of-attack (AOA). During takeoff roll, the engines stabilized at about 94% N1, which matched the N1 Reference recorded on the DFDR. From this point for most of the flight, the N1 Reference remained about 94% and the throttles did not move. The N1 target indicated non data pattern 220 seconds before the end of recording. According to the CVR data and the control column forces recorded in DFDR, captain was the pilot flying.

At 05:38:44, shortly after liftoff, the left and right recorded AOA values deviated. Left AOA decreased to 11.1° then increased to 35.7° while value of right AOA indicated 14.94°. Then after, the left AOA value reached 74.5° in ¾ seconds while the right AOA reached a maximum value of 15.3°. At this time, the left stick shaker activated and remained active until near the end of the recording. Also, the airspeed, altitude and flight director pitch bar values from the left side noted deviating from the corresponding right side values. The left side values were lower than the right side values until near the end of the recording.

At 05:38:43 and about 50 ft radio altitude, the flight director roll mode changed to LNAV.

At 05:38:46 and about 200 ft radio altitude, the Master Caution parameter changed state. The First Officer called out Master Caution Anti-Ice on CVR. Four seconds later, the recorded Left AOA Heat parameter changed state.

At 05:38:58 and about 400 ft radio altitude, the flight director pitch mode changed to VNAV SPEED and Captain called out “Command” (standard call out for autopilot engagement) and an autopilot warning is recorded.

At 05:39:00, Captain called out “Command”.

At 05:39:01 and about 630 ft radio altitude, a second autopilot warning is recorded.

At 05:39:06, the Captain advised the First-Officer to contact radar and First Officer reported SHALA 2A departure crossing 8400 ft and climbing FL 320.

Between liftoff and 1000 ft above ground level (AGL), the pitch trim position moved between 4.9 and 5.9 units in response to manual electric trim inputs. At 1000 ft AGL, the pitch trim position was at 5.6 units.

At 05:39:22 and about 1,000 feet the left autopilot (AP) was engaged (it disengaged about 33 seconds later), the flaps were retracted and the pitch trim position decreased to 4.6 units. Six seconds after the autopilot engagement, there were small amplitude roll oscillations accompanied by lateral acceleration, rudder oscillations and slight heading changes. These oscillations continued also after the autopilot was disengaged.

At 05:39:29, radar controller identified ET-302 and instructed to climb FL 340 and when able right turns direct to RUDOL and the First-Officer acknowledged.

At 05:39:42, Level Change mode was engaged. The selected altitude was 32000 ft. Shortly after the mode change, the selected airspeed was set to 238 kt.

At 05:39:45, Captain requested flaps up and First-Officer acknowledged. One second later, flap handle moved from 5 to 0 degrees and flaps retraction began.

At 05:39:50, the selected heading started to change from 072 to 197 degrees and at the same time the Captain asked the First-Officer to request to maintain runway heading.

At 05:39:55, Autopilot disengaged,

At 05:39:57, the Captain advised again the First-Officer to request to maintain runway heading and that they are having flight control problems.

At 05:40:00 shortly after the autopilot disengaged, the FDR recorded an automatic aircraft nose down (AND) activated for 9.0 seconds and pitch trim moved from 4.60 to 2.1 units. The climb was arrested and the aircraft descended slightly.

At 05:40:03 Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) “DON’T SINK” alerts occurred.

At 05:40:05, the First-Officer reported to ATC that they were unable to maintain SHALA 1A and requested runway heading which was approved by ATC.

At 05:40:06, left and right flap position reached a recorded value of 0.019 degrees which remained until the end of the recording.

The column moved aft and a positive climb was re-established during the automatic AND motion.

At 05:40:12, approximately three seconds after AND stabilizer motion ends, electric trim (from pilot activated switches on the yoke) in the Aircraft nose up (ANU) direction is recorded on the DFDR and the stabilizer moved in the ANU direction to 2.4 units. The Aircraft pitch attitude remained about the same as the back pressure on the column increased.

At 05:40:20, approximately five seconds after the end of the ANU stabilizer motion, a second instance of automatic AND stabilizer trim occurred and the stabilizer moved down and reached 0.4 units.

From 05:40:23 to 05:40:31, three Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) “DON’T SINK” alerts occurred.

At 05:40:27, the Captain advised the First-Officer to trim up with him.

At 05:40:28 Manual electric trim in the ANU direction was recorded and the stabilizer reversed moving in the ANU direction and then the trim reached 2.3 units.

At 05:40:35, the First-Officer called out “stab trim cut-out” two times. Captain agreed and First Officer confirmed stab trim cut-out.

At 05:40:41, approximately five seconds after the end of the ANU stabilizer motion, a third instance of AND automatic trim command occurred without any corresponding motion of the stabilizer, which is consistent with the stabilizer trim cutout switches were in the ‘’cutout’’ position

At 05:40:44, the Captain called out three times “Pull-up” and the First-Officer acknowledged.

At 05:40:50, the Captain instructed the First Officer to advise ATC that they would like to maintain 14,000 ft and they have flight control problem.

At 05:40:56, the First-Officer requested ATC to maintain 14,000 ft and reported that they are having flight control problem. ATC approved.

From 05:40:42 to 05:43:11 (about two and a half minutes), the stabilizer position gradually moved in the AND direction from 2.3 units to 2.1 units. During this time, aft force was applied to the control columns which remained aft of neutral position. The left indicated airspeed increased from approximately 305 kt to approximately 340 kt (VMO). The right indicated airspeed was approximately 20-25 kt higher than the left.

The data indicates that aft force was applied to both columns simultaneously several times throughout the remainder of the recording.

At 05:41:20, the right overspeed clacker was recorded on CVR. It remained active until the end of the recording.

At 05:41:21, the selected altitude was changed from 32000 ft to 14000 ft.

At 05:41:30, the Captain requested the First-Officer to pitch up with him and the First-Officer acknowledged.

At 05:41:32, the left overspeed warning activated and was active intermittently until the end of the recording.

At 05:41:46, the Captain asked the First-Officer if the trim is functional. The First-Officer has replied that the trim was not working and asked if he could try it manually. The Captain told him to try. At 05:41:54, the First-Officer replied that it is not working.

At 05:42:10, the Captain asked and the First-Officer requested radar control a vector to return and ATC approved.

At 05:42:30, ATC instructed ET-302 to turn right heading 260 degrees and the First-Officer acknowledged.

At 05:42:43, the selected heading was changed to 262 degrees.

At 05:42:51, the First-Officer mentioned Master Caution Anti-Ice. The Master Caution is recorded on DFDR.

At 05:42:54, both pilots called out “left alpha vane”.

At 05:43:04, the Captain asked the First Officer to pitch up together and said that pitch is not enough.

At 05:43:11, about 32 seconds before the end of the recording, at approximately 13,4002 ft, two momentary manual electric trim inputs are recorded in the ANU direction. The stabilizer moved in the ANU direction from 2.1 units to 2.3 units.

At 05:43:20, approximately five seconds after the last manual electric trim input, an AND automatic trim command occurred and the stabilizer moved in the AND direction from 2.3 to 1.0 unit in approximately 5 seconds. The aircraft began pitching nose down. Additional simultaneous aft column force was applied, but the nose down pitch continues, eventually reaching 40° nose down. The stabilizer position varied between 1.1 and 0.8 units for the remainder of the recording.

The left Indicated Airspeed increased, eventually reaching approximately 458 kts and the right Indicated Airspeed reached 500 kts at the end of the recording. The last recorded pressure altitude was 5,419 ft on the left and 8,399 ft on the right.

1.3 DAMAGE TO AIRCRAFT
The aircraft is completely destroyed.

1.5 PERSONNEL INFORMATION
1.5.1 PILOT IN COMMAND

According to Ethiopian Airlines records, the captain has the following flight experience:
 Total hours: 8122
 Total hours in B737: 1417
 Total hours in B737-8 MAX: 103
 Flight time in previous 90 days: 266 hours and 9 minutes
 Flight time in previous 7 days: 17 hours and 43 minutes
 Flight time in previous 72 hours: no flight time

The pilot in command was 29 years old. According to Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA) records, the Captain’s most recent simulator training experience was September 30, 2018, and his most recent simulator proficiency check was October 1, 2018. The captain completed the Ethiopian Aviation Academy on July 23, 2010. A review of the captains training records indicated that he received his 737-800 First Officer type rating on January 31, 2011 and completed his PIC type rating for the 737-800 October 26, 2017. 737MAX differences training on 3 July, 2018.

The pilot in command is type rated as a First Officer of the following types of aircrafts: B737-7/800, B767/757, B777 and B787. As pilot in command, he is rated on B737-7/800 and B737MAX.

The pilot’s ECAA license allowed him to act as pilot-in-command in commercial air transport operations in a Boeing 737-7/800 (dated October 26, 2017) and Boeing 737 MAX (dated July 3,2018.)

The pilot had a first-class medical certificate with no limitations dated December 12, 2018. A review of the medical exam that resulted in the issuance of this certificate showed no vision or hearing deficiencies, and on the certificate application, the pilot stated he was taking no prescription or non-prescription medications. He reported no medical conditions.

1.5.2 FIRST-OFFICER

According to Ethiopian Airlines records, the First-Officer has the following flight experience:
 Total hours: 361
 Total hours in B737: 207
 Total hours in B737-8 MAX: 56
 Flight time in previous 90 days: 207 hours and 26 minutes
 Flight time in previous 7 days: 10 hours and 57 minutes
 Flight time in previous 72 hours: 5 hours and 25 minutes

The first-officer was 25 years old. According to ECAA records, the first-officer’s most recent simulator event was listed as a proficiency check and occurred on December 3, 2018. His line training/check (conducted in the B737 aircraft) was completed on January 31, 2019.

The first-officer’s ECAA license allowed him to act as first-officer in commercial air transport operations in Boeing 737-7/800 (dated December 12, 2018) and Boeing 737 MAX (dated December 12, 2018.)

The first-officer had a first-class medical certificate with no limitations dated July 30, 2018. A review of the medical exam that resulted in the issuance of this certificate showed no vision or hearing deficiencies, and on the certificate application, the pilot stated he was taking no prescription or non-prescription medications. He reported no medical conditions.

1.6 AIRCRAFT INFORMATION
1.6.1 GENERAL
The 737-8 (MAX) is a low wing, narrow body single aisle, jet transport with a conventional tail unit configuration, powered by two high bypass turbofan CFM Leap-1B engines mounted on pylons beneath the wings. The Aircraft is manufactured by Boeing Commercial Aircraft and is the fourth generation of the 737 series. According to The Boeing Company’s website, the Aircraft was designed to carry 162-178 passengers, depending on seating configuration. The 737-8 MAX was launched on August 30, 2017, and type certificated with the FAA on March 8, 2017.

ET-AVJ was a 737-8 MAX single aisle transport aircraft configured in a 160 passenger multi-class arrangement manufactured by the Boeing Company and delivered to Ethiopian Airlines on 15 November, 2018. The Aircraft was powered by two LEAP-1B Turbo Fan Engines manufactured by CFM International. The Aircraft had 1330.3 hours with a total of 382 cycles at the time of the accident.

Registration Number: ET-AVJ
Aircraft Serial Number: 62450
Aircraft Manufacturer: Boeing Commercial Aircraft
Model: 737-8 (MAX)
Engine Manufacturer: CFM International
Engine Model: LEAP-1B28B1G05
Manufactured Year: 2018
Aircraft Type: Fixed Wing Multi-Engine
Engine Type: Turbo Fan
Aircraft Category: Transport
Number of Engines: 2
Seating arraignment: Multi-Class
PAX Seating Capacity: 160
Max. T/O Weight: 82,190 kg
Total Time: 1330.3 hours
Total Cycles: 382
Aircraft Owner: Ethiopian Leasing (5-737) LTD

1.11.1 DIGITAL FLIGHT DATA RECORDER

The aircraft was fitted with a FA2100 NAND DFDR manufactured by L3-com with part number 2100-4945-22 and serial number 001217995.

On 11 March 2019, the DFDR was recovered from the accident site by the AIB. The DFDR chassis with the Crash Survivable Memory Unit (CSMU) attached were transported to the French BEA recorder facility for data downloading. The recorder read-out was performed by BEA (Bureau d’Enquête Analyse pour la sécurité de l’aviation civile) investigators for the Ethiopian Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) under the authority of Ethiopian investigators with the participation of the U.S National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), The Boeing Company, U.S Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and EASA.

The memory unit recorded 1790 parameters and approximately 73 hours of aircraft operation, and contained 16 flights, including the accident flight.

1.11.2 COCKPIT VOICE RECORDER

The aircraft was fitted with a FA2100 NAND CVR manufactured by L3 Communications with part number 2100 1925-22 and serial number 001289168.

On 11 March 2019, the CVR was recovered from the accident site by the AIB. The CVR CSMU was transported to the BEA recorder facility for data downloading. The CMSU was found separated from the chassis during wreckage recovery. The read-out was performed by BEA investigators under the authority of the Ethiopian Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), with the participation the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) of United States of America, the Boeing Company, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The memory unit recorded 2 hours, 4 minutes and 14 seconds of aircraft operation, which contained 2 flights including the accident flight.

1.12 WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The accident site was located near Ejere, Ethiopia with a GPS location of approximately 8.8770 N, 39.2516 E.

The Aircraft impacted in a farm field and created a crater approximately 10 meters deep (last aircraft part found) with a hole of about 28 meters width and 40 meters length. Most of the wreckage was found buried in the ground; small fragments of the aircraft were found scattered around the site in an area by about 200 meters width and 300 meters long.

The damages to the aircraft are consistent with a high energy impact.

INITIAL FINDINGS
On the basis of the initial information gathered during the course of the investigation, the following facts have been determined:

 The Aircraft possessed a valid certificate of airworthiness;
 The crew obtained the license and qualifications to conduct the flight;
 The takeoff roll appeared normal, including normal values of left and right angle-of-attack (AOA).
 Shortly after liftoff, the value of the left angle of attack sensor deviated from the right one and reached 74.5 degrees while the right angle of attack sensor value was 15.3 degrees; then after; the stick shaker activated and remained active until near the end of the flight.
 After autopilot engagement, there were small amplitude roll oscillations accompanied by lateral acceleration, rudder oscillations and slight heading changes; these oscillations also continued after the autopilot disengaged.
 After the autopilot disengaged, the DFDR recorded an automatic aircraft nose down (AND) trim command four times without pilot’s input. As a result, three motions of the stabilizer trim were recorded. The FDR data also indicated that the crew utilized the electric manual trim to counter the automatic AND input.
 The crew performed runaway stabilizer checklist and put the stab trim cutout switch to cutout position and confirmed that the manual trim operation was not working.

3 SAFETY ACTIONS TAKEN
The day of the accident, the operator decided to suspend operation of B737-8MAX.

On 14th March 2019, Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority issued NOTAM regarding “The operation of Boeing B737-8 ‘MAX’ and Boeing B737-9 ‘MAX’ aircraft from, into or over the Ethiopian airspace, which is still active at the date of this report publication.

4 SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS
 Since repetitive un-commanded aircraft nose down conditions are noticed in this preliminary investigation, it is recommended that the aircraft flight control system related to flight controllability shall be reviewed by the manufacturer.
 Aviation Authorities shall verify that the review of the aircraft flight control system related to flight controllability has been adequately addressed by the manufacturer before the release of the aircraft to operations.


Related:
Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

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Ethiopia Crew Followed Boeing Procedures

Ethiopia's Minister of Transport Dagmawit Moges announced on Thursday that a preliminary report had found that the crew of the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed last month performed all the procedures recommended by Boeing but could not control the plane. (Photo: FBC)

The Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

Preliminary report: Ethiopia Crew Followed Boeing Procedures

ADDIS ABABA — The crew of the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed six minutes after takeoff last month performed all procedures recommended by Boeing when the plane started to nose dive but could not save it, according to findings from a preliminary report released Thursday by Ethiopia’s government.

The report, based on flight data and cockpit voice recorders on the Boeing 737 Max 8, was not released in full. Boeing declined to comment pending its review of the report.

The Max 8 has been under scrutiny since a Lion Air flight crashed off the coast of Indonesia under similar circumstances in October.

Investigators are looking into the role of a flight-control system known by its acronym, MCAS, which under some circumstances can automatically lower the plane’s nose to prevent an aerodynamic stall. The Max has been grounded worldwide pending a software fix that Boeing is rolling out, which still needs to be approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and other regulators.

The Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed just after taking off from Addis Ababa on March 10, killing all 157 on board.

Ethiopian investigators did not specifically mention the MCAS, but recommended that Boeing review “the aircraft flight control system related to the flight controllability.” They also recommended that aviation officials verify that issues have been adequately addressed before allowing the planes to fly again.

Boeing is the focus of investigations by the U.S. Justice Department, the Transportation Department’s inspector general, and congressional committees. Investigations are also looking at the role of the Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S., which certified the Max in 2017, declined to ground it after the first deadly crash in October. The agency was also reluctant to ground the planes after the Ethiopian Airlines crash and was among the last agencies to do so.

The FAA, which must certify the 737 Max is safe before it can go back into the air, said in a statement that the investigation is still in its early stages.

“As we learn more about the accident and findings become available, we will take appropriate action,” the agency said.

The statement did not say if the FAA would review the Max’s flight control system as recommended by Ethiopian investigators, and FAA spokesman Greg Martin would not comment beyond the statement. Boeing is working on improvements to the MCAS software that would make it less aggressive in pointing the nose down and easier for pilots to disable. The FAA has said it will review the software before allowing the Max to fly again.

The agency said Monday that it anticipates Boeing’s final software improvements for 737 Max airliners “in the coming weeks.”

But it wasn’t clear whether the Ethiopians are seeking just that or a broader update in the Max’s flight controls.

What also isn’t clear is whether the Ethiopian pilots followed Boeing’s recommendations to the letter in dealing with the system repeatedly pointing the nose down.

The pilots initially followed Boeing’s emergency steps by disconnecting the MCAS system, but for an unknown reason, they turned the system back on, an official familiar with the crash investigation told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because at the time, Ethiopian investigators had not released their preliminary report. Boeing’s procedures instruct pilots to leave the MCAS system disconnected and continue flying manually for the rest of the flight.

Ethiopian investigators did not address that issue at its press conference, saying only that the pilots had done what they were supposed to.

“The crew performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer but was not able to control the aircraft,” said Minister of Transport Dagmawit Moges.

However, Moges told The New York Times after the press conference that the pilots turned MCAS on and off, but she couldn’t say how many times. That will be addressed in the final report, she said.

In a statement Thursday, Ethiopian Airlines said its pilots followed Boeing instructions. “Despite their hard work and full compliance with the emergency procedures, it was very unfortunate that they could not recover the airplane from the persistence of nose diving,” the airline said.

David Hasse, an aviation analyst and editor of industry publication airliners.de in Berlin, says it is significant that the report found that the pilots followed the proper procedures, because that links the case more closely to the Lion Air crash.

“What is special about this case is that two crashes seem to have a very, very similar reason. This is something that is very rare in aviation. The question is whether the Boeing 737 Max should have been grounded after the Lion Air crash and before the Ethiopian Airlines crash,” said Hasse.

He noted that crash reports are not meant to assign legal blame and that it is too soon to know what the legal implications might be for Boeing, but it clearly raises the pressure on the company.

“If pilots sit there and follow the rules that have been given to them by the manufacturer, then they should be able to rely on the fact that they are correct,” Hasse said.

___
Associated Press Writers Carlo Piovano and Tom Krisher contributed to this report.

Related:
Vote of Confidence! Ethiopian Airlines Wins “African Champion of the Year” Award
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

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Eden Dersso Is the Changing Face of Tel Aviv’s Hip-Hop Scene (Vogue)

Eden Dersso. (PHOTOGRAPHY BY ORIT PNINI)

Vogue

I’m sitting inside Edmund Café, one of the few vegan coffee shops in Tel Aviv, as Eden Dersso raps at me in Hebrew. The 21-year-old Israeli-Ethiopian artist is seated on a bench in a huge, highlighter-yellow puffer coat and a spandex crop top, her braids knotted up with a black bandana as she grooves to the verse. Her flow is captivating—rapid and light, like the ticking hand of a clock or a boxer working away at the bag, slugging it with a knockout hook every few beats. In the quick stream of Hebrew, I can make out only one English term: hand job. Dersso uses it figuratively to describe the way she can handle a mic, which admittedly is pretty amazing. At the end of the verse, our group—which includes her manager, photographer Orit Pnini, and me—erupts in cheers.


PHOTOGRAPHED BY ORIT PNINI

Over the past year, Dersso has become a sensation in the city’s small but growing rap scene, yet she has spent her whole life preparing for this meteoric rise. She hails from the town of Rehevot, about 30 minutes south of Tel Aviv, and grew up with five brothers, who were fans of Tupac and Lil Wayne. “I didn’t know Beyoncé,” she explains. “We had posters of Tupac in the house.” Dersso began rapping in the 7th grade, using it as an emotional outlet. “[I’d rap about] if someone hurt me, [about] wanting to get out of my house and the hood,” she says. “Or if my life was too boring, I would just use my imagination.” She began writing lyrics in English and uploading her rap videos to Facebook. At 16, after she heard local artists rapping in Hebrew, she switched over. “The Israeli rappers were really good, and I thought maybe I could do the same in Hebrew,” she says. Eventually, Dersso was noticed by Tel Aviv–based musician DJ Mesh, who invited her to join his label, Shigola Records, and produced one of her biggest music videos to date: “Busses,” in which she uses buses as a metaphor for people’s opinions, weighing down and moving heavily around in her head. Another track, called “Amen,” is a mix of Dersso rapping and singing about a guy who’s stoned and who tricks her into saying “amen” to everything he wants. Most of her YouTube videos hover around 70,000 to 100,000 views—quite a feat for a rising Israeli artist—and she performs gigs several times a month.

Read more »


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Watch PM Abiy’s 1st Anniversary Speech

(Photo: Fana Broadcasting @fanatelevision/Twitter)

Fana

Sustaining Ongoing Reform Responsibility Of All Ethiopians, Says Premier

Addis Ababa, April 2, 2019 (FBC) – Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed said sustaining the ongoing reform initiative is the responsibility of all Ethiopians.

He made the remark at a culmination of review of the one year journey of reforms which took place at the Millennium Hall [Tuesday, April 2nd].

In his remark, the Prime Minister pointed out the gains made in the political, social, and economic sector since he came to office a year ago.

