Podcast Section

In US African Summit Held Without Africans is Baffling Everyone

Organizers said participants from Ethiopia, South Africa, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Angola and Sierra Leone were denied visa to the U.S. to attend the summit at the University of Southern California.

NPR

The African Global Economic and Development Summit took place at the University of Southern California from March 16th to 18th.

None of the approximately 60 invited guests from Africa were able to attend.

The problem was that none of the African delegates were able to get U.S. visas…

The conference was first held in 2013 and seeks to strengthen business ties between U.S. investors and African companies, says summit chairwoman Mary Flowers.

Visa problems have been an issue before, she says. In the past, she says roughly 40 percent of African invitees are unable to get the papers they need to attend, mainly due to a combination of red tape and bureaucracy.

“This year we were thinking there are going to be some rejections but some will still come,” she says. “But it was 100 percent blocked across the board.”

It’s hard to find out exactly why…A State Department official on background tells NPR that they can’t comment on any individual visa applications but says all applications are screened on a case-by-case basis. And the eligibility requirements for getting a visa haven’t changed.

Some of the African delegates to the summit say their visa applications were denied because they didn’t show a compelling reason why they would return home after the event.

Audio: What If You Held An African Summit And No Africans Could Come? (NPR)

Read the full article at NPR.org »


Related:
Highly Cited – No African citizens granted visas for African trade summit in California (The Guardian)

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The Unlikely Winner of the Trump Presidency? Art Supply Stores

Protesters outside the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden at the Washington, DC, Women’s March. (Artnet)

News Artnet

Depending on how you see it, there is one silver lining that comes with Donald Trump’s still-nascent presidency: “Setting political views aside, the women’s movement has positively influenced the sales of office supplies,” wrote the market research firm NPD Group in a recent blog post.

Of the estimated 3.3 to 4.6 million protesters who took to the streets around the country on the Women’s March on January 21, many carried handmade signs denouncing the new administration and its policies. But just how much have sales for poster board and other related art supplies gone up since Trump took office?

According to NPD Group, 2.7 million poster and foam boards were sold in the US in the week leading up to the post-Inauguration march. That’s 33 percent more poster board that was sold during the same time period in 2016!

For foam board, sales were up 42 percent.

Altogether, a total of $4.1 million in poster and foam board sales were logged in that week alone. For the entire month of January, more than 6.5 million poster boards were sold. Poster-hungry protests continued on International Women’s Day on March 8.

There were also considerable increases in sales of various types of markers and glue/adhesives, as well as scissors and fabric paint, used to personalize t-shirts for the march.

Read more »


Related:
Trump Proposes to End All Arts Funding

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Update: Friends in Nashville Mourn Ibex Ethiopian Restaurant Owner’s Death

Nashville restaurant owner Gitem Demissie, age 41, was fatally shot about midnight last Saturday as he was preparing to close his business. (Photo: News Channel5)

AP

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Members of Nashville’s Ethiopian community remain puzzled as to why someone would kill a beloved restaurant owner who was shot to death last weekend.

The Tennessean reports (http://tnne.ws/2nLCR5B ) that friends of Gitem Demissie were still grappling with his violent death. Those who knew him described him as a good man and a hardworking immigrant.

Demissie was the owner of Ibex Ethiopian Bar & Restaurant in south Nashville.

Authorities have said that the 41-year-old was preparing to close his restaurant about midnight Saturday night when he was shot. Police say a masked gunman wearing a long-sleeved black shirt and black jeans approached Demissie and shot him multiple times. Investigators have called it a targeted killing but are still searching for a motive as well as the gunman.


Related:
In Nashville, Ethiopian Restaurant Owner Killed In Targeted Shooting

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Addis Trash Disaster: Survivors Ask Why

A funeral service last week for victims of a garbage landslide in Addis Ababa. At least 113 people were killed in the March 11 collapse, according to the government. (Photo: Associated Press)

The New York Times

As Trash Avalanche Toll Rises in Ethiopia, Survivors Ask Why

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — At the moment when she lost her home and family, Hanna Tsegaye was spending her Saturday night with a neighborhood friend.

Around 8 p.m. on March 11, Ms. Hanna, 16, heard a strange sound, like rushing wind, and felt the ground shake beneath her feet. She rushed outside and saw that an enormous pile of garbage at a nearby landfill had collapsed.

Her home, which had been a couple of hundred yards from the trash heap, was buried. So were her parents and two siblings.

At least 113 people, according to the latest government estimate, were killed when part of the Repi landfill, in the southwest of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, collapsed. In the days since, grieving survivors have been tormented by a pressing question: Could this tragedy have been prevented?

“We don’t know how such a thing could happen,” a weeping Ms. Hanna said. “Hopefully, someone can tell us and find a solution for the future. I hope this can be a lesson for the government, and that they remember us.”

Read more »


Related:
Desperate Choice of Ethiopia Landslide Survivor: Run or Die
What’s Wrong in Ethiopia? It’s Land, Stupid
In Ethiopia, Landslide at Garbage Dump Near Addis Ababa Kills at Least 46

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Tale of Ethiopia Landslide Survivor

A garbage dump landslide on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa killed hundreds of people last week. (Photo: AFP)

AFP

Desperate Choice of Ethiopia Landslide Survivor: Run or Die

Addis Ababa – One minute, Zemed Derib stood negotiating with her precocious siblings who had locked themselves inside their uncle’s home as a prank.

The next, the playful scene gave way to horror as the hillside of the rubbish dump above them collapsed.

With terrified screams of neighbours filling the air, Zemed abandoned her doomed sisters and took to her heels, outrunning the torrent of fetid dirt that swallowed homes and killed at least 113 people in Africa’s second most-populous country, Ethiopia.

“I ran away, but finally, when I turn my face, nothing was there. Everything changed into black,” Zemed said as she sat clutching a portrait of her mother Yeshi Beyene, one of the victims of the disaster at Koshe, the country’s largest rubbish dump situated on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa.

On Saturday, a week after the tragedy, men in face masks and rubber aprons waited for excavators to move aside the waste to carry out their search for the dead.

Zemed, wearing all black, is mourning the loss of seven relatives, including her three younger sisters and a baby girl born days earlier who had not yet been named.

Zemed’s family lived among a community of hundreds who had built homes on the side of Koshe’s main slope and spent their days scavenging for valuable rubbish trucked in from neighbourhoods around this city of about four million people.

- Accident waiting to happen? -

The settlement is now buried under a wall of black muck and the landslide left a jagged, crescent-shaped cut in the side of the landfill’s rise.

Read more »


Related:
What’s Wrong in Ethiopia? It’s Land, Stupid
In Ethiopia, Landslide at Garbage Dump Near Addis Ababa Kills at Least 46

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FBI Debunks Trump’s Fake Claims Against Obama, Confirms Russia-Trump Probe

The Director of the FBI James B. Comey told the U.S. Congress on Monday that his agency is investigating possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign in the 2016 US election. (Photo: Reuters)

The Associated Press

Comey Says FBI probing Trump-Russia links, wiretap claims bogus

WASHINGTON — The FBI is investigating whether Donald Trump’s associates coordinated with Russian officials in an effort to sway the 2016 presidential election, Director James Comey said Monday in an extraordinary public confirmation of a probe the president has refused to acknowledge, dismissed as fake news and blamed on Democrats.

In a bruising five-hour session, the FBI director also knocked down Trump’s claim that his predecessor had wiretapped his New York skyscraper, an assertion that has distracted White House officials and frustrated fellow Republicans who acknowledge they’ve seen no evidence to support it.

Read more »

WATCH: FBI says no evidence to backup Trump’s wiretapping tweets


(Photo: Reuters)

The Washington Post

FBI Director confirms probe of Russian meddling in election, possible links to Trump associates

FBI Director James B. Comey acknowledged on Monday the existence of a counterintelligence investigation into the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, and said that probe extends to the nature of any links between Trump campaign associates and the Russian government.

Testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, Comey said the investigation is also exploring whether there was any coordination between the campaign and the Kremlin, and “whether any crimes were committed.”

The acknowledgment was an unusual move, given that the FBI’s practice is not to confirm the existence of ongoing investigations. “But in unusual circumstances, where it is in the public interest,” Comey said, “it may be appropriate to do so.”

Comey said he had been authorized by the Justice Department to confirm the wide-ranging probe’s existence.

He spoke at the first intelligence committee public hearing on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, along with National Security Agency head Michael S. Rogers.

Read more at The Washington Post »


Related:
FBI Sees No Evidence of Trump Wiretap, Director Confirms Inquiry Into Russian Election Meddling (NY Times)
FBI Says Trump campaign, Russia ties investigated, no wiretap evidence found (CNN)

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US: Ethiopian Restaurant Owner Killed

Nashville restaurant owner Gitem Demissie, age 41, was fatally shot this past weekend as he was preparing to close his business. (Photo: News Channel5)

News Channel5

In Nashville, Ethiopian Restaurant Owner Killed In Targeted Shooting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Family and friends gathered to mourn the loss of their loved one after he was killed in a targeted shooting inside a business he owned.

South Nashville restaurant owner Gitem Demissie, age 41, was fatally shot overnight as he was preparing to close his business.

Metro Police responded to Ibex Ethiopian Restaurant in the 2500 block of Murfreesboro Pike after midnight, early Sunday morning, where they discovered Demissie who had been shot multiple times.

First responders transported him to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

“We were really broken,” said Father Mesfin Tesemma, who leads the Ethiopian church where Demissie was an active member. “We didn’t expect this to happen to him. He doesn’t deserve to die like this. He is a very nice person.”

Tesemma said Demissie was a hard-working businessman who was well-known in the area. Tesemma said he sometimes put in 16 or 17 hours a day at his businesses.

Demissie had lived in Nashville for more than ten years. He first opened Ibex Mart on Bell Road, selling Ethiopian groceries, including spices, fresh meat, and vegetables.

According to Tesemma, Ibex Mart was the only Ethiopian grocery store in Nashville, meaning a lot of people knew Demissie and relied on his business.

In January 2015, Demissie opened a second business, the restaurant and bar, where he was shot and killed early Sunday morning.

Friends said Demissie had been working hard to sell his bar in hopes of taking time to travel home to Ethiopia to see his parents. His death has left many in the Ethiopian community fearing for their safety.

“What happened to him means a lot for everybody. So are we safe here?” Tesemma said. “Those are the kinds of questions it raises in the minds of a lot of Ethiopians.”

Detectives remained on scene until sunrise collecting interviews and evidence.

The shooter was described as a masked gunman wearing a black long sleeve shirt and black jeans. A witness said the suspect went up to Demissie, shot him multiple times, and fled from the building. The witness added the man had light skin and a thin build, and he stood around 5’7’’ tall.

Anyone with information on this fatal shooting has been urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463.

Read more and watch video at News Channel5 »


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Ethiopia: Time to End Mass Detentions

President Mulatu Teshome addresses Parliament about the declaration of the state of emergency, in Addis Ababa, October 10, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

HRW

Ethiopia Lifts Some State of Emergency Restrictions: Time to End Mass Arbitrary Detentions

Ethiopia announced this week that some of the restrictions around its five-month-old state of emergency have been lifted. The government announced that the command post, charged with enforcing the country’s state of emergency in the wake of unprecedented mass protests against government policies, would no longer be able to arbitrarily arrest people or conduct property searches without warrants. Further, curfews and some restrictions on media reporting will end.

The government says that it has detained more than 20,000 people in “rehabilitation camps” – one of its long-standing approaches to obstructing protests and expressions of dissent – during the state of emergency. Detaining tens of thousands of people without charge in horrible conditions in order to indoctrinate them on government polices is not only unlawful, but unlikely to deter future protests. Human Rights Watch has interviewed many people who were detained in these camps, and they all say the experience only served to increase their anger and frustration with the government.

The announcement that arbitrary detentions – long a significant and underreported problem in rural Ethiopia – are no longer permissible under the state of emergency is welcome news. The government hasn’t permitted the United Nation’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to investigate allegations despite requests from the UN body in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2015.

Human Rights Watch and other groups have documented the Ethiopian government’s use of arbitrary detention, especially outside of Addis Ababa, over many years – in police stations, prisons, military camps, and unknown places of detention. There is a lack of due process, mistreatment and torture are common, and most detainees never face trial. A Human Rights Watch report last year detailing the brutal crackdown against protesters in Oromia region highlighted the problem of mass arbitrary detention. Just two of the 46 people we interviewed who had been detained outside of Addis Ababa had been brought to court.

As part of Ethiopia’s “deep reform” process, it should send a clear message to its security forces that they cannot arrest people for lawfully protesting government policies, for being members of legal opposition parties, or for other peaceful forms of dissent. Now is the time for Ethiopia to give the UN Working Group access, and stop hiding its rights record from scrutiny.


Related:
Ethiopia Lifts Some Restrictions Imposed During State of Emergency (Reuters)
Excerpts From US Congress Hearing on Ethiopia March 9, 2017

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Trump Proposes to End All Arts Funding

(Image: National Endowment for the Arts website)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

March 16th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — It’s unfortunate that the Trump administration’s budget proposal for 2018, submitted for approval to the U.S. Congress this week, eliminates the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) from the entire US federal spending. The Washington Post points out, however that “many of Trump’s budget proposals are likely to run into stiff resistance from lawmakers on Capitol Hill, even from Republicans, whose support is crucial because they must vote to authorize government appropriations.”

The Post adds: “Trump’s first budget proposal, which he named “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” would increase defense spending by $54 billion and then offset that by stripping money from more than 18 other agencies. The cuts could represent the widest swath of reductions in federal programs since the drawdown after World War II.”

The arts news site, Artnet, likewise notes that Trump’s budget cuts would “have a serious impact on cultural production, and the artists, musicians, writers, and scholars who rely on it.”

Trump’s budget proposal, which was presented to Capitol Hill on Thursday (March 16th), is part of the White House expenditure goals for next year that seeks large cutback in spending for science, culture, diplomacy, and much more. Budget cuts can also affect the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds national public radio stations.


Related:
Ethiopia: US Top Diplomat Misses Annual Human Rights Presentation
Debating Pros & Cons of US Foreign Aid
Focus on Ethiopia: A Look at the New ‘America First’ Foreign Policy
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Reuters: Ethiopia Lifts Some Restrictions Imposed During State of Emergency

Demonstrators during a march in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, October 2016. (Photo: REUTERS)

Reuters

ADDIS ABABA — The Ethiopian government has lifted some restrictions imposed during a state of emergency declared last year following deadly protests, state-run media quoted the defence minister as saying on Wednesday.

Minister Siraj Fegessa ended powers granted to security services to stop and search suspects and to search homes without court authorisation.

Siraj, who chairs the government’s body overseeing the state of emergency, also revoked a dusk-to-dawn curfew on access to economic installations, some infrastructure and factories for unauthorised people.

“These measures were lifted because it is our belief that the ordinary security arrangements are sufficient enough to maintain calm,” the state-run Ethiopian News Agency quoted Siraj as saying in a news conference for local journalists.

Ethiopia declared a state of emergency in October following months of deadly protests that killed around 500 people. Anger over a development scheme for the capital sparked broader anti-government demonstrations over politics and human rights abuses.

Read more »


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Father Imprisoned for Genital Cutting Is Deported to Ethiopia

Khalid Adem in 2006. (Photo: GWINNETT DAILY POST via The Associated Press)

The New York Times

A man who in 2006 became the first person in the United States to be convicted of female genital cutting was deported on Monday to his home country, Ethiopia, after serving 10 years in prison, federal authorities said.

The man, Khalid Adem, 41, used scissors to remove the clitoris of his 2-year-old daughter in his family’s Atlanta-area apartment in 2001, prosecutors in Gwinnett County, Ga., said. He was convicted of aggravated battery and cruelty to children.

The case led to a state law prohibiting the practice, which was already prohibited by a federal law and is a common social ritual in parts of the world but is broadly condemned.

“A young girl’s life has been forever scarred by this horrible crime,” Sean W. Gallagher, a field office director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The elimination of female genital mutilation/cutting has broad implications for the health and human rights of women and girls, as well as societies at large.”

The World Health Organization has estimated that more than 200 million girls and women have been cut in 30 countries, mostly in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The procedure, which involves the removal of parts of the genitalia, is typically performed on girls before they turn 15 and leads to a wide range of lifelong health consequences, including chronic infection, childbirth complications, psychological trauma and pain during urination, menstruation and intercourse.

The practice is far from unheard-of in the United States. Though it is illegal under federal law, about half a million women have undergone the procedure or are likely to be subjected to it, according to a 2012 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read more »


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Ethiopia: Journalist Anania Sorri Freed

Journalist Anania Sorri. (Image: Fana TV via Youtube)

CPJ

March 13, 2017

New York — Authorities responsible for overseeing implementation of Ethiopian’s state of emergency today released Ethiopian commentator Anania Sorri.

Anania told CPJ he was released unconditionally today, four months after his November 17, 2016, detention without charge under a state of emergency the government declared the month prior. He told CPJ that he planned to continue writing. Anania posts critical commentary on a public Facebook page followed by some 11,000 people.

“Today’s release of Anania Sorri is welcome news,” CPJ Africa Coordinator Angela Quintal said. “We urge Ethiopian authorities to free all other journalists and bloggers still imprisoned simply for doing their jobs.”

After Seyoum Teshome and Befekadu Hailu, Anania was the third Ethiopian journalist to be released since December 1, 2016, when CPJ last conducted its annual census of journalists jailed around the world.

—-
Related:
Wife of Ethio Reporter Anania Sorri Says US & UK Could Help Free Her Husband
Audio: NPR on the brave Ethiopian reporter Anania Sorri


NPR’s East Africa correspondent, tells the story of a brave Ethiopian reporter, Anania Sorri,
who asked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry one very serious question that was seriously misunderstood.

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In Ethiopia, Landslide at Garbage Dump Near Addis Ababa Kills at Least 46

Police officers secured the perimeter around a garbage dump landslide on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Sunday as excavators helped the rescue efforts. (Photo: Elias Meseret/AP)

Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

46 killed, dozens missing in Ethiopia garbage dump landslide

ADDIS ABABA — A mountain of trash gave way in a massive garbage dump on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital, killing at least 46 people and leaving several dozen missing, residents said, as officials vowed to relocate those who called the landfill home.

Addis Ababa city spokeswoman Dagmawit Moges said most of the 46 dead were women and children, and more bodies were expected to be found in the coming hours.

It was not immediately clear what caused Saturday night’s collapse at the Koshe Garbage Landfill, which buried several makeshift homes and concrete buildings. The landfill has been a dumping ground for the capital’s garbage for more than 50 years.

About 150 people were there when the landslide occurred, resident Assefa Teklemahimanot told The Associated Press. Addis Ababa Mayor Diriba Kuma said 37 people had been rescued and were receiving medical treatment. Dagmawit said two had serious injuries.

Many people at the landfill had been scavenging items to make a living, but others live there because renting homes, largely built of mud and sticks, is relatively inexpensive.

An AP reporter saw four bodies taken away by ambulances after being pulled from the debris. Elderly women cried, and others stood anxiously waiting for news of loved ones. Six excavators dug through the ruins.

“My house was right inside there,” said a shaken Tebeju Asres, pointing to where one of the excavators was digging in deep, black mud. “My mother and three of my sisters were there when the landslide happened. Now I don’t know the fate of all of them.”

The resumption of garbage dumping at the site in recent months likely caused the landslide, Assefa said. The dumping had stopped in recent years, but it resumed after farmers in a nearby restive region where a new garbage landfill complex was being built blocked dumping in their area.

Smaller collapses have occurred at Koshe — or “dirty” in the local Amharic language — in the past two years but only two or three people were killed, Assefa said.

“In the long run, we will conduct a resettling program to relocate people who live in and around the landfill,” the Addis Ababa mayor said.

Around 500 waste-pickers are believed to work at the landfill every day, sorting through the debris from the capital’s estimated 4 million residents. City officials say close to 300,000 tons of waste are collected each year from the capital, most of it dumped at the landfill.

Since 2010, city officials have warned that the landfill was running out of room and was being closed in by nearby housing and schools.

City officials in recent years have been trying to turn the garbage into a source of clean energy with a $120 million investment. The Koshe waste-to-energy facility, which has been under construction since 2013, is expected to generate 50 megawatts of electricity upon completion.

Ethiopia, which has one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, is under a state of emergency imposed in October after several months of sometimes deadly protests demanding wider political freedoms.


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Excerpts From US Congress Hearing on Ethiopia March 9, 2017

On Thursday March 9, 2017, in front of a large crowd of Ethiopians, US congressman Chris Smith convened a hearing on the current situation in Ethiopia entitled 'Democracy Under Threat in Ethiopia.' (AP file photo)

US House Foreign Affairs Committee

Excerpts from Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04)

Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations

March 9, 2017

As we begin today’s hearing to examine the troubling conditions for democracy and human rights in Ethiopia, let us stipulate that this East Africa government is a prime U.S. ally on the continent. Ethiopia is the primary troop contributor to peacekeeping operations such as UNISFA along the Sudan-South Sudan border, UNMISS in South Sudan and AMISOM in Somalia. Ethiopia joined the UN Security Council in January and is one of three African members on the Council, along with Senegal and Egypt.

During a series of private negotiations in the last months of the previous Administration, Ethiopian officials acknowledged that the tense situation in their country is at least partly their government’s fault. There have been discussions with opposition parties and consideration of changing the electoral system to use proportional representation, which could increase the chances of opposition parties winning Parliamentary and local races. Late last year, the government released an estimated 10,000 prisoners despite maintaining a state of emergency.

However, there are at least 10,000 more people held in jail who are considered political prisoners, and the government continues to arrest and imprison critics of its actions. In January, two journalists from the faith-based station Radio Bilal, Khalid Mohamed and Darsema Sori, were sentenced to 5 and 4 year prison terms respectively for inciting extremist ideology and planning to overthrow the government through their coverage of Muslim protests about government interference in religious affairs. The journalists were arrested in February 2015 and convicted in December under the 2009 anti-terrorism law alongside 18 other defendants.

In late February, Ethiopian prosecutors charged Dr. Merera Gudina, chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (a registered opposition party) with rendering support to terrorism and attempting to “disrupt constitutional order.” Merera had been arrested upon his return to Ethiopia after testifying in November at a European parliament hearing about the crisis in his country, Dr. Merera had testified alongside exiled opposition leader Prof. Berhanu Nega (sentenced to death on terrorism charges in 2009) and Olympic medal winner Feyisa Lilesa. Other senior OFC leaders, including OFC deputy chairman Bekele Gerba, have been imprisoned on terrorism charges for more than a year. Both are viewed by many as moderate voices among Ethiopia’s opposition.

According to the State Department’s newly released Human Rights Report on Ethiopia, security forces killed “hundreds” in the context of using excessive force against protestors in 2016. “At year’s end more than 10,000 persons were believed still to be detained,” according to the report. Many have not been provided due process. The government has denied the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights access to the Oromia and Amhara regions.

The lack of due process in Ethiopian courts also affects foreigners. Israeli businessman Menasche Levy has been in jail for nearly a year and a half on financial crimes charges. The government officials accused of being involved with Levy in illegal activities have had their charges dropped and have been released from jail. Yet Levy’s next court proceeding won’t be for several more months. We cannot determine his guilt or innocence of the charges, but it is clear that he has been denied a trial in a reasonable time frame and has been beaten in jail by other prisoners and denied proper medical care. These circumstances unfortunately apply to all-too-many people who come in contact with the Ethiopian court system.

My staff and I have discussed with the Government of Ethiopia the possibility of working cooperatively to find ways to end the repression without creating a chaotic transition. Officials in Addis and Ambassador to the U.S. Girma Birru have been very positive in their response. The previous Administration found the Ethiopian government similarly willing to be cooperative.

Unfortunately, there is a significant variance in how that government sees its actions and how the rest of the world sees them. That is why I and several of my colleagues have introduced House Resolution 128 – to present as true a picture of the situation in Ethiopia as possible. It is also why we have convened today’s hearing.