During the past year, gender balanced cabinet has been formed, political parties have returned home after several years in exile, thousands of political prisoners have been released, and a peace agreement has been signed with neighboring Eritrea.

As far as the economy is concerned, the government has managed to bring about 13 billion US dollars in investment, aid and remittance in the past seven months alone, the Prime Minister indicated.

The Prime Minister also highlighted the need to resolve differences through dialogue.

The Prime Minister pledged to add momentum on the ongoing reform in the year to come. Efforts will also be made to reliably rehabilitate displaced community members.

He also called on the Ethiopian Diaspora to continue supporting their country of origin.


Related:
Tadias Reflection on PM Abiy’s One Year in Office
Ethiopia Photo Exhibition Captures a Year of Reforms

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Reflection on PM Abiy’s One Year in Office

PM Abiy Ahmed at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, DC, July 27, 2018. (Photo: Matt Andrea for Tadias )

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 29th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – When Ethiopia welcomed Dr. Abiy Ahmed as its new Prime Minister nearly a year ago on April 2nd, 2018 he had inherited a country that was under a state of emergency – a society under heightened security following a relentless wave of nationwide protests.

A year on Ethiopia is no longer under State of Emergency. There are no journalists in prison. Freedom of expression is more evident, whether it’s from the arts sector or the political stage. And most importantly, the country is gearing up for what would hopefully be a groundbreaking first-ever season of free and fair elections led by former judge, opposition leader and human rights activist, Birtukan Mideksa, who is now serving as the new head of Ethiopia’s Election Board.

To be sure there are many serious challenges that remain. As the Financial Times reported in a recent article “Ethnic Rivalries Threaten Abiy Ahmed’s Reform Agenda.” PM Abiy’s administration needs to better address the unfolding humanitarian crisis of internally displaced people across Ethiopia, which has been severely exasperated by the ethnic-based violence particularly along border areas of Oromia and Somali regions, but also in Central and West Gondar zones of the Amhara Region. According to Ethiopia’s disaster prevention chief, Mitiku Kassa, about eight million people are currently in need of humanitarian assistance. The magnitude of this humanitarian crisis cannot be ignored and requires urgent solutions.

A year ago here in the United States Congress had been preparing for an unprecedented vote on Resolution H. RES. 128 denouncing the Ethiopian government’s human rights record the same week that PM Abiy was being inaugurated. In this past year alone, Ethiopia has re-forged relations with neighboring Eritrea and Ethiopians in Diaspora have been encouraged to return home and be part of the greater movement under the popular sentiment of “Breaking the Wall, Building a Bridge.” Economically, Ethiopia is continuing its annual growth rate of 10% — one of the fastest in the world and last but not least, the nation has its first female president and first female Supreme Court president as well as a gender-balanced Cabinet. These are all historic achievements to be proud of.

Having shared the events that have brought forth renewed hope, we are also aware of the work that still lies ahead. Below are a few areas:

Moving Forward with Democratizing the Media Environment in Ethiopia

Among the multitude of challenges, that PM Abiy faces as he starts his second year in office next week, include the still nascent media environment that’s dominated by a handful of state-affiliated outlets and formerly exiled political activists. Although freedom of expression is blossoming the political media is still in need of a new culture of independent journalism with adequate resources for professionals in the sector, especially as the country heads into a national election season.

The Arts as a Tool for Social Change

The good news is that PM Abiy is cognizant of the fact that in today’s digital age the media sector is not limited only to politics, and he is a big supporter of the arts community and the capacity of its members to encourage social change.

The arts, as we have demonstrated in Tadias Magazine for the past 15 years, play a major role in fueling social change and should not be seen merely as entertainment. If it wasn’t for the award-wining film “Difret,” for example, the world wouldn’t have known about the landmark Ethiopian court case that outlawed the archaic culture of abducting young girls for marriage, nor the brilliant lawyer and women’s rights advocate behind the case, Meaza Ashenafi, who is now the President of Ethiopia’s Supreme Court. In a similar manner singer and songwriter Teddy Afro has been preaching the idea of ‘Medemer,’ and unity in diversity in his music long before the term became a fashionable political cliché. Likewise, the new movie Anbessa — that is executive-produced by model and humanitarian Gelila Bekele and making the rounds at various international film festivals this year — is putting the spotlight on the impact of housing expansions that are affecting local agricultural communities that surround cities across Ethiopia. Artists, writers and musicians have always impacted and led social change movements in their communities and it’s vital that they’re voices are included in more ways than one when speaking about development or national growth.

In the end Abiy is in many ways a creation of our collective imagination and aspirations for a nation that not only embraces a plurality of identities and voices, but one that also becomes more equitable and inclusive. The continuity of Ethiopia depends on all of us, both at home and in the Diaspora.

John F. Kennedy said in his presidential inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Repeating JFK’s wisdom at this pivotal time in Ethiopia’s history we say: “Ask what you can do for Ethiopia, not what Abiy can do for you.”


Related:
Ethiopia Photo Exhibition Captures a Year of Reforms

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Lawsuit Filed Against Boeing in US Court

Debris from the crashed Ethiopia Airlines Flight 302 is seen near Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on March 11, 2019. (Getty Images)

Time

UPDATED: MARCH 29, 2019

A U.S. Lawsuit Targets Boeing Over the Deadly Ethiopian Airlines Crash

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Boeing in a U.S. federal court Thursday in what appears to be the first litigation over the fatal crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 earlier this month, Reuters reports.

The case was brought by the family of Jackson Musoni, a 31-year-old Rwandan national who was among at least 22 U.N. workers killed in the March 10 tragedy.

The suit alleges that Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft had a defectively designed automated flight control system and that Boeing failed to warn pilots about the allegedly faulty sensors. The ill-fated Flight 302 lost control minutes after takeoff from Ethiopia capital’s Addis Adaba and the crash killed all 157 people on board.

Following the crash, dozens of countries and airlines grounded the 737 MAX. The same aircraft was involved in Indonesian carrier Lion Air’s wreckage last October, which killed 189 people.

Read more »


Boeing Insists 737 Max is Safe (UPDATE)


The 737 Max was grounded in the U.S. March 13 after a deadly crash involving a Max in Ethiopia on March 10. ( Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max makes emergency landing in Orlando on Tuesday, March 27, 2019/AP)

The Washington Post

Updated: March 27th, 2019

RENTON, WASH. ― Boeing executives on Wednesday defended the safety of the company’s 737 Max commercial jetliner ahead of meetings with representatives from every corner of the global aviation industry.

In its most detailed briefing yet, Boeing executives took a conciliatory tone about the loss of life but rejected calls for new oversight of its aircraft development process amid an investigation into the company’s relationship with its regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration. They also offered more information about software and training fixes in the aftermath of two deadly crashes.

Officials from the Chicago-based aerospace giant defended the embattled 737 Max as the culmination of 50 years of aircraft development in which, they said, safety has been the first priority. They also pushed back on the idea that something is inherently wrong with the aircraft development system Boeing and the FAA have in place, an issue that is the subject of congressional inquiries, a Department of Transportation audit and a criminal probe by the Department of Justice.

In an office park a few miles from its 737 assembly plant, Mike Sinnett, Boeing vice president of engineering and chief project engineer for the 737 program, said the company had been “deeply affected by the tragic loss of life” in Ethiopia.

“We are going to do everything we can to make sure that accidents like this never happen again,” Sinnett told a packed room of 67 media professionals.

The statement echoed one from Chief Executive Douglas Muilenburg in the days after the Lion Air Max 8 crash in Indonesia in October.

Safety concerns over the 737 Max emerged around the world after March 10 when a Boeing Max 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed minutes after takeoff, killing 157. It came just months after another Max 8 crashed off the coast of Indonesia under similar circumstances, killing 189. The FAA concluded, based on satellite data and evidence from the wreckage, that the two accidents had enough in common that global fleets of the Max 8 should be grounded.

Read more »


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Ethiopia Crash Report Due This Week
Boeing 737 Max Makes Emergency Landing in US
Vote of Confidence! Ethiopian Airlines Wins “African Champion of the Year” Award
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot
UPDATE: Preliminary info from flight 302 black box show ‘Clear similarities’ in Boeing crashes’ (AP)

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Ethiopian Ethnic Rivalries Threaten Abiy Ahmed’s Reform Agenda (FT)

Abiy Ahmed and Debretsion Gebremichael, chairman of the Tigray People's Liberation Front. Premier’s stellar reputation gets frosty reception among formerly dominant Tigrayans. For many of the 5m-plus residents of Tigray, Mr Abiy is not so much saviour as threat. If the gloss eventually comes off the prime minister’s story, that process will have begun in Tigray. (© Getty)

THE FINANCIAL TIMES

Mekelle — Ever since Abiy Ahmed became prime minister of Ethiopia last April, Africa’s youngest leader has been hailed as one of the most progressive figures on the continent. A former army intelligence officer who has forged peace with Eritrea, packed his cabinet with women and overseen the mass release of political prisoners, he has been greeted as a national saviour by many of Ethiopia’s 105m people.

But enthusiasm for Mr Abiy, 42, stops in Tigray, Ethiopia’s northernmost state and a dominant force in national politics since a Tigrayan rebel army overthrew the hated Marxist Derg regime in 1991.

For many of the 5m-plus residents of Tigray, Mr Abiy is not so much saviour as threat. If the gloss eventually comes off the prime minister’s story, that process will have begun in Tigray.

To the region’s people, Mr Abiy’s shake-up of the Ethiopian state, which has targeted Tigrayans in top positions, is widely seen as biased and vindictive. Even his rousing talk of national unity is viewed as an attack on the federal constitution, which devolves significant powers to nine ethnically defined territories, including Tigray.

“Concentrating on one ethnic group is dangerous,” said Debretsion Gebremichael, acting president of the Tigray region, who added that Mr Abiy’s crackdown on corruption had an anti-Tigrayan bias. Adding that he initially opposed Mr Abiy’s selection as chairman of the ruling coalition and hence prime minister last year, he said: “I told him: ‘You are immature. You are not the right candidate’.”…

To Mr Abiy’s supporters, the prime minister is merely cleaning house and correcting the over-representation in Ethiopia’s state apparatus of Tigrayans, who comprise only 6 per cent of the population.

Mr Abiy categorically denies any ethnic bias, saying he is governing for all Ethiopians. In a recent interview with the Financial Times, he emphasised the concept of medemer, which roughly translates as strength in diversity. To achieve that, he said, he must resist any tendency towards ethnic ultranationalism and instead promote national unity and national pride.

Mohammed Ademo, founder and editor of OPride, a news website focused on Oromo issues, said the complexity of Ethiopia’s political jigsaw would be Mr Abiy’s greatest challenge. “We need to dial down ethnic tensions,” he added. “I wish Abiy were superhuman and could make that disappear.”

Read the full article at FT.com »


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Ethiopian Airlines Chief Questions Max Training Requirements

Tewolde Gebremariam, Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, speaks to The Associated Press at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Saturday, March 23, 2019. The chief of Ethiopian Airlines says the warning and training requirements set for the now-grounded 737 Max aircraft may not have been enough following the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash that killed 157 people. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

The Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

ADDIS ABABA — The warning and training requirements set for the now-grounded 737 Max aircraft may not have been enough following the Ethiopian plane crash that killed 157 people, the chief of Ethiopian Airlines said Saturday.

After the Lion Air crash off Indonesia in October, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing “came up with contents that we incorporated in our working manuals and also briefed all our pilots. But today we believe that might not have been enough,” Tewolde Gebremariam told The Associated Press in an interview in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Ethiopian Airlines insists the carrier’s pilots went through all the extra training required by Boeing and the FAA to fly the 737 Max 8 jet. The March 10 crash killed people from 35 countries.

Gebremariam said earlier in the week that the training was meant to help crews shift from an older model of the 737 to the Max 8, which entered airline service in 2017. In a statement, he said pilots were also made aware of an emergency directive issued by the FAA after the Lion Air crash, which killed 189 people.

Ethiopian Airlines has said there is a “clear similarity” between the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, citing preliminary information from the flight data recorder.

Although the causes of the crashes haven’t been determined, investigators in the Lion Air disaster have focused on an automated system designed to use information from two sensors to help prevent a dangerous aerodynamic stall.

It is not known whether the same flight-control system played a role in the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines jet shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa, but regulators say both planes had similar erratic flight paths, an important part of their decision to ground the roughly 370 Max planes around the world.

Both planes flew with erratic altitude changes that could indicate the pilots struggled to control the aircraft. Shortly after their takeoffs, both crews tried to return to the airports but crashed.

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the pilots of the doomed Ethiopian plane never trained in a simulator for the Max. Gebremariam, the Ethiopian Airlines CEO, said Saturday that “it wouldn’t have made any difference” as the 737 Max simulator isn’t designed to imitate problems in the new jet’s flight-control software.

He still didn’t say whether the pilots had trained on the simulator.

Boeing’s planned software update for the Max must “address the problem 100 percent before we return the aircraft to air,” he said, noting that the airline hasn’t made a decision on whether or not to cancel orders for Max jets.

Ethiopian Airlines is widely seen as Africa’s best-managed airline.

The carrier had been using five of the Max planes and was awaiting delivery of 25 more.


Related:
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot
UPDATE: Preliminary info from flight 302 black box show ‘Clear similarities’ in Boeing crashes’ (AP)

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Satire is Flourishing in Ethiopia

Wax and gold: The political climate has become more permissive—up to a point. (Surafel Daniel/Amen Films)

The Economist

Print edition | Books and arts

Mar 21st 2019

Ayalkibet, a portly man in a garish white suit, is taking an oath. Hand raised, expression sombre, he reads a pledge to administer his café wisely. Four colleagues nod in approval. “But only for a month,” prompts one, following the text as he recites it. Ayalkibet skips over that proviso; his colleagues look up in alarm. So begins a recent episode of “Min Litazez?” (“How can I help you?”), a hit Ethiopian sitcom, in which the temporary manager schemes to extend his time in office.

Who might this represent? Not, surely, Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, who has convulsed the country’s politics by promising free elections next year and to step down if he loses. And, indeed, “Min Litazez?” is too clever for such clunky comparisons. But the audience is invited to draw their own, and many viewers have seen a reflection of Abiy in the protagonist. In previous seasons there was no doubt that Ayalkibet—then a petty tyrant of the workplace—stood in for the ruling party’s authoritarian old guard, whom Abiy shoved aside last March. Now, as Ethiopians acclimatise to a more gentle leadership, the character has been transformed. No longer a dictator, he is a well-meaning but pompous honcho with a weakness for the limelight.

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Related:
Press Freedom in Ethiopia Has Blossomed. Will it Last? (The Economist)

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Meet Hunnah: The Secret-Weapon Songwriter Who’s About to Make It Big

Image Source: Instagram user hunnahw

Popsugar

Hunnah makes the kind of music you want to start and end your day with — smooth, jazzy tones that lend themselves to your morning cup of coffee and your evening glass of wine. A Toronto native and daughter of Ethiopian refugees, the 24-year-old’s music is infused with influences of Stevie Wonder and Lauryn Hill, along with Hunnah’s own personal heartbreak and the influence of Ethiopian jazz, making her a unique voice that we can’t stop listening to. Though she only has three songs out, it is clear that she is bringing a rare level of openness to the table; her debut single, “Tell You,” is a bouncy and colorful track that she made with chill trap DJ Pusher, but her latest singles — the buttery-smooth “Think About It” and slow, sultry “Crush” — really give you a feel for who Hunnah is and who she wants to be.

If you ask Hunnah how she got into music, she will make sure to give credit where credit is due. When her father came to Canada as a refugee, he made an unlikely friend, an older woman whom Hunnah now calls Grandma. Grandma is the one who encouraged Hunnah’s father to put her into piano lessons and get involved in music when she was only 9 years old. As a result, much of her childhood was spent singing gospel in the church choir and practicing scales on a piano. Eventually, she studied journalism and human rights at Carleton University. During her studies, she had taken her career path away from music, but she returned to singing as a hobby when she started posting videos of her singing covers on YouTube five years ago.

“I honestly didn’t think I was good enough,” she said, but listeners disagreed, and her videos climbed to over 400,000 views. Soon, publications like Fader and Highsnobiety took notice, and her manager Doris contacted her to come out to Los Angeles and start recording. As she builds up to her debut EP, Hunnah has been gaining a loyal fan base and impressing industry insiders, especially for her collaboration with Cuco, who produced her latest single, “Crush.”

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Press Freedom in Ethiopia Has Blossomed. Will it Last? (The Economist)

(Photo: Reuters)

The Economist

Print edition | Middle East and Africa
Mar 16th 2019 | ADDIS ABABA

Eskinder nega founded his first newspaper, Ethiopis, in 1993. After seven issues it was forced to close, the first paper charged under a muzzling law introduced by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (eprdf), which had shot its way to power two years before. Three more of Eskinder’s newspapers were shut down by the courts. In 2012 he was sentenced to 18 years in prison on charges of terrorism. He was released last year as part of an amnesty for political prisoners.

Ethiopis is back in business, its return symbolising the start of a more hopeful era for press freedom. Hundreds of websites, blogs and satellite-tv channels have been unblocked since Abiy Ahmed took office as prime minister in April last year. For the first time in 13 years there are no journalists in prison; no fewer than 23 publications and six privately owned satellite channels have been given licences by the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority since July.

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U.S. Grounds Boeing 737 MAX Jets

A Chinese man mourns a victim of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash during a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, March 13, 2019. (REUTERS)

Reuters

Updated: March 13th, 2019

U.S. grounds 737 MAX jets, Boeing shares fall again

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Wednesday said the United States would ground Boeing Co’s 737 MAX jets, following Europe and other nations that have already stopped the planes flying due to safety concerns after an Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday, the second such disaster in less than five months.

It was the second time the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has halted flights of a Boeing plane in six years. It had grounded the 787 Dreamliner due to problems with smoking batteries in 2013.

Shares of the world’s biggest plane maker, which were up earlier in the session, fell 2 percent to $370.48. The shares have fallen about 13 percent since Sunday’s crash, losing about $32 billion of market value.

Shares of Southwest Airlines Co, which has the largest fleet of 737 MAX aircraft, fell 0.4 percent.

“We’re going to be issuing an emergency order of prohibition to ground all flights of the 737 MAX 8 and the 737 MAX 9 and planes associated with that line,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

“The FAA is prepared to make an announcement very shortly regarding the new information and physical evidence that we have received from the site, and from other locations and through a couple of other complaints,” he said.

Boeing said in a statement that it supported the move to temporarily ground 737 MAX operations.

Meanwhile, Germany’s federal agency responsible for investigating air accidents will not analyze the black box from the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed, casting uncertainty over the process of finding out what may have caused the disaster.

“This is a new type of aircraft with a new black box, with new software. We can’t do it,” said Germout Freitag, a spokesman for Germany’s Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU).

The move leaves unclear the destination of the black box, which may yield vital details of what caused the plane to plunge to the ground, killing 157 people.

Canada also grounded 737 MAX jets on Wednesday, saying satellite data suggested similarities to a previous crash involving the same plane model.

Countries around the world had already grounded the 737 MAX jets or banned them from flying over their airspace since the Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed soon after taking off from Addis Ababa.

The still-unexplained crash followed another involving a Boeing 737 MAX in Indonesia five months ago that killed 189 people. Although there is no proof of any link, the twin disasters have spooked passengers.

Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau told a news conference that Ottawa would stop 737 MAX 8 and 9 jets from leaving, arriving or flying over Canada.

He said satellite data suggested similarities between the flight profiles of the Ethiopian jet and that of a Lion Air plane of the same type that crashed in Indonesia last year. Both planes crashed shortly after takeoff.

Air Canada and rival WestJet Airlines operate a total of 37 Boeing 737 MAX jets.

Boeing has said it has full confidence in the 737 MAX – a model that has 371 jets in operation around the world.

Ethiopian Airlines spokesman Asrat Begashaw said it was still unclear what happened on Sunday, but its pilot had reported control issues – as opposed to external factors such as birds.

“The pilot reported flight control problems and requested to turn back. In fact he was allowed to turn back,” he said.


Canada Joins Much of World in Banning Boeing Jet Involved in Ethiopia Crash (AP)


Relatives react at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff on Sunday killing all 157 on board, near Bishoftu, south of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia Wednesday, March 13, 2019. The black box from the Boeing jet that crashed will be sent overseas for analysis but no country has been chosen yet, an Ethiopian Airlines spokesman said Wednesday, as much of the world grounded or barred the plane model and grieving families arrived at the disaster site. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

The Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET and ROB GILLIES

Updated: March 13th, 2019

Canada grounds Boeing 737 Max 8s after Ethiopia crash

HEJERE, Ethiopia (AP) — Canada joined much of the world in barring the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet from its airspace on Wednesday, saying satellite tracking data shows possible but unproven similarities between the Ethiopian Airliner crash that killed 157 people and a previous crash involving the model five months ago. The decision left the U.S. as one of the few remaining countries to allow the planes to keep flying.

Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau said a comparison of vertical fluctuations found a “similar profile” to the Lion Air crash that killed 187 people in October.

Garneau emphasized that the data is not conclusive but crossed a threshold that prompted Canada to bar the Max 8. He said the new information indicated that the Ethiopian Airliner jet’s automatic system kicked in to force the nose of the aircraft down after computer software determined it was too high. He said that in the case of the Lion Air crash off Indonesia, the pilot fought against computer software that wanted to drop the nose of the plane.

“So if we look at the profile, there are vertical fluctuations, in the vertical profile of the aircraft and there were similarities in what we saw,” Garneau said. “But I would repeat once again. This is not the proof that is the same root problem. It could be something else.”

Canada lost 18 of its citizens in Sunday’s crash, the second highest number after Kenya. A Canadian family of six were among the dead.

Meanwhile, Ethiopian Airlines said Wednesday that flight recorders from the jet that crashed will be sent abroad for analysis, but it was unclear where. Some aviation experts have warned that finding answers in the crash could take months.

Boeing has said it has no reason to pull the popular aircraft from the skies and does not intend to issue new recommendations about the aircraft to customers. Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg spoke with President Donald Trump and reiterated that the 737 Max 8 is safe, the company said.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has backed the jet’s airworthiness and said it was reviewing all available data.

“Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft,” acting FAA Administrator Daniel K. Elwell said in a statement.

The agency had no response to Canada’s decision, saying it doesn’t comment “on actions that other civil aviation organizations take.”