In our first panel, we have witnesses who will provide an overview of the current state of democracy and human rights in Ethiopia. They will present the facts as the rest of the world sees them. Our second panel consists of four Ethiopians representing various ethnic groups and organizations created to help the Ethiopian people. We have no opposition parties appearing before us today, despite the tendency of the government and its supporters to see anyone who disagrees with them and their actions as supporting terrorists seeking to overthrow the government.

It is my belief that, until the Government of Ethiopia can squarely face the consequences of its actions, there will not be the genuine reform it has promised. Forexample, government officials say we are mistaken to state that the ruling coalition holds 100 percent of the legislative seats. We have said the coalition holds all the seats, whether in the name of the coalition itself or as affiliate parties. If the government cannot be honest with us or itself in such an obvious matter, it is unlikely that the conditions for reform can exist.

The government does appear to realize its precarious position. We have discussed the frustrations it creates by not fully allowing its citizens to exercise their rights of speech, assembly and association. In a June 20, 2013, hearing of this subcommittee, Berhanu Nega said the government has created a situation in which there is no legitimate means of redress of grievances. Although the government jailed him after he won the 2005 race to become Mayor of Addis Ababa, he was not known to have begun his campaign of armed resistance until after that time.

The recent increased protests in Oromo and Amhara regions have alarmed the government, but if it can’t find a way to relent in its refusal to allow genuine competition for political power and to respond to the cries of its people for the services they deserve, there will be more Berhanu Negas.

But this is preventable. Rather than spend hundreds of thousands on consultants to try to mislead Members of Congress on the facts and inciting e-mail form letter campaigns by supporters, the Government of Ethiopia can acknowledge their challenges and work with the U.S. government and others in the international community to seek reasonable solutions. We are prepared to help once they are ready to face the ugly truth of what has happened and what continues to happen in Ethiopia today.

Chairman Smith on the hearing: “Ethiopia has long been an important ally, providing effective peacekeepers and collaborating in the War on Terror. However, increasingly repressive policies have diminished political space and threaten to radicalize not only the political opposition but also civil society by frustrating their ability to exercise their rights under law. This hearing will examine the current situation in Ethiopia with an eye toward developing policies to help this nation to reverse an increasingly tense situation in the troubled Horn of Africa.”

Witnesses
Panel I
Terrence Lyons, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution
George Mason University
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Felix Horne
Senior Researcher
Horn of Africa
Human Rights Watch
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Panel II
Ms. Seenaa Jimjimo
President
Coalition of Oromo Advocates for Human Rights and Democracy
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Tewodrose Tirfe
Co-Founder
Amhara Association of America
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Guya Abaguya Deki
Representative
Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Yoseph Tafari
Co-Founder
Ethiopian Drought Relief Aid of Colorado
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]


Related:
Ethiopia: US Top Diplomat Misses Human Rights Presentation
Debating Pros & Cons of US Foreign Aid
Focus on Ethiopia: A Look at the New ‘America First’ Foreign Policy
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Here We Go Again: Ethiopia & Eritrea Blame Each Other Over Alleged Attack

Construction workers are seen in a section of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, Ethiopia, March 31, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)

Newsweek

ETHIOPIA AND ERITREA TRADE ACCUSATIONS OVER GRAND DAM ‘ATTACK’

Eritrea has denied any involvement in an alleged plan to attack an under-construction Ethiopian dam, which is set to become the biggest hydropower dam in Africa.

Ethiopia’s deputy government spokesman, Zadig Abrha, told the state-run Fana Broadcasting Corporation that 20 members of an Eritrean rebel movement—known as the Benishangul Gumuz People’s Liberation Movement—had been apprehended while attempting to attack the site of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Abrha said that Ethiopian security forces killed 13 of the rebels, while seven fled into neighboring Sudan. But the Ethiopian government spokesman said that Sudan had handed the rebels over and they were now in Ethiopian custody.

Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel told Bloomberg News that the accusation that his country sponsored the group “is preposterous and peddled for some sinister reason.” Gebremeskel added that he had “never heard of this group.”

Ethiopia and Eritrea have a history of tense relations. Eritrea only seceded from Ethiopia in 1991 after a 30-year independence war, and the two countries have regularly clashed on the boundaries of their borders. Tens of thousands of soldiers on both sides were killed in a border war focused on the town of Badme between 1998 and 2000.

Ethiopia has also accused Eritrea of sponsoring anti-government protests, led by the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups, which have been occurring regularly since November 2015. Eritrea has denied the allegation.

Read more at Newsweek.com »


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Will Oprah Run Against Trump in 2020?

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, American media mogul Oprah Winfrey discussed the possibility of her running for US President, which at this point is not totally out of the question. (Photo: Bloomberg News video)

Bloomberg

Oprah 2020? Winfrey Hints at Presidential Run Against Trump

Oprah Winfrey discusses whether she would run for president and reveals her surprise at the election of President Donald Trump with David Rubenstein in the season two premiere of “The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations”

Watch: Oprah Realizes You Don’t Need Experience to Be US President:


Related:
Oprah 2020? Winfrey Hints at Presidential Run Against Trump (NBC)
The Serious Case for Oprah 2020 (Politico)
WATCH: President Trump’s worst nightmare? Oprah plots 2020 presidential run (Salon)
Oprah Winfrey considers 2020 Presidential run in wake of Donald Trump’s win (Independent UK)

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Ethiopia: Free Dr. Merera Gudina

Dr. Merera Gudina briefing the European parliament about the crisis in Ethiopia on November 9, 2016. (Photo: Facebook)

HRW

Politically Motivated Charges Against Ethiopian Opposition Leader

Three months after Ethiopian security forces arrested opposition leader Dr. Merera Gudina upon his return to Ethiopia, following his participation in a hearing at the European parliament about the crisis in his home country, prosecutors on Thursday charged the prominent 60-year-old politician with rendering support to terrorism and attempting to “disrupt constitutional order.” Ethiopian marathon runner Feyisa Lelisa and the head of the banned opposition group Ginbot 7, Dr. Berhanu Nega, had also participated in the hearing that had been hosted by Member of the European Parliament Ana Gomes, and which was to inform delegates about the protests that have swept through Ethiopia since November 2015. Hundreds of people have been killed and tens of thousands detained since these protests began. Merera is now at Maekelawi, a prison where mistreatment and torture are commonplace.

Merera is the chair of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), a legally registered political opposition party. He joins many other senior OFC leaders facing terrorism charges over the last 18 months. Among those presently standing trial is OFC deputy chairman Bekele Gerba. Prosecutors included as evidence of his crimes a video of Bekele at an August 2016 conference in Washington, DC, where he spoke of the importance of nonviolence and commitment to the electoral process. Like Merera, he has been a moderate voice of dissent in a highly polarized political landscape.

Merera and Bekele join a long list of opposition politicians, journalists, and protesters charged under the 2009 anti-terrorism law, regularly used to stifle critical views of governance in Ethiopia. Acquittals are rare, credible evidence is often not presented, and trials are marred by numerous due process concerns.

Read more »


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Wife of Ethio Reporter Anania Sorri Says US & UK Could Help Free Her Husband

Bezawit Hailegiorgis, wife of the detained blogger and journalist Anania Sorri. (Photo: The Guardian)

The Guardian

Ethiopian journalist’s wife urges UK and US to call for his release

The wife of a blogger and journalist detained in Ethiopia has called on the international community to pressure local authorities to release her husband, who is among tens of thousands held since a state of emergency was declared in the emerging east African power last year.

Anania Sorri, a 34-year-old writer and intellectual, was arrested in November on his way to a meeting at the US embassy in Addis Ababa. He is being held in a high security prison in the Ethiopian capital and has not yet been formally charged with any offence.

Bezawit Hailegiorgis, 29, his wife, said his sole crime had been “to express his thoughts honestly”.

“His crime is his determination to speak out. He is a brilliant political journalist. He was critical but always constructive … but being imprisoned is part of the job description of being a journalist here. It’s a zero-sum game, where someone has to lose, and at the moment they are not losing,” she told the Guardian.

Read more »


Related:
Audio: NPR on the brave Ethiopian reporter Anania Sorri


NPR’s East Africa correspondent, tells the story of a brave Ethiopian reporter, Anania Sorri,
who asked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry one very serious question that was seriously misunderstood.

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UCLA Archaeologists Enlist Community to Preserve Cultural Heritage in Ethiopia

UCLA professor Willeke Wendrich talks to school children in northern Ethiopia. (Photo: UCLA)

UCLA Newsroom

Near the small village of Mai Adrasha in Ethiopia, UCLA archaeologists found themselves digging into more than dirt. They were also diving into another role, serving as ambassadors of history to help the local community understand that there is wealth not only in the natural gold-rich soil that encloses long-buried ancient ruins, but also in preservation of cultural heritage.

“We decided it was really worthwhile to keep this site so we spent a lot of time this season talking to people who live around Mai Adrasha,” said Willeke Wendrich, director of the Cotsen Institute and professor of Egyptian archaeology and digital humanities, who has led digs in the area for the last two years.

The results of their efforts were heartening — for archaeology as a whole and for the UCLA team in particular.

Wendrich, her co-director and graduate student Rachel Moy and their team recently returned from their second excavation near Mai Adrasha, in the region of northern Ethiopia called Shire. With several active trenches, they are looking for evidence from the pre-Aksumite era (before 300 B.C.), a period that remains something of an archaeological mystery, partially because the remains of it are disappearing as a result of humans hunting for gold.

Read more »


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How Should the US React to Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia?

The US capitol building. (Photo: Shutterstock)

CNA

One member of Congress is hoping for a “serious policy review” by the Trump administration of the United States’ relationship with Ethiopia, citing human rights abuses by the government there.

“To truly stop violence abroad, Ethiopia must stop violence at home,” Rep. Chris Smith, chair of the House subcommittee on Africa and global human rights, stated at a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday.

“Since 2005, untold thousands of students have been jailed, have been shot during demonstrations or have simply disappeared in the last 11 years,” Smith stated Feb. 15. “Ethiopia’s next generation is being taught that the rights that democracy normally bestows on a country’s citizens don’t apply in their country.”

Smith and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) introduced a House resolution (H. Res. 128) Wednesday “highlighting the crisis in Ethiopia due to government violations of the human rights of its citizens,” Smith stated.

“With this resolution, we are showing that the United States remains committed to universal respect for human rights, and that we will not tolerate continued abuse of those human rights by Ethiopian security forces,” Coffman said.

There has been a “steady erosion” of democracy in Ethiopia since 2005, the congressmen maintained.

Government dissidents have been jailed, citizens have been tortured and killed by the government’s security forces, and freedom of the press has been infringed upon. Ethnic groups have been the victims of violence perpetrated by the government.

Peaceful protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions of the country were met with hundreds of killings and tens of thousands of arrests by security forces in 2016, Human Rights Watch said in its recent report on the country. Citizens released from jail claimed they were tortured while in custody.

“Instead of addressing the numerous calls for reform in 2016, the Ethiopian government used excessive and unnecessary lethal force to suppress largely peaceful protests,” Felix Horne, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, stated in the report released in January.

One protest in the Oromia region resulted in the police using tear gas, rubber bullets, and rounds fired into the air to break it up, claiming that the crowd was getting out of hand. An ensuing stampede killed 50. The Inter-religious Council of Ethiopia, on which Catholic leaders sit, called for prayer and peace amid the protests and asked government leaders to listen to the people.

The recent protests in the Amhara region of the country have showed a sense of “identity” on the part of embattled citizens, and their “need to survive,” Tewodrose Tirfe of the Amhara Association of America, a refugee who came to the U.S. in 1982, noted.

“The U.S. and the West cannot sympathize with a government that kills people,” Seenaa Jimjimo, a human rights advocate who was born and grew up in Ethiopia, insisted in her statement at Wednesday’s press conference.

Amidst protests, a state of emergency was declared by the state in October and is “being used as a method to crack down even further on basic human freedoms,” Coffman said.

Thus, the resolution is the “first step by our representatives to let the Ethiopian government know that the U.S. policy is changing, that their continued human rights violations on innocent civilians will not be tolerated,” Tirfe stated.

“We invoke the Global Magnitsky Act,” Gregory Simpkins, staff director of the House subcommittee on Africa, said on Wednesday of the law which enables sanctions against specific “entities and persons who violate the human rights of people.”

Ethiopia has acted as a key ally in fighting international terrorism, Smith noted, but if it fails to protect human rights at home then extremism could fester within its own borders.

“What Congressman Smith and I are asking is for the Congress of the United States to join together and pass this resolution condemning the Ethopian government for its human rights abuses,” Coffman stated.

“And I think it’s important for all Americans to care about human rights to encourage their member of Congress to co-sponsor this resolution so that we can pass it in the Congress.”

—-
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US Federal Appeals Court Rules 3 to 0 Against Trump on Travel Ban

A federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling suspending President Trump’s controversial immigration order barring refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. on Feb. 9.

The Washington Post

A federal appeals panel has maintained the freeze on President Trump’s controversial immigration order, meaning previously barred refugees and citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries can continue entering the United States.

In a unanimous 29-page opinion, three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit flatly rejected the government’s argument that suspension of the order should be lifted immediately for national security reasons, and they forcefully asserted their ability to serve as a check on the president’s power.

The judges wrote that any suggestion that they could not “runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.”

The judges did not declare outright that the ban was meant to disfavor Muslims — essentially saying it was too early for them to render a judgment on that question. But their ruling is undeniably a blow to the government and means the travel ban will remain off for the foreseeable future.

Read more »


Related:
Former Peace Corps Director in Ethiopia One of US Judges Reviewing Trump’s Ban
In Divided America, US History Has Become Weapon for Trump Fans & Critics
To the World Trump’s Immigration Ban is Contrary to the Idea of America
State Dept. Dissent Cable on Trump’s Ban Draws 1,000 Signatures

Watch: AS PROTESTS GROW, TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION BAN PROVOKES CRISIS

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Former Peace Corps Director in Ethiopia One of US Judges Reviewing Trump’s Ban

Judge William Canby Jr., who is one of the three US federal appeals court judges reviewing President Donald Trump’s travel ban, was an Associate Director of the Peace Corps for Ethiopia from 1962 to 1963. (ASU)

Heavy

William Canby Jr. is one of three judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals who on Tuesday [heard] oral arguments in the challenge to President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

Here’s what you need to know about William Canby Jr.

According to the Arizona State University College of Law, William Canby in 1962 helped establish the Peace Corps in Africa with his wife, Jane.

Canby joined the Peace Corps that year after spending some time working in private practice. He would go on to serve as associate director of the Peace Corps for Ethiopia, and then deputy director for the Peace Corps for Ethiopia. After that, he became the director of the Peace Corps for Uganda for two years.

He returned to the United States in the late ’60s to teach law at Arizona State University, but he returned to Ethiopia in 1999 to help achieve peace in the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Here’s an early look at how questioning went in the appeals court review of Trump’s immigration ban


From left: Judge Richard R. Clifton, shown in 2002; Judge William Canby, shown in 2015; and Judge Michelle T. Friedland, shown in 2014. (Associated Press)

LA Times

A federal appeals court panel reviewing President Trump’s controversial limits on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries appeared skeptical Tuesday of the administration’s arguments seeking to reinstate his order.

In a hearing that lasted more than an hour, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals appeared to dismiss the administration’s arguments that neither the states nor the courts have the authority to challenge the executive order, which seeks to bar travelers from seven countries in the Middle East and North Africa to protect the United States from terrorists.

The fight over the travel moratorium is being viewed as a test of whether the new and unconventional president, who has never before held public office, will be reined in by the courts as he tries to implement his controversial campaign promises.

Read more »

Audio: State of Washington v. Donald J. Trump


Related:
In Divided America, US History Has Become Weapon for Trump Fans & Critics
To the World Trump’s Immigration Ban is Contrary to the Idea of America
State Dept. Dissent Cable on Trump’s Ban Draws 1,000 Signatures

Watch: AS PROTESTS GROW, TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION BAN PROVOKES CRISIS

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Judge Stops Trump’s Ban Nationwide

A passenger is greeted by friends in Boston on Friday after he cleared U.S. customs. (Photo: Reuters)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Saturday, February 4th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — A U.S. federal judge in Seattle, Washington has ruled to put a nationwide temporary hold on President Donald Trump’s immigration order and allowing stranded passengers at several airports across the country entry into the United States.

A State Department official confirmed on Saturday that individuals with valid visas are once again being welcomed into the US. “We have reversed the provisional revocation of visas under Executive Order 13769. Those individuals with visas that were not physically cancelled may now travel if the visa is otherwise valid,” the official told VOA. “We are working closely with the Department of Homeland Security and our legal teams.”

In announcing his decision on Friday U.S. District Judge James L. Robart declared that the judicial branch “must intervene to fulfill its constitutional role in our tripart government.” And Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson added that the ruling “the first of its kind..shuts down the executive order immediately.”

The Director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, Omar Jadwat, said: “This ruling is another stinging rejection of President Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban. We will keep fighting to permanently dismantle this un-American executive order.”

Watch: U.S. borders reopen to valid visa holders; Trump files appeal


On Friday, Judge James Robart of Federal District Court in Seattle stopped the ban.

Meanwhile, prior to the new court decision, Reuters reports that nine Yemeni nationals were sent to Ethiopia and eventually to Djibouti. Ethiopian government spokesman Negeri Lencho told the news agency that “The only reason they came to Addis Ababa was because Ethiopian Airlines has flights from Addis Ababa to Washington.”


Related:
State Dept. reverses visa revocations, allows banned travelers to enter U.S.
To the World Trump’s Immigration Ban is Contrary to the Idea of America
A Jarring New Level of Confrontation Hits Washington
State Dept. Dissent Cable on Trump’s Ban Draws 1,000 Signatures

Watch: AS PROTESTS GROW, TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION BAN PROVOKES CRISIS

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How British Tabloids Helped Kill a Women’s Aid Program in Ethiopia

Members of the Yegna band greet fans in the capital Addis Ababa. (Photo: Noni Rossini/Girl Effect)

The Washington Post

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The headline in Britain’s Daily Mail couldn’t have been more triumphant: “Aid: Now they’re listening,” it shouted in huge letters.

The conservative paper was celebrating the withdrawal of British funding for an aid project in Ethiopia it has dubbed “the Ethiopian Spice Girls.” These “girls” are a five-member all-female band known as Yegna, or “Ours.” It was founded three years ago and produces a radio drama and music videos aimed at helping girls through the perils of adolescence in Ethiopia.

The Daily Mail attacked the project for years with a string of vitriolic articles, calling Yegna “the most wasteful, ludicrous and patronizing” aid project in Africa. That coverage apparently convinced Britain’s Department for International Development to withdraw its funding on Jan. 6.

Yet the aid agency had previously given the program high marks, presenting it as an innovative way to empower Ethiopia’s young women. And while Ethiopia is the second largest recipient of British aid, getting $470 million a year, Yegna received only $6.4 million in total from the British government from 2015 to 2018.

Aid workers and activists say the rush to scapegoat Britain’s aid policy not only hurt a program that is helping adolescent girls but unfairly attacks the idea of using media for social change, a method development workers say is getting good results around the world.

Read more at The Washington Post »


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Trump Sworn in as US President

President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama talk, as they pause on the steps of the East Front of the U.S. Capitol as the Obama's depart, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 in Washington. (AP Photo)

The New York Times

Jan. 20, 2017

WASHINGTON — Donald John Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, ushering in a new and more unpredictable era in which he vowed to shatter the established order and restore American greatness.

From the West Front of the Capitol, overlooking a crowd of hundreds of thousands as rain began to fall, Mr. Trump presented a dark vision of a nation afflicted by division and dislocation, exploited and forgotten by a group of Washington elites and diminished around the world. His arrival, he promised, would finally turn it around.

“This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” he declared in a forceful 16-minute Inaugural Address.

“The time for empty talk is over,” he added later. “Now arrives the hour for action. Do not allow anyone to tell you it cannot be done.”

He said the inauguration represented not just the peaceful transfer of power from one party to another. “We are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you the people,” he said.

Read more at NYTimes.com »

Promises, pomp and protests as Trump sworn in (AP)

The Associated Press

Jan. 20, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pledging to empower America’s “forgotten men and women,” Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States Friday, taking command of a deeply divided nation and ushering in an unpredictable era in Washington. His victory gives Republicans control of the White House for the first time in eight years.

Looking out over the crowd sprawled across the National Mall, Trump painted a bleak picture of the nation he now leads, lamenting “American carnage,” shuttered factories and depleted U.S. leadership. President Barack Obama, the man he replaced, sat behind him stoically.

Trump’s address lasted just 16 minutes. While his inauguration did draw crowds to the nation’s capital, the numbers appeared smaller than for past celebrations.


President Donald Trump waves after being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (AP Photo)

Demonstrations unfolded at various security checkpoints near the Capitol as police helped ticket-holders get through. After the swearing-in, more protesters registered their rage in the streets of Washington. Police in riot gear deployed pepper spray and made numerous arrests after protesters smashed the windows of downtown businesses, denouncing capitalism and Trump.

The new president’s first words as commander in chief were an unapologetic reprisal of the economic populism and nationalism that fueled his improbable campaign. He vowed to stir “new national pride,” bring jobs back to the United States, and “eradicate completely” Islamic terrorism.

“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only, ‘America First,’” Trump said.

His address lasted just 16 minutes. While Trump’s inauguration did draw crowds to the nation’s capital, the numbers appeared smaller than for past celebrations.

In a remarkable scene, Trump ripped into Washington’s longtime leaders as he stood among them at the U.S. Capitol. For too long, he said, “a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.”

For Republicans eager to be back in the White House, there was little mention of the party’s bedrock principles: small government, social conservativism and robust American leadership around the world. Trump, who is taking office as one of the most unpopular incoming presidents in modern history, made only oblique references to those who may be infuriated and fearful of his presidency.

“To all Americans in every city near and far, small and large from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words: You will never be ignored again,” he said.

The new president was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts, reciting the 35-word oath with his hand placed upon two Bibles, one used by his family and another during President Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration.

Trump and wife, Melania, bid Obama and outgoing first lady Michelle Obama farewell as they departed the Capitol grounds in a government helicopter. Trump and Obama’s political paths have been linked in remarkable ways. Before running for the White House, the billionaire businessman led efforts to promote falsehoods about the 44th president’s citizenship and claim on the office.

Obama addressed a staff gathering at Joint Base Andrews before departing for a vacation in California. “You proved the power of hope,” he said.

Read more »


Related
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

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A Boom in Qat in Ethiopia and Kenya

(Getty Images)

The Economist

Will this burgeoning green business turn to bust?

“THIS is qat,” explains Teklu Kaimo, gesturing to the wooded field behind him. He started growing it in 1976, and over the years its soft, green leaves have brought him a measure of prosperity. He has a modest plot of land, 11 children and money to pay their way through school.

A short walk down the hill, the central marketplace of this part of southern Ethiopia comes alive with farmers, merchants and salesmen as the sun sets. Young men sprint down streets with bundles of fresh qat leaves on their shoulders, as traders call out prices and haul the bags aboard lorries. They are bound for Addis Ababa, the capital, where the following morning they will be sold to qat-chewers in the city, or packed onto planes bound for neighbouring Djibouti and Somaliland.

Ethiopia’s trade in qat, a mild stimulant native to this part of Africa, is booming. Where once cultivation and consumption were restricted to the Muslim lowlands towards the country’s east, today it is grown and masticated throughout the country. Nearly half a million hectares of land are thought to be devoted to it, some two-and-half times more than was grown 15 years ago. Many of those cultivating it have switched from coffee, Ethiopia’s biggest export, to one that offers juicier and more stable returns. Qat is now the country’s second-largest source of foreign currency, and, with prices rising, a handy source of government revenue.

The industry’s growth is partly due to increased consumption. Qat kiosks are dotted around all main towns; young men chewing on street corners or in university libraries have become a ubiquitous feature of Ethiopian life. For many, its spread is a symbol of national decline. “It is getting worse by the day,” says Fitsum Zeab, a businessmen in Addis Ababa.

Read more at Economist.com »


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Ethio-American Friend Rep. Mike Coffman in Trouble Over Obamacare Repeal Vote

U.S. Congressman Mike Coffman speaks at St. Mary's Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Denver, Colorado during Meskel celebration on October 1, 2016. (Photo: Flickr/Mike Coffman)

The Colorado Independent

The scene could not have been more damaging for a public official: A TV camera rolling as Congressman Mike Coffman ducks out a side door of his own public event, fleeing around 100 members of the public— many of them there to grill him about what will happen if he successfully repeals Obamacare.

“He snuck out, and he snuck out early,” two women are heard saying in a video for a broadcast on Denver’s 9News that captured a crowd of frustrated Coloradans wanting to talk to the Congressman but left without access, nor answers to their concerns. Some shouted “open the door,” and “This is what democracy looks like,” when Coffman declined to meet with everyone at once.

Since the story about Saturday’s event in Aurora, the news of a Republican congressman from Colorado being confronted loudly at a public event by people concerned about Obamacare repeal has spread into national media.

Read more »

Watch: Congressman Coffman leaves frustrated crowd

9News Denver

AURORA – When Berthie Ruoff arrived at the Aurora Central Library to meet with Congressman Mike Coffman, she was hopeful to find encouraging answers about the impending changes to the Affordable Care Act.

“My husband passed away and the only way I was able to get insurance was through the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare,” Ruoff said.

When she walked in, she saw a crowd she didn’t expect.

“There were hundreds of people here,” Ruoff said.

Kronda Seibert just wanted Coffman to hear her concerns. But, she ended up trying to organize the crowd that gathered outside the large community room.

“The representative didn’t have a plan. They expected just a small handful of people to show up,” Seibert said. “We were under the understanding it was a town hall meeting and they were only allowing four people in at a time.”

Coffman’s chief of staff, Ben Stein, sent a statement addressing what happened Saturday afternoon. The statement says the Congressman’s community event was not a town hall.

Read more »

Watch: Congressman Mike Coffman at Denver’s 2017 MLK Parade Asked About the Incident:


Related:
In Colorado, GOP Congressman Mike Coffman Enjoys Ethiopian Support

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Ethiopia: HD Says He Wants to Keep Merara in Jail for Meeting EU Lawmakers

Merera Gudina is the chairman of Ethiopia's opposition party OFC. The prominent political leader has been detained since he returned home from a working trip to the European Parliament last month. (Photo: Reuters)

AP

By Elias Meseret 

January 9, 2017

Ethiopia targets opposition who met with European lawmakers

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia said Monday it will not release a leading opposition figure detained under the country’s state of emergency after meeting with European lawmakers in Belgium.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told reporters that Merara Gudina of the Oromo Federalist Congress party instead will face justice.

“Individuals in the European Parliament who are harboring anti-peace elements cannot save those who trespass the law of the country,” the prime minister said.

Merara is one of 22,000 people the prime minister said were detained under the state of emergency declared in October after widespread, sometimes deadly anti-government protests. The government has said several thousand have since been released.

Merara was arrested immediately after he returned from Belgium, where he met with the lawmakers about the state of emergency. He was accused of meeting with members of an armed Ethiopian opposition group in Brussels, an act banned under the emergency law.

Photos posted on social media show him sitting next to Birhanu Nega, leader of the armed opposition group called Ginbot 7 that mainly operates from Eritrea, and Feyisa Lilesa, the Ethiopian marathon runner who crossed his wrists in a sign of protest while crossing the finish line at the Rio Olympic Games.

Read more »


Ethiopia: US Ambassador to UN Samantha Power Says Free Bekele Gerba

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Like In Ethiopia, CPJ Worried for US Press

(AP photo)

CPJ

January 9, 2017

Transition to Trump: Like In Ethiopia, CPJ Worried About Press Freedom in USA

Journalists in the U.S. experience a threatening climate covering the election and its conclusion, with President-elect Donald Trump obstructing major news organizations, attacking reporters by name, and proposing to “open up” libel laws. As the new presidential administration prepares to take over, CPJ examines the status of press freedom, including the challenges journalists face from surveillance, harassment, limited transparency, the questioning of libel laws, and other factors.

Watch Meryl Streep calls for CPJ support


American actress Meryl Streep giving her now famous speech at the 2017 Golden Globes when receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement on Sunday, January 8th in Beverly Hills, California. She championed press freedoms, criticized Donald Trump and advocated support for CPJ. (Golden Globes 2017)

As Meryl Streep accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2017 Golden Globes ceremony on January 8, 2017, she called on the audience and the broader community to join her in supporting CPJ. You can #StandWithStreep and click here to make a donation.

In her speech, Streep said, “Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose. … We need the principled press to hold power to account. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in the Constitution.”

So, Streep continued, “I only ask … all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we’re going to need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.”

Read more »


Related:
Letter: CPJ seeks meeting with Vice President-elect Pence

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How ‘Idir’ is Helping the Elderly in Ethiopia

As Ethiopia has begun to age, the 'idir' has started to serve a new purpose: helping elderly residents live their daily lives when they no longer have family members nearby. (CS Monitor)

CS Monitor

In Ethiopia, the elderly get new help from an old tool

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — Established around 100 years ago, the Ethiopian idir is a kind of grassroots life insurance. Idir collectives help Ethiopian neighbors organize funerals for their closest relatives and provide solace in grieving.

But as Ethiopia has begun to age, the idir has started to serve a new purpose beyond end-of-life services: helping elderly residents live their daily lives when they no longer have family members nearby.

“The number of older people left alone has increased, because their children have left for other cities or countries and don’t visit or support them anymore,” says Etalemaha Mekbib, the treasurer of a 700-member idir on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa. Her association, whose main purpose was once to fund all the arrangements of the funeral, now also pays calls to the elderly in their homes, accompanies them to hospitals, and helps them pay their monthly idir fees or buy basics such as soap or coffee.

Watch: As Ethiopia modernizes, its elderly find new ways to get by

For the vast majority of elderly in Ethiopia, says Gebre Yntiso Deko, an anthropologist from Addis Ababa University, “their pension systems are their children.” He says governments should act now to prepare, by funding adequate nursing care and creating pension schemes.

Read more »


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Ethiopia: US Ambassador to UN Says Free Bekele Gerba

Ethiopia's Oromo Federalist Congress Deputy Chair Bekele Gerba. (Picture: Twitter/‏@AmbassadorPower)

Medium

By: Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations

Launch of #FreeToBeHome Political Prisoner Campaign

This holiday season, as families in the United States gather, we are reminded of all the missed holidays, bittersweet birthdays, and family occasions where a mother, brother, friend, or neighbor was missing because a government chose to muzzle their voices and lock them up.

So throughout this holiday season, the United States government will be profiling the cases of prisoners unjustly held around the world and the families they leave behind. The stories of these individuals will highlight the broader struggle faced by so many families of political prisoners, who have to commemorate countless family occasions with loved ones behind bars.


These prisoners represent thousands of other prisoners unjustly detained around the world. (Medium.com)

Authorities detained Oromo Federalist Congress Deputy Chairman Bekele Gerba on December 23, 2015 and later charged him along with more than 20 others under Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. There were reports that authorities mistreated Bekele and others, including denying them adequate medical care and access to visitors including legal counsel. Bekele Gerba is one of thousands detained following the start of protests in November 2015.

We call on the Government of Ethiopia to release all political prisoners and ensure all Ethiopians enjoy the protections of their constitutional rights.


Related:
Ethiopia govt spokesman says 9,800 detained under state of emergency released (AP)
Leader of Ethiopia’s OFC Oppostion Party, Merera Gudina, arrested after trip to Europe (BBC)

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Where is Journalist Temesgen Desalegn?

Jailed Ethiopian journalist Temesghen Desalegn. (Photo by Araya Getachew via © UntoldStories.com)

The Associated Press

December 14, 2016

Human rights groups to Ethiopia: Where is jailed journalist?

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Human rights groups are asking Ethiopia’s government to immediately disclose the whereabouts of a popular local journalist who has been behind bars since October 2014.

The Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia and DefendDefenders on Wednesday called it “unacceptable” that the government was unwilling or unable to provide Temesgen Desalegn’s relatives with information after two years of detention.

The groups say Temesgen was jailed on “spurious charges.” The journalist is serving a three-year sentence on charges of defamation, incitement and false publication.

The public relations head of the Ethiopian Federal Prison Administration, Gizachew Mengiste, tells The Associated Press he has no information about Temesgen’s whereabouts.

Read more »


Related:
New Report Says Ethiopia Blocked Social Media, News Sites (AP)
U.S. Deeply Concerned by Sentence of Ethiopian Journalist Temesghen Desalegn

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Report: Ethiopia Blocked News Sites

(Getty Images)

The Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

Dec. 13, 2016

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia’s government illegally blocked social media and news websites during the months of turmoil that led to the country’s ongoing state of emergency, a new report says.

The report by Amnesty International and the Open Observatory of Network Interference also found “systematic interference” with access to political opposition sites and ones supporting freedom of expression and gay rights.

“This raises serious concerns that overly broad censorship will become institutionalized under the state of emergency,” said Michelle Kagari, an Amnesty International deputy regional director. The report says access to WhatsApp and at least 16 news sites was blocked.

Human rights groups and opposition activists have said hundreds have been killed in waves of anti-government protests that began in November 2015, demanding wider freedoms in one of Africa’s best-performing economies and a close U.S. security ally.

Ethiopia’s government declared a state of emergency in October after dozens were killed in a stampede when police tried to disperse protesters at a religious festival. It set to end in April.

The government dismissed the new report as “one-sided, not credible and baseless.”

“There is no internet blackout in Ethiopia,” deputy spokesman Mohammed Seid told The Associated Press, though internet services have been widely affected since early October. “What we have is a certain obstruction on mobile data services. It will be resolved very soon.”

However, a former government spokesman, Getachew Reda, acknowledged the existence of a blackout and said it will be restored “as soon as it no more threatens the proper implementation of the state of emergency.”

Many in Ethiopia are using virtual private networks, or VPNs, to access social media after mobile data was partially restored 10 days ago.


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CIA Believes Russia Helped Trump Win

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded with “high confidence” that Russia hacked the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help Donald Trump win. President Obama has ordered full review. (Photo: NYT)

VOA News

CIA Believes Russia Helped Trump Win White House

Updated: December 10, 2016

CAPITOL HILL — President Barack Obama has ordered the intelligence community to conduct a full review of “hacking-related activity aimed at disrupting the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

After his announcement Friday, two leading U.S. newspapers — The New York Times and The Washington Post — reported Russia intervened in the recent U.S. presidential election to help Donald Trump win.

The Times reported Russians hacked the computers of both the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee, but only released damaging material from the DNC.

The Democrats were plagued with leaked DNC emails as the presidential election drew near. The Times says intelligence agencies “have concluded that the Russians gave the Democrats’ documents to WikiLeaks.”

“We now have high confidence that they hacked the DNC and the RNC and conspicuously released no documents” from the RNC, an unnamed senior Obama administration official speaking about the Russians, told The Times.

The Times reports that individual Russians whom U.S. intelligence officials say are responsible for the cyberattacks have been identified, but none has been punished.

The Washington Post reported the CIA believes Russia intervened in the election to help Trump win. In a story posted on the newspaper’s website Friday evening, The Post quotes an anonymous official who says the goal of the interference “was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected.”


CIA briefers told senators in a closed-door briefing it was now “quite clear” that
electing Trump was Russia’s goal, according to officials. (The Washington Post)

Role of Congress

Pressure is mounting from Democratic and Republican members of Congress, who are calling for a thorough and public investigation into Russian interference in the election.

The Post article says the White House had known about Russia’s interference for months, but could not decide how to best respond before the presidential election without “escalating tensions with Moscow and being accused of trying to boost Clinton’s campaign.”

The Post said, “The reluctance of the Obama White House to respond to the alleged Russian intrusions before Election Day upset Democrats on the Hill as well as members of the Clinton campaign.”

The newspaper says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, doubted “the veracity of the intelligence” gathered about Russia’s interference and told the Obama administration that if it challenged the Russians publicly, he would see that act as partisan politics.

Months later, President-elect Trump chose McConnell’s wife as his nominee for transportation secretary.

Inquiry back to 2008

Eric Schultz, White House principal deputy press secretary, told reporters Friday there has been a pattern of malicious cyberactivity timed to coincide with U.S. elections. He said the investigation will be a “deep dive,” going back to the 2008 presidential elections, when cyber meddling was attributed to China.

Schultz said the investigation would look at any and all foreign interference, and investigators would go wherever the evidence leads them.

Asked about Russia’s role, Schultz said this type of activity is “nothing new for Moscow,” adding that the U.S. has seen Russia do this type of thing for years in Asia and across Europe.

Results of investigation

Schultz said the president has ordered that he be given the results of the investigation before he leaves office January 20. He said the White House would make public as much of the report as it can.

Schultz also explained this is not an effort to change the outcome of the U.S. elections, but to preserve the integrity of future U.S. elections by revealing the scope of what happened.

Trump team responds

President-elect Trump’s transition team released a statement late Friday that said, “These are the same people (the CIA) that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.’”

Earlier Friday, White House counter-terrorism adviser Lisa Monaco broke the news of the probe at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast.

“We may have crossed into a new threshold, and it is incumbent upon us to take stock of that, to review, to conduct some after-action, to understand what has happened and to impart some lessons learned,” Monaco said.

Some U.S. Congress members welcomed the announcement.

Democratic Representative Adam Schiff said in a statement, “The administration should work to declassify as much of it as possible, while protecting our sources and methods, and make it available to the public.”

In October, the Obama administration formally blamed Russia for a cyberattack into the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations. Wikileaks published excerpts from the hacked emails that were potentially damaging to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Trump repeatedly has downplayed any Russian interference in the U.S. election. During one debate, he said the cyberattacks could have been carried out by a “400-pound man sitting on his bed.”

Trump’s campaign said voters should focus on what was in the emails.

Congressional issue

Since Obama has only a few weeks left in office, the report may serve only to establish some facts for Congress to grapple with next year.

Several leading Senate Republicans, including John McCain and Lindsey Graham, say they are preparing to launch a widespread investigation into Russia’s interference in the election and its cyber threats to the U.S. military. Both senators have been critical of Trump’s praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Graham told CNN, “I’m going after Russia in every way you can go after Russia. I think they’re one of the most destabilizing influences on the world stage. I think they did interfere with our elections, and I want Putin personally to pay the price.”

Putin has dismissed what he called U.S. hysteria over the hacking into Democratic Party organizations, saying it does not matter who hacked into the emails, and Americans instead should focus on their content.


Related:
Russian Hackers Acted to Aid Trump in Election, U.S. Says (The New York Times)
Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House (The Washington Post)

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Marcus Samuelsson’s 1st DC Restaurant

Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson's restaurant at MGM National Harbor in Washington, D.C. is open 24-hours a day. Marcus is also designing the in-room dining option at the hotel. (Photo WTOP)

WTOP

Sneak peek: Inside MGM National Harbor

WASHINGTON — After two years of construction and $1.4 billion, MGM National Harbor is ready to open its doors in Prince George’s County, Maryland, on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 11 p.m.

The 24-story destination includes 15 dining options, 308 hotel rooms, a 3,000-seat theater, a 125,000-square-foot casino and 18,000 square feet of retail.

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect when the doors finally open:

Food and Drink

There are 15 dining options at MGM National Harbor, including several restaurants headed by celebrity chefs. Here are some of the highlights:

Marcus Samuelsson — who is famous for his Harlem, New York, restaurant Red Rooster — will operate the only 24-hour restaurant at MGM National Harbor. Guests can expect live music and an outdoor dining area. Samuelsson is also in charge of in-room dining for the resort’s hotel.

Read more »


Related

Marcus Samuelsson Dishes on His First DC Restaurant, in the MGM Casino


Marcus Samuelsson (Facebook)

Eater Washington DC

Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson plans to “celebrate comfort food” at his new restaurant Marcus, debuting inside the MGM National Harbor this Thursday.

The Ethiopian-born and Swedish-raised chef and restaurateur operates several Harlem eateries. Shrimp and grits, fried chicken, and mac and cheese will be served up to resort guests in a laid-back homey setting designed by New York-based Parts and Labor Design.

The restaurant sits at the base of MGM’s central glass-enclosed atrium, which rises 85 feet and is bigger than the Bellagio in Las Vegas. In true casino fashion, Marcus’ huge exposed grill is meant to be a “theatrical” experience, he says, and African prints are present as an ode to his Ethiopian roots and D.C.’s large demographic of the same descent.

The family-friendly restaurant caters more to the adult crowd with its back bar called Sammy’s. The speakeasy will pay homage to D.C.’s go-go music scene, with DJs, Gospel brunches, flowing cocktails, and a Las Vegas Rat Pack vibe (the bar’s named after Sammy Davis Jr.). The setup is similar to his Red Rooster Harlem’s downstairs supper club, Ginny’s, he said. Another commonality is The Rooster Burger, which also appears on Marcus’ menu.

Read more »


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Watch: Ethiopians in DC Building Community Through Food

(Photo: State Dept./D.A. Peterson)

Eater Washington DC

Why Ethiopian Cuisine In Washington, D.C. Will One Day Be As Popular As Pizza – MOFAD

Washington, D.C. is home to the largest Ethiopian community in the U.S. Seeking educational opportunities, as well as refuge from political upheaval, three successive waves of Ethiopian immigrants settled in the nation’s capital in the second half of the 20th century. As the community grew, Ethiopian restaurants, markets, and cafes became fixtures of the Shaw and Adams Morgan neighborhoods, and later of Silver Spring, MD and Falls Church, VA.

In this guide, we’ll take you to some of the businesses keeping Ethiopian food traditions alive in the nation’s capital, and share some of the staples of Ethiopian cuisine to try along the way — including tangy fermented breads, vegan vegetable platters, and spicy meat stews.

Watch the video, read the local history, listen to the voices of business owners and community leaders, and taste the distinctive dishes of one of D.C.’s biggest cultural enclaves.


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Opposition Leader Merera Gudina Detained in Ethiopia After Trip to Europe

Merera Gudina, who addressed the European parliament on 9 November, was arrested on Wednesday upon his return to Ethiopia. (Getty Images)

BBC News

A prominent opposition leader in Ethiopia has been detained after he returned from Europe.

Merera Gudina had violated Ethiopia’s state of emergency by having contact with “terrorist” and “anti-peace” groups, state-linked media reported.

Mr Merera criticised the state of emergency in an address to the European parliament on 9 November.

The government imposed it in October to end an unprecedented wave of protests against its 25-year rule.
More than 11,000 people have since been arrested.

Mr Merera, who is the leader of the Oromo Federalist Conference, was arrested on Wednesday at the airport in the capital, Addis Ababa, after he flew in from Brussels, reports BBC Ethiopia correspondent Emmanuel Igunza.

Several of his relatives who were with him were also detained, local media report.

European parliament member Ana Maria Gomes, who invited Mr Merera, told the BBC she was “extremely shocked” about the arrests.

She said she would push for the European Union take a tougher line against the Ethiopian government.

Read more »


Related:
European Parliament Holds Hearing on Ethiopia Protests

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Ethiopia: Govt Claims 15 Ginbot 7 Members Killed in Foiled Attack

A prayer session in Bishoftu for protesters who died during Irreecha, October 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

International Business Times

Ethiopian security forces claim to have killed dozens of “Eritrean mercenaries” as they foiled a planned terror attack allegedly backed by neighbouring Eritrea. The Ethiopian Ministry of Defense said members of the Ginbot 7 opposition movement – which Ethiopia classified as a terrorist organisation – tried to deploy dozens of its armed fighters into Ethiopia.

It is believed a total of 113 alleged terrorists managed to infiltrate from Eritrea via the Tigray region, in northern Ethiopia. However, Ethiopian forces killed 15 of them, while 73 were captured, officials told the Sudan Tribune. Weapons and military equipment were also seized.

The ministry added the “terrorist plot by Eritrea and the other destructive forces” aimed to destabilise development in Ethiopia.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia says foiled Eritrea-backed terror attack, kill 15 (Sudan Tribune‎)

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In Ethiopia, Authorities Charge Prisoners for Recent Deadly Fire at Kaliti Prison

At least twenty-three people died when a fire broke out and a gunfire ensued at Qilinto (Kaliti) maximum security prison near Addis Abeba on September 3rd, 2016. (Photo: Addis Fortune)

Newsweek

An Ethiopian court has charged 38 inmates with starting a fire at a prison on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa in September in which 23 people were killed.

The charges against the inmates including beating their fellow inmates and causing damages worth 10 million Ethiopian birr ($450,000). The court also charged them with attempting to incite violence and recruit for banned organizations, including Somali militant group al-Shabab and dissident Ethiopian group, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the state-run Fana Broadcasting Corporation reported on Wednesday.

The fire broke out on September 3 at the Kilinto prison, a high-security facility holding anti-government dissidents. The government said that 21 inmates had died during a stampede and from suffocation caused by the fire, while two others were killed when trying to escape the prison.

Local Ethiopian media reported that gunfire was heard in the prison following the outbreak of the fire. An independent NGO, the Ethiopia Human Rights Project (EHRP), claimed the death toll was actually 67 and that the majority died of gunshot wounds, according to Ethiopian English-language magazine the Addis Standard.

There have been mass protests in Ethiopia over the past year, particularly in the Oromia and Amhara regions, which were sparked in November 2015 by government plans to extend the territory of Addis Ababa, potentially resulting in forced evictions. The demonstrations morphed into general anti-government discontent and have been exacerbated by the response of the security forces. At least 500 protesters have been killed during the protests, largely as a result of clashes with security forces.

Read more »


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Why Trump Win is Fueling Divisions in US

Voters cast their votes during the U.S. presidential election in Elyria, Ohio, November 8, 2016. (REUTERS)

Reuters

USA: Trump Won With Lowest Minority Vote in Decades, Fueling Divisions

Wed Nov 23, 2016

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency with less support from black and Hispanic voters than any president in at least 40 years, a Reuters review of polling data shows, highlighting deep national divisions that have fueled incidents of racial and political confrontation.

Trump was elected with 8 percent of the black vote, 28 percent of the Hispanic vote and 27 percent of the Asian-American vote, according to the Reuters/Ipsos Election Day poll.

Among black voters, his showing was comparable to the 9 percent captured by George W. Bush in 2000 and Ronald Reagan in 1984. But Bush and Reagan both did far better with Hispanic voters, capturing 35 percent and 34 percent, respectively, according to exit polling data compiled by the non-partisan Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.

And Trump’s performance among Asian-Americans was the worst of any winning presidential candidate since tracking of that demographic began in 1992.

The racial polarization behind Trump’s victory has helped set the stage for tensions that have surfaced repeatedly since the election, in white supremacist victory celebrations, in anti-Trump protests and civil rights rallies, and in hundreds of racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic hate crimes documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks extremist movements. The SPLC reports there were 701 incidents of “hateful harassment and intimidation” between the day following the Nov. 8 election and Nov. 16, with a spike in such incidents in the immediate wake of the vote.

Signs point to an ongoing atmosphere of confrontation.

The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a white separatist group that vilifies African-Americans, Jews and other minorities, plans an unusual Dec. 3 rally in North Carolina to celebrate Trump’s victory. Left-wing and anarchist groups have called for organized protests to disrupt the president-elect’s Jan. 20 inauguration. And a “Women’s March on Washington,” scheduled for the following day, is expected to draw hundreds of thousands to protest Trump’s presidency.

American politics became increasingly racialized through President Barack Obama’s two terms, “but there was an attempt across the board, across the parties, to keep those tensions under the surface,” says Jamila Michener, an assistant professor of government at Cornell University.

Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric “brought those divisions to the fore; it activated people on the right, who felt empowered, and it activated people on the left, who saw it as a threat,” she added.

That dynamic was evident last week.

When Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended the Broadway musical “Hamilton” in New York on Friday, the multi-ethnic cast closed with a statement expressing fears of a Trump presidency. A far different view was on display the next day as a crowd of about 275 people cheered Trump’s election at a Washington conference of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist group with a strong anti-Semitic beliefs.

“We willed Donald Trump into office; we made this dream our reality,” NPI President Richard Spencer said. After outlining a vision of America as “a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” he closed with, “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!”

DIVISION BREEDS CONFRONTATION

Though Trump’s election victory was driven by white voters, his performance even among that group was not as strong as some of his predecessors. Reagan and George H.W. Bush both won the presidency with higher shares of the white vote than the 55 percent that Trump achieved.