While aviation experts warn against drawing conclusions until more information emerges from the investigation, more than 40 countries — including the entire European Union — have suspended flights by the Max 8 or barred it from their airspace. China also ordered its airlines to ground the planes — they had 96 Max 8 jets in service, more than one-fourth of the approximately 370 Max jets in circulation.

The list of countries continued to grow Wednesday. Lebanon and Kosovo barred the Boeing 737 Max 8 from their airspace, and Norwegian Air Shuttles said it would seek compensation from Boeing after grounding its fleet. Egypt banned the operation of the aircraft. Thailand ordered budget airline Thai Lion Air to suspend flying the planes for risk assessments. Lion Air confirmed reports it has put on hold the scheduled delivery of four of the jets.

Ethiopian Airlines, widely seen as Africa’s best-managed airline, grounded its remaining four models.

And airline pilots on at least two U.S. flights have reported that an automated system seemed to cause their planes to tilt down suddenly.

Ethiopia was searching for another country to take the black box from Sunday’s plane crash for analysis.

Germout Freitag, a spokesman for Germany’s Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation, said that agency declined a request from Ethiopia to analyze the box because it lacked the software needed.

A spokesman for Ethiopian Airlines, Asrat Begashaw, said the airline has “a range of options” for the data and voice recorders of the flight’s last moments.

“What we can say is we don’t have the capability to probe it here in Ethiopia,” he said, adding that it would be sent to a European country that he did not identify. An airline official has said one of the recorders was partially damaged.

Boeing’s technical team joined U.S., Israeli, Kenyan and other aviation experts in the investigation led by Ethiopian authorities.

An Ethiopian pilot who saw the crash site minutes after the disaster told AP that the plane appeared to have “slid directly into the ground.”

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said their pilots had received special training.

“In addition to the basic trainings given for 737 aircraft types, an additional training was given for the Max version,” Tewolde told state news reporters.

“After the Lion Air crash, questions were raised, so Boeing sent further instructions that it said pilots should know. Those relate to the specific behavior of this specific type of aircraft. As a result, training was given by Boeing, and our pilots have taken it and put it into our manuals,” he said.

Tewolde said he is confident the “investigation will reveal that the crash is not related to Ethiopian Airlines’ safety record.”

Forensic DNA work for identifications of the remains recovered so far has not yet begun, Asrat said. The dead came from 35 countries.

More devastated relatives of victims arrived at the crash site Wednesday, some supported by loved ones and wailing.

Others mourned in private. Dawit Gebremichael sat with a photograph of his only sister, Sara, a flight attendant on the plane. She left three children.

“It is customary for Ethiopians to have a body and a proper burial,” he told the AP. “But we don’t have the body here, and we don’t expect anything now.”

___

Gillies reported from Toronto. AP writer Yidnek Kirubel contributed from Hejere, Ethiopia.


Related:
‘Black Box’ Recovered in Ethiopian Airlines Plane Crash
Ethiopia Mourns Crash Victims as Investigators Seek Answers (AP UPDATE)
Ethiopia grounds Boeing aircraft involved in devastating crash that killed all aboard (Washington Post)
Passengers Who Missed Doomed Ethiopia Flight ‘lucky’ to be Alive (The New York Post)
No Survivors in Ethiopian Airlines Crash En Route to Kenya (AP)

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Ethiopian Community Asking Questions After Police Shooting in Philadelphia

The victim 25-year-old Kelab Belay moved to Philadelphia from Ethiopia to attend Temple University last summer. (KYW)

KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Members of Philadelphia’s Ethiopian and Eritrean communities are asking questions after one of their own was shot by police on Wednesday night. Police say the victim was wielding a knife, but his supporters believe there’s more to the story.

“The information that is relayed on TV and early release from police is very disturbing to me,” Saba Tedla told KYW Newsradio Thursday afternoon. She runs Bookers Restaurant at 49th Street and Baltimore Avenue and is guardian to Kelab Belay.

She says she hired the family friend to work as a busboy at the restaurant last August after he moved to Philadelphia from Ethiopia to attend Temple University. She says the 25-year-old was quickly promoted to bookkeeper and payroll. So when she heard he was shot multiple times by police, she was shocked.

“He’s very laid back, very introvert, super nerdy and very smart,” she said, “so I don’t know how he could be an aggressor.”

p Police say officers responded to a 911 call of a stabbing near the corner of 49th Street and Hazel Avenue just before 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Capt. Sekou Kinebrew says a man carrying a knife came out of a home on the block, approaching the officers.

“Both officers initially retreated while both giving him warnings to drop the knife. The male did not comply and continued to advance toward the officers,” he said.

That’s when a 27-year-old officer, a four-year veteran, allegedly shot the man multiple times.

“We searched the scene and the home in search of a stabbing victim. At this point, we have not found anyone that was stabbed,” says Kinebrew.

A kitchen knife was found at the scene. Police have not identified the victim, but Tedla says Belay is the man who was shot.

“How did he end up being shot by police, that’s very puzzling,” said Tedla, “and he had a knife, couldn’t they have used a Taser? Why did they have to use such force, I can’t imagine him being that much of a threat.”

She says the Ethiopian community is already raising money to support Belay and has hired an independent investigator who is already at work.

“We want to shed some light on exactly what triggered this incident,” said Tedla.

Police say the man who was shot is a person of interest. There is no word yet on whether he is under arrest.

Tedla says the Ethiopian community, Belay’s friends and family will gather to come up with next steps.

“We have so many questions,” she said.

Tedla says Belay was a good student at Temple and had just secured a prestigious internship on the Main Line.

City’s Ethiopian community rallies after one of their own is shot by police


Related:
Tension Building In Aftermath Of Police Shooting Of Knife-Wielding Man In West Philadelphia (CBS)

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All Female Ethiopian Flight Crew Celebrates International Women’s Day

On Friday, March 8th, 2019 Ethiopian Airlines honors International Women's Day with an all-female flight crew on its Addis Ababa-Oslo route. (Photo: Ethiopian Airlines)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 7th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopian Airlines is celebrating International Women’s Day with an all-female flight crew that will depart Addis Ababa for Oslo, Norway on Friday, March 8th in honor of the United Nations holiday.

In a press release Ethiopian Airlines said the aim is “to show the power of women to the world.”

“The historical flight will be operated by Ethiopian Airlines women professionals from flight deck all the way to the ground including airport operations, flight dispatch, load control, ramp operation, on-board logistics, safety and security, catering as well as air traffic control, which will be carried out entirely by women,” the announcement said.


(Photo: TWITTER/@FLYETHIOPIAN)

In a statement the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde GebreMariam, noted: “We are immensely honored that we have women trailblazers in every aspect of our aviation field. Women are an integral part of our success story from the start and with this dedicated flight we honor and celebrate their indispensable contribution to our aviation group and the broader aviation industry, our country and the continent at large. Although women are Africa’s greatest resource, gender inequality still persists in our continent . Therefore, we all need to ensure that women take their right position in all human endeavor by creating the right conditions and through all inclusive engagement models.”

The press release added: “Ethiopian operates five weekly flights to Oslo, Norway via Stockholm with ultra – modern Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It is to be recalled that Ethiopian Airlines has operated four flights to Bankok, Kigali, Lagos, and Buenos Aires, which were operated by women aviation professionals.”


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UK to Return Emperor Tewodros’ Hair

The National Army Museum in England has announced that it will return two locks of hair belonging to Emperor Tewodros II following a formal request from Ethiopia. The announcement also comes after the uproar that was ignited by the Victoria and Albert Museum last year when it displayed historical items looted from the treasury of Emperor Tewodros during the British campaign in Ethiopia in 1868. (Photo: Reuters)

Press release

National Army Museum

National Army Museum Responds to Repatriation Request from Ethiopia

Request

On 17 April 2018, the Minister of Culture and Tourism from the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia made a formal request to the Director of the National Army Museum for the return of hair belonging to Emperor Tewodros II. The hair is considered to be of cultural sensitivity to Ethiopian citizens.

Acquisition

The hair was accessioned into the Museum’s collection in 1959. It was given to the Museum by the family of an artist who had painted the Emperor on his deathbed. Two locks of hair were accessioned at the time, one of which was framed with a letter and the Emperor’s seal. The objects are considered significant to the Museum’s collection for their historical connection to a major and unique campaign fought by the British Army in 1868 and were collected in good faith.

Decision

The recommendation to repatriate was prepared by Terri Dendy, Head of Collections Standards and Care at the Museum and agreed upon in principle by the Council of the National Army Museum in November 2018, pending consultation with other stakeholders. Requests for repatriation are treated in accordance with the Museum’s Collections Development Policy and the Museums Association’s Code of Ethics. Claims for repatriation are measured on the basis of the evidence provided to support the claim, balanced alongside the Museum’s obligation to protect and safeguard collections for future generations.

Terri Dendy said: ‘Having spent considerable time researching the provenance and cultural sensitivities around this matter, we believe the Ethiopian government claim to repatriate is reasonable and we are pleased to be able to assist. Our decision to repatriate is very much based on the desire to inter the hair within the tomb alongside the Emperor.’

Repatriation

The Ethiopian government has requested that the hair be returned so that it can be interred with Emperor Tewodros at the Trinity Monastery in the northern part of Ethiopia. The National Army Museum remains in discussions with the Embassy of Ethiopia in London on arrangements for formally returning the items.

The Director of the Museum, Justin Maciejewski DSO MBE, said: ‘We very much look forward to the occasion when we can hand over these symbolic humans remains to the people of Ethiopia.’


Related:
The Battle Over Ethiopia’s Meqdela Treasures
Ethiopians Urge Britain to Return Remains of Prince Alemayehu After 150 Years
150 Years After His Death Ethiopia Commemorates Life of Tewodros II
UK Museum Wants to Loan Ethiopia Looted Ethiopian Treasures. Why Not Return It?
A Photo Journal Retracing the Last March of Emperor Tewodros to Meqdela

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In US 2020 Candidates Honor Selma March

US presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey (third from left) pictured with civil rights leader Jesse Jackson during the Bloody Sunday commemoration in Selma, Alabama on Sunday, March 3, 2019. The Associated Press notes "The infamous “Bloody Sunday” on March 7, 1965, galvanized support for the passage of the Voting Rights Act that year." (AP Photo)

AP

On Selma anniversary, Booker calls for new fight for justice

SELMA, Ala. — Thunder rolling above Brown Chapel AME Church, Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker warned Sunday of a looming threat to American democracy and called for protecting the legacy of the civil rights movement with love and action.

“It’s time for us to defend the dream,” Booker said in a keynote speech at Brown Chapel, which two generations ago was the starting point of a peaceful demonstration in support of voting rights that ended in beatings on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The infamous “Bloody Sunday” on March 7, 1965, galvanized support for the passage of the Voting Rights Act that year.

“It’s time that we dare to dream again in America. That is what it takes to make America great. It is up to us to do the work that makes the dream real,” said Booker, a New Jersey senator and one of three White House hopefuls who participated in events commemorating the march.

Saying America faces challenges, Booker said: “People want to make it just about the people in the highest offices of the land. People who traffic in hatred, people in office that defend Nazis or white supremacists, people that point fingers and forget the lessons of King. What we must repent for are not just the vitriolic words and actions of bad people, but the appalling silence and inaction of good people.”

Also visiting Selma on Sunday were Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Joining them was Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee in 2016. Booker and Brown, along with Clinton and civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, marched with dozens of others Sunday afternoon to Edmund Pettus Bridge. Sanders had left for a campaign event in Chicago…

This year’s commemoration came in the early days of a Democratic presidential primary campaign that has focused heavily on issues of race. Several candidates have called President Donald Trump a racist, while others have voiced support for the idea of reparations for the descendants of enslaved black Americans…For the New Jersey senator, much of the day felt personal. In Brown Chapel he sat next to Jackson, for whom he cast his first ballot as an 18-year-old during Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign. He later marched to the bridge alongside Jackson, their arms locked together.

Click here to read the full article »


Related:
Addisu Demissie to Manage Cory Booker’s 2020 U.S. Presidential Campaign

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Ethiopians Celebrate 123rd Anniversary of the Battle of Adwa (Reuters)

Men dressed in traditional costumes dance during the 123rd anniversary celebration of the battle of Adwa in Addis Ababa, March 2, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

Reuters

By Aaron Maasho

Ethiopians Celebrate Defeat of Colonialists, Call for Unity

ADDIS ABABA – Bedecked in lion mane collars, warriors’ headdresses and military fatigues, thousands of Ethiopians descended on Addis Ababa’s main squares to celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Adwa – one of Ethiopia’s finest hours in the battlefield.

It was in the northern town of Adwa 123 years ago that poorly-armed Ethiopians – clad in such attire – routed an Italian force that sought to expand Rome’s fledgling 19th century colonial empire.

The victory that preserved Ethiopia’s independence in 1896 resounded elsewhere in Africa, becoming a rallying point for Africans a generation later as they bid to end colonial rule.

“I call myself independent because my fearless fathers fought the battle from all corners of the country,” said 27-year old Bonsa Kuma, who arrived in the capital on horseback.

“I rode for two days to get here to remember my heroes,” he told Reuters.

The event was also used by some Ethiopians to call for unity at a time of persistent ethnic strife that has left over 2 million people displaced due to violence in the last two years.

“Adwa for me is a sign of freedom and a sign of unity of the country. Today’s generation should learn the importance of unity and abstain from clashing on the basis of ethnicity,” said Tiki Gebreab, a 36-year old Addis Ababa resident who attended the celebrations.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed also joined a chorus of calls to end violence.

“The young generation of today should repeat the victory of Adwa by defeating current challenges and barriers,” Abiy said in remarks published by state-owned media.


Related:
The Adwa Legacy Art Exhibition at the Ethiopian Embassy in DC
The Concept Behind Ethiopia’s Adwa Pan-African University: Interview with Dr. Ayele Bekerie
Ethiopia: The Victory of Adwa, An Exemplary Triumph to the Rest of Africa
Adwa: Genesis of Unscrambled Africa
119 Years Anniversary of Ethiopia’s Victory at the Battle of Adwa on March 1st, 1896
Reflection on 118th Anniversary of Ethiopia’s Victory at Adwa
The Significance of the 1896 Battle of Adwa
Call for the Registry of Adwa as UNESCO World Heritage Site

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HRW Visits Ethiopia for 1st Time in 8 Years

A woman walks on bridge to a station of the city's light railway, in Addis Ababa. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

HRW

Ethiopia Lets in Human Rights Watch for First Time in 8 Years

After more than two years of protests, power changed hands in Ethiopia last April. Under the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia is shedding its reputation as a country that tortures detainees and spies on its citizens. The authorities have released thousands of political prisoners and dismissed some abusive security force officers. The decades-long conflict with neighboring Eritrea came to an end. And for the first time in eight years, Human Rights Watch staff who cover Ethiopia were permitted to visit the country. Senior Researcher Felix Horne talks with Amy Braunschweiger about these exciting steps forward, as well as his concerns about rising tensions among ethnic groups in the country’s rural areas.

How has Ethiopia changed since you were last there?

Addis Ababa, the capital, has changed so much. Unlike before, modern asphalt roads are everywhere, there are freeways, tall, modern shiny buildings, lots of new restaurants, and a light rail system. It used to smell of smoke, from people burning wood to prepare food, but that smell is now gone. People seemed to feel much more free to express their opinions. They were speaking very openly about sensitive subjects in public spaces, cafes, and mini buses. That’s not the Addis I knew, where everyone was looking over their shoulder to see who was eavesdropping.

You went specifically for a workshop on rebuilding civil society. What did you learn?

Under the 2009 Charities and Societies Proclamation, civil society groups working on human rights issues in Ethiopia was decimated. Most nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) were closed. Others had their bank accounts frozen. But a new law was passed earlier this month. It eliminates most of the draconian restrictions from previous legislation. The new agency registering NGOs needs to get up and running and that will take time, but we hope NGOs will be able to register soon, which will open up possibilities for funding. Then they can document abuses and advocate for respect for human rights, which is critical ahead of the May 2020 elections.

What was the workshop like?

There was a feeling of newfound optimism there. Still, it was starkly evident the extent to which civil society working on human rights has been decimated since the Charities and Societies Proclamation was passed 10 years ago. It will clearly take time for the sector to recover. At the workshop, international and Ethiopian NGOs, such as the Human Rights Council of Ethiopia and the Consortium of Ethiopian Rights Organizations, discussed advocacy strategies and research gaps, and talked about economic, social, and cultural rights. It was a chance for everyone to get together in person. There were people there who I knew quite well but had never actually met. It was nice to put faces to names.

Did anything surprise you?

Some of the activists organized a press conference at the end of the workshop, and I honestly didn’t expect much media interest. But 60 journalists showed up, and most were from the state media. When I talked about how it was our first visa in eight years, there was applause. They asked questions about what work we planned to do in Ethiopia and if we’d open up an office there.

State media never covered our work in the past, and that has clearly changed. But media is still publishing a pro-government prospective. For example, we spoke about all the great reforms happening, and we also talked about our concerns. But most of the media never reported on the concerns.

I have this memory from the press conference, when, among the microphones was one from ETV, which is the main state broadcaster, and next to it was one from OMN, the Oromia Media Network, which used to be banned in Ethiopia. The former government went to great lengths to jam OMN’s television broadcasts and had unfairly charged it under the counterterrorism law. It was great to see them side-to-side and a powerful image of change in the media landscape.

Read more »


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US Invests $40m in Ethiopia Health Care

U.S. investing $40 million to support goal of universal health coverage in Ethiopia. (U.S. Embassy Ethiopia)

Press Release

U.S. Embassy Ethiopia

Today the United States launched a new, five-year USD $40 million Health Financing Improvement Program to invest in expanding Ethiopia’s capacity to provide quality affordable healthcare to citizens across the country. Under the new program, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will work with the Ministry of Health to strengthen policy and financing reforms that enable public and private entities to better provide primary health services while reducing out-of-pocket expenses for Ethiopians.

USAID’s Health Financing Improvement Program builds upon the successes of earlier investments like USAID’s community-based health insurance initiative, which currently provides medical coverage to nearly 20 million Ethiopians nationwide. Over the next five years, the new program will focus on mobilizing increased domestic resources and streamlining medical insurance schemes to expand coverage to millions more people. The project will also work with public and private healthcare providers to better utilize resources and revenues to finance their services.

USAID Mission Director Leslie Reed remarked, “We look forward to continuing our joint work to tackle the challenges facing health financing as part of overall efforts to build a truly sustainable and resilient health system in Ethiopia. Together, we can show other developing countries around the world that with the right political will and commitment, it is possible to lay the promising foundation to a self-reliant healthcare system, capable of providing high-quality health services to all citizens in every corner of the country.”

U.S. development programs like the Health Financing Improvement program invest in the capacity of Ethiopian institutions and the Ethiopian people to address their own needs and become stronger partners. The United States is the largest bilateral donor to Ethiopia’s health sector, with approximately USD $150 million per year in funding for HIV/AIDS; malaria; maternal, neonatal and child health; nutrition; tuberculosis; and water, sanitation and hygiene. Overall, the United States has provided over $4 billion in development and humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia over the past five years.


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Q&A with Julie Mehretu – Brooklyn Rail

The following is an interview with Ethiopian American artist Julie Mehretu by The Brooklyn Rail magazine highlighting her current exhibition at Kettle’s Yard gallery in Cambridge, England. (Portrait of Julie Mehretu, pencil on paper by Phong Bui)

The Brooklyn Rail

On the occasion of her current exhibition at Kettle’s Yard, Julie Mehretu spoke with me about her work from the past two decades. The images she has been creating during this time, in the form of paintings and drawings, consider the world we live in today through references to cities, architectural sites, geo-political events, and histories. She shows us an urban landscape that is dynamic and chaotic; constantly in motion. Simultaneously, Mehretu’s fascination with mark-making, and her commitment to drawing as an intuitive force, is vital to how she functions as an artist and to what she makes.

Mehretu was born in Addis Ababa in 1970 to an Ethiopian father and an American mother. She grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, and now lives in New York.

Allie Biswas (Rail): I wanted to start by asking you about the role that drawing initially played in your work.

Julie Mehretu: When I started my MFA, I was making big, abstract oil paintings that looked gestural and expressionistic, even though I wasn’t interested in them looking like that. I would also include what I considered to be cultural indicators—things that might refer to an album or a part of a face, like a mask, for instance. Ultimately, they were super generic; I thought that I was making art, but that wasn’t the case at all. It was more like I was mimicking art, rather than really inventing something. A little later on, I began to think about my mark-making and realised that drawing was something that really generated my work and thinking.

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In Ethiopia AU Inaugurates Majestic New Statue Honoring Emperor Haileselassie

A statue of Emperor Haile Selassie was inaugurated at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. (Photo: Elias Mulugeta Hordofa @eluukoo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 11th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Former Emperor Haile Selassie is finally receiving his due recognition for his role in establishing the African Union (AU) – initially launched as the Organization of African Unity (OAU). On Sunday, February 10th, a majestic new statue in Haile Selassie’s likeness was inaugurated at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital in the presence of heads of state, family members, community leaders and international media.

Among those who attended the event included Ethiopian American social activist Nebyat Aklilu Demessie, who led a grassroots movement for over 6 years to help erect the statue honoring Ethiopia’s last emperor. Nebyat traveled to Ethiopia for the event at the invitation of Haile Selassie’s family.

As we wrote here previously: “On May 25, 1963 [two decades after Ethiopia fought and retained her independence from Italian military occupation] several Heads of State from 32 newly independent African countries gathered in Addis Ababa. The meeting brought together various factions from across the continent that held differing views on how to achieve union among the emerging, decolonized African countries – an issue that also preoccupied the continent’s press and academics at the time. One such promiment group, “The Casablanca bloc,” led by President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, argued for the federation of all African states. A second group of countries called “The “Monrovian bloc”, led by Léopold Senghor of Senegal, preferred a more gradual economic cooperation. Emperor Haile Selassie offered a diplomatic solution and brokered the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now renamed the African Union (AU). The assembly settled its headquarters in Addis Ababa and entrusted Haile Selassie with the very first of its rotating chairmanships. Gamal Abdul Nassar of Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana served as subsequent OAU leaders.”

The Associated press noted “Ethiopians have cheered the statue’s erection, the first on Ethiopian soil since Haile Selassie was mysteriously killed at the age of 83 in 1975 when a military junta called the Derg overthrew the imperial dynasty that existed in Ethiopia for 3,000 years.”