The historical voting patterns reflect decades of polarization in American politics, but the division surrounding Trump appears more profound, says Cas Mudde, an associate professor specializing in political extremism at the University of Georgia. These days, he adds, “people say they don’t want their children even to date someone from the other party.”

Indeed, voters’ opinions of those on the opposite side of the partisan divide have reached historic lows. Surveys by the Pew Research Center showed this year that majorities of both parties held “very unfavorable” views of the other party – a first since the center first measured such sentiment in 1992.

And the lion’s share of those people believe the opposing party’s policies “are so misguided that they threaten the nation’s well-being,” the center found.

That level of division has spurred activists on both sides of the political divide to take their activism in a more confrontational direction.

In the wake of Trump’s victory, protesters on the left took to the streets by the thousands in cities across the country, in some cases causing property damage.

Much of the agitation was motivated by a belief that Trump’s administration will foster racism and push the courts and other political institutions to disenfranchise minority voters, says James Anderson, editor of ItsGoingDown.Org, an anarchist website that has promoted mass demonstrations against Trump’s presidency, including a call to disrupt his inauguration.

Many on the left have come to distrust government institutions, embracing a breed of activism aimed at directly confronting what they see as condemnable political forces, Anderson says. “The answer now is to organize, build power and autonomy and fight back.”

On the opposite end of the political spectrum, Trump’s election is bringing new hope for right-wing activists who felt abandoned by the major parties.

John Roberts, a top officer in the Ku Klux Klan affiliate planning the December rally to celebrate Trump’s election, says the group is committed to non-violent demonstrations, but he sees Trump’s election as likely to bring a new era of political conflict. And much of the strife, he says, will be centered around racial divisions.

“Once Trump officially takes office, there is going to be a boiling over at some point in time,” Roberts says. “Who knows when that’s going to be, but it’s not going to be pretty.”


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Trump’s USA: President Obama Warns Against Rise of Nationalistic Tribalism
Obama Bids Farewell to World, Hails US Democracy in Landmark Speech
Looking Beyond Trump Era: This Woman Could Become 1st Female U.S. President
Ethiopian-American Caucus Founder Rep. Mike Honda Loses Re-election
Update: Ethio-American Friend Colorado’s Mike Coffman Keeps His House Seat

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After Ethiopia Drama, Aviators Continue Vintage Plane Flights Across Africa

Aviators detained in Ethiopia while retracing a historic flight route along the length of Africa in 24 vintage planes and support aircraft have been freed, organisers announced via social media on Thursday. (Getty)

Reuters

Updated: 25 November 2016

Vintage plane rally moves on from Ethiopia

Addis Ababa – Aviators who were detained in Ethiopia while retracing a historic flight route along the length of Africa in 24 vintage planes and support aircraft are now free to continue their journey, organisers said on Thursday.

The Vintage Air Rally crew, flying aircraft that include biplanes built in the 1920s and 1930s, were held at the airport in Gambela, western Ethiopia, after they landed following their arrival from neighbouring Sudan.

They have already flown from Europe and through Egypt and plan to end the tour in South Africa. The oldest plane taking part dates to 1928; the oldest pilot is 72.

“Just been resolved now,” rally organiser Sam Rutherford told Reuters in a brief text message when asked for an update on their situation. “In hotel, Kenya tomorrow!”

The group of 47 people had been held in a building at the airport and had not been allowed to stay at a hotel they were booked at, the group had said in an earlier Facebook statement.

Wesenyeleh Hunegnaw, director-general of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA), had told a news conference in Addis Ababa that the group lacked proper authorisation for their trip and had made an unauthorised stop in Gambela.

There was no immediate official comment about a resolution.

The aviators’ aim is cross 10 countries, making 37 stops in a little more than a month. Kenya is their next planned stop.

—-
Related:
Vintage air rally pilots released from detention in Ethiopia (AP)
Freed Africa vintage air rally pilots fly to Kenya (BBC News)

Missing British Pilot Found in Ethiopia


British pilot Maurice Kirk, 72, who was reported missing Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016 while flying his 1943 Piper Cub plane, has arrived at his expected destination in Gambella, Ethiopia. (AP Photo)

ITV

UPDATE: Missing pilot confirmed ‘safe and well’ in Ethiopia

A 71-year-old British pilot attempting to fly a 1940s plane the length of Africa has been found “safe and well” after being reported missing.

Maurice Kirk, who has links with the Vale of Glamorgan, was part of a vintage air rally flying from Crete to Cape Town.

Vintage Air Rally, which was organising the event, said Mr Kirk had continued to fly despite being asked to withdraw due to a “mismatch in expectations”.

Organisers had said Mr Kirk was missing somewhere between Sudan and Ethiopia with his 1943 Piper Cub plane.

But on Facebook on Wednesday night they confirmed he was now with the rest of the competitors at the airport in Gambela.

All Vintage Air Rally crews are currently in Gambela where the Ethiopian authorities have elected to allocate them accommodation at the airport rather than permit them to proceed to their pre-booked hotel. The reasons for this are at this time not 100% clear. There is no possibility to communicate with them but all participants, including the hitherto ‘missing’ Maurice Kirk, are safe and accounted for.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office is aware and is negotiating on their behalf.

– VINTAGE AIR RALLY STATEMENT

Mr Kirk, from Bristol, went missing on a three-hour leg of the cross-African flight from southern Sudan into western Ethiopia.


Photo: ITV News


Related:
British pilot in Africa air rally is missing in Ethiopia

Associated Press

Published November 23, 2016

The organizers of a rally of vintage planes flying across Africa say a British pilot has gone missing while flying a 1943 Piper Cub plane.

Vintage Air Rally said in a statement on Facebook that Maurice Kirk, 72, had not arrived at his expected destination in Gambella, Ethiopia, on Tuesday.

The group said that before Kirk disappeared he had been advised to return to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, after departing Ad-Damazin, Sudan, heading to Gambella. Kirk had withdrawn from the rally before he went missing, it said.

It said Kirk is believed to have made a precautionary landing somewhere in Ethiopia, where a search is on to find him.

The Vintage Air Rally describes itself as a “flying rally across Africa, from Crete to Cape Town,” for early aircraft.


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CPJ: Ethiopian Newspaper Editor, Bloggers Caught in Worsening Crackdown

Digital drawing of Befekadu Hailu, co-founder of Ethiopia's Zone9 bloggers collective, which CPJ honored with its 2015 International Press Freedom Award, was again arrested on November 11, 2016. (CPJ)

CPJ

Ethiopian newspaper editor, bloggers caught in worsening crackdown

Nairobi, November 17, 2016-Ethiopia should immediately release all journalists detained amid an intensifying crackdown on the media, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. In recent weeks, Ethiopian authorities have jailed a newspaper editor, as well as two members of the award-winning Zone 9 bloggers’ collective, which has faced continuous legal harassment on terrorism and incitement charges. A fourth journalist has been missing for a week; his family fears he is in state custody.

The crackdown on the media comes amid mass arrests following large protests that led the government to declare a state of emergency on October 9. Security forces have detained more than 11,000 people since the state of emergency was declared, Taddesse Hordofa, of Ethiopian government’s State of Emergency Inquiry Board, said in a televised statement on November 12.

“Silencing those who criticize the government’s handling of protests will not bring stability,” CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal said from New York. “The constant pressure on Zone 9 bloggers with repeated arrests and court appearances is clearly designed to intimidate the remaining independent journalists in Ethiopia.”

Ethiopia’s Supreme Court on November 15 continued hearing prosecutors’ appeal of a lower court’s October 2015 acquittal of four bloggers from the Zone 9 collective-Befekadu Hailu, Natnail Feleke, Abel Wabella, and Atnaf Berhane-on terrorism charges, campaigners reported on social media.

Security forces again detained Befekadu-a co-founder of the collective, which CPJ honored with its 2015 International Press Freedom Award-from his home on November 11, according to news reports. Authorities have not yet announced any new charge against the blogger. The Africa News Agency quoted Befekadu’s friends saying that they believed he may have been arrested following an interview he gave to the U.S.-government-funded broadcaster Voice of America’s Amharic service, in which he criticized the government’s handling of the protests.


Members of the Zone 9 blogging group. (Photo: Endalkachew H/Michael)

An Ethiopian journalist in exile in Kenya, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, told CPJ that Befekadu’s criticism of the government’s handling of protests in the Oromo and Amhara regions of Ethiopia on his blog may have also led to his detention.

When the terrorism charge against the bloggers was dismissed by the judge in October last year, Befekadu was informed that he would still face incitement charges, according to media reports. That case is still before the courts.

Ethiopian Information Minister Negeri Lencho did not respond to CPJ’s calls and text messages seeking more information.

Read more »


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Photos: Great CNN Feature on Lalibela

In Lalibela life feels largely untouched by the centuries. (Photo: CNN)

CNN

From all corners of a nation they come, often walking for hundreds of miles barefoot: Ethiopian Orthodox Christians on a once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Their destination is Lalibela in the north of Ethiopia. A town of approximately 20,000 people, Lalibela’s population swells five-fold in the first days of January, pilgrims converging to celebrate Genna (or Ledet) — Christmas according to the Ethiopian calendar.

What they’re here for is to take a path from darkness into the light; through 800 years of history and enter a “New Jerusalem” — tangible, permanent and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

But most of all, they’re here for God.


The House of St George, Lalibela. (CNN photo)


Pilgrims waiting to emerge from inside a tunnel at the House of St George, Lalibela. (CNN)


A group of pilgrims pray and read their bibles by candlelight around the churches of Lalibela. (CNN)

Read more and see photos at CNN.com »


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Obama Bids Farewell to World, Hails US Democracy in Landmark Speech

President Barack Obama delivered his last foreign policy speech in Athens, Greece on Nov. 16, 2016. (AP)

VOA News

Last Updated: November 16, 2016

Obama Hails Democracy in Landmark Speech

LONDON — U.S. President Barack Obama chose, Athens, the cradle of Western-style democracy to deliver his likely final, landmark foreign policy speech on what is his last overseas trip in office, saying the democracy that America upholds and promotes in the world is imperfect, but “better than the alternatives.”

Reflecting on his eight-year presidency, the U.S. leader said his travels around the globe have shown him that while “every country travels its own path,” there is “fundamental desire” for dignity and self-determination. “These flames are universal. They burn in every heart,” Obama said.

The outgoing American leader bids farewell to Washington’s foreign partners at a time when there are big questions on the future of U.S. relations with Europe, its new role in the world, and the image the United States, forever seen as a symbol of Western liberalism, is projecting.

The bitterness and anger displayed by candidates and demonstrators during the U.S. presidential campaign and in the days since have shocked many in Europe.

In his speech Wednesday, Obama sought to reassure the world that American-style democracy is alive, and he emphasized the importance of a peaceful transition.

“We compete hard in campaigns. But even after elections, democracy depends on a peaceful transition of power,” Obama said, without mentioning President-elect Donald Trump by name. “The next American president and I could not be more different … But American democracy is bigger than any one person.”

‘American Democracy Is Bigger Than Any One Person,’ Obama Says


President Barack Obama talked about the United States election results and the
importance of democracy during his last international tour as president. (Reuters)


Topping every conversation of the U.S. leader on this trip are his efforts to reassure Europe the United States has no choice but to remain engaged with the region and committed to its longstanding security partnerships. He said the history of the last two centuries shows democracies are less likely to fight wars among themselves, “Our closest friends are democracies.” NATO, he said, is “an alliance of democracy.”

Obama is using his last foreign tour to reassure U.S. NATO partners who are nervous after President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign remarks in which he called the alliance “obsolete” and suggested the United States might not automatically defend members who are not making their minimum contributions to the alliance and spend the required two percent of their GDP on defense.

“I believe it is practical for the United States to support democracy,” Obama said as he was interrupted by applause. History, he said, shows countries with democratic governance tend to be “more just and more stable, and more successful” and “deliver more prosperity.”

Obama gave the speech after touring Athens’ ancient Acropolis, a symbol of the origins of democracy, which the president described as “the most precious of gifts” for which America is indebted to Greece.


President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House, Nov. 10, 2016. (AP photo)

Close eye on Obama

Observers across Europe are following the visit closely, as E.U. governments await clarification on what the state of the U.S.-partnership will be after Inauguration Day. While President Obama has said on this trip that he is neither defending Donald Trump’s campaign statements nor taking responsibility for what the President-elect says or does, he hopes to reassure partners that core American principles remain unchanged.

“In Athens, the American president poses himself as the defender of the Union,” said a commentary in the Paris newspaper Le Figaro. “Obama wants to reassure Europe on the future of its relations with the United States … It was therefore appropriate to travel to Greece, the birthplace of democracy, for his farewell tour,” it said.

Obama’s next stop is Germany.


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Trump’s USA: President Obama Warns Against Rise of Nationalistic Tribalism

President Obama, apparently referring to Trump’s decision to appoint a hard-right nationalist to a top post, spoke in Greece during his final overseas trip as president on Tuesday, November 15, 2016. (Times Video)

The New York Times

Visiting Europe, Obama Warns Against Rise of ‘Crude Sort of Nationalism’

ATHENS — President Obama, in some of his strongest language since Donald J. Trump’s election last week, on Tuesday warned against the rise of nationalistic tribalism, apparently a reference to Mr. Trump’s decision to appoint Stephen K. Bannon, a hard-right nationalist, to a top position.

“I do believe, separate and apart from any particular election or movement, that we are going to have to guard against a rise in a crude sort of nationalism or ethnic identity or tribalism that is built around an ‘us’ and a ‘them,’” Mr. Obama said.

Mr. Obama’s remarks came in an hourlong news conference in Athens on his final trip overseas as president. He had come to Greece partly to bolster Greek hopes of further debt relief from its European partners, which will meet on Dec. 5 to consider giving this ailing nation another pass on its mountain of debt.

But Mr. Trump’s election last week subverted Mr. Obama’s top foreign policy priorities, and he seemed to have arrived in Athens in a reflective mood.

Read more at NYTimes.com »

Watch Senator Reid To Trump: Rescind Bannon appointment


Sen. Harry Reid harshly criticized Donald Trump’s decision to make Steve Bannon his chief strategist. Reid says Bannon harbors anti-Semitic views and is backed by the KKK and other white nationalist groups.


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U.S. Election 2016: Trump Triumphs
Ethiopian-American Caucus Founder Rep. Mike Honda Loses Re-election
Update: Ethio-American Friend Colorado’s Mike Coffman Keeps His House Seat

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Watch: SNL Makes America Laugh Again

Actor Dave Chappelle (Center) joined Saturday Night Live cast members for a sketch set at an election night watch party. (Photo: SNL)

USA TODAY

On Saturday Night Live, Dave Chappelle & Chris Rock Nailed the Realest 2016 US Election Night Sketch

The stars, whose comedic talents are exceeded only by their sharp insight, joined Saturday Night Live cast members for a sketch set at an election night watch party. In the scene, Chappelle cautions Clinton supporters against celebrating prematurely.

At first, his cynicism just doesn’t add up to the group. But as ballots are tallied and states began to report electoral votes, the group begins to acknowledge the clear division. “Oh my God, I think America is racist,” gasps Cecily Strong.

“Oh my God,” Chappelle replied sarcastically. “You know I remember my great-grandfather told me something like that. He was, like, a slave or something.”

Gripped by disbelief, Aidy Bryant asks: “Why aren’t people turning out for Hillary the way they did for Barack Obama?”

“I mean, maybe because you’re replacing a charismatic 40-year-old black guy with a 70-year-old white woman,” Rock joked. “That’s like the Knicks replacing Patrick Ewing with Neil Patrick Harris.”

Watch: SNL Makes America Laugh Again After Weird 2016 US Election

While the election’s outcome ultimately deflated the majority of the partygoers, Chappelle and Rock remained unaffected. “Don’t worry, eight years are gonna fly by,” Chappelle offered. “Get some rest,” added Rock. “You got a big day of moping and writing on Facebook tomorrow.”

“This is the most shameful thing America has ever done,” Beck Bennett noted glumly.

The jokes wrote themselves there.



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U.S. Election 2016: Trump Triumphs
Ethiopian-American Caucus Founder Rep. Mike Honda Loses Re-election
Update: Ethio-American Friend Colorado’s Mike Coffman Keeps His House Seat

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European Parliament Holds Hearing on Ethiopia Protests

European Parliament member Ana Gomes (center) tweeted this photo after the hearing on 9 Nov 2016. (Photo: @AnaGomesMEP)

VOA News

BRUSSELS — It is now one year since persistent, sometimes violent anti-government protests started in Ethiopia’s Oromia region. How much closer are the Oromos, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, to achieving their demands for more political freedom and economic inclusiveness? Opposition activists addressed members of the European Parliament this week in Brussels.

Olympic runner Feyisa Lilesa is the most famous supporter of the protests in his native Ethiopia. Feyisa, the silver medalist in this year’s men’s marathon in Rio, drew attention when he crossed his wrists at the finish line, a gesture to show solidarity with the protesters.

Feyisa, who now fears returning to Ethiopia, addressed members of the European Parliament one year after the start of the Oromo protests:

He said it will be disastrous if the current situation continues, adding that because all media is blocked in Ethiopia, he is using his visibility to get worldwide media attention by being a voice for his people.

Diaspora protests

Also at the European Parliament is Berhanu Nega, leader of the anti-government diaspora group Ginbot 7. He was sentenced to death in absentia and labeled a terrorist by the Ethiopian government for trying to overthrow the government.

Berhanu believes the next six months will show which direction Ethiopia is heading. He says international pressure is needed to prevent the current tension from escalating.

“My hope is that at least some of the friends of this regime to talk sense that the path to power through violence in Ethiopia is over. That there must be a way to find an alternative and this alternative, to some kind of a soft landing, must happen quickly before it is too late,” he said.

Demonstrations in the Oromia region started on November 12, 2015 in the town of Ginchi, about 80 kilometers west of Addis Ababa. Students and farmers protested a plan to enlarge the boundaries of the capital city.

Protests continued and spread through the country as demands were no longer only about land grabs but also about ethnic marginalization, political freedom and economic development.

Hundreds of Oromo citizens have died, thousands have been imprisoned, and a six-month state of emergency was declared in Ethiopia last month.

Calls for dialogue

Oromo opposition leader Mulatu Gemechu of the Oromo Federal Congress says that despite a Cabinet reshuffle, a lasting solution is still far away.

“Unless the government comes down to the table and discuss with the opposition parties and the other people who are not happy with the sitting government, and create peaceful dialogue, it is impossible to talk about the improvement of peace and all these things,” said Mulatu.

Professor Jan Abbink of the Center of African Studies at Leiden University says the Ethiopian government should not rely solely on the state of emergency to restore order.

“Create a space for discussion,” said Abbink. We need really internationally supervised structures of discussion and deliberation. That might be a great step forward also to rebuild trust in the country, because that is something which is now seriously lacking. Trust between the government and the population.”

Human rights organization Amnesty International said this week that the current security measures “sweep the underlying issues under the carpet” and “that it is only a matter of time before another round of unrest erupts.”


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Ethiopian-American Caucus Founder Rep. Mike Honda Loses Re-election

Longtime Silicon Valley Rep. Mike Honda (left), Founder of the Congressional Ethiopian-American Caucus, loses seat to fellow Democrat Ro Khanna (right) in bitter rematch battle. (Photos: CQ/Mercury News)

Los Angeles Times

Fremont Democrat Ro Khanna has defeated eight-term Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) in their bitter, intra-party matchup in Silicon Valley.

Honda, a longtime progressive voice in the Bay Area, was believed to be one of California’s most vulnerable congressional incumbents after he received fewer votes than his challenger in June’s primary.

Khanna, who also challenged Honda in 2014, argued that Silicon Valley voters needed a change in leadership.

An ongoing ethics investigation into whether Honda had improperly used his official resources for political purposes, as well as the loss of key endorsements like President Obama’s, clouded Honda’s campaign.

The race quickly became California’s most expensive congressional campaigns and had grown increasingly nasty, with Honda filing a lawsuit in the final weeks of the race, alleging that Khanna’s campaign manager had illegally accessed proprietary campaign data.

A spokesman for Honda’s campaign declined to comment, saying the campaign would be releasing a later statement Wednesday.


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Update: Ethio-American Friend Colorado’s Mike Coffman Keeps His House Seat

Rep. Mike Coffman speaks at St. Mary's Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) festival to celebrate Meskel/Demera on October 1, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo: Flickr/Mike Coffman)

The Washington Post

Colorado’s Mike Coffman keeps his House seat in GOP column

Rep. Mike Coffman kept up the apparent Republican winning streak by beating Democratic challenger Morgan Carroll in Colorado’s 7th District on Tuesday night.

With little public polling to speak of, the race between the Coffman and Carroll was widely viewed as a toss-up going into Election Day.

Coffman, who was first elected in 2008, has fought to hold on to the district through his four terms in office. Adaptation seemed to be part of his strategy. After the once-reliably Republican district was redrawn in 2012 to favor Democrats, Coffman took up more moderate causes, supporting the Voting Rights Amendment Act and legislation to curb anti-LGBTQ discrimination. That trend continued into campaign season. He was an early critic of Donald Trump, calling for him to step aside over his vulgar comments about women. And in August, Coffman ran an ad in which a diverse group of supporters said he was “not like other Republicans.”

Carroll contended that Coffman’s evolution was disingenuous and that his previous positions helped pave the way for Trump. She and Democratic supporters accused him of taking a harsh stance against immigration reform and criticized him for questioning President Obama’s citizenship (Coffman later apologized for raising doubts about Obama’s birthplace). Carroll, a lawyer and former Colorado Senate leader, campaigned as a progressive, touting her record of winning bipartisan support for legislation in a divided statehouse.

The race drew attention from high-profile figures in both parties and saw a flood of campaign contributions from outside groups. The Colorado Independent reported that it was the only contest in the country
where Americans for Prosperity, political advocacy group backed by the conservative Koch brothers, was focused on defeating a candidate rather than educating voters.


Related:

In Colorado, GOP Congressman Mike Coffman Enjoys Ethiopian Support


U.S. Congressman Mike Coffman (center) with Olympic hero Feyisa Lilesa (right) in D.C., Sept. 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) – Last month Republican Congressman Mike Coffman of Colorado was one of a few U.S. lawmakers in DC who publicly backed the introduction of a bipartisan resolution “supporting respect for human rights and encouraging inclusive government in Ethiopia.” And this past weekend his Ethiopian constituents of the 6th Congressional District in the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area, along with Eritrean and Oromo community associations, held a fundraising dinner at the Aurora Hills Golf Club in support of the GOP Congressman’s re-election efforts.

Ethiopian American businessman Mel Tewahade, who is one of the organizers and a registered Republican, says Congressman Coffman has been a “loyal friend to the Ethiopian community” and the event, which was held on Saturday, October 22nd, was “intended to show our appreciation for his dedication and hardwork.”

Below are photos shared with Tadias Magazine:


Fundraiser for Congressman Mike Coffman at the Aurora Hills Golf Club on Saturday, October 22nd 2016. (Courtesy photo)


(Courtesy photo)


Congressman Mike Coffman speaking during the fundraising dinner at the Aurora Hills Golf Club on Saturday, October 22nd 2016. (Courtesy photo)


(Courtesy photo)


Related:

Republican Congressman Mike Coffman Visits Four Ethiopian Churches in Colorado

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New Ethiopia Opposition ENM Formed in DC: What’s the Vision, Who Leads It?

(PRNewsFoto/Ethiopian National Movement)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — A new Ethiopia opposition coalition is being announced at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on Friday, November 4th. The new party, which calls itself The Ethiopian National Movement (ENM), was established last week following negotiations between four political groups including Sidama People’s Democratic Movement, Afar People’s Party, Oromo Democratic Front, and Ginbot 7.

In a media release ENM said it will hold a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on Friday to introduce its leadership and explain its vision to Ethiopians and the international community.

Listed speakers include Lencho Leta, ODF President and Co-Chairman of the Council of Representatives (CR) of EMN; Dima Nogo, ODF Vice President & Chairman of the Executive Council (EC) and General Secretary of ENM’s Council of Representatives; Kontie Moussa, Chairman of the Afar People’s Party and Founding Member of ENM; Muluneh Eyoel, Member of the Leadership of Patriotic Ginbot 7 & Member of ENM,; Bekele Wayu, Chairman of the Sidama People’s National Democratic Movement & Founding Member of ENM; Haile-Gebriel Ayalew, Observer based on a special arrangement to have unofficial representation for the Amhara people’s voice in the formation of the National Ethiopian Movement; as well as award-winning activist and journalist Reeyot Alemu.

“ENM envisions a truly federal democratic system that respects human, political and civil rights of all Ethiopians,” the press release stated. “ENM firmly believes in the necessity of creating a peaceful transition to enable citizens to fully exercise their rights and create an all-inclusive government through a democratic process.” ENM added: The coalition is in negotiation with other opposition political groups in a bid to create a larger and broad based movement for democratic change.”


If You Go:
Friday, November 4, 2016
12:15 pm-2:30 pm
National Press Club
529 14th Street NW Washington, DC 20045
Venue: 13th Floor, First Amendment Lounge
www.press.org

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Investors Getting Nervous About Ethiopia

Employees of AfricaJuice, a Dutch-owned juice company in Ethiopia, toss fruit damaged by protesters two weeks earlier on Oct. 4. The attack was one of many following the deadly stampede in Bishoftu. (Getty)

The Washington Post

November 2nd, 2016

Investors Shy Away From Ethiopia in the Wake of Violent Protests

ALAGA DORE, Ethi­o­pia — The smell of rotting mango and passion fruit still hung in the air over the blackened shell of a juice factory near this village more than two weeks after the plant was looted and burned by an aggrieved mob.

As employees swept out the empty rooms, Abraham Negusay, AfricaJuice’s production manager, worked on his laptop in the former lab.

“We are evaluating the damage and destruction, cleaning up the factory and doing a cost analysis,” he said, noting that the Dutch company had yet to decide whether to keep its multimillion-dollar investment in Ethiopia.

The assailants, estimated by ­AfricaJuice farm managers to number in the thousands, descended on the factory in the Upper Awash Valley, about 90 miles southeast of Addis Ababa, on Oct. 4. Wielding axes, spears and some firearms, they overwhelmed the armed guards while workers fled into the nearby forest.

The attack was part of a week-long spasm of violence that followed a deadly stampede on Oct. 2 during Irreecha, a thanksgiving festival held annually by the Oromo, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group. That day in the town of Bishoftu, police fired tear gas into crowds chanting anti-government slogans, and in the ensuing panic, dozens died. The opposition put the death toll in the hundreds.


People pass a cargo truck that protesters destroyed in the town of Sebeta last month. The town was one of many where anti-government groups targeted foreign- or state-owned enterprises. (Photo by Zacharias Abubeker/GETTY IMAGES)

Read more at The Washington Post »


Related:
Ethiopia Unrest Worries Foreign Investors (VOA News)

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The Weeknd: Abel Tesfaye A Rising Starboy (Video)

Abel Tesfaye, a.k.a. The Weeknd, used to want to be invisible. Now, he's in the spotlight with a new, risk-taking album. A film by MediaStorm. (PHOTOGRAPHY BY TERRY RICHARDSON)

The Wall Street Journal

As a follow-up to the unstoppable Beauty Behind the Madness, the chart-topping R&B artist (aka Abel Tesfaye) takes a creative leap forward with this month’s Starboy.

ABEL TESFAYE can finally get a good night’s sleep. The biggest R&B star to emerge in recent years, Tesfaye (who is better known as the Weeknd) recently changed his signature hairstyle—multidirectional, thick, spiky dreadlocks, a look inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat. “It was actually very uncomfortable,” he says. “I could only sleep on one side of my face. Now the sleep is amazing, the shower is amazing because I don’t have to spend two hours cleaning it. I didn’t know how much I wanted it until I did it.”

Read more »


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Update: Hillary Fires Back at FBI Director’s October Surprise ‘deeply troubling’

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Saturday called the timing of the FBI's announcement that it was assessing new evidence in her email case "unprecedented" and "deeply troubling." (Photo: Reuters)

The Daily Beast

Hillary Clinton calls FBI’s actions ahead of vote ‘deeply troubling’

Hillary Clinton did not shy away from discussing FBI Director James Comey’s October surprise during a rally in Daytona Beach, Florida on Saturday, calling his decision to send an ambiguous letter to Congress pertaining to the investigation of her emails just 11 days before the election “not just strange” but also “unprecedented and deeply troubling.” Clinton added, “Voters deserve to get full and complete facts,” reiterating her call to get everything “on the table” immediately. The Democratic candidate also went after her Republican opponent Donald Trump for spreading “lies” about the letter. “He is doing his best to confuse, mislead and discourage the American people,” she told her supporting. “I think it’s time for Donald Trump to stop fear mongering, to stop disgracing himself, to stop attacking our democracy. We can’t let him get away with this, can we?”

Clinton calls FBI’s actions ahead of vote ‘deeply troubling’ (AP)


Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves while visiting a homecoming game for Bethune-Cookman University Wildcats in Daytona Beach, Fla., Oct. 29, 2016, on her way to a rally. (AP photo)

Oct. 30, 2016

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Hillary Clinton is lashing out at the FBI’s handling of a new email review, leading a chorus of Democratic leaders who declared the bureau’s actions just days before the election “unprecedented” and “deeply troubling.” Emboldened Republican rival Donald Trump seized on the reignited email controversy, hoping to raise new doubts about Clinton’s trustworthiness.

Rallying supporters in Florida on Saturday, Clinton pressed FBI Director James Comey to put out the “full and complete facts” about the review into a cache of recently discovered emails. Clinton backers panned Comey’s letter to Congress about the new emails as severely lacking crucial details.

“It is pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election,” Clinton said. She accused Trump of using the issue to confuse and mislead voters in the final leg of the campaign for the Nov. 8 election.

The controversy over Clinton’s email practices at the State Department has dogged her for more than a year. The former secretary of state has often been reluctant to weigh in on the matter — and defensive when she’s been pushed to do so.

But Clinton’s approach to this latest flare-up is markedly different, underscoring worries that the matter could damage her standing with voters in the election’s final days. Clinton advisers have been rallying Democratic lawmakers and other supporters to her defense, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

On Saturday, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said there was “no evidence of wrongdoing” in the new email review and “no indication this is even about Hillary.” But Comey, who enraged Republicans in the summer when he announced the FBI would not prosecute Clinton for her loose handling of official email, said the new trove appeared to be “pertinent” to the Clinton email investigation. He did not explain how.

A government official told The Associated Press on Saturday that the Justice Department had advised the FBI against telling Congress about the new developments in the Clinton investigation because of the potential fallout so close to the election. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter and discussed it on condition of anonymity.

Justice officials concluded the letter would be inconsistent with department policy that directs against investigative actions that could be seen as affecting an election or helping a particular candidate, the official said.

Landing with a thud, the email issue again threatened to undermine an advantage built by Clinton, the Democratic nominee, over Trump and raised the possibility that the Republican might be able to seize late momentum.

Trump told a crowd in Golden, Colorado, the FBI’s review of Clinton email practices raises “everybody’s deepest hope that justice, as last, can be properly delivered.” His crowd cheered Clinton’s email woes, which Trump has taken to calling the biggest political scandal since Watergate.

Read more »


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Addis Standard Stops Printing Over Draconian Emergency Rules

(Images: Addis Standard magazine covers)

Reuters

An Ethiopian English-language magazine which has been critical of the government has ceased publishing its print edition saying restrictions imposed when emergency rule was declared early this month made it “impossible” to continue.

The Horn of Africa country introduced a state of emergency on Oct. 9 after a wave of protests over land grabs and political rights, which resulted in violent clashes and attacks on both local and foreign businesses.

The emergency measures introduced for six months granted security forces more powers to make searches and arrests, and imposed curbs on the “preparation and distribution of publications that could incite conflicts”.

Tsedale Lemma, editor and founder of the Addis Standard monthly, told Reuters that printers had refused to publish the magazine unless an authority set up to oversee the implementation of the new regulations gave them permission.

“(It is) a proposal we have vehemently refused because it will subject us to submitting our editorial to voluntary censorship by a military command post,” Tsedale said, without saying what the monthly print run was.

Vendors and supermarkets have also pulled the magazine from newsstands in the wake of the announcement, she said.

The magazine continued to publish articles on its website, she added.

Read more »


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Ethiopia Unrest Triggers Tourism Collapse

Protests and state of emergency see bookings to historic sites grind to a halt. (Financial Times)

Financial Times

A wave of anti-government protests and the imposition of a state of emergency has triggered a collapse in tourism bookings in Ethiopia, underlining the effect the unrest is having on one of Africa’s best-performing economies.

As the demonstrations spread across the country, governments, including the US, UK, Australia, Canada and Ireland, have advised their citizens against all non-essential travel to the country or Amhara and Oromia regions at the centre of the instability.

Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia’s prime minister, has said the death toll from the demonstrations, which began last November and have been exacerbated by the authoritarian regime’s brutal crackdown on protesters, could be as high as 500. Thousands of people have been arrested and the government imposed a state of emergency as it grapples with the biggest threat to the Horn of Africa nation’s stability in years. The protests originally began over land disputes, but the state’s harsh response caused them to spiral into broader protests against the government.

An American woman was killed after being caught up in a protest on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, the capital, this month.

Travel companies said bookings to the country — home to ancient Christian sites and spectacular highlands — have virtually ground to halt as the unrest and travel warnings keep visitors away.

“Things are effectively on hold,” said Jim Louth, owner of Undiscovered Destinations, a UK travel company. “If anyone inquires, our policy is to say people are being advised not to go.”

Tourism has become an important part of the economy, which has been growing at an annual average of about 10 per cent over the past decade as Ethiopia has attracted increasing levels of foreign investment.

The government estimates the sector contributes about 4.5 per cent of gross domestic product, or $2.9bn. The indirect contribution, through investment, is the same, while about 1.5m people are thought to earn their living from the industry.

More than 750,000 foreign tourists visited Ethiopia last year, with the US by far the largest country of origin, followed by China, Britain and Germany, according to government data.

The blow to tourism comes amid rising investor uncertainty as foreign companies, particularly flower farms and textile factories, have been targeted in a string of attacks that have caused tens of millions of dollars of damage.

Read more »


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U.S. Citizens Urged to Defer Travel to Ethiopia -State Department

The State Department is calling on American citizens to postpone travel plans to Ethiopia due to the ongoing problem.

Reuters

WASHINGTON – The U.S. State Department urged U.S. citizens on Friday to defer all non-essential travel to Ethiopia because of ongoing unrest that has killed hundreds of people, led to thousands of arrests and prompted restrictions on diplomatic travel.

The Ethiopian government declared a state of emergency on Oct. 8 and issued a decree on Oct. 15 that permitted the arrest of individuals without court order for some routine activities like attending gatherings and engaging with foreign organizations, the State Department said.

An American woman was killed when her car was stoned earlier this month and foreign-owned factories and equipment were damaged during a wave of protests over land and political rights.


Related:
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Amnesty: Draconian Measures Will Escalate Ethiopia’s Deepening Crisis
Ethiopia: Opposition Media Say Gonder on 3-day Strike in Response to State of Emergency
7 Things Banned Under Ethiopia’s State of Emergency
Ethiopia announces new curbs as part of state of emergency measures (Reuters)
In Ethiopia’s War Against Social Media, the Truth is the Main Casualty
Ethiopia: Opposition Wants ‘Real Change’ But Views on Tactics Differ (VOA)
Once a Darling of Investors, Ethiopia Sliding Towards Chaos — The Economist
The Washington Post Editorial Regarding Ethiopia’s State of Emergency
German’s Angela Merkel Calls for Ethiopia to Open Up Politics After Unrest
Angela Merkel Signals Support for Ethiopia’s Protesters in Visit (AP)
Ethiopia: Foreign Investors Warily Eye Crackdown – The Wall Street Journal
Ethiopia Put Under State of Emergency (AP)
In Ethiopia Protesters Attack Factories, Eco Lodge and Flower Farms
American Killed in Ethiopia Identified as UC Davis Researcher Sharon Gray
U.S. citizen killed, foreign factories attacked in Ethiopia
US Says Female American Citizen Killed in Ethiopia Amid Protest
After Ethiopia Irrecha Tragedy, Renewed Calls on U.S to Take Stronger Measure
Ethiopia Protests Continue Over Fatal Bishoftu Stampede at Irrecha Festival

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Thousands Held Under State of Emergency

(Photo: Reuters)

BBC News

Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Ethiopian authorities have detained more than 1,600 people under the state of emergency, a government minister has told the BBC.

A statement, quoted by state-affiliated FBC website, lists arrests in the Oromia and Amhara regions, which have recently seen massive demonstrations.

This is in addition to Monday’s arrests of 1,000 people near the capital.


The current unrest is the biggest to hit Ethiopia in more than two decades. (Photo: Reuters)

A six-month state of emergency has been declared in the face of a wave of unprecedented anti-government protests.

Under the emergency measures, people can be detained without an arrest warrant for the duration of the state of emergency.

FBC reports that a total of 1,683 people have been arrested in at least five places, including in Shashamene, 250km (155 miles) south of the capital, Addis Ababa, where 450 people have been detained.

It describes most of those arrested as “suspects in the recent violence” and adds that a large number of looted weapons had also been handed over.

Some business people have been detained for closing their shops, as have three teachers for “abandoning school”.

There is no mention where the people are being held.

Read more »


Related:
Amnesty: Draconian Measures Will Escalate Ethiopia’s Deepening Crisis
Ethiopia: Opposition Media Say Gonder on 3-day Strike in Response to State of Emergency
7 Things Banned Under Ethiopia’s State of Emergency
Ethiopia announces new curbs as part of state of emergency measures (Reuters)
In Ethiopia’s War Against Social Media, the Truth is the Main Casualty
Ethiopia: Opposition Wants ‘Real Change’ But Views on Tactics Differ (VOA)
Once a Darling of Investors, Ethiopia Sliding Towards Chaos — The Economist
The Washington Post Editorial Regarding Ethiopia’s State of Emergency
German’s Angela Merkel Calls for Ethiopia to Open Up Politics After Unrest
Angela Merkel Signals Support for Ethiopia’s Protesters in Visit (AP)
Ethiopia: Foreign Investors Warily Eye Crackdown – The Wall Street Journal
Ethiopia Put Under State of Emergency (AP)
In Ethiopia Protesters Attack Factories, Eco Lodge and Flower Farms
American Killed in Ethiopia Identified as UC Davis Researcher Sharon Gray
U.S. citizen killed, foreign factories attacked in Ethiopia
US Says Female American Citizen Killed in Ethiopia Amid Protest
After Ethiopia Irrecha Tragedy, Renewed Calls on U.S to Take Stronger Measure
Ethiopia Protests Continue Over Fatal Bishoftu Stampede at Irrecha Festival

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Amnesty: Draconian Measures Will Escalate Ethiopia’s Deepening Crisis

(Photo: © ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER/AFP/Getty Images)

Amnesty International

Heavy-handed measures by the Ethiopian government will only escalate a deepening crisis that has claimed the lives of more than 800 protesters since protests began in November 2015, said Amnesty International today after the government issued a directive imposing wide-ranging restrictions as part of a state of emergency.

The directive authorises arrests without warrants, as well as rehabilitation measures. When such measures have been used in the past, they have led to arbitrary detention of protesters at remote military facilities without access to their families and lawyers.

“These emergency measures are extremely severe and so broad that they threaten basic human rights that must not be curtailed even under a state of emergency,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“These measures will deepen, not mitigate, the underlying causes of the sustained protests we have seen throughout the year, which have been driven by deep-seated human rights grievances. These grievances must be properly addressed by the authorities. Further crackdowns and human rights violations will only make the situation worse.”

In a public statement issued today Amnesty International recommends that instead of further curtailing human rights, the government should seize the moment and recommit itself to respecting, protecting and fulfilling them, in line with its regional and international obligations.

“It is the government’s failure to constructively engage with the protesters that continues to fuel these protests. It must now change course,” said Muthoni Wanyeki.

“The government must ensure an end to excessive and arbitrary use of force by the security forces against demonstrators and release all protesters, opposition leaders and supporters, as well as journalists and bloggers, arrested for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.”

At least 600 protesters have been killed in Oromia and 200 in Amhara since November last year.

—-

Background

Protests began in November 2015 when ethnic Oromos took to the streets fearing possible land seizures under the government’s Addis Ababa Masterplan, which aimed to expand the capital’s administrative control into Oromia. The protests continued even after the Addis Ababa Masterplan was scrapped, evolving into demands for accountability for human rights violations, ethnic equality and the release of political prisoners.

Protests later spread to Amhara, a region that has long complained of marginalization.

The worst incident involved the death of possibly hundreds of protesters in a stampede on 2 October at Bishoftu, about 45 kilometres southeast of Addis Ababa, during the Irrecha religious festival. Protest groups say the stampede was caused by the security forces’ unnecessary and excessive use of force. The government has denied this, instead blaming the deaths on “anti-peace forces.”


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Ethiopia: Opposition Media Say Gonder on Strike in Response to State of Emergency

Residents of Ethiopia's historic city of Gonder have begun a 3-day strike in response to a nationwide state of emergency announced last week by the government, according to ESAT. (Photo: Gonder City/Flickr/Giustino)

International Business Times

October 18, 2016

People in northern Ethiopia have started a three-day strike in response to a nationwide state of emergency declared earlier this month. The strike is taking place in the city of Gondar, Amhara region, where schools, businesses and transportation were shut down on Monday 17 October.

Organisers said the strike also aimed to shed light on the recent massacres and alleged human rights violations being perpetrated across Ethiopia, mainly in Amhara and Oromo regions, the independent website ESAT, banned under the state of emergency, reported.

Ethiopia declared the state of emergency, supposed to last for six months, earlier in October following months of anti-government protests in Oromia and occasionally in Amhara.

Members of the opposition, activists and rights groups repeatedly claimed protests have resulted in the death of more than 500 people since November 2015.

Protests in Oromia and Amhara have been labelled as the biggest anti-government unrest Ethiopia has witnessed in recent history.

Read more »


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United Nations’ Chief on Ethiopia Crisis

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told the Associated Press on Monday that UN Chief Ban Ki-moon has been following developments in Ethiopia "with concern" following the imposition of the state of emergency. (UN)

United Nations

The ASSOCIATED PRESS

Oct 17, 2016

UN Head Calls for ‘Calm and Inclusive Dialogue’ to Resolve Ethiopia Crisis

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is urging the Ethiopian government to ensure “the protection of fundamental human rights” following its imposition of stringent rules under its state of emergency.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Monday that Ban has been following developments in Ethiopia “with concern” following the imposition of the state of emergency effective Oct. 8. The new rules announced late Saturday include a ban on any contact with groups that are labeled as “terrorist.”

Dujarric said Ban “reiterates his call for calm and restraint and calls for inclusive dialogue to resolve all grievances.”


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7 Things Banned Under Ethiopia’s State of Emergency

Social media, broadcast media, protests, and gestures -- such as crossing your arms above your head -- are among the things that are outlawed under Ethiopia's State of Emergency rules. (AP photo)

BBC News

Updated: October 17th, 2016

Ethiopia’s government has declared a six-month state of emergency in the face of an unprecedented wave of violent protests.

Activists in the country’s Oromia region has been holding demonstrations since last November, and protesters from the Amhara region have also joined in.

The deaths of at least 55 people at an Oromo religious festival on 2 October triggered fresh unrest, including the targeting of some foreign-owned businesses.

Rights groups say that at least 500 people have died during the protests overall and last week Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said that could be an accurate estimate.

The emergency was announced earlier this month but the government has now made clear what this means in practical terms.

Here are some of the things that are restricted:

1. Social media

You cannot use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to contact what are called “outside forces”. In fact, any attempt to communicate with “terrorist organisations and anti-peace groups designated as terrorist” is banned.

2. Broadcast Media

You cannot watch the TV channels Esat and OMN, which are both based outside the country. The government has described them as “belonging to terrorist organisations”.

3. Protests

You cannot organise a demonstration at your school or university, neither can you be involved in a political campaign that is “likely to cause disturbances, violence, hatred and distrust among the people”.

4. Gestures

You cannot make a political gesture, such as crossing your arms above your head, or communicate a political message to the public “without permission”.

Read the full list at BBC News »


Related:
Ethiopia Government Unveils Rules for State of Emergency (AP)


A security guard sits near a gate in Addis Ababa on October 10, 2016. Ethiopia is under state of emergency, the first in a quarter-century as grassroots anti-government protests continue. (AP photo)

ASSOCIATED PRESS

By ELIAS MESERET

Oct 16, 2016

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The Ethiopian government has unveiled stringent rules for its state of emergency which the opposition says is meant to curb a wave of protests, sometimes deadly, in the Oromia region and other areas.

Hundreds have been killed in anti-government protests in the past year, according to human rights groups and opposition activists. The protesters have been demanding wider freedoms in one of Africa’s best-performing economies.

On Oct. 2, more than 50 people were killed in a stampede after security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters during a religious festival in Bishoftu, southeast of the capital. The incident sparked more violence in Oromia leading the government to announce the state of emergency. The government has also enforced an internet blackout.

Ethiopia doesn’t need a state of emergency said Yilikal Getnet, chairman of the opposition Blue Party, Sunday. People have only been expressing their dissatisfaction with the government, he said.

The rules announced late Saturday restricts the movement of diplomats 40 kilometers (25 miles) outside of Addis Ababa without official permission. The emergency prohibits anyone from making contact with groups that are labeled as terrorist and from watching media channels like Oromia Media Network and Ethiopian Satellite Television and Radio, according to a statement issued by Siraj Fegessa, Ethiopia’s minster of defense and head of the Command Post set up to oversee the state of emergency law. Those who break the terms of the emergency risk jail terms of three to five years.

The emergency also outlaws rallies and public meetings without permission from authorities and gives security forces the right to detain and search suspects without a court order.

Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, began protesting almost a year ago when the government proposed annexing some of their land into the capital, Addis Ababa, as part of a drive to transform this largely agricultural nation into a regional manufacturing power. While the government later abandoned the idea, the protests broadened into demands for more rights and for the release of detained activists, opposition figures and journalists.


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In Ethiopia’s War Against Social Media, the Truth is the Main Casualty

People attend a prayer ceremony for protesters who died recently in the town of Bishoftu, Ethiopia, during the Irreecha festival. (Photo: Reuters)

The Washington Post

The annual U.N. General Assembly meeting provides an unparalleled opportunity for world leaders to take to the bully pulpit of the U.N. chamber and trumpet their country’s achievements or slam their enemies.

Last month, presidents, kings and prime ministers talked about the dangers of climate change, progress made in development goals, the threats of terrorism or their responses to the global immigration crisis. But when Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn took the podium Sept. 21, the global challenge he had in mind was perhaps unexpected: social media.

There were many other things he could have discussed, including Ethiopia’s impressive investments in infrastructure like hydroelectric dams and its high growth rates — or even a devastating drought that the government and its international partners have confronted this past year.

“We are seeing how misinformation could easily go viral via social media and mislead many people, especially the youth,” he said. “Social media has certainly empowered populists and other extremists to exploit people’s genuine concerns and spread their message of hate and bigotry without any inhibition.”

The state has singled out social media as being a key factor in driving the unrest now gripping the country. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are now largely blocked in the country, as is Internet on mobile phones, which is how most people in this country of 94 million find their way online.

Read more at The Washington Post »

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Once a Darling of Investors, Ethiopia Sliding Towards Chaos — The Economist
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Angela Merkel Signals Support for Ethiopia’s Protesters in Visit (AP)
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In Ethiopia Protesters Attack Factories, Eco Lodge and Flower Farms
American Killed in Ethiopia Identified as UC Davis Researcher Sharon Gray
U.S. citizen killed, foreign factories attacked in Ethiopia
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Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia Biz Boom A Thing of the Past?

(AP photo)

The Economist | From the print edition

IT WAS meant to have been a time for celebration. When on October 5th the Ethiopian government unveiled the country’s new $3.4 billion railway line connecting the capital, Addis Ababa, to Djibouti, on the Red Sea, it was intended to be a shiny advertisement for the government’s ambitious strategy for development and infrastructure: state-led, Chinese-backed, with a large dollop of public cash. But instead foreign dignitaries found themselves in a country on edge.