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UN: Ethiopian Chopper Crashes in Sudan

An Ethiopian military helicopter carrying 23 people has crashed inside the compound of the United Nations on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, killing three of its crew members. According to the UN the MI-8 helicopter crashed during a routine operation transporting Ethiopian troops from Kadugli to Abyei on Saturday. Ethiopia has about 4,500 personnel stationed in the region supporting the UN mission. (Photo: UN)

Press Release

United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei

An Ethiopian military helicopter registration Number UNO 379P with 23 passengers on board has crashed today at around 1310H inside the compound of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) killing three of its crew members.

The MI-8 helicopter was on routine operation carrying Ethiopian troops on rotation from Kadugli to Abyei when it crashed. Ten passengers were injured with three in critical condition. The three who are in critical condition have been conveyed to Kadugli en route to Addis Ababa while those not in critical condition are being stabilized at the UNISFA Level II hospital in Abyei.

The immediate cause of the crash is not yet known. UNISFA’s acting Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Gebre Adhana Woldezgu said, “We are investigating the incident.”

“We are deeply saddened by what happened this afternoon. We are extending our condolences to the families of those who died in the crash,” Major General Woldezgu said.

General Gebre Adhana Woldezgu commended UNISFA personnel who responded promptly to the crash by assisting to evacuate passengers from the helicopter, stressing that the casualty figures could have been much higher. “This show of solidarity reflects the spirit of peacekeeping and must be applauded”, General Woldezgu said.

The helicopter flew from Kadugli for the Mission’s regular troop rotation. UNISFA’s sole troop contributing country Ethiopia is currently rotating its soldiers from Kadugli to different sites in the Abyei area.

Ethiopia has around 4,500 personnel on the ground to support UNISFA’s efforts of ensuring peace and security in Abyei.


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This Twitter Thread Clears Up Confusion on The Hague Teff Case (UPDATE)

The following Twitter thread started by legal consultant ልዩ - Leyou @anchihoye in Ethiopia clears up the confusion regarding The Hague Teff Case. (Photo: Preparing injera/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 7th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Below is a great Twitter thread that clears up the confusion on The Hague Teff ruling. In fact the court case was between two companies. The patent holder was suing another company who wanted to use teff products. The second company argued that the patent was invalid to begin with because it failed to show how the patent was itself an innovation. The court then ruled against the patent holder. We can see how Fitsum Arega’s tweet was indicating the invalidation of the patent holder’s claim and how that is in essence a win for Ethiopia in general. But his tweet was also vague and implied that the Ethiopian government directly won an argument in court, which it hasn’t. So we’ll keep an eye on developments. In the meantime here is the Twitter thread started by Legal Consultant and journalist ልዩ – Leyou @anchihoye and a link to a comprehensive summary by the website Quartz Africa as well as The Washington Post.


Related:
How Ethiopia got its grain back
Ethiopia’s teff flour is no longer patented as a Dutch invention

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Ethiopia Reforms Mining Industry (Reuters)

A worker extracts salt from the desert in the Danakil Depression, northern Ethiopia. (Reuters Photo)

REUTERS

Ethiopia finalizing mining industry reforms: minister

Ethiopia will finalize reforms for its underdeveloped mining and oil sectors within the next two months as it seeks to encourage more foreign investors, its mines and petroleum minister said on Tuesday.

The country has already cut taxes for mining companies in recent years but the government wants to attract more foreign investment and ease a dollar shortage in the country.

Mines and petroleum minister Samuel Urkato said promoting the mining sector had become a priority and indicated that further tax incentives were on the cards.

“We are reforming all the laws, the national mining policy and the strategy that goes with that policy. These reforms include all fiscal regimes too in order to compete for global mining investments,” Samuel told Reuters on the sidelines of the African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa.

Newmont Mining is among a number of gold companies now prospecting in Ethiopia and Norwegian fertilizer maker Yara International plans to build a potash mine and a fertilizer factory in the country.

Other companies, however, have been put off by poor infrastructure, a shortage of skilled professionals in the sector, as well as a lack of transparency in licensing, industry consultants in Ethiopia say.

Australia’s BHP pulled out in 2012, while Israel Chemicals terminated a potash project in 2016 amid a tax dispute and claims the government had failed to provide infrastructure.

Since coming to office nearly a year ago, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has announced shake-ups across industries, including plans to open up the once closely guarded telecommunications, logistics and power monopolies.

Massive government investment in infrastructure has helped make Ethiopia one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, but exports of garments and other products have struggled to take off, meaning the economy is not generating enough dollars to pay for imports.

Encouraging the mining sector could help. Though still small, it brought in $3.5 billion in foreign direct investment in the past five years, helped by new incentives that included updating the country’s geological data, extending duty-free access to companies engaged in exploration and offering to build infrastructure to accommodate mining sites.

“Take a company working at a remote site. They shouldn’t construct roads. The government should do that. They shouldn’t work on railways. The government will provide that,” Samuel said.

The government reduced the corporate income tax rate for miners to 25 percent two years ago, from 35 percent, and more recently lowered the precious metals royalty rate to 7 percent, from 8 percent.

The current law guarantees the government a 5 percent minimum equity stake in projects – a lower share than many other African countries.

While the government is keen to reap its share of mining revenues, Samuel said it planned more incentives to jump-start the industry.

“We will see later how to improve these royalty and fiscal regimes. We will gradually improve the size of royalties,” he said.


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When Ethiopian Jews Tried to Save European Jews from Holocaust

In 1943 Ethiopian Jews approached Emperor Haile Selassie asking him to give refuge to Jews fleeing Nazism in Europe, the Jerusalem Post reports. The same year "1,500 Greek refugees, among them Greek Jews, had arrived in Ethiopia." (The Jerusalem Post)

The Jerusalem Post

August 1943, at the height of the Holocaust, Ethiopian Jewish leaders approached the Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia with a daring proposal. They asked him to help Jews in Europe flee to Ethiopia and assist Jewish refugees by hosting them in Ethiopian Jewish villages.

Three months after the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and two months after all four of the Auschwitz crematoria were functioning, The Palestine Post, as today’s Jerusalem Post was then called, published an article detailing Jewish immigration to Ethiopia. “Possibilities of Jewish immigration into Abyssinia were discussed by the Ethiopian Minister in London with Mr. Harry Goodman and Dr. Springer of Agudath Israel,” the August 8, 1943 article says. “A leading member of the Falasha (black Jewish) community expressed the desire to assist European Jewry and to welcome them in Falasha towns.” Falasha was the term used to describe Jews in Ethiopia at the time.

Discussions were ongoing in Addis Ababa where the emperor, who had returned to Ethiopia in May 1941 after it was liberated from Italy with British help, was showing support for the plan. 1,500 Greek refugees, among them Greek Jews, had arrived in Ethiopia in 1943, the article says.

Selassie had stayed at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1936 and was familiar with the Jewish minority in his country. He also worked closely with Orde Wingate, the British officer who was a passionate Zionist and who led the Gideon Force, which defeated the Italian fascist army in Ethiopia. Ethiopian leaders and the Ethiopian Jewish community were therefore familiar with the local Jewish community and the plight of Jews worldwide at the time.

While Ethiopian Jews suffered under the Italian occupation, by 1943 they were able to reach out to the emperor to suggest hosting Jews fleeing Europe. By that time it was too late for many of the Jews of Europe ensnared in the Nazi noose.

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Looking Ahead to Davos and Addis in 2020

As Ethiopia prepares to convene the 29th World Economic Forum on Africa for a second time next year, here is a timely CNBC article by the CEO of General Atlantic Bill Ford highlighting what everyone will be talking about at the Forum's 2020 Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, which will be held in advance of the Ethiopia conference and may set the agenda for the Africa version of the gathering. (Photo: PM Abiy Ahmed at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, January 23rd/ Office of the Prime Minister @PMEthiopia)

CNBC

Here’s what everyone will be talking about at Davos in 2020 and beyond

Understanding the state of our world and how we can shape that agenda is the primary purpose of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting at Davos, Switzerland.

The theme for this year’s gathering is Globalization 4.0 – how we’re handling the changes wrought on the world by the increasing interconnectedness of cultures and economies.

We must also reckon with the future. Digitization, Big Data, and the migration of IT services to the cloud are driving change now but we’re also starting to see the opportunities that will lead to Globalization 5.0.

These are the themes we believe will dominate the Davos gatherings of the future:

Read more »


Related:
The 2020 World Economic Forum on Africa to be Held in Ethiopia (UPDATED)
Watch: At World Economic Forum PM Abiy Outlines New Investment Opportunities in Ethiopia:

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Al Amoudi Released From Saudi Custody

Ethiopian-born Saudi businessman Mohammed Al Amoudi has been released from detention in Saudi Arabia. (Photo: Mohammed Al Amoudi by photographer Hans Berggren)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: January 27th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-born businessman Mohammed Al Amoudi, who has been in Saudi custody for more than a year, has been freed from detention. “Yes, Al Amoudi has been released and is on his way home to Jeddah. His flight was at 9 or 10 a.m. Saudi time. He called his family; his family told me,” Mesfin Regassa, a friend and close associate of the businessman, told Bloomberg.

According to Reuters “Two Saudi sources confirmed that Al Amoudi had been released on Sunday, nearly 15 months after he was detained with scores of princes, ministers and businessmen in the state-run anti-corruption campaign.”

The news was first reported by Ethiopian TV, which quoted the CEO of Al Amoudi’s MIDROC Group Arega Yirdaw as its source.

On social media PM Abiy Ahmed’s office expressed its best wishes to the billionaire business tycoon noting that Dr. Abiy had brought up Al Amoudi’s case with the authorities in Saudi Arabia during his official travel there last May. “One of the issues included the release of Mohammed Al Amoudi,” the office of the Prime Minister said on Twitter. “Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in his Millenium Hall address later in May 2018 further assured of his return. We wish Mohammed Al Amoudi a safe return to Ethiopia.”


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In US: Another Trump Confidant is Arrested

U.S. federal agents have arrested another longtime associate of President Donald Trump for lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering in connection with the Russia investigation. Roger Stone (pictured above) was arrested in a pre-dawn raid at his Florida home on Friday. (AP photo)

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Roger Stone, a confidant of President Donald Trump, was arrested in the special counsel’s Russia investigation in a pre-dawn raid at his Florida home on Friday and was charged with lying to Congress and obstructing the probe.

The seven-count indictment against Stone, a self-proclaimed “dirty trickster,” is the first criminal case in months from special counsel Robert Mueller.

It provides the most detail to date about how Trump campaign associates in the summer of 2016 were actively seeking to politically benefit from the release of hacked material damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. It alleges that unnamed senior Trump campaign officials contacted Stone to ask when stolen emails relating to Clinton might be disclosed.

The indictment does not charge Stone with conspiring with WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website that published the emails, or with the Russian officers Mueller says hacked them. Instead, it accuses him of witness tampering, obstruction and false statements about his interactions related to WikiLeaks’ release. Some of those false statements were made to the House intelligence committee, according to the indictment.

CNN aired video of the raid at Stone’s Fort Lauderdale home, showing FBI agents in body armor using large weapons and night-vision equipment, running up to the home and banging repeatedly on the door.

“FBI open the door!” one shouts. “FBI, warrant!” Stone could then be seen in the doorway in his sleepwear before he was led away. He is expected to appear in court later Friday.

Stone is the sixth Trump aide charged in Mueller’s investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign and the 34th person overall. The investigation has laid bare multiple contacts between Trump associates and Russia during the campaign and transition period and efforts by several to conceal those communications.

Well-known for his political antics and hard ball tactics, Stone has reveled in being a Washington wheeler-dealer dating back to the Nixon administration. He has also pushed several conspiracy theories and was an early and vocal supporter of Trump’s candidacy.

The case against Stone comes weeks after Trump’s former national security adviser was castigated by a judge in open court and just hours before Paul Manafort, his ex-campaign chairman , was due in court on allegations that he had lied to Mueller’s prosecutors.

Stone was one of Trump’s earliest political advisers, encouraging both his presidential runs. He briefly served on Trump’s 2016 campaign, but was pushed out amid infighting with then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Stone continued communicating with Trump on occasion and stayed plugged into the circle of advisers — both formal and informal — who worked with and around Trump.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s press secretary, told CNN Friday the charges brought against Stone “don’t have anything to do with the president.”

According to the indictment, many of those conversations involved WikiLeaks. The indictment lays out in detail Stone’s conversations about stolen Democratic emails posted by the group in the weeks before Trump, a Republican, beat Clinton. Mueller’s office has said those emails, belonging to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, were hacked by Russian intelligence officers.

The document says that by June and July 2016, Stone had told senior Trump campaign officials that he had information indicating that WikiLeaks had obtained documents that could be damaging to Clinton’s campaign.

After the July 22, 2016, WikiLeaks release of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee, the indictment says a senior Trump campaign “was directed” to contact Stone about additional releases and “what other damaging information” WikiLeaks had “regarding the Clinton campaign.” The indictment does not name the official or say who directed the outreach to Stone.

Another Trump campaign official cited in the indictment is Steve Bannon, who later became Trump’s chief strategist in the White House. Bannon, referred to as a “high-ranking Trump Campaign official,” exchanged emails with Stone in October 2016 about WikiLeaks’ plans for releasing hacked material. The indictment quotes from those emails, which had previously been made public by news outlets.

While the indictment provides some new insight into the Trump campaign, it deals largely with what prosecutors say were Stone’s false statements about his conversations with conservative writer and conspiracy theorist, Jerome Corsi, and New York radio host, Randy Credico. Corsi is referred to as Person 1 in the indictment, and Credico as Person 2.

The indictment accuses Stone of carrying out a “prolonged effort” to keep Credico from contradicting his testimony before the House intelligence committee. During that effort, prosecutors note that Stone repeatedly told Credico to “do a ‘Frank Pentangeli,’” a reference to a character in “The Godfather: Part II” who lies before a congressional committee.

Stone is also accused of threatening Credico. The indictment cites several messages, some of which have already been public, that Stone sent to Credico last year. On April 9, Stone called Credico a “rat” and a “stoolie” and accused him of backstabbing his friends. Stone also threatened to “take that dog away from you,” a reference to Credico’s dog, Bianca.

“I am so ready. Let’s get it on. Prepare to die (expletive),” Stone also wrote to Credico.

The indictment had been expected. Stone has said for months he was prepared to be charged, though he has denied any wrongdoing. A grand jury for months had heard from witnesses connected to Stone. And the intelligence committee last year voted to release a transcript of Stone’s testimony to Mueller as a precursor to an indictment.

Attorney Grant Smith, who represents Stone, did not return a phone message seeking comment Friday.

Stone has publicly denigrated the Mueller investigation and echoed the president’s descriptions of it as a witch hunt. But he has long attracted investigators’ attention, especially in light of a 2016 tweet that appeared to presage knowledge that emails stolen from Podesta would soon be released. Stone has said he had no inside information about the contents of the emails in WikiLeaks’ possession or the timing of when they’d be released.

Stone has said he learned from Credico that WikiLeaks had the emails and planned to disclose them. Stone has also spoken openly about his contacts with Corsi.

Credico hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing. Last year, Mueller’s prosecutors offered a plea agreement to Corsi that would have required him to admit that he intentionally lied to investigators about a discussion with Stone about WikiLeaks. But he rejected the offer and denied that he lied.

In a tweet Friday, Podesta wrote that it was now “Roger’s time in the barrel.” That was a play on Stone’s own words. Stone had tweeted cryptically before the Podesta emails were disclosed that it would soon be Podesta’s “time in the barrel.”

___
Read the indictment: http://apne.ws/1P23qpR

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Timket: Photos From Ethiopia

Timket celebration at Jan Meda in Addis Ababa. (Photo: BBC)

BBC

In pictures: Ethiopians celebrate the festival of Timket

Ethiopian Orthodox Christians have been celebrating the festival of Timket, or Epiphany, which commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan.

In Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, thousands of worshippers marched through the streets on Friday, the eve of the festival, to the Jan Meda sports grounds.


Getty Images


BBC photo


BBC photo

See more photos at BBC.com »


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Ethiopia-Eritrea Border Boom – BBC

The reopening of the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea has dramatically changed the towns near the frontier, BBC reports. (Photo: People come to Adigrat to stock up on all sorts of items. By GIRMAY GERBA)

BBC

Ethiopia-Eritrea Border Boom as Peace Takes Hold

The sun had just risen but the market in Adigrat was already coming alive when I went to visit.

Dozens of makeshift stalls lined the street where a group of women traders were sifting chickpeas.

In another place an elderly man was removing chickens from cages and placing them outside his shop.

You can buy almost anything at the market: spices, building materials, fridges and washing machines.

The market in this Ethiopian town, just 38km (24 miles) south of the border, has been transformed since the border opened four months ago after a peace deal ended the “state of war” between the two nations.

Many Eritreans now cross over to see what they can buy.

‘We love peace’

Mebrhit Gebrehans, a middle-aged woman with a big smile, is one of the traders whose business is booming.

She was busy opening a sack full of fresh spices and was calling over potential customers when I met her.

“What we fear is war. We love peace. When the Eritreans come to this market, I welcome them with a smiling face. They buy spices, honey, grains and even biscuits. And we buy different clothes from them,” she said.

“When the border reopened, we were worried there would be shortages of some things, but there hasn’t been. Everything is normal,” she added.

Just down the road, there was a section of shops selling plastic wares, from brightly coloured water tanks to jerry cans to plastic sandals.

Shop owner Haile Bisrat told me cheerfully that treating his Eritrean brothers well was not only about cementing peace. It also made good financial sense.

“We get to make a little more profit than before as the market is in a better state.

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The Guardian View on Ethiopia: Editorial

Prime minister Abiy Ahmed. (Getty Images)

The Guardian

Editorial

The Guardian view on Ethiopia: change is welcome, but must be secured

Ethiopians could be forgiven for their scepticism when their new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, promised sweeping reforms last spring. The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front coalition which appointed him toyed with change in 2005 – only to revert to its usual autocratic form. Now wariness has been replaced by genuine enthusiasm; the transformation is happening at dizzying speed. But the obstacles and perils are also clearer.

Mr Abiy, 42, has followed symbolic shifts with more substantive action. His president, chief justice and half of his ministers are female. He freed thousands of political prisoners and journalists, before arresting senior officials for human rights abuses and corruption. He overturned bans on opposition groups and invited an exiled dissident home to head the election board. The next polls are scheduled for 2020. Last time, not one opposition MP was elected. Mr Abiy’s overtures to Eritrea led to the end of a long-running conflict. He oversaw the meeting of South Sudanese leaders that produced a fragile but desperately needed peace deal. This – along with Eritrea’s ensuing rapprochement with Somalia and Djibouti – led the UN secretary general António Guterres to speak of “a wind of hope blowing in the Horn of Africa”.

Yet Ethiopia has seen an alarming rise in multi-faceted ethnic violence. Over a million citizens were displaced last year. State controls have loosened in a country with entrenched divisions and rivalries: the EPRDF has heavily promoted ethnic identity as the basis for mobilisation, including through the complex system of ethnic federalism it introduced. Some fear the security apparatus does not know how to tackle clashes by any means other than the old, brutal methods. This autumn, following criticism over its handling of unrest, the government detained over a thousand in military camps for “rehabilitation”. There are fears Mr Abiy’s plans for overhauling the economy, including privatising state enterprises, may enrich some but hinder progress on poverty reduction. Any perception some are profiting from the sell-off of state assets could be inflammatory.

Too much rests upon Mr Abiy at present. One concern is that charismatic leadership can slide into unchecked personal power. Another is that any leader seeking change must battle powerful interests. The EPRDF is riven by competition between its four ethnically based parties and institutional and personal rivalries. The chair of the Tigray party recently accused Mr Abiy of “seeking to bring Tigrayan people to their knees”. His premiership has seen a grenade attack on one of his rallies and the arrival of angry soldiers at his office; he says they wanted to kill him. His defusal of that situation hinted at his adroitness; his background in the military has also surely been useful to him. Given that the EPRDF had until last year been Tigray-dominated, his rise as an Oromo (with an Amhara mother), reflects his skills as a politician as well as the Oromo protests which triggered his predecessor’s resignation.

But with only a year until elections are due, there is still no proper political roadmap from the government. Swift progress is needed in reforming repressive laws. Some would like to see a new constitution dismantling ethnic federalism, though most suspect prudence will restrain Mr Abiy from such a wholesale change. His record to date is unquestionably impressive. But the developments he has set in train in Africa’s second most populous nation can only be secured by institutions.

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IN PICTURES | Along the Banks of Ethiopia’s Blue Nile

More than 20 of the world’s oldest monastic churches that date back to the 14th century are located on the peninsulas and islands of Ethiopia's Lake Tana. (Photo: Inside the 14th century Ura Kidane Mehret church/Forbes Africa)

Forbes

The Blue Nile pours out of Ethiopia’s Lake Tana as a gentle bubbling stream. Around is an ancient land with life-giving waters.

If one needs to be transported to biblical times, the time machine to do so resides on the banks of the Blue Nile in Ethiopia. This ancient land of many cultures and religions has resisted modernity, leaving many of its traditions intact, as I witnessed traveling through the historic Christian circuit of Ethiopia.

The mysterious Nile was long-hidden from Western geographers and explorers. It was not until the expeditions of such great travelers as Bruce, Burton, and Speke in the 18th century that the origins were confirmed: the White Nile originates in East Africa’s Lake Victoria, while the Blue Nile pours out of Ethiopia’s Lake Tana.


Photos: Forbes

It merges with the smaller tributary, the White Nile, at Khartoum, Sudan, to form the mighty Nile River.

The Blue Nile was responsible for the annual floods that contributed to the fertility of the Nile Valley and subsequent rise of the Egyptian civilization. This ended with the construction of the Aswan Dam in the 1960s in Egypt.

For my exploration, I started in Addis Ababa and flew into Bahir Dar, a clean, safe and well-maintained city (by African standards) and the closest approach to the Blue Nile.

It offers access to more than 20 of the world’s oldest monastic churches that date back to the 14th century, located on the peninsulas and islands of Lake Tana. I hired a boat that regularly plies Lake Tana to visit many of its churches and small villages.

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Ethiopia Launches iGuide for Investment

“The investment guide is about making relevant and up-to-date content available to existing and potential investors,” said Fitsum Arega, Ethiopia’s Investment Commissioner, adding that “it should help us bridge the gap between foreign investors and small and medium enterprises.” (Photo: EBC)

UNCTD

The iGuide provides investors with all they need to know to invest in the country. It also highlights areas for reform in the country’s investment environment and helps the government to understand investor needs.