Just three days earlier, a stampede at a religious festival in Bishoftu, a town south of the capital, had resulted in at least 52 deaths. Mass protests followed. Opposition leaders blamed the fatalities on federal security forces that arrived to police anti-government demonstrations accompanying the event. Some called the incident a “massacre”, claiming far higher numbers of dead than officials admitted. Unrest billowed across the country.

On October 8th, a week after the tragedy at Bishoftu, the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) announced a six-month state of emergency, the first of its kind since the former rebel movement seized power in 1991. The trigger was not clear: violent clashes between police and armed gangs, and attacks on foreign-owned companies, had been flaring across the country for several days (and have occurred sporadically for months) but seemed to have plateaued by the weekend. On October 4th an American woman was killed while travelling outside the capital. Protesters have blockaded several roads leading in and out.

One factor in the government’s decision was a spate of attacks on holiday lodges at Lake Langano, and on Turkish textile factories in Sebeta, both in the restive Oromia region south of the capital, on October 5th. The attackers were well-organised and armed, some of them reportedly mounted on motorbikes. These acts, officials suggest, were the final straw.

The government is rattled by the prospect of capital flight. An American-owned flower farm recently pulled out, and it fears others may follow. After almost a week of silence, the state-of-emergency law was a belated attempt to reassure foreign investors, who have hitherto been impressed by the economy’s rapid growth, that the government has security under control.

Read more at The Economist »


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German’s Angela Merkel Calls for Ethiopia to Open Up Politics After Unrest

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, with PM Hailemariam Desalegn at the national palace in Addis Ababa, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. Merkel is visiting Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

Reuters

Tue Oct 11, 2016

ADDIS ABABA — German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Ethiopia on Tuesday to open up its politics and ensure police do not use heavy-handed tactics against protesters, after more than a year of unrest that rights groups say has led to about 500 deaths.

Merkel, who spoke at a news conference with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, arrived in Ethiopia after a fresh flare-up near the capital of the clashes that have cast a shadow over a nation with one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies.

The violence prompted the government to declare a nationwide state of emergency on Sunday. It says the death toll cited by rights groups is exaggerated and blames the wave of violence on “armed gangs” backed by foreigners.

The United States expressed concern on Tuesday about the state of emergency. State Department spokesman John Kirby said measures that restore order but deprive people of rights like freedom of speech and assembly were a “self-defeating tactic that exacerbates rather than addresses the grievances.”

Kirby said the U.S. administration encouraged the Ethiopian government to take action on land rights, electoral reform and other issues raised by the protesters, as suggested by President Mulatu Teshome Wirtu in a speech on Monday.

“We’re obviously very concerned,” Kirby said. “We encourage the government to act decisively on those proposals.”

Western states, which are among the biggest donors to what is still a poor nation, want their companies to win deals in Ethiopia but have become increasingly concerned by the government’s authoritarian approach to development.

“I made the case that you should have open talks with people who have problems,” Merkel told Hailemariam, adding that police should respond proportionately to protests.

Read more at Reuters.com »


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Ethiopia: Foreign Investors Warily Eye Crackdown – The Wall Street Journal
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In Ethiopia Protesters Attack Factories, Eco Lodge and Flower Farms
American Killed in Ethiopia Identified as UC Davis Researcher Sharon Gray
U.S. citizen killed, foreign factories attacked in Ethiopia
US Says Female American Citizen Killed in Ethiopia Amid Protest
After Ethiopia Irrecha Tragedy, Renewed Calls on U.S to Take Stronger Measure

Ethiopia Protests Continue Over Fatal Bishoftu Stampede at Irrecha Festival

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia: Foreign Investors Warily Eye Crackdown – The Wall Street Journal

Mourners hold candles at a Lutheran church in Bishoftu on Sunday at a service marking the deaths of dozens of demonstrators in antigovernment protesters a week earlier. PHOTO: REUTERS

The Wall Street Journal

By MATINA STEVIS

Foreign investors on Monday warily eyed the Ethiopian government’s latest attempt to quell violent protests that have targeted foreign-owned businesses in Africa’s second most-populous nation.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn declared a six-month state of emergency on Sunday, saying it was necessary to protect citizens and property following widespread antigovernment unrest in Oromia, one of the country’s nine ethnically based regional states.

Long-running protests over the government’s monopoly on power and human-rights abuses have swelled recently in Oromia and Amhara, another regional state. More than 130 private concerns were attacked by protesters last week, including a Dutch-owned flower farm and a cement factory owned by Nigerian Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man.

As security forces multiplied in the streets of the capital Addis Ababa on Monday, KKR, a major private-equity fund, said it was stepping security at a large Ethiopian flower farm it invested in two years ago

Under the state of emergency announced by Mr. Desalegn, demonstrations, writing and distributing pro-protest material and mimicking the protesters’ symbol—crossed arms raised aloft—are prohibited. Curfews and other restrictions were expected.

Financial analysts voiced skepticism Monday that the steps would help Ethiopia’s souring investment climate.

“The declaration of a six-month state of emergency is unlikely to improve dwindling investor confidence in Ethiopia,” said Emma Gordon, a senior analyst with Verisk Maplecroft, a research firm.

Read more »


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Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Hillary vs Trump: Who Won 2nd Debate?

Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump during the second presidential debate on Oct. 9 in St. Louis. (Photo: NYT)

The New York Times

Who Won the Debate? Donald Trump Avoids Annihilation

Donald J. Trump’s campaign appeared to be crumbling as he entered the second presidential debate against Hillary Clinton, with Republicans withdrawing support for his candidacy after the disclosure of a vulgar recording that showed him bragging about sexual assault. Facing a barrage of tough questions, the Republican nominee managed to scrape through, evading questions, fabricating answers and attacking his opponent in deeply personal terms.

While expectations for Mr. Trump were low, many commentators and critics thought that he exceeded them and allayed concerns among supporters that his candidacy was finished.

Here is a sampling of the post-debate reaction:

“He improved, exceeded expectations, decisively won several exchanges. She could have landed a death blow tonight and did not.”

Guy Benson, political editor at the conservative website Townhall

_______

“I may not care for Trump, but he beat Hillary tonight fair and square even with Martha Raddatz trying to defeat him.”

Erick Erickson, writer for the conservative blog The Resurgent

_______

“Donald Trump knows he won’t be president. He’s now in full carnival-barking, network-launching, party-nuking mode — a scowling, pouting menace who threatened during a nationally televised debate to throw Hillary Clinton in jail and called her husband the most sexually abusive man in political history.”

Ron Fournier, writer for The Atlantic

_______

“In keeping her cool and indicting Trump’s bad behavior and finally provoking him to threaten to put her in jail, she made certain no one not already in Trump’s corner would sign on with him.”

Jennifer Rubin, writer for The Washington Post’s Right Turn blog

“All the Republicans who backed away from @realDonaldTrump look really really stupid right now.”

Laura Ingraham, conservative commentator and editor of LifeZette

________

“Trump looks and sounds defeated. Almost incoherent…”

Marc Lamont Hill, Morehouse College professor

Read more at NYTimes.com »

—-
Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

New Ethiopia-Djibouti Railroad Opens

(AP photo)

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

By ELIAS MESERET

Ethiopia’s New Coastal Rail Link Runs Through Restive Region

ADDIS ABABA — The timing was uncomfortable. One of Africa’s best-performing economies on Wednesday launched its latest massive infrastructure project, a railway linking the landlocked country with a major port on the Gulf of Aden. But it came just days after dozens were killed in anti-government protests in the region the railway runs through.

The new line between Ethiopia and the small coastal nation of Djibouti, the portal for almost all of the country’s imports, is one of several high-profile projects that have attracted Chinese and Turkish investors, among others, as foreign investment climbed to more than $2 billion last year.

But Sunday’s deadly stampede again brought international attention of another kind.

Anger in the Oromia region began a year ago, against a government plan to take farmland and incorporate it into the capital, Addis Ababa, to help shift the largely rural country’s economy from agriculture to manufacturing. The plan was dropped, but the protests have widened to demand wider freedoms and the release of detained activists and journalists.

The unrest has disrupted the country’s business boom: In some cases, both foreign and local companies have been targeted by protesters who have accused them of government ties. On Tuesday, Oromia’s regional government said protesters attacked a cement factory owned by Nigeria’s richest man, multibillionaire Aliko Dangote, in response to Sunday’s deadly stampede.

Read more »


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Amid Civil Unrest, Ethiopian Immigration to Israel Resume After 3-year Freeze

Amid civil unrest in Ethiopia, first group of Jews since 2013 set to arrive in Israel on Sunday; 9,000 still waiting in Ethiopia. (The Times of Israel)

The Times of Israel

The first group of Ethiopian Jews to move to Israel after waiting for three years will arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport on Sunday evening, almost a year after the government approved the immigration of 9,000 Jews still left in Ethiopia.

The 78 immigrants who will be on the flight were first approved by the Interior Ministry in 2013 but never came due to lack of budget for their absorption, which includes housing allowances for at least two years and apartment grants.

“The tickets are bought, the absorption centers are ready, and we’re going to welcome them with open arms on Sunday,” said Nimrod Sabbah, a spokesman for Likud MK David Amsalem.

“The people waiting for them at the airport, you’ll see, are soldiers and people who have served Israel, they have been waiting for years and years for their families,” he said. “It pains me to say this, but if they were blond with blue eyes they would have been here ages ago. But they’re black, and the government of Israel is behaving with deep racism towards them.”

The move comes as Ethiopia is dealing with widespread violent anti-government protests, the most significant civil unrest in decades, centered in the Oromo and Amhara regions. Gondar, which is home to approximately 6,000 of the 9,000 Jews still left in Ethiopia, is located in the Amhara region.

Read more at The Times of Israel »


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American Killed in Ethiopia Identified as UC Davis Researcher Sharon Gray
U.S. citizen killed, foreign factories attacked in Ethiopia
US Says Female American Citizen Killed in Ethiopia Amid Protest
After Ethiopia Irrecha Tragedy, Renewed Calls on U.S to Take Stronger Measure
Ethiopia Protests Continue Over Fatal Bishoftu Stampede at Irrecha Festival

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

After Ethiopia Irrecha Tragedy, Renewed Calls on U.S to Take Stronger Measure

(Photo via Observers/france24)

Oakland Institute

Irreechaa Holiday 2016: Protests and Tragedy

The annual Irreechaa festival is a time of celebration and thanksgiving for the Oromo people of Ethiopia. After the hardship of the winter months, the festival welcomes the spring and attracts millions to the town of Bishoftu in one of the largest cultural and spiritual celebrations of the year.

But instead of jubilation, this year’s festival was met with bloodshed. Between 55 and several hundred anti-government protesters were killed when Ethiopian security forces used tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition on crowds, triggering a stampede.


(Photo via Aljazeera)

The exact details of this atrocity are difficult to confirm—Ethiopian authorities routinely jail journalists and bloggers for critiquing the government and internet and cell phone reception in the Bishoftu region has reportedly been cut off. But regardless of the exact details, this is the latest in a series of events that signal increasing state violence.

State Violence Mounting in Ethiopia

For almost a year, protests have erupted in the Oromo and now also the Amhara regions of Ethiopia. They originated in response to a “Master Plan” that was set to expand the boundaries of Addis Ababa and take land away from farmers in the region, but have grown into larger calls for democracy and human rights in the country. Between November 2015 and January 2015, at least 400 people—mostly students—were killed by security forces in Oromo in the start of these protests. In August, nearly 100 more were killed in similar events in Oromo and Amhara. In September, a fire in the prison holding political prisoners and anti-government protesters in September took the lives of 23.

The trend is clear: state violence and repression in Ethiopia is mounting, and the international community is doing little to stop it.

Over the past eight years, the Oakland Institute has extensively researched, monitored, and reported on land and human rights abuses in Ethiopia. We started this work by examining detrimental land investments. This work led us to document the widespread human rights violations and repression of critics and opponents of the government’s development plans that were grabbing land and resources from its own citizens. In the wake of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation that led to the arrest of students, land rights defenders, journalists, indigenous leaders, opposition politicians, religious leaders, and more for exercising basic freedoms; in the wake of the villagization program that set out to forcibly relocate up to 1.5 million people to make their land available for foreign investment; in the wake of this year’s anti-government protests that have seen hundreds, if not thousands, killed by security forces—our work has expanded and our appeals for justice have grown.

Today, as we all reel from this latest tragedy, we say enough is enough. The US—as the largest bilateral donor to the country—must take a firm stand for human rights, democracy, and justice in Ethiopia.

House Resolution 861—Human Rights in Ethiopia

In September, Resolution 861—“Supporting Respect for Human Rights and Encouraging Inclusive Governance in Ethiopia”—was introduced in the House of Representatives, thanks to the courageous leadership of Representative Chris Smith. To date, it has been publically co-sponsored by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Al Green (D-TX), Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), and Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH). The resolution summarizes and condemns the massive abuses taking place in Ethiopia; calls on numerous US departments and agencies to review their financing of the Ethiopian government; and “stands by the people of Ethiopia and supports their peaceful efforts to increase democratic space and to exercise the rights guaranteed by the Ethiopian constitution.” The resolution’s support is growing, with news received last week that Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) will also be signing on.

The US Must Act Now

The US and Ethiopia have a unique relationship: the US has relied on Ethiopia in its war on terrorism in the region, while Ethiopia relies on the US as a primary aid contributor. Because of this relationship, the position of the US is vital. A strong statement from the US would not only cause the Ethiopian authorities to take heed, but could inspire other world leaders to stand up for human rights in the country as well.

Over the past year, nearly one thousand people have lost their lives because they stood up for justice and human rights. How many more innocent lives need to be lost before the US is willing to take a stand?

All eyes are on us. The time to act is now.


Ethiopia Protests Continue Over Fatal Bishoftu Stampede at Irrecha Festival

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U.S. Election VP Debate Update

Republican vice-presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine, right, after the debate at Longwood University in Virginia Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. (AP photo)

The New York Times

Tim Kaine and Mike Pence Clash Sharply Over Their Running Mates

FARMVILLE, Va. — Senator Tim Kaine and Gov. Mike Pence repeatedly threw each other on the defensive over their running mates’ policies and character at the vice-presidential debate on Tuesday night, with Mr. Pence making little effort to directly rebut the near-constant attacks on Donald J. Trump’s fitness for the presidency.

Mr. Kaine was far more aggressive from the start, answering a question about his own qualifications with lengthy praise for Hillary Clinton and a declaration that “the thought of Donald Trump as commander in chief scares us to death.” Mr. Kaine, trained as a litigator, frequently used this tactic of turning questions about himself and Mrs. Clinton into opportunities to extol his running mate and assail Mr. Trump.

“I can’t imagine how Governor Pence can defend the insult-driven, me-first style of Donald Trump,” Mr. Kaine said after noting that Mr. Trump had once described Mexicans as “rapists” and questioned President Obama’s citizenship.

Mr. Pence, more formal and mild-mannered than his rival, seemed frustrated by the fusillade coming from Mr. Kaine. He often looked down and shook his head slightly in the face of the attacks on Mr. Trump, while Mr. Kaine tended to interrupt and talk over Mr. Pence.

But at other points he showed a deftness that Mr. Trump often lacked at his own debate last week. And he also offered voters a face of the Republican Party that was not overly dark or angry, as Mr. Trump has often been in this race.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


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CPJ: Release Blogger Seyoum Teshome

Seyoum Teshome, who blogs on the website Ethiothinkthank.com, is a prolific writer and a lecturer at Ambo University, often sought-out by international media for his insight into current Ethiopian affairs. (CPJ.org)

CPJ

October 3, 2016

Police arrest prominent Ethiopian blogger

New York – Ethiopian authorities should immediately and unconditionally release blogger Seyoum Teshome, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Police arrested Teshome on October 1, according to press accounts and opposition activists.

Seyoum is a frequent commentator on Ethiopian affairs who writes for the website Ethiothinkthank.com and lectures at Ambo University’s campus in Woliso, some 110 km (68 miles) southwest of capital Addis Ababa. Police arrested him from his home there, searched the house, and confiscated his computer, an Ethiopian journalist exiled in Nairobi told CPJ, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. Ethiopian bloggers also reported his arrest on social media.

It was not immediately clear what charges, if any, Seyoum faces. Ethiopia’s information minister, Getachew Reda, did not immediately respond to CPJ’s request for comment.

“This arrest of a prominent writer and commentator is deeply disturbing as it comes against a backdrop of government moves to stifle protests and criticism,” CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said. “Seyoum Teshome should be released without delay and without condition.”

Seyoum is a prolific writer, and international media frequently seek him out for comment on events in Ethiopia. In a recent New York Times article on the Ethiopian marathoner Feyisa Lilesa, who crossed his arms in a sign of solidarity with anti-government protesters at the finish line of the men’s marathon at the Rio Olympics, Seyoum was quoted as saying the athlete’s symbolic protest action had struck a blow against the Ethiopian government’s carefully constructed image as a thriving developing state.

“This was what the government was afraid of,” he told the newspaper.


Protesters in Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, raise the Oromo protest sign ahead of an October 2, 2016, stampede that left more than 50 people dead after police fired teargas and warning shots to disperse the crowd. (Photo: Reuters)

On Sunday, dozens of protesters died in a stampede after police fired teargas canisters and warning shots to disperse an anti-government protest at a religious festival in the heartland of the Oromo people, where the protests have drawn the highest level of support. Human Rights Watch estimates about 400 protesters died in the seven months leading up to June.

Read more »


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Benjamin Joy Award Goes to US Staff in Addis

Charles H. Rivkin (left), U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, and Assistant Secretary of Commerce Arun M. Kumar presented the award at a ceremony in D.C. on September 29, 2016.

Media Note

U.S. Departments of State Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC — The first-ever joint award given by the U.S. Departments of State and Commerce was presented today to the U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles H. Rivkin and Department of Commerce Global Markets Assistant Secretary and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service Arun Kumar presented the Benjamin Joy award to the U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa State-Commerce-Team at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The Benjamin Joy Award was created to highlight and promote interagency collaboration and honor commercial diplomacy excellence. The winning team, led by former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Patricia M. Haslach, includes Deputy Chief of Mission Peter H. Vrooman, Senior Foreign Commercial Service Officer Tanya Cole, Trade and Investment Promotion Officer Gaia Self, Commercial Specialist Tewodros Tefera, and Advocacy Center Regional Manager Nnaji Campbell. Embassy Addis Ababa’s leadership and innovation advanced U.S. business interests in Ethiopia and created a model for U.S. missions to support fair competition and increase U.S. exports in Africa.

The winner was selected from 43 nominations from posts around the world. The award’s namesake, Benjamin Joy, was an early exemplar of U.S. commercial and economic diplomacy, appointed in 1792 by President George Washington as the first American Consul and Commercial Agent to India. Today, there are more than 200 diplomatic outposts helping to strengthen America’s economic reach and positive economic impact.


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Actor Znah-Bzu Tsegaye Flees Ethiopia

The TV star is the latest high-profile Ethiopian to flee the country, VOA Amharic reports. (Photo: Sew Le Sew)

BBC News

Prominent Ethiopian actor Znah-Bzu Tsegaye has sought asylum in the US after leaving the country about two months ago, he told Voice of America.

The actor was in a weekly soap opera Sew Le Sew on state television.

He left because of “repeated harassment and for being Amhara” reports the opposition Zehabesha website.

Human Rights Watch says security forces killed at least 100 people at protests in the Amhara region in August but the government denies this.

In an interview with Voice of America’s Amharic service, the actor said the Ethiopian security forces had carried out “atrocious actions” and he had decided not to return home until the “regime is changed”.

“It is sad to respond with bullets to people’s demand for their rights,” he added.

Read the full article at BBC News »


Related:
Ethiopian soap star and ’household name’ Zenah-Bezu Tsegaye flees to seek asylum in US

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BBC on How Ethiopia’s Prince Lij Iyasu Scuppered Germany’s WW1 Plans

Lij Iyasu was the designated but uncrowned Emperor of Ethiopia from 1913 to 1916. (Photo: Public Domain)

BBC News

A hundred years ago, the Ethiopian prince Lij Iyasu was deposed after the Orthodox church feared he had converted to Islam. But it also scuppered Germany’s plans to draw Ethiopia into World War One, writes Martin Plaut.

In January 1915 a dhow slipped quietly out of the Arabian port of Al-Wajh. On board were a group of Germans and Turks, under the guise of the Fourth German Inner-Africa Research Expedition.

Led by Leo Frobenius, adventurer, archaeologist and personal friend of the German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, its aim was nothing less than to encourage Ethiopia to enter World War One.

Germany believed that the Suez canal was Britain’s “jugular vein” allowing troops and supplies to be brought from Australia, New Zealand and India.

The war plan

An assault on the canal by Turkish and German forces had been repelled in early 1915, but it was clear that this was not the final attack.

Ethiopia – an independent nation – was the major power in the region and Germany believed that if it could persuade the Ethiopians to enter the war on its side, British and allied forces would have to be withdrawn from the Canal and other fronts.


At 16 years old, Iyasu took the opportunity of the death of the regent to claim personal rule. (Getty Images)

The aims of the General Staff in Berlin were: “To force the enemy to commit large forces in defending their colonies in the Horn of Africa, thus weakening their European front and relieving the German forces fighting in German East Africa.”

This called for “insurrection” in Sudan with the aim of toppling British rule and attacks on French-ruled Djibouti and Italian Eritrea.

Read more at BBC News »


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Ethiopia: Feyisa Lilesa Responds to HD ‘I Was Not Coerced’

Olympian Feyisa Lilesa says Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn's claims he was coerced into protest are "false and insulting." Feyisa said: "Unlike the PM, I make my own decisions and speak for myself.” (FP Mag)

Foreign Policy Magazine

NEW YORK — Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told Foreign Policy on Tuesday that when Olympic marathoner Feyisa Lilesa raised his arms in an “X” at the Summer Games in Rio, he wasn’t protesting mistreatment of Ethiopia’s Oromo population at the hands of government forces, but had instead been coerced into the protest by an armed secessionist group.

But in an email to Foreign Policy on Friday, Feyisa called Hailemariam’s claims “baseless, completely false, and insulting.” He totally dismissed the idea that any outsiders — including naturalized American citizens loyal to the anti-government Oromo Liberation Front — convinced him to protest as he crossed the finish line in second place.

“OLF did not tell me to speak out or be a voice for my people,” Feyisa wrote. “My conscience made me do that. I spoke out because I wanted to expose the gross violation of human rights in Ethiopia.”

Feyisa went on to say that his friend, Kebede Feyisa, “was shot and burned to death along with other prisoners in the Qilinto prison” in central Ethiopia this month. According to him, that friend was arrested during a peaceful protest and later killed by security forces. It’s stories like his, Feyisa said, that inspired him to protest his government and then flee to the United States under the pretext that he would potentially risk his life by returning home.

Hailemariam told FP on Tuesday that he does not blame Feyisa for the protest because he strongly believes it was “orchestrated by someone else from outside,” and pointed multiple times to the OLF and its sympathizers in the United States. He said that Feyisa will be safe and greeted like a hero if he chooses to return home.

But Toleeraa Adabaa, a spokesman for the OLF based in Eritrea, told FP in an email that Hailemariam lied about the secessionist group’s involvement in Feyisa’s protest because he preferred “to point his finger to OLF rather than solving the problems which are causes for the protest all over Ethiopia.”

And Feyisa said in his email that it was “the Oromo people and friends of the Oromo, not the OLF, who facilitated my trip to the United States.”

“Hailemariam’s government has jailed and killed far too many people under the pretext of supporting the OLF,” he said.

“I was not surprised by his comments because individuals who are always controlled by others tend to assume everyone is that way as well,” he said. “Unlike the prime minister, I make my own decisions and speak for myself.”

Read the full artcile at Foreign Policy Magazine »

Related:
Here is Why White House Must Continue to Speak Out on Ethiopia Crisis
U.S. Congressman Chris Smith Calls Out Ethiopia Rights Abuses
Olympic Hero Feyisa Lilesa Calls on US to Push for Human Rights in Ethiopia
Joint letter to UN Human Rights Council on Ethiopia
US Ambassador to UN on ‘Excessive Use of Force’ Against Ethiopia Protesters

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U.S. Opens National Museum of African American History & Culture

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC is now open. (USA Today)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, September 24th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Today the grand opening dedication ceremony for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture takes place in Washington, D.C.

“The new museum, first proposed by a group of black Civil War veterans in 1915, officially opens Saturday in a central location on Washington’s National Mall — among war memorials and cultural institutions, with a clear sight line to the U.S. Capitol,” VOA reports.

“The historic significance of the newest and 19th Smithsonian museum – and its importance to all Americans – will make it an unprecedented local, national and international event unlike any other opening of a cultural institution in America or globally in recent memory,” states the museum on its website. “The National Museum of African American History and Culture will be a place where all Americans can learn about the richness and diversity of the African American experience, what it means to their lives and how it helped us shape this nation. A place that transcends the boundaries of race and culture that divide us, and becomes a lens into a story that unites us all.”


The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. (Photo: NMAAHC)


Filled with exhibits and artifacts telling the story of the first Africans in the United States and their descendants, the 400,000-square-foot museum will open to the public on September 24. (ABC News)

The founding director of the new Museum, Lonnie Bunch, says “We felt it was crucial to craft a museum that would help America remember and confront, confront its tortured racial past.” At a press conference announcing the grand opening this weekend Bunch added: “But we also thought while America should ponder the pain of slavery and segregation, it also had to find the joy, the hope, the resiliency, the spirituality that was endemic in this community.”


Civil Rights pioneer Rosa Parks’ dress is on display in the concourse galleries at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. (Getty Images)


Michael Jackson’s fedora is one of the items on display in a new exhibit about how the Apollo Theater shaped American entertainment, at the National Museum of American History in Washington. D.C. (AP photo)


A statue of the 1968 Olympics Black Power salute is on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. (AP photo)


1968 Olympic warm-up suit worn by Tommie Smith. (Photo: Photo: NMAAHC)


President Barack Obama Hand-painted banner for Obama presidential campaign 2008 that was modified after 2008 Election results is part of the permanent collection of the National Museum of African American History & Culture. (Photo: NMAAHC)


Muhammad Ali Headgear, Fifth Street Gym.

And on Friday President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a reception at the White House, which according to VOA was “attended by many of the museum’s contributors” and “was the kickoff event in a weekend of festivities, as the museum opens its doors and throws an outdoor festival as well, to accommodate overflow crowds.” In his remarks the President said: “..the point is that all of us cannot forget that the only reason that we’re standing here is because somebody, somewhere stood up for us. Stood up when it was risky. Stood up when it was not popular. And somehow, standing up together, managed to change the world. He added: “The timing of this is fascinating. In so many ways, it is the best of times. But in many ways, these are also troubled times. History doesn’t always move in a straight line. And without vigilance, we can go backward as well as forward.”

Video: Exclusive: Obamas Tour National Museum of African American History and Culture (ABC News)

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos


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In Pictures: DC Peaceful Protest in Solidarity With Ethiopians at Home

(Photo via Obang Metho/Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — This week a peaceful demonstration was held in U.S. capital by Ethiopian residents in the area to show solidarity with protesters in Ethiopia and to call on the American government to “cut off financial assistance” to the Government of Ethiopia.

According to Human Rights Watch “in Ethiopia, in August security forces repeatedly fired on generally peaceful protesters, bringing the death toll to over 500″ and “thousands more have been wounded and arrested.” HRW adds: “Since the government systematically restricts independent media and civil society, there has been limited reporting on the crackdown and inadequate international attention to this ongoing crisis.”

Below are photos from the DC protest, which took place on Monday, September 19th. All photographs are courtesy of Obang Metho’s Facebook Page.

—-
Related:
HRW: UN Needs to Step Up on Ethiopia
Here is Why White House Must Continue to Speak Out on Ethiopia Crisis
Video: U.S. Congressman Chris Smith Calls Out Ethiopia Rights Abuses

Olympic Hero Feyisa Lilesa Calls on US to Push for Human Rights in Ethiopia
Joint letter to UN Human Rights Council on Ethiopia
US Ambassador to UN on ‘Excessive Use of Force’ Against Ethiopia Protesters

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HRW: UN Needs to Step Up on Ethiopia

(Photo via HRW.org)

HRW

SEPTEMBER 19, 2016

Human Rights Watch continues to be concerned about a number of country situations that are not receiving the attention they require from the Human Rights Council.

In Ethiopia, in August security forces repeatedly fired on generally peaceful protesters, bringing the death toll to over 500 since the suppression of demonstrations began in Oromia in November 2015. Thousands more have been wounded and arrested. Since the government systematically restricts independent media and civil society, there has been limited reporting on the crackdown and inadequate international attention to this ongoing crisis. These human rights violations as well as the persistent denial of country visits by Special Procedures are not consistent with Ethiopia’s obligations as a Council Member and Vice-President. Human Rights Watch urges the Council to raise concerns over the serious abuses, particularly in the Oromia and Amhara regions, and support the High Commissioner’s call for an independent investigation into the unlawful killings and other violations.

Read more »


Related:
Here is Why White House Must Continue to Speak Out on Ethiopia Crisis
Video: U.S. Congressman Chris Smith Calls Out Ethiopia Rights Abuses

Olympic Hero Feyisa Lilesa Calls on US to Push for Human Rights in Ethiopia
Joint letter to UN Human Rights Council on Ethiopia
US Ambassador to UN on ‘Excessive Use of Force’ Against Ethiopia Protesters

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Watch: Obama’s Fiery Speech at Congressional Black Caucus Meeting

President Barack Obama speaks during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Phoenix Awards Dinner on September 17, 2016 in Washington, DC. (AP photo)

Politico

It was part mockery, part shock-to-the-system wake-up call.

Donald Trump is a nasty, hateful charlatan selling a false message to African-Americans and the rest of the country that puts everything President Barack Obama has done in office and stood for at risk, Obama said Saturday night, in a rip-roaring speech to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner in Washington.

Declaring he would consider it “a personal insult, an insult to my legacy” if black turnout falters for Hillary Clinton, Obama did what he got reamed for doing almost exactly two years ago, in the heat of midterm elections in which disdain for him was the defining force: Yes, he said, he is pretty much on the ballot in November.

“My name may not be on the ballot, but our progress is on the ballot,” Obama said, his voice rising to a shout as he went well beyond what sources familiar with the speech said was a tamer version of the riff in the prepared remarks. “Tolerance is on the ballot. Democracy is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot. Good schools are on the ballot. Ending mass incarceration, that’s on the ballot right now.”

Hope and change was his campaign slogan eight years ago. This year, Obama said, Trump presents a nightmarish vision of change that he urged the country to reject.

“Hope is on the ballot,” he said, laying out the choice. “And fear is on the ballot too.”

Following Clinton on stage, Obama kicked off his remarks by taking on Trump’s attempt to move away from his long history of raising doubts about the president’s origins.

“If there’s an extra spring in my step tonight,” Obama said, smiling. “I am so relieved that the whole birther thing is over.”

Read more at Politico.com »

Watch: Obama jokes “I am so relieved that the whole birther thing is over.”


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What Will the Next US President Mean for Africa?

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Global Ties Not Seen in NYC Blast

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that so far there is no evidence of "international terrorism" regarding the blast that injured 29 people in New York City Saturday night. (Associated Press photo)

The New York Times

Manhattan Blast That Injured 29 Does Not Appear to Be International Terrorism

The authorities believe a homemade bomb caused the explosion in the Chelsea neighborhood about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, injuring 29. A second device was later found four blocks away.


Photo by Rashid Umar Abbasi/Reuters. Times Video

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that a powerful explosion that rocked the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan on Saturday night, injuring 29 people, did not appear to be linked to international terrorism, but that it was a powerful bomb designed to kill.

“This is one of the nightmare scenarios,” he said at a news conference on Sunday. “We really were very lucky that there were no fatalities.”

Even as the last of the victims was released from the hospital, the police, joined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, mounted a large-scale hunt for the person or people behind the attack. Officials said they did not know of any motive — political or social — but were hoping that clues from surveillance videos, eyewitnesses and the bomb itself would provide critical clues.

As terrifying and destructive as the bombing was, it could have been worse, law enforcement officials said. Four blocks away, the authorities found and removed what they described as a second device. Mr. Cuomo said the devices appeared to be similar in design and one federal law enforcement official who agreed to speak about the continuing investigation only on condition of anonymity described it as a “viable device” that failed to detonate.

The authorities were also looking into whether the New York explosion was connected to a blast that happened 11 hours earlier when an improvised device exploded in a garbage can near the course of a charity race that was about to start in a small town on the Jersey Shore. That device went off around 9:30 a.m. near the boardwalk in Seaside Park, N.J., according to the Ocean County sheriff, Michael G. Mastronardy. No one was injured. The race, the Seaside Semper Five, a five-kilometer run and charity event along the waterfront that raises money for members of the United States Marine Corps and their families, was canceled.

Officials declined to comment on why they seemed confident in ruling out a link to an international terrorist group but they noted that there had been no claim of responsibility from any terror network. In contrast, the Islamic State was quick on Sunday to claim a stabbing attack Saturday night at a Minnesota shopping mall that left nine people injured.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


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Trump Owes Apology to Obama, Americans, for Failed Birther Claims

For five years Obama's Hater-in-Chief, Donald Trump, "has led a movement to delegitimize our first black president," Hillary Clinton says. "And Donald Trump owes him and the American people an apology." (Getty)

Politico

September 16th, 2016

No matter what Donald Trump says now, the Republican nominee will not be able to undo what he has already wrought by questioning President Barack Obama’s U.S. citizenship, Hillary Clinton said Friday. And he owes both Obama and the American people an apology, she added.

“For five years, he has led the birther movement to delegitimize our first black president. His campaign was founded on this outrageous lie. There is no erasing it in history,” Clinton told an audience at the Black Women’s Agenda Symposium workshop in Washington. “Just yesterday, Trump, again, refused to say with his own words that the president was born in the United States.”

Clinton’s comments came minutes before Trump was scheduled to speak in the same city about Obama’s citizenship, which his campaign said in a statement Thursday night that he accepted. Trump himself declined to say earlier Friday whether he believes Obama was born in the U.S., teasing a forthcoming “major statement” on the matter.

“Now, Donald’s advisers have the temerity to say he’s doing the country a service by pushing these lies. No. He isn’t. He’s feeding into the worst impulses, the bigotry and bias that lurks in our country. Barack Obama was born in America, plain and simple. And Donald Trump owes him and the American people an apology,” Clinton said.

Read more at Politico.com »


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What Will the Next US President Mean for Africa?

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U.S. Congressman Chris Smith Calls Out Ethiopia Rights Abuses

Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs’ subcommittee on Africa. (Photo: Public Domain)

CNS News

Rep. Chris Smith (R. N.J.) said on Tuesday that the human rights abuses taking place under the current government in Ethiopia are an “abomination.”

“It is an abomination when any country tortures its own citizens,” Smith told a press conference on Capitol Hill. “The post-traumatic stress disorder that is suffered by those, not to mention the physical injuries that they endure, but the psychological consequences usually go on for a lifetime.”

Smith, who is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs’ subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, was joined by Reps. Al Green (D-Texas) and Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) to announce the introduction of a bipartisan resolution “supporting respect for human rights and encouraging inclusive government in Ethiopia.”

“This legislation calls for credible investigations into the government in the Oromia and Amhara regions, as well as the recent fire and shootings at Qilinto Prison,” Smith said in his opening remarks. “House Resolution 861 also urges the government of Ethiopia to allow a United Nations human rights rapporteur to conduct an independent examination of the state of human rights in Ethiopia.”

Smith said the U.S. should consider all aspects of its relationship with its traditional Ethiopian ally, including foreign aid and the issuance of visas, when addressing rights abuses in that country.

Also attending the press conference was Feyisa Lilesa, who won the silver medal for the marathon at the 2016 Olympics.

Read more at CNSNews.com »

—-
Related:
Olympic Hero Feyisa Lilesa Calls on US to Push for Human Rights in Ethiopia
Joint letter to UN Human Rights Council on Ethiopia
US Ambassador to UN on ‘Excessive Use of Force’ Against Ethiopia Protesters

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2 Ethiopia Opposition Leaders Arrested

For the past ten months Ethiopians have been staging protests in various parts of the country complaining of systematic economic and political marginalization of the majority population. (Photo: Reuters)

AFP

Addis Ababa – Two Ethiopian opposition leaders have been arrested and held in detention for the last two weeks, their party said on Monday, as the country grapples with rare anti-government unrest.

The authorities detained Agaw Democratic Party leader Andualem Tilahun and another senior party member, Beyilu Teshale, on August 29, but the information was only made public on Monday.

The party represents the Agaw people, an ethnic group numbering around two million based in the northern Amhara region, who have largely kept out of the trouble that has flared in Ethiopia this year.

“Andualem Tilahun was charged on allegedly public incitation against the government, which is not true,” Tesera Be, a party advisor who is currently in the United States, said.

“The charge is politically motivated to eliminate the opposition party in the region.”

The spokesperson for the regional government could not be reached for comment.

Read more »


Related:
Joint Letter to UN Human Rights Council on Ethiopia
17 Artists Cancel Ethiopian New Year Concerts Due to Protests
US Ambassador to UN on ‘Excessive Use of Force’ Against Ethiopia Protesters
Ethiopia’s Failing Ethnic-based Political System (Foreign Affairs Magazine)
Washington Post Editorial on Current Wave of Protests in Ethiopia
‘A Generation Is Protesting’ in Ethiopia, Long a U.S. Ally (The New York Times)


Protesters have been complaining about economic and political marginalization . (Photos: Reuters)

UPDATE: ‘Nearly 100 killed’ in Ethiopia Protests (BBC News)
Several dozen shot dead in weekend protests across Ethiopia (AP)

In Addis Ababa Security Forces Use Tear Gas to Disperse Protests (Reuters)
What is behind Ethiopia’s wave of protests? (BBC News)
Protests in Ethiopia’s Gonder City Signal Uncertain Future (VOA News)
Protest in North Ethiopian Region Signals Rising Discontent (Bloomberg)
Riots in Gonder Claim Casualties (DW Report — Jul 15, 2016)

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KQED on Menkir Tamrat’s California Farm

At his home in Fremont, California Menkir Tamrat grows specialty Ethiopian chili Peppers. (Photo: KQED)

KQED

Menkir Tamrat first came to the U.S. from Ethiopia to pursue a career in tech. But now he’s forging a connection to his childhood home through farming specialty Ethiopian chili peppers outside of Fremont in the East Bay.

At his farm, he walks down a row of leaf-green pepper plants to a shady arbor in back. The peppers are ripening to vibrant reds and chocolatey browns. In the coming weeks, Menkir will dry them, crush them and make them into spice blends essential to Ethiopian cuisine.

“Imagine, there’s the berbere, the chili, first,” Menkir explains. “And then 12- or 11-plus additions of seasonings and spices and herbs. So it’s a sum of all these different things.”

Menkir wasn’t always a farmer. He grew up in the countryside of Ethiopia in the 1960s. He watched farmers working in the fields and selling their vegetables at the market.

In the early 1980s, Menkir got his MBA and came to the Bay Area to start a career in high-tech management. The food from his homeland was never far from his heart. But when he tried to recreate it with local California ingredients, something was missing.

So he went to Ethiopia and brought back the seeds he needed to start a garden. At his home in Fremont, he filled his yard with Ethiopian herbs and vegetables…

Read more at KQED.org »


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Why Obama’s Soaring Approval Numbers are Very Good News for Hillary Clinton

President Obama is joined onstage by Hillary Clinton during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

Monday, September 12th, 2016

The last time that President Obama’s approval rating in Washington Post-ABC News polling was as high as it is in our new survey was six months after he took office. At 58 percent, Obama’s approval is 15 points higher than it was on the eve of the 2014 elections, where his party got blown out. Hillary Clinton’s hope is that the reversal of opinions on Obama two years later will also lead to a reversal of fortunes for other Democrats — and there’s reason to think that it will.

We’ll start by noting that Obama’s approval rating in our survey is quite a bit higher than in other recent polls. Earlier this month, CNN-ORC had him at 51 percent. At the end of August, Fox had him at 54. But even in Gallup’s weekly averages, Obama has been over 50 percent for most of this year.

In the past, we’ve seen a good correlation between final vote share and Post-ABC approval polling — even when the approval rating was tested in August or September of the same year. The line on the graphs below shows that correlation for years that we have data: As presidential approval improves, so does the vote share of the president’s party. At the low end are 1992, when Bill Clinton beat George H.W. Bush, and 1980, when Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter. At the high end are the reelections of Lyndon Johnson, Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. High approval, high results. Low approval, low results.

In other words, there’s a strong correlation between how people feel about Obama and how they feel about Clinton. Ninety percent of Clinton supporters approve of Obama’s job performance, 64 percent of them do so strongly. About the same percentage of Trump backers disapprove of Obama’s job performance, more of them feeling that way strongly.

We can flip that. Eighty-six percent of registered voters who strongly approve of Obama’s job performance back Clinton; more than half of those who approve of his performance somewhat plan to back the Democrat in November. Among those who strongly disapprove of Obama, 80 percent plan to back Trump. But even 6 percent of that group is leaning toward Clinton. (Only 1 percent of those who strongly approve of Obama plan to back Trump.)

Read more »


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Tefere Gebre: Don’t tell me I’m not American – The True story of my journey from Ethiopia to the U.S.
What Will the Next US President Mean for Africa?

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

17 Artists Cancel New Year Concerts

At least 17 singers have cancelled New Year concerts due to the ongoing protests. (Photo: BBC News)

BBC News

Many Ethiopian singers have cancelled their concerts to welcome in Ethiopia’s New Year, which falls this year on 11 September.

Ethiopians will be ushering in 2009 on Sunday as their calendar is more than seven years out of sync with the one used in much of the rest of the world.

But some singers are planning to put a dampener on the celebrations that take place on New Year’s Eve.

They say it would not be good to celebrate when people are mourning those who have died in recent protests.

At least 17 singers have backed out of gigs to be held in various venues in the capital, Addis Ababa, and other cities.

Oromo singer Abush Zeleke was among those who announced their decision on their official Facebook page.

And on Twitter have reacted to the news:

Some Ethiopian musicians who live abroad are following suit.

US-based singer, Abby Lakew, announced she had cancelled all her shows in Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago and Las Vegas:

I do not want to perform on any stage as of right now while my people are dying!!!
I will pray for peace and I believe in one love!!! All people should be treated equally, with the same rights, dignity and human rights.”

There has been an unprecedented wave of protests in Ethiopia in recent months.

Demonstrations began in the Oromia region last November and have spread elsewhere.

And over the weekend at least 23 inmates died in a fire at a prison where anti-government protesters were reportedly being held.


Related:
Joint letter to UN Human Rights Council on Ethiopia
US Ambassador to UN on ‘Excessive Use of Force’ Against Ethiopia Protesters
Ethiopia’s Failing Ethnic-based Political System (Foreign Affairs Magazine)
Washington Post Editorial on Current Wave of Protests in Ethiopia
‘A Generation Is Protesting’ in Ethiopia, Long a U.S. Ally (The New York Times)


Protesters have been complaining about economic and political marginalization . (Photos: Reuters)

UPDATE: ‘Nearly 100 killed’ in Ethiopia Protests (BBC News)
Several dozen shot dead in weekend protests across Ethiopia (AP)

In Addis Ababa Security Forces Use Tear Gas to Disperse Protests (Reuters)
What is behind Ethiopia’s wave of protests? (BBC News)
Protests in Ethiopia’s Gonder City Signal Uncertain Future (VOA News)
Protest in North Ethiopian Region Signals Rising Discontent (Bloomberg)
Riots in Gonder Claim Casualties (DW Report — Jul 15, 2016)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Joint Letter to UN Human Rights Council on Ethiopia

(Photo credit: Civicus.org)

HRW

Geneva, 8 September 2016

To Permanent Representatives of
Members and Observer States of the
UN Human Rights Council

RE: Addressing the escalating human rights crisis in Ethiopia

Your Excellency,

The undersigned civil society organisations write to draw your attention to grave violations of human rights in Ethiopia, including the recent crackdown on largely peaceful protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions.

As the UN Human Rights Council prepares to convene for its 33rd session between 13 – 30 September 2016, we urge your delegation to prioritise and address through joint and individual statements the escalating human rights crisis in Ethiopia.

An escalating human rights crisis in Oromia and Amhara Regions

The situation in Ethiopia has become increasingly unstable since security forces repeatedly fired upon protests in the Amhara and Oromia regions in August 2016. On 6 and 7 August alone, Amnesty International reported at least 100 killings and scores of arrests during protests that took place across multiple towns in both regions. Protesters had taken to the streets throughout the Amhara and Oromia regions to express discontent over the ruling party’s dominance in government affairs, the lack of rule of law, and grave human rights violations for which there has been no accountability.

Protests in the Amhara region began peacefully in Gondar a month ago and spread to other towns in the region. A protest in Bahir Dar, the region’s capital, on 7 August turned violent when security forces shot and killed at least 30 people. Recently, on 30 August, stay-at-home strikers took to the streets of Bahir Dar again and were violently dispersed by security forces. According to the Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE), in the week of 29 August alone, security forces killed more than 70 protesters and injured many more in cities and towns across Northern Amhara region.

Since November 2015, Ethiopian security forces have routinely used excessive and unnecessary lethal force to disperse and suppress the largely peaceful protests in the Oromia region. The protesters, who originally advocated against the dispossession of land without adequate compensation under the government’s Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan, have been subjected to widespread rights violations. According to international and national human rights groups, at least 500 demonstrators have been killed and hundreds have suffered bullet wounds and beatings by police and military during the protests.

Authorities have also arbitrarily arrested thousands of people throughout Oromia and Amhara during and after protests, including journalists and human rights defenders. Many of those detained are being held without charge and without access to family members or legal representation. Many of those who have been released report torture in detention. The continued use of unlawful force to repress the movement has broadened the grievances of the protesters to human rights and rule of law issues.

The need for international, independent, thorough, impartial and transparent investigations

Following the attacks by security forces on protesters in Oromia earlier this year, five UN Special Procedures issued a joint statement noting that “the sheer number of people killed and arrested suggests that the Government of Ethiopia views the citizens as a hindrance, rather than a partner”, and underlining that “Impunity … only perpetuates distrust, violence and more oppression”.

In response to the recent crackdown, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, has called for “access for independent observers to the country to assess the human rights situation”. Ethiopia’s government, however, has rejected the call, instead indicating it would launch its own investigation. On 2 September, in a public media statement, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights reiterated the UN High Commissioner’s call to allow a prompt and impartial investigation led by regional or international human rights bodies into the crackdown.

There are no effective avenues to pursue accountability for abuses given the lack of independence of the judiciary and legislative constraints. During the May 2015 general elections, the ruling EPRDF party won all 547 seats in the Ethiopian Parliament.

Ethiopia’s National Human Rights Commission, which has a mandate to investigate rights violations, has failed to make public its June report on the Oromia protests, while concluding in its oral report to Parliament that the lethal force used by security forces in Oromia was proportionate to the risk they faced from the protesters. The Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions has rated the Ethiopian National Human Rights Commission as B, meaning the latter has failed to meet fully the Paris Principles.

The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, who met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn at the margins of the European Development Days in June 2016, has called on all parties to refrain from the use of force and for a constructive dialogue and engagement to take place without delay. On 28 August, after the EPRDF party’s general assembly, Prime Minister Hailemariam reportedly ordered the country’s military to take any appropriate measures to quell the protests, which he described as illegal and aimed at destabilising the nation. Following a similar call regarding the Oromia protests, security forces intensified the use of excessive force against protesters.

A highly restrictive environment for dialogue

Numerous human rights activists, journalists, opposition political party leaders and supporters have been arbitrarily arrested and detained. Since August 2016, four members of one of Ethiopia’s most prominent human rights organisations, the Human Rights Council (HRCO), were arrested and detained in the Amhara and Oromia regions. HRCO believes these arrests are related to the members’ monitoring and documentation of the crackdown of on-going protests in these regions.