“The investment guide is about making relevant and up-to-date content available to existing and potential investors,” said Fitsum Arega, Ethiopia’s Investment Commissioner, adding that “it should help us bridge the gap between foreign investors and small and medium enterprises.”

The website covers topics such as the rules and procedures for starting a business, taxes, acquisition of land, skills and wage expectations of the local labour force, quality of infrastructure, investor rights and business sectors with exceptionally high investment potential.

Users who wish to obtain more detailed information can consult additional documents that have been uploaded, such as relevant laws and useful contact information. The site also features extensive feedback collected among investors on the ground.

Officials at the Ethiopia Investment Commission developed the content of the guide, with the site designed to make the information easily updateable.

“The guides help countries attract better quality and greener foreign investment, and provide investors with information that is otherwise scattered across many different websites or outright not available,” UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Isabelle Durant said at the launch.

$2.5 trillion

“UNCTAD has estimated that annual private investment flows of $2.5 trillion are required between now and 2030 to meet the sustainable development goals,” Ms. Durant added.

“Productive and responsible investment, particularly in infrastructure, will also underpin regional integration of the type required to reap the benefits from the African Continental Free Trade Area and take the region towards the ambitious targets of Agenda 2063.”

Also present was ECA Executive Secretary Vera Songwe, who said that the online guide was a “demonstration of taking Africa to the digital age”.

To-date UNCTAD has produced 16 investment guides in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, of which seven, including Ethiopia, have been created in partnership with the Economic Commission for Africa. UNCTAD is also working with the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies to develop guides for the Caribbean region.

UNCTAD’s data has shown that countries benefiting from investment guides have a stronger foreign direct investment performance when compared to the benchmark trends for all developing countries.


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Ways to Boost Donor Participation for the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund

Advisory council members of the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund during a press conference at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, DC on Saturday, December 1st, 2018. (Photo by Matt Andrea/Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: December 17th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – Under the ideal fundraising projection scenario if the majority of Ethiopians in the Diaspora, estimated to be around 2 million, were to be persuaded to give $1 a day ($365 a year) Ethiopia could easily bring in more than half a billion dollars annually to make a real and lasting impact in the country. Of course fundraising rarely works out according to the perfect predictions and expectations, but as the American author Norman Vincent Peale says it’s best to “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

So far the recently established Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund (EDTF), which officially started accepting donations this past October, has done an excellent job of setting up its basic organizational structure, which includes bylaws, an official website, guidance and information for the formation of local chapters, as well as work towards greater transparency when it comes to fund allocation and the fulfillment of other legally required obligations. In a short period of time, EDTF funds have reached the $500,000 threshold with donations from approximately 3,000 individuals, which is half of EDTF’s stated goal of raising one million by the end of 2018. Although their fundraising numbers are not as high as the initial predictions, there is plenty of room for greater civic engagement that is truly one-of-a-kind among the Ethiopian Diaspora.

We believe that the potential and capacity of the larger Ethiopian Diaspora community is waiting to be tapped and suggest that more grassroots efforts to engage individuals through civic engagement activities would help boost efforts to increase donor participation. There are excellent community-based examples of grassroots events that we can reflect on as EDTF moves forward in achieving its goals. In essence, individuals need to feel involved in more ways than one to feel more connected not just to a cause but to its successful implementation.

Below are a few from both the Ethiopian American Diaspora as well as from well-known global initiatives that may be worth learning from:

Tesfa Ineste Campaign – this grassroots campaign chaired by Ms. Abaynesh Asrat collaborated with the Hamlin Fistula USA Foundation to help raise $300,000 to fully finance the building and opening of a hospital in Harar as well as launch one of Ethiopia’s first program for midwife education to further prevent fistula cases. The Tesfa Ineste committee was instrumental in raising 66% of this funding from individual Ethiopians through a social media campaign and a dinner with committee members recruiting friends and supporters across the United States to participate.

Artists for Charity, which was launched by Ethiopian American Abezash Tamerat and until recently hosted annual art auctions, was an impressive social activism model that engaged artists, health experts, and community volunteers to help launch and run one of Ethiopia’s first home for children who were HIV-positive and orphaned.

On the global front, intimate gatherings with global social media outreach such as “Night of a Thousand Dinners” has helped fund programs from landmine removals to support for refugee education. The program entails hosting an intimate dinner for friends and family who donate funds that are then contributed to a campaign. It may sound like a small and simple concept, but when multiplied across the globe the impact is tremendous. Other human rights-focused non-profits like Amnesty International have always encouraged their donors to not only pay membership dues but likewise to be part of their urgent action network and write for rights campaigns where volunteers go off-line to volunteer their time and effort in initiatives that help them to connect to the individuals they are standing up for.

Providing a space for dialogue, events, mixers and forums is a great way to boost the Ethiopian Diaspora’s sense of ownership in the success of EDTF regardless of political or social affiliations. As Ethiopians in the Diaspora we can all agree that participation in causes that provide more access to clean water, education, and the empowerment of our peers is valuable and meaningful. EDTF has announced that they plan to start providing funds to social causes once they hit the 1 million dollar mark. Let’s increase civic engagement off-line to help us get beyond that number and more closer to the original prediction!


Related:
Few Takeaways From EDTF Press Conference at Ethiopian Embassy in DC
Interview: Dr. Lemma Senbet on the Diaspora Trust Fund & Chapter Formation
Interview with Dr. Bisrat Aklilu About the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia (Tadias Editorial/July 10th, 2018)

You can learn more about the fund and contribute at ethiopiatrustfund.org.

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Update on Al Amoudi: He’s Alive and Well

The Ethiopian-born businessman has been in Saudi custody for more than a year with little official information about his status, while as Bloomberg reports "rumors spread among Saudi Arabia’s business elite that he had died. Al Amoudi has been in touch with relatives and is reported to be in good health, according to his spokesman, Tim Pendry. He disputed that Al Amoudi has been officially charged with any wrongdoing and declined further comment." Meanwhile, despite his incarceration Al Amoudi's international business is booming. Bloomberg notes that since his arrest last year "his net worth has climbed by about 6 percent to $8.3 billion." (Photo: Mohammed al Amoudi by photographer Hans Berggren)

Bloomberg

More than a year ago, he vanished into the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh, along with dozens of Saudi princes and businessmen.

Before long, rumors swirled: Was the billionaire Mohammed Al Amoudi even alive?

Now, at last, comes the answer. Al Amoudi, is “still alive” and will stand trial at some point for corruption and bribery, according to a Saudi official, who asked not to be identified.

What’s remarkable about his situation is that despite his prolonged detainment, a result of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s crackdown on graft in the Kingdom, the bulk of Al Amoudi’s global business empire has boomed.

Sales at his Sweden-based oil refiner Preem AB have surged more than 30 percent and his Stockholm office properties have risen in value. Since he was seized by security forces in Riyadh last year, his net worth has climbed by about 6 percent to $8.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 richest people.

The situation highlights the contradictions and absurdities of being a wealthy Saudi under the de facto reign of the crown prince, whose embargo of Qatar, war in Yemen and alleged role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi have shocked the world but prompted little apparent change in his agenda.

A Saudi official who asked not to be identified confirmed Thursday that the billionaire is in custody, though no trial date has been set. Al Amoudi has been in touch with relatives and is reported to be in good health, according to his spokesman, Tim Pendry. He disputed that Al Amoudi has been officially charged with any wrongdoing and declined further comment.

Read more »


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21 Killed in Ethnic Violence in Ethiopia

The violence broke out near the town of Moyale...On top of the fatalities, 61 people were injured in the fighting, the state-affiliated Fana radio reported. (Photo: A refugee camp on the Ethiopian-Kenyan border near the town of Moyale, Kenya/Reuters)

AFP

At least 21 people have been killed in two days of fighting between ethnic groups in southern Ethiopia, the state-affiliated Fana radio reported on Friday,

The violence broke out near the town of Moyale, on the border with Kenya, in a region claimed by both the Oromo, the largest ethnic group in the country, and the Somali ethnic group.

On top of the fatalities, 61 people were injured in the fighting, Fana reported, citing the Oromia regional state communication office.

Many more were displaced by the fighting in the region which has regularly been the scene of intercommunal violence.

Last year fighting between members of the two ethnic groups left more than a million people displaced.

While Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has received international praise for his reformist agenda, since coming to power in April, a wave of intercommunal violence in several parts of the country – mostly over land issues – has marred the first few months of his rule.

Three Ethiopian students were also killed and 34 others injured after a fight on a campus escalated into deadly ethnic clashes in the west of the Horn of Africa country, the government said on Wednesday.


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Ethiopia Sets 2022 for Nile Dam’s Completion Amid Delays

The dam’s construction managers have concerns about the quality of the electro-mechanical works that were handled by the country’s military-run Metal and Engineering Corporation. Latest official figures indicate the dam is now more than 65 percent complete. - The Associated Press. (Photo via VOA)

AP

By ELIAS MESERET

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia’s controversial Nile River dam will not be completed until 2022, more than four years behind schedule, because of possible defects with the hydro-electrical plant’s equipment, an official said Thursday.

The dam’s construction managers have concerns about the quality of the electro-mechanical works that were handled by the country’s military-run Metal and Engineering Corporation.

“We have a plan to generate power from the first two units within the coming two years and then probably the dam will be completed in the year 2022,” the dam’s construction manager, Kifle Hora, told The Associated Press on Thursday. Experts are assessing some electro-mechanical equipment for possible defects, he said. “Based on the assessment, we are going to devise a remedial solution which we may have to take,” he said.

The assessment came after the installation of the electro-mechanical works, described by officials as one of the most sophisticated parts of the dam, were taken away from the military-run Metal and Engineering Corporation and given to other contractors. The company’s former head, Maj. Gen. Kinfe Dagnew, and other senior officials were jailed recently on charges of corruption and embezzlement.

“We first noticed problems with the dam’s electro-mechanical and metal works two years ago but we only started taking detailed measurements in the past few months,” Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity Minister, Sileshi Bekele, said.

“This (military) corporation has no prior experience and I highly doubt if some of the people have ever seen a hydropower plant. The government made a mistake in assigning a local contractor that has no knowledge and experience of such a complex project. In my opinion, it was a grave mistake and we are paying a price for that,” Kifle said, adding that construction of other parts of the dam is continuing.

The dam’s former manager, Semegnew Bekele, was found dead inside his car on July in the center of the capital, Addis Ababa. Police officials later said he committed suicide but some Ethiopians suspect foul play.

The dam’s construction has created controversy in the region as Egypt fears that its agriculture would be badly affected if too much of the Nile’s waters are retained each year by Ethiopia’s dam. Ethiopia maintains that the dam’s construction will not reduce Egypt’s share of the water and that the dam is necessary for Ethiopia’s development, pointing out that 60 percent of it 100 million citizens don’t have access to electricity.

Latest official figures indicate the dam is now more than 65 percent complete. Once completed, it will generate about 6,400 megawatts, more than doubling Ethiopia’s current production of 4,000 megawatts.


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Tackling Hate Speech in Ethiopia (HRW)

Internet café in Lalibela. © 2010 Hemis.fr/AFP Photo

HRW

Criminalizing Speech Won’t Solve Problem

Hate and dangerous speech is a serious and growing problem in Ethiopia, both online and offline. It has contributed to the growing ethnic tensions and conflicts across the country that have created more than 1.4 million new internally displaced people in the first half of 2018 alone. The government says it will pass a new law on hate speech to counter this. But around the world, laws criminalizing hate speech have been often and easily abused – and there are other options.

In the past year, speeches by government officials, activists and others in Ethiopia have disseminated quickly through social media and helped trigger or fuel violent conflicts in the country.

It is encouraging that Ethiopia’s government says hate speech must be addressed. But any law that limits freedom of expression by punishing hate speech must be narrowly drawn and enforced with restraint, so that it only targets speech that is likely to incite imminent violence or discrimination that cannot be prevented through other means. Many governments have tried and failed to strike the right balance, and Ethiopia’s own track record offers reason for alarm. In the past, the Ethiopian government has used vague legal definitions including in its anti-terrorism law, to crack down on peaceful expressions of dissent.

What Ethiopia needs is a comprehensive new strategy – one that even a carefully drawn hate speech law should only be one small part of. This could include public education campaigns, programs to improve digital literacy, and efforts to encourage self-regulation within and between communities. The prime minister and other public figures could also speak out regularly and openly about the dangers of hate speech. Donors, eager to support the reform process, could help support such a strategy. And social media companies should do more, including ensuring they have sufficient resources to respond quickly to reports that speech on their platform may lead to violence.

Ethiopians also need new platforms and opportunities to express their grievances and discuss critical issues, beyond social media. The growing list of independent media outlets, as well as universities, civil society organizations, political parties, and others could provide helpful environments for discussion.

Ethiopia is currently rewriting its civil society law and anti-terrorism law – both of which were used in the past to stifle dissent and limit freedom of expression. It should be careful not to undermine those efforts by drafting a new law that could be used for the same kinds of abuse.


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Fact Check: Ethiopia Diaspora “Leaders” Wrong on Obama

It's been almost two years since President Obama has left the White House, but unfortunately our so called "Diaspora leaders" (unelected) are still obsessed with their own spin and propaganda about the former President of the United States (twice-elected), who has always enjoyed and continues to enjoy wide support and respect among the diverse Ethiopian American community. How true is the often repeated claim and suggestion that "Human Rights" was not on Obama's agenda during his landmark visit to the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia three years ago? Or, for that matter, during Obama's meeting with the then Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn? A quick internet search reveals that in fact the topic was high on the list. Below is how USA Today reported the American president's trip to Ethiopia in July of 2015. (Photo: Obama in Ethiopia greeting the catering staff at the National Palace in Addis Ababa, July 2015/by Pete Souza)

USA TODAY | Published July 27, 2015

Obama talks about security and human rights in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — President Obama pressed the government of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Monday to ease restrictions on free speech, the press and political opposition in the impoverished East African nation.

“When all voices are being heard, when people know they are being included in the political process, that makes a country more successful,” Obama said at a joint news conference with Desalegn.

Later Monday, Obama and representatives from the 54-nation African Union, headquartered here, met to discuss terrorism, human rights and regional security issues.

The White House said most of the discussion focused on neighboring South Sudan, which has been embroiled in a bloody civil war since December 2013. Before the meeting, Obama said that “conditions on the ground (in South Sudan) are getting much, much worse.”

South Sudan, which became a nation in July 2011, has until Aug. 17 to accept a peace and power-sharing agreement between warring government factions. Most of the discussion Monday focused on how to get an agreement next month, and some participants talked about sanctions or military intervention if the warring parties fail to settle their differences, the White House said.

Obama’s visit to Ethiopia is a first by a sitting U.S. president, and the second country on a two-stop tour that began in neighboring Kenya, the nation where his late father was born.

Around this capital city, security was tight, with roadblocks on major thoroughfares and residents — as in Kenya — ordered to stay home and out of the downtown area. Even so, residents came out in force, hoping to take photos of Obama as he drove by.

“I’m heading to town on foot to try my luck if I can see President Obama passing,” said Aluka Kemal, 35, a businessman who lives in the neighborhood of Gulele.

Around a market area at the northern end of Churchill Avenue, hundreds of people lined the streets waving both American and Ethiopian flags. Some held posters of Obama, chanted his name and sang songs.

Ethiopia’s economy has been growing by nearly 10% annually in recent years but remains one of Africa’s poorest nations, with unemployment around 17%. It is the second-most populous country in Africa, after Nigeria, and faces a threat from al-Shabab militants based in neighboring Somalia. Ethiopia has taken part in regional military operations against the group.

President Obama is now the first sitting US President to visit Ethiopia. He arrived at the National Palace to meet with that country’s Prime Minister on Monday. (July 27) AP

Human rights organizations say the government has used its war against terror to clamp down on political opposition groups and basic freedoms. Ethiopia is the world’s second-worst jailer of journalists in Africa, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Ahead of Obama’s arrival, the government released several journalists and bloggers it had been holding since April 2014 on charges of incitement and terrorism. Many others remain in detention.

Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security adviser, said Obama’s visit is not a sign of approval of Ethiopia’s human rights record.

Photos: President Obama Becomes First Sitting U.S. President to Visit Ethiopia


Related:
Obama Alumni Return to Washington, This Time as House Freshmen
Alex Assefa, Joe Neguse & lhan Omar: Ethiopian, Eritrean & Somali Make History in 2018 US Election
Democrats Capture U.S. House Majority in Rebuke to Trump

Watch: Historic Record number of women heading to U.S. Congress

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Obama Alumni Return to Washington

Tom Malinowski of New Jersey who served President Barack Obama as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor is one of several former Obama administration officials that were elected to the U.S. Congress in 2018. “This is a group that has really seen it all,” said Eric Lesser, a former Obama White House aide who is now a state senator in Massachusetts. “They’re just not going to be intimidated.” (Photo: NYT)

The New York Times

Obama Alumni Return to Washington, This Time as House Freshmen

WASHINGTON — Their previous jobs have taken them to the Oval Office, the Situation Room and the Senate floor. One met with a Saudi king and plotted strategy to fight the Islamic State. Another cracked down on human rights abuses in North Korea. Their Rolodexes are flush with former cabinet members and current Pentagon officials who are happy to take their calls.

Nearly a dozen members of the House’s incoming class are far from being gawky freshmen, stumbling wide-eyed through the strange corridors of Capitol Hill, but are instead experienced policymakers who have worked in previous presidential administrations — seven of them for former President Barack Obama. Their return to Washington is, in part, a way to undo what they see as the unspooling of the values and legacy of the nation’s 44th president…

“This is a group that has really seen it all,” said Eric Lesser, a former Obama White House aide who is now a state senator in Massachusetts. “They’re just not going to be intimidated.”

A pair of them, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Mr. Malinowski of New Jersey, have previously tussled with Congress. Ms. Slotkin, a former C.I.A. officer who served three tours of duty in Iraq and informed the nation’s strategy against the Islamic State, appeared before the Senate for her confirmation hearing as a nominee for assistant secretary of defense to Mr. Obama. (She also served under George W. Bush.)

Mr. Malinowski, who helped levy sanctions against North Korean officials for human rights abuses, was confirmed as assistant secretary of state after receiving lavish praise from Senator John McCain. Another incoming member, Haley Stevens of Michigan, was once in charge of Mr. Obama’s Senate confirmations and cabinet designations.

Read the full article at NYTimes.com »


Related:
Alex Assefa, Joe Neguse & lhan Omar: Ethiopian, Eritrean & Somali Make History in 2018 US Election
Democrats Capture U.S. House Majority in Rebuke to Trump

Watch: Historic Record number of women heading to U.S. Congress

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Facebook Shuts 20 Fake Ethiopia Pages

Fana Broadcasting Corporate’s announcement comes as Ethiopians complain that fake news reports in recent months have contributed to mass violence and deaths in some parts of the country. (Photo: FBC)

AP

By ELIAS MESERET

Facebook Shuts 20 Pages Claiming to be Ethiopian Broadcaster

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — A major Ethiopian broadcaster says Facebook has shut 20 pages that falsely used its name.

Fana Broadcasting Corporate’s announcement comes as Ethiopians complain that fake news reports in recent months have contributed to mass violence and deaths in some parts of the country.

“Based on our request, Facebook has shut down 13 fake pages in the past week alone. In recent weeks, a total of 20 fake Fana pages that were spreading fake news were shut down,” Mekoya Hailemariam, head editor of Fana’s online publications, told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “The pages were using our official logo and mixing our authentic news items with fake ones to intentionally spread misinformation. Some of these fake pages used to have as high as 45,000 followers.”

Ethiopia has one of the lowest internet penetrations in the world with about 15 percent of its citizens having access to the net, according to Internet World Stats. The number of people using Facebook in Ethiopia, is estimated to be about 4.5 million of its 100 million inhabitants.

“There are only a few independent and free media outlets in Ethiopia,” said Befkadu Hailu, a prominent blogger in Ethiopia. “Hence, people are exposed to rumors, fake news and conspiracy theories. As such, they are exploited in many ways.”

Ethiopia’s reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in April, has relaxed the government’s control of the media, freeing journalists and bloggers who were in jail and unlocking several dozen online media outlets. But Abiy has warned on several occasions that fabricated stories are jeopardizing the public’s peace and security.

“Youths should refrain from taking measures based on misinformation and fake news,” Abiy said in August. “This will only hamper our reform efforts and lead us to failure ultimately.”

The Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Fitsum Arega, also tweeted in August urging the public to “disregard falsehoods” and stay away from “fabricated stories.”

In recent months, Ethiopians were exposed to fake news reports that sometimes led to violent and deadly events. One video that circulated four months ago purported to show ethnic Oromos throwing dead bodies of ethnic Somalis into a grave. The video was blamed for instigating a violent confrontation.

In another example, fake news reports last week accused the country’s running great, Haile Gebrselassie, of renting the ground floor of one of his buildings in the capital Addis Ababa to security agencies that were torturing people inside. He later dismissed it as an “utter lie.”

This East African nation has cut off internet in several occasions to curb the flow of information, notably during its two recent emergency rules.


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Ethiopia Courts Pharmaceuticals Investors

Ethiopians spend $700 million a year on pharmaceuticals, only a fifth of which are produced locally. Spending on medication is expected to grow to more than $900 million by 2020, according to Anteneh Senbeta of the Ethiopian Investment Commission. (Bloomberg)

Bloomberg

By Samuel Gebre

Ethiopia Courts Pharmaceuticals Investors as Demand Surge Seen

Ethiopia is offering tax breaks and other incentives to lure foreign drugs manufacturers as the government forecasts demand will increase by almost a third by the end of the decade.

Ethiopians spend $700 million a year on pharmaceuticals, only a fifth of which are produced locally. Spending on medication is expected to grow to more than $900 million by 2020, Anteneh Senbeta, the deputy commissioner for corporate affairs at the Ethiopian Investment Commission, said in an emailed response to queries.

Foreign companies have ploughed $213 million into the industry in the past two years, lured by government offers to facilitate exports and allow companies to repatriate profits, the agency said. The government has promised tax exemptions for factories at an export-processing facility on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa, one of several established across the country.

Two Chinese companies, Humanwell Healthcare Group Co. and Sansheng Holdings Group Co., invested a total $100 million in another industrial park over the past two years, according to Kartik Akileswaran, a governance adviser at the EIC.

The latest investor to announce its entry into Ethiopia is Mumbai-based Kilitch Drugs India Ltd., which plans to build a plant to manufacture medicinal vials by mid-2019. United Arab Emirates drug-maker Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries has a hub in Ethiopia, from where its eyeing east and west African markets.

“There is a strong investment policy focused on pharmaceuticals, with tax exemptions, a one-stop shop for government services and a price preference in public procurement,” Senbeta said.

Read more »


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Ethiopia Corruption Crackdown (UPDATE)

Former Director General of METEC, Major General Kinfe Dagnew, was arrested on corruption charges on November 13th, 2018. (Photo: Fana Broadcasting)

AP

By ELIAS MESERET | Updated November 13, 2018

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia has detained the former head of a large military-run industrial conglomerate, a day after the country’s attorney general disclosed that several hundred million dollars was embezzled from the firm.

The state broadcaster ETV reported that Maj. Gen. Kinfe Dagnew, former head of the Metal and Engineering Corporation, was arrested near the Sudanese border where he was trying to flee.

The arrest is viewed as a direct hit on Ethiopia’s military establishment, the latest of several major changes implemented by reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, 42, since he came to power in April.

Images of the former official in handcuffs arriving by helicopter in the capital, Addis Ababa, have been aired repeatedly by the state broadcaster. The news of Kinfe’s arrest has captured the attention of many in this East African nation as he was one of the most feared figures in the country until a few months ago.

“He was a dictator who was not willing to solve our problems,” Desalegn Kebede, who did business with him, told the Associated Press. “I’m very happy that he is now under custody. We hope that he will get what he deserves.”

Ethiopia’s Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye stated on Monday that 27 suspects were arrested from the military-run company on allegations of corruption. He alleged that an estimated $2 billion worth of procurements were made without an open tender.

In addition, a further 36 individuals were apprehended for alleged human rights violation.

The previous government of Ethiopia, a close security ally of the West, was often accused of rights violations by international groups and activists. Abiy’s new government has carried out several reforms including releasing several thousand political prisoners, permitting opposition groups to return from exile, dropping terror charges against prominent opposition leaders and relaxing restrictions against the media.

But still ethnic-based clashes have broken out in some parts of the country and pose the most serious threat to Abiy’s leadership of Ethiopia’s 100 million people.


Related:
Video: Former Director General of METEC, Major General Kinfe Dagnew, who was taken into custody today, arrives in AddisAbaba (Fana Broadcasting)

Ethiopia Arrests 63 Suspected of Rights Abuses, Corruption

AP

By Elias Meseret 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia has arrested 63 intelligence officials, military personnel and businesspeople on allegations of rights violations and corruption, the country’s attorney general announced Monday.

The sweeping high-profile arrests carried out in recent days are a result of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s order for a months-long investigation into misdoings under the previous government.

Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye told the media that some of those arrested are suspected of abuses of prisoners including “beatings, forced confessions, sodomy, rape, electrocution and even killings.”

Some of those arrested are accused of mismanaging a state-owned military corporation, the Metal and Engineering Corporation, that was looted in a multi-billion dollar corruption scheme, he said.

Berhanu also said that Ethiopia’s former spy chief is suspected of involvement in an attempt to assassinate the new prime minster at a rally on June 23. While other officials implicated in the plot have fled the country, the former intelligence chief is now residing in northern Ethiopia and should turn himself in to authorities, he said.


Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye told local journalists on Monday, November 12th the detention comes after five months of investigation. (Photo: Fana Broadcasting)

Yilikal Getnet, an opposition figure, told The Associated Press the public had demanded the arrests of the former officials.

“These have been issues that we in the opposition have long been calling for, too,” he said, adding that Ethiopia needs a truth and reconciliation process to investigate past misdoings. “The ruling party alone can’t bring justice for all these atrocities committed in the past.”

Under the previous government, Ethiopia, a close security ally of the West, used to be accused of rights violations by human rights activists. Since Abiy, 42, came to power in April his new government has released several thousand political prisoners, permitted exiled opposition groups to return home, dropped terror charges against prominent opposition politicians and permitted the media to operate more freely.

Despite the reforms, ethnic-based clashes are continuing in some parts of Ethiopia and pose the most serious threat to Abiy’s leadership of this East African nation of 100 million people.

Amnesty International welcomed the arrests.

“These arrests are an important first step toward ensuring full accountability for the abuses that have dogged the country for several decades,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s East Africa Director. “Many of these officials were at the helm of government agencies infamous for perpetrating gross human rights violations, such as torture and the arbitrary detention of people including in secret facilities. We urge the government of Prime Minister Abiy to take further steps to ensure justice and accountability for all past human rights violations and abuses, while at the same time ensuring all the individuals arrested receive fair trials.”


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In Ethiopia U.S. Ambassador Holds a Round Table With Journalists

Ambassador Mike Raynor & Negussie Mengesha, Voice of America Africa Division Head, led a round table discussion with journalists at U.S. Embassy Addis on October 24, 2018. (@USEmbassyAddis)

Press Release

Michael Raynor
U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia
at a round table with VOA team and journalists
U.S. Embassy, Addis Ababa
October 24, 2018

(As prepared for delivery)

Good afternoon everyone.

I’d like to thank our friends from Voice of America for organizing this roundtable, and especially to thank all of you for your commitment to your profession.

Professional journalism is hard work.

It takes effort, commitment, and in today’s world, courage.

But it’s also incredibly important.

As Ethiopia pursues its unprecedented democratic and economic reforms, thoughtful, impactful, and high-quality journalism is more important than ever before.

Ethiopia needs you.

Ethiopia needs you because having access to credible and unbiased information, and being able to use that information to make wise decisions, is a fundamental requirement of any democracy.

Democracies simply don’t survive if information flows only from the government to the governed; rather, democracies must sustain, and benefit from, conversations in all directions.

And the better-informed those conversation are, the stronger the democracy.

That’s where everyone in this room comes in.

As Ethiopia’s reform efforts continue, both the government and the people will need credible and responsible media outlets.

Journalism must ensure that people are informed about what the government, opposition groups, and civil society are saying and doing.

No less important, journalism must also scrutinize these actors and their actions, provide context, research the facts, and present a range of views to help people understand the options before them and reach well-informed conclusions.

Journalism best meets these needs when it objectively reflects a range of views, provides a platform for discussion that is open to all voices, welcomes constructive dissent, and is as inclusive as possible.

For journalism to play its essential role, certain principles are fundamentally important.

First, the media must trade in facts, not speculation.

Second, the media must avoid bias by creating space for diverse views.

Third, the media must not only present diverse views, but exercise judgement and provide context when reporting on those views.

This is essential in helping people sort opinion from fact to assess the credibility of various voices.

While featuring diverse voices is important, journalists need to track down the facts and help the Ethiopian people sort through the tremendous volume of information, and mis-information, that inundates us all in these complicated times.

And finally, journalists must remember that journalism and activism are not the same things.

Both are important in a democracy, and no democracy can survive without them both, but confusing the two harms the integrity and credibility of the journalist, while doing a disservice to the audience as well.

As I said earlier, professional journalism is hard work.

We at the U.S. Embassy know and appreciate this, and we’re committed to improving your access to the tools, learning opportunities, and space for you to do your jobs.

Back in August, we held our annual dialogue with the Ethiopian government on democracy, human rights, and governance here in Addis.

One of the key outcomes of this dialogue was an agreement to explore ways the United States can help support professional journalism in Ethiopia.

We welcome His Excellency Prime Minister Dr. Abiy’s prioritization of media freedom and reform, and look forward to supporting these positive developments.

But it will take more than changing the law to advance the profession of journalism.

The United States is committed to doing our part.

Our Embassy recently concluded a program that trained over 260 journalists, in every region of Ethiopia, on investigative reporting focused on exploring the impact that development projects have on the country.

We’ve brought Fulbright Scholars and Specialists, and Ambassador’s Distinguished Scholars, to work with journalists and journalism students, as part of our ongoing collaboration with Ethiopian universities to strengthen the next generation of Ethiopian journalists.

Next week, we’ll begin another training program, in partnership with the British Embassy, that will increase transparency and the flow of information between journalists and government officials.

We’re launching a fund to support the sustainability and professionalism of new independent media houses.

And we continue to send Ethiopian government officials on exchange programs to the United States, to share our experience in creating an enabling environment for broadcast media.

Such programs are intended to invest in you, Ethiopia’s professional journalists, and the important work that you do.

All we ask in return is that you do your best.

Do your best to take your stories a step further, to ask the hard questions, to track down additional sources, to question what you think you know, and, most importantly, to be forthright about what you don’t know.

And then to share that information with the public in a way that leaves them well-informed, while leaving it up to them to form their own opinions and conclusions.

As Ethiopia approaches upcoming local and national elections, journalists like you can play a tremendous role in focusing public discourse on the issues that matter to people.

How will various parties and candidates create jobs; support an inclusive political environment; provide security without infringing on rights; and improve education, health care, and other citizens’ services?

By asking such questions, and by providing factual context to the answers, you can help your fellow citizens make informed decisions when they cast their ballots.

But remember that elections are just one part of the democratic process.

In many ways, the real work starts after the results are tallied.

In a democracy, journalists play an essential role in holding elected officials accountable for their promises, and must ensure that the public is informed about what their elected officials are doing.

Democracy, like journalism, takes hard work, and journalism and democracy are inextricably linked.

In the end, neither one can thrive without the other.

As Ethiopia embarks upon a fundamentally new era of democracy, the work you do is more important than ever.

I hope that in your discussion today, you will consider what steps are needed to empower the media in Ethiopia.

And if you identify areas where the United States can help, please let us know.

Thank you again for your commitment to your noble and essential profession, and know that you have the full support of the United States every step of the way.


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Ethiopia’s GOC to Open 100 Cafés in China

Through a deal with Suzhou Reyto trading company, Garden of Coffee (GOC) says it will ship 12 tons of hand-roasted coffee to China in the first year. The company has also launched advertisement and marketing on the multi-purpose messaging and social media app WeChat, will soon place its product on the shopping site Taobao. But it’s big plan is to open over 100 café roasteries across China by 2022. (Quartz)

Quartz Africa

Ethiopia’s Homegrown Coffee Brand GOC to Open 100 Cafés in China

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu has a dream: that everyone should one day taste hand-roasted Ethiopian coffee.

Widely acknowledged as the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia is one of the world’s largest coffee bean producers and Africa’s top grower of the plant. Coffee is also brewed and drank in the Horn of Africa nation in elaborate ceremonies, often using crafting techniques passed down from generations over centuries. As an entrepreneur, Alemu always wanted to replicate this dynamic experience—what she calls “the magical process”—to coffee lovers worldwide.

And so was born in 2016 the idea for Garden of Coffee, a brand that uses artisanal methods to source, process, roast, and package Ethiopia’s legendary beans. Twenty workers at the company’s atelier in Addis Ababa currently oversee this activity, roasting five types of coffee beans only for individual orders and shipping them to over 20 countries including Russia, Sweden, Germany, and the United States.

China-bound

Alemu is now venturing out of Ethiopia. In August, Garden of Coffee launched in China, a tea-loving market that is increasingly turning towards coffee. Starbucks, Coca-Cola, e-commerce giant Alibaba, hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, and local Chinese start-up Luckin Coffee have in recent years all bet big on China’s nascent coffee scene. Java House, East Africa’s largest chain of coffee shops, also said in August it would capitalize on this increased demand for specialty coffee to supply the Chinese market.

Read more »


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Diaspora Trust Fund Launches Website

Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund. (Image: YouTube)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 21st, 2018

Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund to Accept Donations Online

New York (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund will start accepting donations through its website, ethiopiatrustfund.org, beginning Monday October 22nd, 2018.

The fund, which is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, allows donors to make tax-deductible contributions.

Below is the official announcement:

Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund

The primary objective of the Ethiopia Diaspora Trust Fund (EDTF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is to finance people-focused social and economic development projects.

Our Mission:

The EDTF aims to finance projects that meet critical needs selected based on their potential to make the highest positive impact on groups and communities in Ethiopia in areas such as:

★ health
★ education
★ water and sanitation facilities
★ habilitation and rehabilitation of persons with disability
★ agricultural development
★ technology
★ small scale entrepreneurship
★ other income and employment generating projects

The EDTF will give priority attention to projects focusing on youth, women, small holder farmers, small enterprises and entrepreneurs who can be agents of inclusive social and economic development.

Background:

Responding to Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s call for action and in support of his message of love, forgiveness, reconciliation, unity and peace, the Ethiopian Diaspora has enthusiastically accepted his challenge and is ready to contribute at least 1 US dollar a day to fund vital unmet inclusive economic and social development projects in Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian Diaspora supports the bold peaceful political democratization reform launched by the Prime Minister and his government with the goal of achieving a durable solution to Ethiopia’s socio-political and economic challenges that meets the legitimate aspirations of all of Ethiopians — irrespective of ethnicity, language, religion, and gender — including:

★ A life of dignity, freedom, equality, justice and economic opportunity
★ Equitable and inclusive social and economic development
★ National unity based on peaceful cooperation among Ethiopia’s diverse communities

The EDTF Terms of Reference provides the rationale, guiding principles and operating procedures, including the EDTF’s governance, project approval, implementation, reporting monitoring and evaluation. The EDTF responds to the Prime Minster’s call for action through a funding facility that will enable the Ethiopian Diaspora world-wide to contribute to the improvement of their fellow citizens.


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America’s Iconic Former First Lady Michelle Obama Prepares for Rock Star Book Tour

The iconic former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama is preparing for a rock star book tour next month starting in her hometown of Chicago on November 13th, 2018. Her memoir "Becoming" is set to be translated in 28 languages worldwide. The following is a highlight by publisher Penguin Random House. (Photo: The cover image from the book released by Crown Publishing Group)

Press Release

IN A LIFE filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

The full tour schedule is below:

Nov. 13: Chicago — United Center
Nov. 15: Los Angeles — The Forum
Nov. 17: Washington — Capital One Arena
Nov. 24: Boston — TD Garden
Nov. 29: Philadelphia — Wells Fargo Center
Dec. 1: Brooklyn — Barclays Center
Dec. 11: Detroit — Little Caesars Arena
Dec. 13: Denver — Pepsi Center
Dec. 14: San Jose — SAP Center
Dec. 17: Dallas — American Airlines Center


Learn more and buy tickets at https://becomingmichelleobama.com.

Related:
Michelle Obama is claiming her own spotlight. (Video)

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Obama: ‘Let’s Make History’ on Nov. 6th

The following is a message from former U.S. President Barack Obama urging young Americans to vote on Nov. 6 midterm elections. (Photo: @barackobama/Facebook)

Organizing for Action

By Barack Obama

In 19 days, we have the opportunity of a lifetime — the opportunity to help decide this country’s course.

See, the story of America is a story of progress. Sometimes slow, sometimes frustrating, but always forward.

But our progress isn’t inevitable. And it wasn’t achieved by a handful of famous leaders. It was won because of countless quiet acts of heroism and dedication by citizens like you who refused to be bystanders. Instead, they marched and mobilized and voted to make history.

Now I don’t have to tell you that we face extraordinary times. But here’s the good news: In 19 days, we have the chance to restore some sanity to our politics and bend the arc of history toward justice once again.

Because there is only one real guardrail when Washington veers off course, and that’s you. You and your vote. And your friends’ and families’ and neighbors’ votes.

The antidote to government by a powerful few is government by the organized, energized many.

In 19 days, you can make history. In 19 days, you can put America back on track. In 19 days, you can set the stage for all kinds of progress. But it won’t happen by itself. It won’t happen if we decide to be bystanders instead of change-makers.

We’ve got to do the work.

So I’m asking you: If you haven’t already voted, make a plan right now. Make sure everybody you know is doing the same.

Grab a friend and go knock doors or make phone calls for candidates you believe in — because there are only 19 days left. Don’t wake up disappointed on November 7th, thinking, “I could’ve done more.” Let’s give this country all we’ve got.

If you’re ready to take me up on that — ready to play your critical role in shaping our democracy — say you’re in.


Related:
Barack Obama Launches Video Urging Young Americans to Vote

Variety

Former President Barack Obama is using digital-media to reach millennials — with a new video aimed at getting young Americans to the polls for the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

“Look, a lot of our elected officials are misinformed,” Obama says in the video.

At another point, Obama ribs Republican senators who questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg “like they’d never used the internet before… because they haven’t.”

“Here’s your chance to vote for people who actually know what the internet is,” Obama says. “You wouldn’t let your grandparents pick your playlist. Why would you let them pick your representative who’s going to determine your future?”

The full Obama get-out-the-vote video is available on ATTN:’s Facebook page and its YouTube channel, with a shorter version available on Instagram.

Watch: President Obama Doesn’t Have Time For These 7 Excuses Not To Vote


Related:
Michelle Obama’s vacation is over. Now she’s claiming her own spotlight. (Video)

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Spotlight: Helen Show on Professional Women and Motherhood (Video)

Mimi Hailegiorghis, Department Head Systems Performance Engineering at Mitre Corporation, and Tseday Alehegn, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tadias Magazine, on Helen Show. (EBS TV)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 16th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The latest episode of the Helen Show on EBS TV features a timely topic: professional women and motherhood.

The show’s host Helen Mesfin speaks with Mimi Hailegiorghis, who is a Department Head of Systems Performance Engineering at Mitre Corporation, and Tseday Alehegn, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tadias Magazine.

Watch: HELEN SHOW SEASON 15 EPISODE 5 PROFESSIONAL WOMEN AND MOTHERHOOD (AMHARIC)


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Michelle Obama’s vacation is over. Now she’s claiming her own spotlight. (Video)

Former first lady Michelle Obama prepares to take the stage during a When We All Vote rally at Chaparral High School in Las Vegas. Obama, the founder and co-chairwoman of the organization, spoke at the September rally with over 2,000 volunteers and eligible voters present. (The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

Twenty-one months after she left the White House, Michelle Obama is returning to public life feeling purposeful and invigorated. She launched, within weeks, high-profile social initiatives on voting and girls education while preparing for a mega-book tour unlike any book tour, well, ever.

Fans already have purchased tens of thousands of tickets to hear Obama share stories from her memoir, “Becoming,” in basketball arenas in 10 cities. Combined with the celebrity-laden rollouts of her latest projects, the former first lady is demonstrating a mix of uncommon star-power and bankability while advancing themes that have long mattered to her.

Obama, 54, feels liberated after a decade in an unrelenting political spotlight where she was tethered to her husband’s career and a White House role marked by both opportunities and constraints alike, say those who know her well. They say she is reveling in the chance to develop meaningful pursuits entirely her own.

“The possibilities are infinite,” said longtime friend and former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, who describes Obama as fired-up and happy. “Now she’s able to lead her best life and to create and own it in her own image.”

Today on a New York television stage, Obama unveiled a project intended to help educate tens of millions of adolescent girls denied the chance to finish high school. The Global Girls Alliance, developed quietly over the past year, scored an hour of coverage on NBC’s “Today Show,” ending with a concert by Jennifer Hudson, Meghan Trainor and Kelly Clarkson.

Read more »


Related:
Michelle Obama to young voters: ‘It’s time for us to move out of the way and let you lead’

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Celebrating International Day of the Girl with Girls Gotta Run Foundation

Girls Gotta Run Foundation celebrates International Day of the Girl with Virtual Relay (Photo Courtesy: GGRF)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 11th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — October 11th is International Day of the Girl, and Girls Gotta Run Foundation (GGRF), which works in Bekoji and Soddo in Ethiopia, is joining the global celebration with the launch of their Day of the Girl Virtual Relay to raise funds for GGRF athletic scholars set to run an ultra relay in January 2019.

“RUN anywhere you are in the world on October 11th in honor of International Day of the Girl and join runners across the globe by logging your miles on Strava or with Ragnar Relay,” states the event announcement. “CELEBRATE girl changemakers in Ethiopia by sharing your run on social media using #DayoftheGirlRelay, making a donation to GGRF in honor of the inspiring women in your life, or joining us in Ethiopia for the first ever GGRF Bekoji Ultra Relay in January 2019.”

In London, GGRF is co-hosting a panel discussion with the Tate Modern focusing on the power of collaboration among organizations “to empower girls and women around the world.
” Panel speakers include: Daniel Demissie, Filmmaker of Town of Runners documentary; Dora Atim and Jessie Zapotechne, Girl Effect Run Leaders, and Kayla Nolan, Executive Director of Girls Gotta Run Foundation. The London event also features photography and artwork by GGRF athletic scholars.

Since 2007 GGRF has been working at the grassroots level in four key areas to improve the lives of girls, ages 11-18, in Ethiopia by providing athletic scholarships and increasing access to education, while creating opportunities for entrepreneurship and savings for mothers.

The organization’s vision statement notes: “Girls Gotta Run envisions a world that empowers and invests in the exceptional initiative of young women who are working to establish their place in the world as competitive runners and leaders in their communities, who are finding strength, courage and power in their pursuit of excellence, and who are achieving their fullest potential in running and society.”

GGRF programs in Ethiopia have included the provision of athletic scholarships in Sodo and Bekoji, a Running Across Borders project in Addis Ababa, the Simien Girls Runners program and a one year scholarship program for young Ethiopian women runners in collaboration with the YaYa Village in preparation for professional athlete careers.

Click here to register for the virtual relay.


Related:
Why Girls Gotta Run: Interview with Patricia Ortman

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Michelle Obama to young voters: ‘It’s time for us to move out of the way and let you lead’

As the 2018 midterm U.S. elections fast approaches on November 6, an all-out national effort is underway to register millennials and young people to vote including by former first lady Michelle Obama, co-chair of the voter registration group When We Vote. (Photo: Michelle Obama rallies young voters at University of Miami last week. | Miami Herald)

USA Today

Michelle Obama to young voters: ‘It’s time for us to move out of the way and let you lead’

Michelle Obama brought her voter registration campaign to the University of Miami on Friday, rallying thousands of students and residents to “have a say in the issues we care about.”

It was the final stop of her Week of Action tour for When We All Vote at the University of Miami’s Watsco Center, before a crowd of about 6,000. The former first lady co-chairs the nonpartisan organization, which aims to encourage voting.

In front of an audience whose shirts read “Register to vote,” “#MSDStrong,” “Andrew Gillum for Governor,” and “I support Planned Parenthood,” Obama stressed that voting is the way to make sure citizens’ voices are heard.

“It’s time for us to move out of the way and let you lead,” Obama told the young people in the audience, many of whom flashed the university’s U hand sign as she addressed them directly. “This is no longer about me, it’s not about Barack, it’s about you.”

Obama stressed she was “not stumping for any one candidate,” and did not mention the names of any elected officials. But she said she is frustrated by the “daily chaos,” “pettiness,” and “meanness” of politics, adding that whenever she feels like shutting it all out, she thinks of her dad, who made sure he voted in every election.

“He went to vote for the same reason he went to work – to provide for his family,” Obama said.

Read more »

As Election Day Approaches, Here’s How to Register to Vote

If you’re at least 18 years old and planning to vote on Nov. 6, listen up: Voter registration deadlines are coming.

Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia require voters to register before casting ballots in local, state or federal elections. Registration deadlines vary, but the majority occur throughout October – and 19 of those deadlines are Tuesday. In many states, residents can register in person, by mail or online.

Here’s what you need to know.

The basics

U.S. citizens ages 18 and older who meet their state’s residency requirements can register to vote by filling out a form. (Find your state’s requirements here.) Most states allow online registration, but you can also register at your local or state board of elections office.

North Dakota is the only state that doesn’t require registration before voting.

Most states also allow voters to cast their ballots before Election Day. Find out if your state does early voting here.

Read more »


Related:
Midterms: How can election groups get out the vote when just half of Americans say process is ‘fair and open’?

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Tibor Nagy – Newly-Appointed Top US Diplomat for Africa Praises Ethiopia, Eritrea

The Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy testified before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on recent developments in Ethiopia on Wednesday September 12th, 2018. (C-SPAN)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: September 13th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The newly appointed U.S. Under Secretary of State for African Affairs, Tibor Nagy, praised the reform efforts underway in Ethiopia and the recent peace deal with Eritrea in a series of tweets on Wednesday.

This week Ethiopia and Eritrea achieved a major milestone in normalizing relations between the two neighbors when they reopened their borders for the first time in two decades. “Thousands of people from both countries watched one ceremony in Zalambessa, an Ethiopian border town that was reduced to rubble soon after hostilities between the neighbors broke out in 1998,” Reuters reported. “Soldiers and civilians waving Ethiopian and Eritrean flags lined the road as Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki opened the frontier in a ceremony broadcast live on Ethiopian state TV.”

“We enthusiastically welcomed Dr. Abiy and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki working together to end 20 years of conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea,” Nagy said in one tweet. “We support both sides as they explore possibilities for peace & continue to encourage and support their long-term success.”

The U.S. diplomat, who also testified on Wednesday before the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on recent developments in Ethiopia, complimented PM Abiy Ahmed for his historic socio-political reform initiatives. “In Ethiopia, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has initiated groundbreaking reforms across most every area of Ethiopian society since taking office in April,” Nagy stated on Twitter. “He deserves tremendous credit for his boldness in tackling issues that previous governments have not addressed.”

According to C-SPAN other topics discussed at the hearing included “human rights concerns, regional security, economic development, Ethiopia relations with neighboring countries, and the U.S. influence in the region.”

Nagy, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia from 1999 to 2002, added: “Dr. Abiy has also taken dramatic steps to end the former government’s repression of civil liberties, inviting a diversity of voices – including many who were previously criminalized – to participate in Ethiopia’s future.” He continued: “With Eritrea’s re-emergence onto the regional & global stage, we see strong potential for its contributions to improving regional security. Eritrea can also contribute to regional peace & stability, as evidenced by its role brokering agreements among Ethiopian opposition groups.”

Watch: House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing on Development in Ethiopia


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Ethiopia-Eritrea Reopen Border Roads

PM Abiy and President Isaias at Debay Sima-Burre border point. (Photo: Fana Broadcasting)

Reuters

By Aaron Maasho

Ethiopia, Eritrea reopen border points for first time in 20 years

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – The leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea re-opened crossing points on their shared border for the first time in 20 years on Tuesday, cementing a stunning reconciliation and giving Addis Ababa a direct route to its former foe’s Red Sea ports.

Thousands of people from both countries watched one ceremony in Zalambessa, an Ethiopian border town that was reduced to rubble soon after hostilities between the neighbors broke out in 1998.

Soldiers and civilians waving Ethiopian and Eritrean flags lined the road as Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki opened the frontier in a ceremony broadcast live on Ethiopian state TV.

“This is the happiest day of my life,” Ruta Haddis, an Eritrean from the town of Senafe just across the frontier, told reporters. “I never thought this would take place in my lifetime.”

The war over their border and other issues killed an estimated 80,000 people before fighting ended in 2000 in a contested peace deal.

Tensions burned on over the position of the frontier – until Abiy offered to end the military standoff this year as part of a package of reforms that have reshaped the political landscape in the Horn of Africa and beyond.

The two leaders also opened another frontier crossing at Bure, Eritrea’s Information Minister Yemane Meskel said in a tweet.


Related:
Pics: Ethiopia-Eritrea Reopen Border Roads

Happy New Year! Enkutatash Comes Amid Momentous Change in Ethiopia
Ethiopia Reopens Embassy in Asmara | Ethiopian Ship Docks in Massawa

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Exiled Opposition Leader Berhanu Nega Returns to Ethiopia

Berhanu Nega, the leader of Ginbot 7, returned to Ethiopia on Sunday after 11 years in exile. Berhanu was elected mayor of Addis Ababa in a contentious May 2005 election, however was imprisoned before assuming office. Speaking in Addis Ababa, Berhanu said recent political changes had convinced him to return to the country and conduct a peaceful campaign. (AFP)

AFP

Former outlawed opposition leader returns to Ethiopia

The popular leader of a formerly outlawed opposition group returned to Ethiopia on Sunday where he was greeted by a crowd of thousands after 11 years in exile, an AFP reporter witnessed.

Berhanu Nega, the leader of the former armed movement Ginbot 7, returned to Ethiopia on Sunday after 11 years in exile

The popular leader of a formerly outlawed opposition group returned to Ethiopia on Sunday where he was greeted by a crowd of thousands after 11 years in exile, an AFP reporter witnessed.

Berhanu Nega, the leader of the former armed movement Ginbot 7, returned with scores of other senior members of the group, after reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed removed the group from a list of “terrorist” organisations in July.

Speaking at a ceremony in the capital Addis Ababa, Berhanu said he had been forced to wage an armed struggle to fight for Ethiopians’ rights, however recent political changes had convinced him to return to the country and conduct a peaceful campaign.

Read more »


Related:
‘We have tied the knot’: PG7′s Andargachew Tsege shares wedding photo with Ethiopians

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Nile Dam Engineer Simegnew Bekele ‘took his own life’: Police

Top Ethiopian engineer Simegnew Bekele, whose death from a bullet wound in July sparked a huge outcry, took his own life, police say. (Getty Images)

BBC News

Mr Simegnew’s body was found in a car in the main square of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

The engineer was in charge of the country’s controversial multi-billion-dollar project to dam the Nile.

Spontaneous demonstrations broke out in the wake of his death as some thought he had been murdered.

At the time, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said he was “saddened and utterly shocked” by the news of Mr Simegnew’s death.

At his funeral, police used tear gas to control the thousands who had gone to pay their respects.

For many the engineer had come to represent the country’s ambitions

After more than a month looking into the engineer’s death, the authorities found “that he used his own gun and killed himself,” police chief Zeinu Jemal told journalists.

Mr Simegnew’s fingerprints had been found on the gun and the doors of the vehicle were all locked from the inside, the police chief added.

He also said that the engineer had left messages for his secretary and child explaining that he might be going away for a while.

Commenting on what could be behind the suicide, Mr Zeinu said preliminary investigations suggested that Mr Simegnew may have been under pressure because of the delays and the increasing cost of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

But, he said, more investigations need to be carried out.

The dam, which has been called the most ambitious infrastructure project ever achieved on the continent, was supposed to have been finished two years ago. Now, seven years into construction, it is only 65% complete, reports the BBC’s Abebe Bayu.

The project is also expected to go over its $4bn (£3.1bn) budget.

Read more »


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UPDATE: Ethiopia Reopens Embassy in Asmara | Ethiopian Ship Docks in Massawa

Leaders from both countries attend ceremony in Asmara as two nations re-establish diplomatic links. Ethiopia and Eritrea have moved swiftly to sweep away two decades of hostility (Mulugeta Ayene/AP Photo)

Al Jazeera

UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 6, 2018

Ethiopia reopens embassy in Eritrea amid thaw in ties

Ethiopia has reopened its embassy in Eritrea after a 20-year hiatus, in a further sign of improving relations between the neighbours who signed a peace accord earlier this year.

A brief reopening ceremony in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, on Thursday was attended by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki and senior officials of both countries, according to state-affiliated Ethiopian Fana Broadcasting.

Redwan Hussein was named the new Ethiopian ambassador.

Since signing an agreement in Asmara to restore ties on July 9, leaders from both countries have moved swiftly to sweep away two decades of hostility that followed the conflict in 1998.

In July, Eritrea reopened its embassy in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, and named an ambassador to represent it.

Air links were also re-established with Ethiopian Airlines commencing direct passenger flights between Addis Ababa and Asmara.

Read more »


Related:
Ship docks, road upgrade planned as Eritrea, Ethiopia ties strengthen (Reuters)


(Photo: A general view shows a locked gate of Massawa Port, Eritrea July 22, 2018/by Tiksa Negeri/REUTERS.)

Reuters

SEPTEMBER 5, 2018

By Aaron Maasho

An Ethiopian ship docked in an Eritrean port for the first time in two decades on Wednesday and Eritrea announced plans to upgrade a road to its neighbor, local media said, in further signs of strengthening ties between the former foes.

The announcements came as Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki in their second face-to-face encounter since a July peace deal ended two decades of enmity.

Abiy and Isaias traveled the entire 70-km (40-mile) road that links Assab’s port along the Red Sea to the town of Bure just across the border in Ethiopia, which had not been used since a two-year war broke out between the neighbors in 1998.

“They were able to confirm that the existing road link was in good state,” state-run EriTV said.

“There are (now) plans to modernize the port in Assab and enlarge the road linking it to Bure to four lanes (from one),” it added.

Read more »


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2018 US Election Heats Up: Obama Joins Battle, Starting in California & Ohio

As the 2018 U.S. midterm elections heat up, the Democrats are enlisting one of their most formidable and popular campaigners, former President Barack Obama, in the closing months. Obama will begin his midterm campaign events in California and Ohio next week. (NYT)

The New York Times

Obama to Join Midterm Battle, Starting in California and Ohio

Former President Barack Obama is poised to plunge into the fray of the midterm campaign, returning to electoral politics with a frontal attack on Republican power in two states that are prime Democratic targets this fall: California and Ohio.

Having largely avoided campaign activities since leaving office, Mr. Obama’s first public event of the midterm election will take place in Orange County, a traditionally conservative-leaning part of California where Republicans are at risk of losing several House seats. And Mr. Obama is expected to be joined by Democratic candidates from all seven of California’s Republican-held districts that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.

Mr. Obama intends to campaign next Thursday in Cleveland for Richard Cordray, a former bank regulator in his administration who is the Democratic nominee for Ohio governor. Republicans have held total control of the state government since the 2010 election, and Mr. Obama helped encourage Mr. Cordray, also a former state attorney general, to seek the governorship.

The former president’s return to public politicking comes at a momentous point in the 2018 election season, furnishing Democrats again with one of their most formidable and popular campaigners in the closing months. While Mr. Obama has addressed several fund-raising events and issued a list of endorsements, he has otherwise confined his public appearances this year to loftier venues than the campaign trail.

Read more »


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Ethiopia Opens Logistics Sector to Foreign Investment

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has presided over a shake-up of one of the most heavily-regulated economies in Africa since his appointment in April. (Photo: PM Abiy Ahmed in DC, July 2018/by Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)

Reuters

By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia will open its logistics sector to foreign investors but cap their participation, the state investment body said on Tuesday in the latest reform to loosen the government’s control of the economy.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has presided over a shake-up of one of the most heavily-regulated economies in Africa since his appointment in April.

The latest move by the Ethiopian Investment Board – a body headed by Abiy and comprised of several ministers and the central bank governor – lifted restrictions on foreign investment in packaging, forwarding and shipping agency services.

Those sectors were previously reserved exclusively to Ethiopian nationals. Foreign firms will now be allowed to take stakes of up to 49 percent in logistics businesses.

The Ethiopian Investment Commission, a government body that handles investment issues such as licensing and promotion, said opening up this sector to foreign investors had become necessary.

This will “improve the provision of high-end logistics services while local firms acquire world class knowledge, expertise, management, and systems by working jointly with globally reputed logistics providers,” it said in a statement.

The ruling EPRDF coalition, in power since 1991, has long supported deep state involvement. But it said earlier this year that Ethiopia needed economic reforms to sustain rapid growth and boost exports amid a severe hard currency shortage.

Abiy, 42, was appointed by the EPRDF after his predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn, resigned in February after three years of unrest in which hundreds of people were killed by security forces.


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Ethiopia Ousts State Firm METEC From Nile Dam Project

A general view of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam, as it undergoes construction, is seen during a media tour along the river Nile in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, in Ethiopia, March 31, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)

Reuters

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia has ousted state-run Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC) from a $4 billion dam project on the River Nile due to numerous delays in completing the project.

The Grand Renaissance Dam is the centerpiece of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said at the weekend that the government had cancelled the contract of METEC, which is run by Ethiopia’s military, and would award it to another company.

Italian firm Salini Impregilo remains the main contractor building the dam, while METEC was the contractor for the electromechanical and hydraulic steel structure divisions of the project.

The government has touted the 6,000-megawatt dam project, which is 60 percent finished, as a symbol of its economic reforms.

“It is a project that was supposed to be completed within five years, but seven or eight years later not a single turbine is operational,” Abiy said during a news conference in Addis Ababa on Saturday.

“Salini has even demanded compensation because of the delays. We decided to cancel a contract with METEC and offer companies with experience. Otherwise, it will take even longer,” he said.


Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addresses his country’s diaspora, the largest outside Ethiopia, calling on them to return, invest and support their native land. He spoke in Washington, July 28, 2018.

Abiy has presided over a series of reforms since coming to power in April, releasing political prisoners, relaxing state control of the economy and dramatically improving relations with Ethiopia’s neighbor Eritrea.

The government had previously said the dam would be completed within two years, but recently Abiy said it may face a lengthy delay.

An official at METEC, who did not wish to be named, said the company first heard of the cancellation on Saturday.

“Even now our workers are on the site,” the official said


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AP: Ethiopia’s New PM Vows to Continue Reforms ‘at any cost’

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in his first press conference since taking power vowed Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 to continue with reforms “at any cost” and says the longtime ruling coalition soon will prepare for a “free and fair election” in 2020. (Photo: PM Abiy Ahmed waves to the crowd at a large rally in his support, in Meskel Square in the capital, Addis Ababa, Saturday, June 23, 2018/By Mulugeta Ayene for AP)

The Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia’s prime minister in his first press conference since taking power vowed Saturday to continue with dramatic reforms “at any cost” and said the longtime ruling coalition soon will prepare for a “free and fair election” in 2020.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed also said the World Bank “soon” plans to provide $1 billion in direct budgetary assistance, a sign of confidence after years of unrest in Africa’s second most populous nation. Such assistance stopped after the disputed 2005 elections.

“My dream is that doubts about the ballot box will disappear,” Abiy said, saying the vote won’t be delayed and promising a peaceful transfer of power if he loses.

The 42-year-old Abiy took office in April and shocked the country with a wave of reforms including restoring diplomatic ties with neighboring Eritrea after two decades, pledging to open up state-owned companies to outside investment and releasing thousands of prisoners.

The reforms have been praised by the international community and attracted investors interested in one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies.

Recent ethnic unrest in various parts of Ethiopia, however, has dampened the initial jubilation and posed a major challenge to the new leader.

“There are groups that are working in unison to cause chaos in different parts of the country,” Abiy told reporters. “They are triggering peoples’ emotions to this end.”

Some 2.8 million people have been displaced by the unrest, according to the United Nations. “But this didn’t happen due to the reforms,” the prime minister said.

He said the unrest in the eastern Somali region has calmed but measures will be taken against former officials, including the region’s former President Abdi Mohammed Omar, who is suspected of orchestrating the chaos earlier this month that led to the destruction of government offices, looting of businesses and burning of churches.

Asked about internet cuts in the region following the unrest, an unpopular tactic widely used by the previous government, Abiy appealed for understanding and said it might have saved lives.

“But curbing access to information and cutting the internet is not the way forward,” he added, and urged youth to use it responsibly.

The prime minister also in recent months has welcomed a number of once-exiled opposition figures and groups back to Ethiopia and invited them to join in the political conversation.

But on Saturday he drew the line at former military dictator Col. Mengistu Hailemariam, who overthrew the last Ethiopian emperor, Haileselassie, in 1974 and eventually was sentenced to life for spearheading a “Red Terror” that killed tens of thousands of people. He fled the country in 1991 as rebels, who now make up the ruling coalition, approached the capital.

Some Ethiopians have called on Abiy to offer Mengistu amnesty after a rare photo of him in exile in Zimbabwe went viral early this month.

“Ethiopia’s constitution clearly stipulates the ‘Red Terror’ crimes cannot be covered under an amnesty law,” Abiy said. “So Col. Mengistu will not … return home. But if the law in the future allows, that may change.”

___
Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa

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Reuters: Ethnic Unrest Tarnishes New Ethiopian Leader’s Reforms

A child plays next to a tree painted in Ethiopia's national flag colors within a camp for the internally displaced people in Chelelektu, Ethiopia, August 15th, 2018. (Photo: by TIKSA NEGERI/Reuters)

Reuters

By Aaron Maasho

CHELELEKTU, Ethiopia – Shiburu Kutuyu, a 45-year-old Ethiopian maize and coffee farmer, was jolted awake by gunshots one night in June. He told his wife and seven children to flee.

They returned to find their mud-walled home had been burned down, but no sign of Shiburu. Eleven days later, fellow farmers found his body hanging from a tree, his severed limbs strewn on the ground…

A surge in ethnic violence, sometimes in the form of mob attacks, has displaced nearly 1 million people in the past four months in southern Ethiopia and is inflaming bad feeling between ethnic groups in other regions.

The violence threatens to undermine Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s calls for unity in one of Africa’s most ethnically diverse countries. It also overshadows the popular liberal measures he has announced since coming to power in April.

On Thursday, Sorri Dinka, spokesman for the Oromiya Police Commission, said authorities are taking action against individuals suspected of ethnically motivated crimes.

He mentioned the so-called “qeerroo”, a term used to describe young Oromo men involved in the protest movement over the past three years that culminated in former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s resignation.

Some people who fled their homes still feel federal government and local authorities are failing to halt violence against them.

Read the full article at Reuters.com »


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US Delegation Visits Ethiopia to Discuss Reforms, Human Rights

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey is leading the U.S. congressional delegation to Ethiopia. (AP photo)

VOA News

A U.S. delegation is heading to Ethiopia on Wednesday to talk about the country’s reform efforts since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April.

Republican Congressman Christopher Smith, who led the congressional delegation, said he “is cautiously optimistic” about the political reforms in the country.

In an interview with VOA’s Horn of Africa, Smith says he will meet Prime Minister Abiy and Foreign Minister Affairs Minister Workineh Gebeyehu and push for continued reforms, as well as reinforcing human rights issues.

“We are going to meet with him [prime minister] and encourage him and try to get our own sense of how well the reform process is moving,” Smith said.

The congressman is the architect of H.R. 128, legislation condemning human rights abuses in Ethiopia and outlining a number of reforms that Ethiopia must take to promote peace and democracy. The resolution was passed in the House of Representatives earlier this year.

A wake of reforms

Since Abiy took office in April, Ethiopia has instituted reforms including releasing political prisoners, diluting state control of the economy, and making peace with northern neighbor Eritrea after two decades of hostility.


Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks in Washington, July 28, 2018.

A 41-year-old former intelligence officer, Abiy came to power after his predecessor resigned earlier this year amid protests of abuses by security forces and public anger over perceived ethnic marginalization of many groups in the racially diverse country.

Smith said the delegation plans to press for “the release of all political prisoners, freedom of the press, the history of forced disappearances, accountability for past abuses committed against civilians, and an end to torture and all human rights abuses.”

These reforms, the congressman said, will only strengthen the country, “and we stand in solidarity with the Ethiopian people in pushing to promote these rights.”

Besides top officials, the U.S. delegation will also meet with religious and civic leaders, and journalists. Their talks are to focus on human rights and democracy in Ethiopia.

Smith confirmed to VOA’s Horn of Africa service that the government of Ethiopia has begun amending the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation with input from opposition parties.

Critics of the law argue it has criminalized dissent, saying the 2009 law’s broad definitions have been used indiscriminately against anyone who opposes government policy. Among its provisions, anyone convicted of publishing information deemed to encourage terrorism could receive a jail term of up to 20 years.

Border issues

The delegation also will discuss border issues between Somali and Oromia states, where thousands are displaced and hundreds have been killed.

The violence is said to be the biggest domestic challenge facing the country’s reformist prime minister. When he took office, Abiy ended a military stalemate with neighboring Eritrea and extended an olive branch to dissidents overseas. However, violence at the border continues.


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Jawar Mohammed’s Red-carpet Return Signals Ethiopia’s Political Sea Change

Two years ago, the state branded him a terrorist. Now, after years in exile, activist Jawar Mohammed is back – and determined to see democracy in his country. (Photo: Jawar Mohammed addresses a news conference upon arriving in Addis Ababa in August/ By Tiksa Negeri/Reuters)

The Guardian

Jawar Mohammed never travels alone. When the US-based Ethiopian activist returned to his home country on 5 August, he was treated like royalty. A posse of sharply suited young men hovered by him at all times. Jeeps carrying security guards patrolled his hotel in central Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. Supporters from the provinces arrived in droves to pay their respects. Over the course of a two-week visit he held about 25 to 30 meetings a day, according to an exhausted aide.

After meeting with the Guardian in his hotel suite he rushed off to give a lecture at the capital’s main university, entourage in tow.

Nothing demonstrated the breathtaking transformation in Ethiopian politics over the past four months quite like the red-carpeted return of a figure who was once the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (EPRDF) most wanted man.

From a studio in Minneapolis, where he founded the controversial Oromia Media Network, Jawar has spent the past decade agitating over social media for political change back home in Ethiopia, which he left as a scholarship student in 2003. This was his first time in Ethiopia since 2008.

So effective was he as an activist that by late 2016, as anti-government protests billowed across the country compelling the EPRDF to impose a state of emergency, the Oromia Media Network was banned and Mohammed declared a terrorist.

By early 2018 the revolutionary fervour had grown so loud that Hailemariam Desalegn was forced to resign as prime minister, paving the way for his enormously popular successor Abiy Ahmed, a young reformist from Oromia, Jawar’s home and the country’s largest and most populous region.

The Oromia Media Network, along with some smaller outlets and activists, has used social media to devastating effect over the past few years, coordinating boycotts and demonstrations and bringing Ethiopia’s large and often brutal security apparatus close to its knees.

“We used social media and formal media so effectively that the state was completely overwhelmed,” Jawar says. “The only option they had was to face reform or accept full revolution.”…

Few doubt the importance of Jawar in recent Ethiopian history. Perhaps more than any other single individual, he took the once-marginal politics of Oromo nationalism and made it mainstream. Today, Oromos – the country’s largest ethnic group – dominate the highest offices of state, and Jawar enjoys significant personal influence over the country’s new leaders, including Abiy himself.

In a recent interview with local media he claimed – to the dismay of many Ethiopians – that the country now effectively has two governments: one led by Abiy, the other by the Qeerroo. This puts him in a position of extraordinary responsibility, since he is “one of the Qeerroo” and “a significant portion of the country listens to me”, he admits.

Read more »


Related:
US-based Activist Jawar Mohammad Returns to Ethiopia After 13 Years in Exile

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7 Iconic Aretha Franklin Moments, From Obama’s Inauguration to ‘Blues Brothers

Aretha Franklin, the undisputed “Queen of Soul” and a cultural icon around the globe, died Thursday at age 76 from pancreatic cancer. She died at her home in Detroit. (Photo: Aretha Franklin at a news conference on March 26, 1973/AP)

The Washington Post

Relive 7 iconic Aretha Franklin performances, from Obama’s inauguration to ‘Blues Brothers’

For six decades, the world had countless opportunities to be stunned by the talent and range of the undisputed Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, who died Thursday at age 76 of pancreatic cancer.

Her long recording career was punctuated by iconic performances that could stir a nation, get an ordinary concertgoer out of their seat and dancing and reduce a sitting president to tears.

Here is a look back at just a few of those moments.

The first Obama inauguration (2009)

The Queen had sung already during the inaugurations of two previous presidents (Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton), but she brought extra power and symbolism to the 2009 inauguration of America’s first black president, Barack Obama.

Franklin also sang on numerous occasions in the Obama White House.

Bringing President Obama to tears (2015)

When the annual Kennedy Center Honors selected singer-songwriter Carole King for recognition, it was Franklin who stole the show.

King’s jaw dropped as Franklin, in a floor-length fur coat, sat before a piano and belted out the 1967 hit “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” written by King and songwriting partner Gerry Goffin.

President Obama also sat in the audience, awestruck and wiping away tears. As she neared the end of the song, Franklin stood up, dropped her coat to the ground and belted out the final notes. The roaring audience leapt to its feet.

Franklin told the New Yorker it was “one of the three or four greatest nights of my life.”

Read more and watch the videos at The Washington Post »


Related:
Aretha Franklin, music’s ‘Queen of Soul,’ dies at 76

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Hundreds of Newspapers Respond to Anti-Media Rhetoric — AP

This week hundreds of newspapers in the United States are responding to the present state of anti-media rhetoric in a nationwide coordinated editorials. (AP Photo)

The Associated Press

Updated: August 16, 2018

NEW YORK — Newspapers from Maine to Hawaii pushed back against President Donald Trump’s attacks on “fake news” Thursday with a coordinated series of editorials speaking up for a free and vigorous press — and, not surprisingly, Trump didn’t take it silently.

The Boston Globe, which set the campaign in motion by urging the unified voice, had estimated that some 350 newspapers would participate.

They did across the breadth of the country. The Portland (Maine) Press-Herald said a free and independent press is the best defense against tyranny, while the Honolulu Star-Advertiser emphasized democracy’s need for a free press.

“The true enemies of the people — and democracy — are those who try to suffocate truth by vilifying and demonizing the messenger,” wrote the Des Moines Register in Iowa.

In St. Louis, the Post-Dispatch called journalists “the truest of patriots.” The Chicago Sun-Times said it believed most Americans know that Trump is talking nonsense.

The Fayetteville Observer said it hoped Trump would stop, “but we’re not holding our breath.”

“Rather, we hope all the president’s supporters will recognize what he’s doing — manipulating reality to get what he wants,” the North Carolina newspaper said.

On Thursday morning, Trump took to Twitter to denounce the effort, saying the Globe was in collusion with other newspapers.

He wrote: “THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY. It is very bad for our Great Country….BUT WE ARE WINNING!”

The Morning News of Savannah, Georgia, said it was a confidant, not an enemy, to the people.

“Like any true friend, we don’t always tell you what you want to hear,” the Morning News said. “Our news team presents the happenings and issues in this community through the lens of objectivity. And like any true friend, we refuse to mislead you. Our reporters and editors strive for fairness.”

Some newspapers used history lessons to state their case. The Elizabethtown Advocate in Pennsylvania, for instance, compared free press in the United States to such rights promised but not delivered in the former Soviet Union.

The New York Times added a pitch.

“If you haven’t already, please subscribe to your local papers,” said the Times, whose opinion section also summarized other editorials across the country. “Praise them when you think they’ve done a good job and criticize them when you think they could do better. We’re all in this together.”

That last sentiment made some journalists skittish. Some newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote editorials explaining why they weren’t joining the Globe’s effort. The Chronicle wrote that one of its most important values is independence, and going along with the crowd went against that. Both the Chronicle and Baltimore Sun said that it plays into the hands of Trump and his supporters who think the media is out to get him.

Nolan Finley, columnist and editorial page editor of The Detroit News, spoke up for the press but added a scolding. He said too many journalists are slipping opinion into their news reports, adding commentary and calling it context.

“Donald Trump is not responsible for the eroding trust in the media,” Finley wrote. “He lacks the credibility to pull that off. The damage to our standing is self-inflicted.”

The Radio Television Digital News Association, which represents more than 1,200 broadcasters and web sites, is also asking its members to point out that journalists are friends and neighbors doing important work holding government accountable.

“I want to make sure that it is positive,” said Dan Shelley, the group’s executive director. “We’re shooting ourselves in the foot if we make this about attacking the president or attacking his supporters.”

It remains unclear how much sway the effort will have. Newspaper editorial boards overwhelmingly opposed Trump’s election in 2016. Polls show Republicans have grown more negative toward the news media in recent years: Pew Research Center said 85 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said in June 2017 that the news media has a negative effect on the country, up from 68 percent in 2010.


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As Forgiveness Sweeps Ethiopia, Some Wonder About Justice

Ethiopian lawyer Wondimu Ebsa, who represented political prisoners detained during unrest in the country over the past three years, poses for a photograph during a Reuters interview in his office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 25, 2018. REUTERS/Maggie Fick

Reuters

Ethiopia has released thousands of prisoners as a new prime minister reverses decades of security abuses. No-one knows how many were tortured.

But some of those torture victims are now talking openly – to the media, to their relatives and to their friends – about what happened to them after they were jailed, in many cases for protesting against the government.

Their stories raise a hard question for the government: how will it address the injustices committed by security forces behind prison walls?

Since coming to power in April, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, 41, has made peace with Eritrea, ended a state of emergency, freed political prisoners and announced plans to sell shares in state-owned firms to promote growth and create jobs.

Abiy acknowledges that many prisoners suffered abuses, which he has denounced as acts of “state terrorism”.

He has not, however, announced plans to investigate abuses committed by the security forces or set up a process for victims to seek redress. But he has preached forgiveness.

“I call on us all to forgive each other from our hearts. To close the chapters from yesterday, and to forge ahead to the next bright future through national consensus,” Abiy said in his inaugural address.

Rights groups that have documented the torture – from psychological torment to the use of water and ceiling hooks – say there must now be a greater focus on justice.

“Despite all the reforms, there have yet to be any detailed commitments regarding investigations into abuses or justice for victims,” said Maria Burnett of Human Rights Watch.

Since late 2015, when protests against ethnic marginalization and inequality began, tens of thousands of people were detained, according to Human Rights Watch.

The attorney general’s office and government spokesman Ahmed Shide did not respond to calls and messages requesting comment.

“WE NEED HELP”

Those who spent years imprisoned and were recently released say they are cautiously hopeful.


Recently released from prison, Ethiopian torture survivor and former political prisoner Keyfalew Tefera, 33, poses during a Reuters interview in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 17, 2018. REUTERS/Maggie Fick

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NYC Medhanialem Church 35th Anniversary Celebration Sept 8th

Traditional Ethiopian Dance (photo courtesy: New York Medhanialem Church)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 9th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — One of New York City’s earliest established Ethiopian orthodox churches, Medhanialem, will be celebrating its 35th year anniversary on September 8th, 2018. The celebration includes traditional dance, fashion show, theatre as well as live entertainment from acclaimed Ethiopian comedian Meskerem Bekele. Organizers state that proceeds of the celebration will go towards the building of a multi-purpose center at their current Bronx location.

Medhanialem Church members purchased their current building five years ago in the Norwood section of the Bronx after having used a rental space in Riverside Church in Uptown Manhattan for the past three decades.


If You Go:
Medhanialem Church Anniversary Celebration
Date: Saturday, September 8th, 2018
Time: 6pm – 12am
Location: South Hall, Riverside Church
490 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10027

Admission (with dinner)
Adults: $50 advance purchase $60 at the door
Students: $25 (with ID at the door)
Children under 12 get free entrance

Click here for ticket purchase
For further information please call 732-766-3895

Related:
Video & photos: Inauguration of the Historic NYC Medhanialem Church in the Bronx in 2014

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UN on Women Farming Groups in Ethiopia

Through women’s cooperatives, a joint UN programme provides training in agricultural techniques, improved seeds and time-saving machinery, while also granting loans and encouraging saving. (Photo: Tulule Knife uses the modern grain storage facility known as metallic silo that her village administration awarded her for successfully applying the line sowing approach to her wheat farm. It also keeps her grain safer. Courtesy UN Women/Fikerte Abebe)

UN Women

Women’s cooperatives boost agriculture and savings in rural Ethiopia

In most parts of the Dodola district, 300 km south of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, slow-moving oxen plowing opens stretches of farmland. But in one field, a red tractor is speedily tilling women’s cooperative owned farmland ahead of the rainy season.

For Kamso Bame, a widowed mother of 12 and owner of 2.5 acres of land, the tractor has shaved off days of grueling labour.

Bame is among more than 2,000 smallholder women farmers involved in a joint UN programme to boost sustainable agricultural production and rural women’s economic empowerment, through training and cooperatives.

After Bame joined the women’s cooperative in her village of Wabi Burkitu, she received a 7,000 Birr (259 USD) loan, which she used to start a cart-transport service. Bame uses her daily average income of 400 Birr (15 USD) to support her children, four of whom live independently. Her membership also enables her to cultivate the land using a tractor owned by the cooperative.

“Before the death of my husband, whenever the rainy season came, I remember him spending three to four days ploughing the family’s land with the pair of oxen we owned. Each day, he and the oxen used to come back home exhausted,” she recalls. “Today, it is different, as I am privileged to farm the same land with a tractor and it takes a maximum of three hours.”


Kamso Bame takes care of her sheep by her grass-roofed house. Among her long-term plans are to build a new roof with corrugated iron sheets. (Photo: UN Women/Fikerte Abebe)

Fast facts on women in agriculture

Women comprise an average of 43 per cent of the agricultural labour force in developing countries, varying considerably across regions from 20 per cent or less in Latin America to 50 per cent or more in parts of Asia and Africa. Less than 20 per cent of landholders are women. Gender differences in access to land and credit affect the relative ability of female and male farmers and entrepreneurs to invest, operate to scale, and benefit from new economic opportunities. Learn more

The tractor is used to farm the land owned by the cooperative as a team, as well as each member’s own land. The cooperative also rents it out to other farmers in 26 villages across the district, whose population is more than 240,000. Charging up to 1,500 Birr (56 USD) per hectare, the cooperative currently earns over 6,000 Birr (222 USD) per day, on average.

Read more »


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In US, Barack Obama Named 2018 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Laureate

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s historic campaign for the White House, and the founding of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. (@RFKHumanRights)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: August 7th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — This week the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization announced that it will be honoring the 44th President of the United States Barack Obama with its 2018 Ripple of Hope award.

“My father believed; ‘Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope,” said Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights President Kerry Kennedy. “On the 50th anniversary of his historic campaign for the White House, we honor laureates who have sent forth countless ripples of hope to millions of people inspired by their example.”

The former U.S. President will share the accolade along with Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, and Humana CEO Bruce D. Broussard.

“Laureates were selected for their exceptional work toward a more just and peaceful world,” the nonprofit said in a press release.

“Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights founder Ethel Kennedy will award the Laureates during the annual Ripple of Hope Gala at the New York Hilton Midtown on Wednesday, December 12, 2018.”

President Obama said: “Bobby Kennedy was one of my heroes. I first got into public service because I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, believing that my own salvation was bound up with the salvation of others. That’s something he expressed far better than I ever could when he talked about the power that comes from acting on our ideals, those ripples of hope that can ‘sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.’ That’s what I’m determined to help inspire and cultivate over the rest of my career – the idea that anybody can be one of the millions of acts of conscience and voices raised against injustice, the idea that anybody can be one of the ‘million different centers of energy and daring’ who, like Bobby Kennedy, have always changed the world for the better.”

The press release added: “2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s historic campaign for the White House, and the founding of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. The Ripple of Hope Gala caps an incredible year of commemoration and activism by celebrating those who work to advance the legacy of Robert F. Kennedy in our challenging modern times.”

Past Ripple of Hope laureates include Hillary Rodham Clinton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bill Clinton, Bono, George Clooney, Robert Smith, Harry Belafonte, Howard Schultz, Joe Biden, Congressman John Lewis, Tim Cook, Tony Bennett, and Robert De Niro.

“Barack Obama served as the 44th President of the United States. Following his roles as a community organizer, constitutional law professor, and U.S. Senator, Obama was elected President in 2008, taking office at a moment of crisis unlike any America had seen in decades. His leadership helped rescue the economy, revitalize the American auto industry, reform the healthcare system to cover another twenty million Americans, and put the country on a firm course to a clean energy future – all while overseeing the longest stretch of job creation in American history. On the world stage, Obama’s belief in America’s indispensable leadership helped wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, decimate al Qaeda and eliminate the world’s most wanted terrorists, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program, open up a new chapter with the people of Cuba, and unite humanity in coordinated action to combat a changing climate. In his post-presidency, President Obama remains committed to lifting up the next generation of leaders through his work with the Obama Foundation.”


Learn more and purchase tickets at rfkhumanrights.org.

Related:
Photos: President Obama Becomes First Sitting U.S. President to Visit Ethiopia

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US-based Activist Jawar Mohammad Returns to Ethiopia After 13 Years in Exile

Jawar Mohammad (second from left) pictured with PM Abiy Ahmed and his delegation at Minneapolis International Airport last week has returned to Ethiopia after 13 years in exile. (Photo: Abiyu Tegegn @abiyu_b/Twitter)

AFP

ADDIS ABABA: Jawar Mohammad, an online activist and fierce critic of Ethiopia’s one-party government through his outlet Oromia Media Network, returned to the country on Sunday after 13 years in exile.

Jawar is the latest opponent of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to come home since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April and announced sweeping reforms.

“It’s good to be here! It’s good to be not a terrorist anymore!” Jawar told a press conference in the capital Addis Ababa.

Through his media outlet OMN, Jawar has promoted strikes and anti-government protests, particularly among the country’s largest ethnic group the Oromo.

Protests that began in late 2015 among the Oromo and then spread to the second-largest group the Amhara left hundreds dead and prompted the government to twice declare a nationwide state of emergency to halt the unrest.

It also played a role in the resignation last February of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn who struggled to appease the protesters.

Hailemariam’s government banned the OMN and last year levied charges of inciting violence against Jawar, who lived in the United States.

Those charges were dropped after Abiy took office.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Jawar said he planned to stay in Ethiopia for good and would focus on expanding OMN’s operations and re-orienting its editorial policies.

“OMN was an activist media until now. We took clear sides with the Oromo protests,” Jawar said. “From now on, we’re going to move to the center.”

Since taking office, Abiy, himself an Oromo, has encouraged anti-government activists like Jawar to return to Ethiopia.

He has also freed jailed dissidents and removed several armed groups from Ethiopia’s list of terrorist organizations, while signing a peace deal with neighboring Eritrea that ended two decades of hostilities.

Through his work with OMN, Jawar has become a controversial household name in Ethiopia, but he swore off seeking elected office.

“I think I have done my share for this country,” he said. “I want to have an advisory role from now on.”


(Photo: Jawar_Mohammed greeting PM Abiy Ahmed and his delegation at Minneapolis International Airport for the final leg of a three-state diaspora tour, Jul 30th 2018/Mohammed Ademo @OPride on Twitter)


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From Janitor to Nurse: How an Ethiopian immigrant Seized His American Dream

Ethiopian immigrant Hakeem Abdulwahab is a nurse at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare, a non-profit hospital, located in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Star Tribune)

Star Tribune

Growing up in Ethiopia, Hakeem Abdulwahab thought only guys like Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone could live the American dream.

“I’d watch Hollywood action movies and see that it’s clean here, it’s beautiful, everyone has cars,” he said. “But America was like a dream country … impossible to get to.”

With a little luck and a lot of perseverance, Abdulwahab at 36, has achieved his version of the American dream: Once he scrubbed toilets at one of the top children’s hospitals in the country. Now he works there as a nurse.

“If it was cleaning a toilet, cleaning a floor, getting a towel or making a bed, whatever task he was assigned to do at any given moment, he did it with conviction and he did it with heart,” said Tammy Sinkfield-Morey, nursing supervisor at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul.

“Now he’s progressed from one of our lower level positions to one of our most admired positions.”

One of eight children, Abdulwahab grew up in Jimma, Ethiopia, about 220 miles southwest of the capital city of Addis Ababa. Abdulwahab helped his father produce and sell coffee, one of the only ways to make money, he said. Business often was fickle, due to a cholera outbreak and the amount of time — 3 to 5 years — it took for Arabica trees to produce fruit.

“We were so poor then,” he said. “Some days I didn’t eat anything. Basic necessities like food and water were a luxury.”

As a teenager, Abdulwahab’s parents sent him to live with his older sister in Addis Ababa so that he could attend high school.

On his summer breaks, he learned English with the intention of going to college. When that time came, Abdulwahab couldn’t afford college, so he returned home to once again help his family with the coffee business.

“I always hoped to work and send money to my Mom and Dad,” he said. “I will sacrifice my life for them.”

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Hailemariam Desalegn and Mengistu Meet in Zimbabwe Setting Social Media Buzzing

Social media is buzzing about the surprise meeting between Ethiopia's ex-Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Mengistu Hailemariam in Harare, Zimbabwe on Wednesday. (Photo via Twitter)

AP

By Elias Meseret 

Ex-Ethiopian dictator Mengistu meets former leader in Harare

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The former Ethiopian dictator Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam has met with Ethiopia’s former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare on Wednesday.

The surprise meeting between Hailemariam, who was Ethiopia’s Prime Minister until he resigned in April 2018, and Mengistu has stunned many in Ethiopia who had a rare glimpse of Mengistu since he fled the country in 1991 as rebels, who now make up the ruling coalition, approached the capital, Addis Ababa.

A photo of the meeting between Mengistu and Hailemariam, who was in Zimbabwe as head of the African Union’s election observers’ mission, was widely shared on social media and many Ethiopians expressed amusement at the former strongman’s appearance.

“Mengistu has gained weight and looks very old. I’m very surprised to see that photo,” Seyoum Teshome, a prominent blogger in Ethiopia, wrote on Facebook.

Others said Mengistu should still face justice in Ethiopia. “Looks like he’s living comfortably in Zimbabwe when he really should be in an Ethiopian maximum security prison or at The Hague. I certainly wouldn’t have met him, let alone taken a photo,” another Facebook user, Samuel Gebru, wrote.

Mengistu was head of the military junta that overthrew the last Ethiopian emperor, Haileselassie, in 1974. He ruled the country in an iron grip for 17 years during which he implemented a crackdown named “Red Terror” in which tens of thousands of Ethiopians were allegedly killed. Some estimates put the number of killed in hundreds of thousands.

“Mengistu is a man with much blood on his hands,” tweeted Martin Plaut, a specialist on East African politics.

The ex-dictator fled to Zimbabwe after losing power and escaped an assassin’s bullet in 1995 while jogging near his Harare home. Former President Robert Mugabe refused Ethiopian government requests to extradite Mengistu, who supported Mugabe’s guerrilla fighters in the war against white-minority rule in Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was then called.

Mengistu was put on trial in absentia in Ethiopia where he was sentenced in 2007 to life in prison for genocide.

Calls have been made for the current Ethiopian reformist leader, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, to allow Mengistu to return home without having to go to jail following the release of several political prisoners.


(Photo via Twitter)


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Ethiopian Scientists Develop New Sorghum Variety

Ethiopia releases new, perennial sorghum variety. (Photo: Farmer examining heads of Sorghum/Copyright: Panos)

SciDev.Net

By: Biruktayet Bihon

[ADDIS ABABA] Ethiopian scientists have developed a new sorghum variety that could lead to multiple yields annually.

According to the National Statistics Agency in Ethiopia, the country has almost two million hectares of sorghum fields, and harvests about four million tonnes of sorghum grains every year.

The new sorghum variety is expected to produce yields two to three times a year with continuous water supply and at least once when there is water scarcity, said Gethaun Mekuriya, Ethiopia’s minister of science and technology, during the release of the new variety in Ethiopia last month (28 June).

“The benefit of this new variety is … that once you sow it, you don’t need to till the land for up to five years.” — Talegeta Loul, Re-nature Eternal Life Agro Processing SC

Talegeta Loul, general manager of Ethiopia-based Re-nature Eternal Life Agro Processing SC, said that the national average yield for sorghum is about 2,400 kilograms per hectare, but the new variety could increase yields fivefold.

One of the new variety’s unique characteristic, according to Loul, is that it can produce yields for seven to ten growing years without the need for ploughing.

Loul, who led the research team to produce the new sorghum variety, told SciDev.Net: “We have￿￿ struggled enough to give an output for this country where the majority of the people depend on agriculture for food and livelihoods.”

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