Among those arrested since the protests began and still in detention are Colonel Demeke Zewdu (Member, Wolkait Identity Committee (WIC)), Getachew Ademe (Chairperson, WIC), Atalay Zafe (Member, WIC), Mebratu Getahun (Member, WIC), Alene Shama (Member, WIC), Addisu Serebe (Member, WIC), Bekele Gerba (Deputy Chair, Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC)), Dejene Tufa (Deputy General Secretary, OFC), Getachew Shiferaw (Editor-in-Chief of the online newspaper Negere Ethiopia), Yonathan Teressa (human rights defender) and Fikadu Mirkana (reporter with the state-owned Oromia Radio and TV). 


Prominent human rights experts and groups, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, have repeatedly condemned the highly restrictive legal framework in Ethiopia. The deliberate misuse of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation’s overbroad and vague provisions to target journalists and activists has increased as protests have intensified. The law permits up to four months of pre-trial detention and prescribes long prison sentences for a range of activities protected under international human rights law. Dozens of human rights defenders as well as journalists, bloggers, peaceful demonstrators and opposition party members have been subjected to harassment and politically motivated prosecution under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, making Ethiopia one of the leading jailers of journalists in the world.

In addition, domestic civil society organisations are severely hindered by one of the most restrictive NGO laws in the world. Specifically, under the 2009 Charities and Societies Proclamation, the vast majority of Ethiopian organisations have been forced to stop working on human rights and governance issues, a matter of great concern that has been repeatedly raised in international forums including at Ethiopia’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

This restrictive and worsening environment underscores the limited avenues available for dialogue and accountability in the country. It is essential that the UN Human Rights Council take a strong position urging the Ethiopian government to immediately allow an international, thorough, independent, transparent and impartial investigation into alleged human rights abuses committed in the context of the government’s response to the largely peaceful protests.

As a member – and Vice-President – of the Human Rights Council, Ethiopia has an obligation to “uphold the highest standards” of human rights, and “fully cooperate” with the Council and its mechanisms (GA Resolution 60/251, OP 9). Yet for the past ten years, it has consistently failed to accept country visit requests by numerous Special Procedures.

During the upcoming 33rd session of the Human Rights Council, we urge your delegation to make joint and individual statements reinforcing and building upon the expressions of concern by the High Commissioner, UN Special Procedures, and others.

Specifically, the undersigned organisations request your delegation to urge Ethiopia to:

1. immediately cease the use of excessive and unnecessary lethal force by security forces against protesters in Oromia and Amhara regions and elsewhere in Ethiopia;

2. immediately and unconditionally release journalists, human rights defenders, political opposition leaders and members as well as protesters arbitrarily detained during and in the aftermath of the protests;

3. respond favourably to country visit requests by UN Special Procedures;

4. urgently allow access to an international, thorough, independent, impartial and transparent investigation into all of the deaths resulting from alleged excessive use of force by the security forces, and other violations of human rights in the context of the protests;

5. ensure that those responsible for human rights violations are prosecuted in proceedings which comply with international law and standards on fair trials and without resort to the death penalty;

6. and fully comply with its international legal obligations and commitments including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and its own Constitution.

Amnesty International
Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
Civil Rights Defenders
DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
Ethiopian Human Rights Project
FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights)
Foundation for Human Rights Initiative
Freedom House
Front Line Defenders
Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect
Human Rights Watch
International Service for Human Rights
Reporters Without Borders
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)


Related:
17 Artists Cancel Ethiopian New Year Concerts Due to Protests
US Ambassador to UN on ‘Excessive Use of Force’ Against Ethiopia Protesters
Ethiopia’s Failing Ethnic-based Political System (Foreign Affairs Magazine)
Washington Post Editorial on Current Wave of Protests in Ethiopia
‘A Generation Is Protesting’ in Ethiopia, Long a U.S. Ally (The New York Times)


Protesters have been complaining about economic and political marginalization . (Photos: Reuters)

UPDATE: ‘Nearly 100 killed’ in Ethiopia Protests (BBC News)
Several dozen shot dead in weekend protests across Ethiopia (AP)

In Addis Ababa Security Forces Use Tear Gas to Disperse Protests (Reuters)
What is behind Ethiopia’s wave of protests? (BBC News)
Protests in Ethiopia’s Gonder City Signal Uncertain Future (VOA News)
Protest in North Ethiopian Region Signals Rising Discontent (Bloomberg)
Riots in Gonder Claim Casualties (DW Report — Jul 15, 2016)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Obama Chides Wacky Trump for Putin Jibe

President Barack Obama says Donald Trump is "not qualified" to be president. (Photo: EPA)

BBC News

Barack Obama has chided Donald Trump as “wacky” and “uninformed” after the Republican candidate said Russia’s President Putin was a better leader.

Speaking in Laos, Mr Obama said that every time Mr Trump spoke it became clearer that the Republican contender was not qualified to be president.

In a televised forum on Wednesday, Mr Trump had praised Mr Putin’s “great control” and 82% approval rating.

Mr Trump and rival Hillary Clinton had taken questions from military veterans.

Mr Obama said: “I don’t think the guy’s qualified to be president of the United States and every time he speaks, that opinion is confirmed.”

The president pointed to the diplomatic work he had faced at both the Asean summit in Laos and the earlier G20 meeting in China.

He said: “I can tell you from the interactions I have had over the last eight or nine days with foreign leaders that this is serious business.

“You actually have to know what you are talking about and you actually have to have done your homework. When you speak, it should actually reflect thought-out-policy you can implement.”

Mr Trump had told the forum in New York that the Russian president had “been a leader far more than our president has been”.

Read more »


Related:
Hillary Clinton Rips Donald Trump for Lauding Vladimir Putin
2016 U.S. Election Cartoonists’ Perspective
Watch: This is What America Looks Like: Tefere Gebre Helps Immigrants to Vote

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US Ambassador to UN on ‘Excessive Use of Force’ Against Ethiopia Protesters

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power visiting South Sudan on Sunday on her way to Ethiopia as part of the U.N. Security Council visit to the region. (Photo: Twitter/@AmbassadorPower)

The Associated Press

JUBA, South Sudan – The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations says her country has raised “grave concerns” about what it calls excessive use of force against protesters in Ethiopia.

Ambassador Samantha Power spoke to reporters late Sunday as the U.N. Security Council ended a visit to South Sudan. It moves on to Ethiopia on Monday for talks with African Union officials.

Power called the violence in Ethiopia “extremely serious” and called for a transparent and independent investigation. She said the U.S. has asked the government to allow people to protest peacefully.

Ethiopia has seen months of sometimes deadly protests calling for wider freedoms, while the government has been accused of killings, beatings and internet blockages.

The AU last week for the first time expressed concern about the recent unrest in its host country.


Related:
Ethiopia’s Failing Ethnic-based Political System (Foreign Affairs Magazine)
Washington Post Editorial on Current Wave of Protests in Ethiopia
‘A Generation Is Protesting’ in Ethiopia, Long a U.S. Ally (The New York Times)


Protesters have been complaining about economic and political marginalization . (Photos: Reuters)

UPDATE: ‘Nearly 100 killed’ in Ethiopia Protests (BBC News)
Several dozen shot dead in weekend protests across Ethiopia (AP)

In Addis Ababa Security Forces Use Tear Gas to Disperse Protests (Reuters)
What is behind Ethiopia’s wave of protests? (BBC News)
Protests in Ethiopia’s Gonder City Signal Uncertain Future (VOA News)
Protest in North Ethiopian Region Signals Rising Discontent (Bloomberg)
Riots in Gonder Claim Casualties (DW Report — Jul 15, 2016)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Update on Deadly Ethiopia Prison Fire

Officials in Ethiopia have confirmed that twenty-three people died when a fire broke out at Qilinto maximum security prison near Addis Abeba on Saturday, September 3rd, 2016 (Photo: Addis Fortune)

BBC News

Updated: September 5th, 2016

Ethiopia’s government has confirmed that 23 people died when fire broke out in a prison where prominent anti-government protesters are reportedly being held.

A statement from the government affairs communications team says 21 inmates died due to stampede and suffocation while two others were killed as they tried to escape Qilinto prison, on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa on Saturday.

But some local media have disputed the account citing unnamed witnesses who claim to have seen prisoners being shot by prison wardens.

Read more at BBC News »


Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Deadly fires are being reported in several high-security prisons across Ethiopia including in Addis Ababa and Debre Tabor towns. Ethiopia-based Addis Fortune reported: “The Qilinto maximum security prison [which holds high profile prisoners including opposition leader Bekele Gerba], located in southern Addis Abeba, caught fire this morning. Intensive gunfire ensued following the fire accident, creating a tense situation among local residents in the area.”

Other social media reports on Facebook and Twitter say an “unknown number of inmates are feared dead during a fire at Debre Tabor prison” in Gondar.


Debre Tabor prison house is on fire! #Ethiopia. (Picture via Twitter)

Footage: Fire broke out at Debre Tabor Prison


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In Island of Tasmania Ethiopians Rally for Rights of Marginalized People Back Home

In Australia's island state of Tasmania, Ethiopian immigrants joined a worldwide rally against persecution of ethnic groups in Ethiopia with a protest in front of Parliament House in Hobart, Tasmania. (The Mercury)

The Mercury

ETHIOPIAN immigrants have raised concerns for marginalised groups in the African nation at a rally outside Parliament House in Hobart.

Tasmanian Ethiopian Association chairman Dessie Assefa said oppression of ethnic groups by the country’s ruling political coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), created animosity between tribes.

“They are oppressed politically, financially, culturally,” Mr Assefa said.

About 50 people attended the rally today, holding Ethiopian and Australian flags and photographs of the violence in Ethiopia.

Tasmanian Ethiopian Association secretary Tadiyos Mandefro said the Oromo and Amhara people were the most oppressed groups in Ethiopia.

“People are attacked because of their ethnicity. Our people are in crisis,” he said.

Mr Mandefro said the Oromo and Amhara people are targeted the most.

“We are here to lobby the Tasmanian Government to address the Federal Government to raise these issues with Ethiopia,” he said.

“It is the only way we will be heard.”


About 50 people attended the rally in front of Parliament House in Hobart, capital of Australia’s island state of Tasmania. Picture: LUKE BOWDEN

Read more at Themercury.com.au »


Related:
Will Ethiopia’s Experiment With Ethnic Federalism Work? (Foreign Affairs Magazine)
Washington Post Editorial on Current Wave of Protests in Ethiopia
‘A Generation Is Protesting’ in Ethiopia, Long a U.S. Ally (The New York Times)


Protesters have been complaining about economic and political marginalization . (Photos: Reuters)

UPDATE: ‘Nearly 100 killed’ in Ethiopia Protests (BBC News)
Several dozen shot dead in weekend protests across Ethiopia (AP)

In Addis Ababa Security Forces Use Tear Gas to Disperse Protests (Reuters)
What is behind Ethiopia’s wave of protests? (BBC News)
Protests in Ethiopia’s Gonder City Signal Uncertain Future (VOA News)
Protest in North Ethiopian Region Signals Rising Discontent (Bloomberg)
Riots in Gonder Claim Casualties (DW Report — Jul 15, 2016)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

In Ethiopia Protesters Burn Flower Farm

The Esmeralda Farms, a company based in the Netherlands, started its flower growing business in Ethiopia on a 150 hectare land in early 2014. (Photos: Esmeralda Farms)

The Associated Press

A Dutch company says protesters in Ethiopia are torching flower farms as they target businesses with links to the government. Flowers are one of the country’s top exports.

The Esmeralda Farms statement comes amid anti-government protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions in recent weeks that residents and rights groups say have left dozens dead.

The company says its 10 million Euro investment went up in smoke this week in Bahir Dar city and that several other horticulture companies were affected.

Demonstrators have been calling for wider freedoms in this East African country. The Ethiopian Human Rights Council has said government security forces are using excessive force against them.

Ethiopia’s government, a close security ally of the West, is often accused of silencing dissent, even blocking internet access at times.


Related:
Esmeralda Farms statement: Esmeralda Farms Burn Down in Ethiopia
Dutch, Israeli Farms in Ethiopia Attacked by Protesters (Bloomberg)

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NYT Spotlights Harlem’s Tsion Cafe

Beejhy Barhany, the chef, and her husband, Padmore John, a native of Dominica, opened Tsion in 2014 in the historic Harlem district of Sugar Hill. (Photo: The New York Times)

The New York Times

At Tsion Cafe in Harlem, Food From Ethiopia via Israel

On one side lie eggs scrambled with lox over a drape of injera, the sour, springy Ethiopian flatbread as thin and pliant as a crepe and perforated like coral. On the other side, challah French toast, its egg coating spiked with awaze, a meld of earthy-hot berbere and tej, or Ethiopian honey wine, a drink of millenniums past.

At Tsion Cafe in Harlem, breakfast is biography. Beejhy Barhany, the chef, was born in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, into a community of Beta Israel, as Ethiopian Jews are known. In 1980, when she was 4, her family and almost the entire population of her village fled on foot to Sudan, walking only at night to evade detection and resting on the Sabbath.

They hoped one day to reach the Holy Land, invoking Israel’s Law of Return, which welcomes those of Jewish heritage as immigrants. (According to one origin story, Ethiopian Jews are descended from King Solomon and Queen Sheba.) After three years, Ms. Barhany’s family was smuggled through Kenya and Uganda by Land Rover, then flown to France and, finally, Israel.

She spent four years on a kibbutz tilling the land, an experience that taught her to respect ingredients in their natural state. At Tsion, Ethiopian vegetable stews betray little tinkering beyond the near-melt of slow-cooked onions, garlic and ginger that gives body to every dish, and an occasional shot of berbere, a concatenation of 17 spices, the strongest among them cumin, cardamom and chile.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


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

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

The New York Times on Berhanu Nega

Berhanu Nega. (Photo: The New York Times)

The New York Times

Once a Bucknell Professor, Now the Commander of an Ethiopian Rebel Army

Berhanu Nega was once one of Bucknell University’s most popular professors. An Ethiopian exile with a Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research in Manhattan, he taught one of the economics department’s most sought-after electives, African Economic Development. When he wasn’t leading seminars or puttering around his comfortable home in a wooded neighborhood five minutes from the Bucknell campus in rural Lewisburg, Pa., Nega traveled abroad for academic conferences and lectured on human rights at the European Parliament in Brussels. “He was very much concerned with the relationship between democracy and development,” says John Rickard, an English professor who became one of his close friends. “He argued that you cannot have viable economic development without democratization, and vice versa.” A gregarious and active figure on campus, he rooted for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cleveland Cavaliers, campaigned door-to-door for Barack Obama in 2008 and was known as one of the best squash players on the Bucknell faculty. He and his wife, an Ethiopian-born optometrist, raised two sons and sent them to top-ranked colleges, the University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon. On weekends he sometimes hosted dinners for other Bucknell professors and their families, regaling them with stories about Abyssinian culture and history over Ethiopian food he would prepare himself; he imported the spices from Addis Ababa and made the injera, a spongy sourdough bread made of teff flour, by hand.

Nega remained vague about his past. But students curious enough to Google him would discover that the man who stood before them, outlining development policies in sub-Saharan Africa, was in fact intimately involved in the long-running hostility between Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea, a conflict that has dragged on for half a century. By the start of the millennium, its newest incarnation, a border war over a patch of seemingly worthless ground just 250 square miles in size, devolved into a tense standoff, with the two nations each massing along the border thousands of troops from both official and unofficial armies. One proxy army fighting on the Eritrean side, a group of disaffected Ethiopians called Ginbot 7, was a force that Nega helped create, founding the movement in 2008 with another Ethiopian exile, Andargachew Tsege, in Washington. The Ethiopian government, which had previously detained Nega as a political prisoner for two years in Addis Ababa, now sentenced him to death in absentia. Bucknell students who did learn about their teacher’s past were thrilled. “It made his classes exciting,” Rickard says.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


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Ethiopia: Lucy Bones’ 3D Scans Released

Lucy’s arm bone undergoes a computed-tomography scan. (Photo: Marsha Miller/UT Austin)

Nature Magazine

Print your own 3D Lucy to work out how the famous hominin died

The world’s most famous fossil is now open source. 3D scans of Lucy — a 3.18-million-year-old hominin found in Ethiopia — were released on 29 August, allowing anyone to examine her arm, shoulder and knee bones and even make their own 3D-printed copies.

The scans accompany a Nature paper that argues that Lucy, a human relative belonging to the species Australopithecus afarensis, died after falling from a tree (J. Kappelman et al. Nature http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature19332; 2016).The team behind the paper also made the scans available to the public and is eager for other researchers to test the hypothesis by printing out the bones.

“It’s one thing for me to describe it in detail in paper, but it’s another thing to hold these things, to be able to print them out, look at them and put them together,” says team leader John Kappelman, a palaeoanthropologist at the University of Texas at Austin.

His team received approval from the National Museum of Ethiopia and the country’s government to make the models of Lucy public. “My sense from the Ethiopians is that Lucy is not only their national treasure, but they see her as a treasure for humankind,” says Kappelman, who hopes that the country will soon release digital scans of the rest of Lucy and that other countries may follow suit with other hominin fossils.

“Coming from Ethiopia, it really is a positive step, because other countries that are hesitant may be willing to do the same thing,” says Louise Leakey, a palaeontologist at Stony Brook University in New York.

But Kappelman and others say that such a move could threaten cash-strapped museums — many of them in Africa — that rely on income generated from casts of their fossil collections to help them survive.

Read more at Nature.com »


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Hillary Torches Trump: He is ‘Taking Hate Groups Mainstream’

In a speech in Reno, Nevada on Thursday Hillary Clinton blasted her opponent Donald Trump for emboldening racists and allowing a paranoid 'radical fringe' to take over the Republican Party. (Getty Images)

The Huffington Post

Hillary Clinton Excoriates Donald Trump For Taking White Supremacy Mainstream

WASHINGTON ― Hillary Clinton said Thursday that Donald Trump is “taking hate groups mainstream,” allowing a “radical fringe” to take over the Republican Party.

Speaking at a rally in Reno, Nevada, Clinton focused on Trump’s divisive, racist comments, telling voters, “There’s no other Donald Trump. This is it.”

Trump is currently trying to turn things around with black voters, asking for their support by painting all African-Americans as living in dire poverty in horrifically dangerous communities.“What do you have to lose?” he said at one event in Virginia, explaining why he thinks black voters should support him.

In her speech, Clinton dug into the Republican nominee’s past, noting that during the early years of his business career, his real estate company was sued by the Justice Department for refusing to rent apartments to blacks and Latinos. On their applications, Trump’s company would write “C for colored,” Clinton said.

“And let’s not forget Trump first gained political prominence leading the charge for the so-called ‘birthers,’” Clinton continued. “He promoted the racist lie that President Obama isn’t really an American citizen – part of a sustained effort to delegitimize America’s first black president.”

“It takes a lot of nerve to ask people he’s ignored and mistreated for decades, ‘What do you have to lose?’” she said. “The answer is everything!”

Read more »


Related:
How Can America Recover From Donald Trump’s Hatred and Paranoia?
What Will the Next US President Mean for Africa?
GOP Flight From Trump Continues

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US Issues Travel Alert for Ethiopia

At least 100 people were killed during protests across Ethiopia this month as demonstrators clashed with security forces in various regions of the country, according to Amnesty International. (Image: BBC News)

Press Release
U.S. Department of State

AUGUST 19, 2016

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling in certain regions of Ethiopia due to anti-government protests, some of which have involved violence. Associated disruptions in telephone and internet services have hampered the U.S. Embassy’s ability to communicate with U.S. citizens in Ethiopia. This Travel Alert expires on February 18, 2017.

Since November 2015, anti-government protests, mainly in the regional states of Amhara and Oromia, have resulted in violent clashes between demonstrators and government security forces. Internet, cellular data, and phone service have been sporadically restricted or completely cut off prior to and during some of the protests, impeding the U.S. Embassy’s ability to communicate with U.S. citizens.

Protests are likely to continue, and could spread to other parts of the country, including the capital, Addis Ababa. U.S. citizens in Ethiopia should increase their level of situational awareness, continuously assess their surroundings, evaluate their personal level of safety, and avoid demonstrations and large gatherings.


Protesters have been complaining about economic and political marginalisation. (Photos: Reuters)

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Related:
Washington Post Editorial on Current Wave of Protests in Ethiopia
‘A Generation Is Protesting’ in Ethiopia, Long a U.S. Ally (The New York Times)
UPDATE: ‘Nearly 100 killed’ in Ethiopia Protests (BBC News)
Several dozen shot dead in weekend protests across Ethiopia (AP)

In Addis Ababa Security Forces Use Tear Gas to Disperse Protests (Reuters)
What is behind Ethiopia’s wave of protests? (BBC News)
Protests in Ethiopia’s Gonder City Signal Uncertain Future (VOA News)
Protest in North Ethiopian Region Signals Rising Discontent (Bloomberg)
Riots in Gonder Claim Casualties (DW Report — Jul 15, 2016)

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What Will the Next US President Mean for Africa?

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, and his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. (AP)

Voice of America

As the first U.S. president with familial ties to Africa, President Barack Obama has left a mark and a legacy on the continent. Among his signature achievements is Power Africa, which aims to add 60 million new electrical connections to light up the continent.

Obama also launched the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), which mentors and funds projects for ambitious young people. He has also helped expand trade to the continent and has visited sub-Saharan Africa four times, more than any other U.S. president.

But as Africans closely watch this year’s presidential race, they are wondering what the policy of either party’s candidate — Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton or Republican candidate Donald Trump — would look like toward the region.

African policy has not been a priority topic on the campaign trail for either candidate, but each has advisers who offer hints at how they would approach Africa as president.


President Barack Obama addresses a Young African Leaders Initiative gathering in Washington, Aug. 3, 2016. (AP photo)

Clinton offers continuation

Tom Daschle, former Senate majority leader and a Clinton supporter, said Clinton’s relationship with the continent runs deep, especially with the Clinton Foundation, which has worked to fight AIDS and supports educational initiatives.

“Hillary and Bill Clinton have really made a commitment to Africa and the relationship between our continents for a long time,” Daschle said. “The Clinton Foundation has been extremely active in Africa, and so we think it really represents a new chapter for the relationship. We are very really bullish and very optimistic about what it could mean.”

He also said Clinton would have a very different perspective on immigration than her opponent, who has pledged to halt immigration for Muslims and for people coming from areas of the world with high instances of terror.

“I think it’s night and day when it comes to immigration,” Daschle said. “We believe in immigration. We think that immigration is really the reason why we celebrate the diversity and the strength that is America. And the more we can embrace immigration, the more we believe we have an opportunity to help create stability around the world, in addition to enhancing their own diversity.”

Trump’s counterterrorism efforts

Trump has made little mention of Africa in his campaign appearances.

The closest Africa has come to being a hot topic was when Trump mispronounced the nation of Tanzania when speaking about terrorism. Additionally, some animal-rights activists have protested the fact that two of Trump’s sons go on hunting trips to shoot big game in Africa.

Walid Phares, a Lebanese-American foreign policy analyst and adviser to the Trump campaign, said he has met with ambassadors from about 50 countries and addressed their concerns.

“We confirmed that a Trump administration would show solidarity with Africa,” Phares told VOA.

He said Trump will be eager to form security partnerships with African countries to combat shared enemies such as extremist groups. Many African countries, including Libya, Mali and Tunisia, have seen their security situation erode, Phares said, adding that he believes they are hungry for a stronger commitment to fighting terror from the White House.

“Africans like Obama, for sure, but his foreign policy was not good for Africans and Sahel countries feel they were not part of this policy,” Phares said. “They would rather go now with a Trump administration. Without security, there is no economy.”

2016 party platforms

Each of the two parties mention policy toward Africa in official party platforms introduced and voted on at the party conventions.

The Democratic Party platform promises to improve capabilities in crisis response and provide protection of civilians with an emphasis on women and girls.

They promise to continue Obama’s initiative to combat wildlife trafficking and make counterterrorism efforts a priority.

“We will work to end the reign of terror promulgated by Boko Haram, al-Shabab, AQIM and ISIS,” the platform reads.

Terrorism is similarly important to the Republican Party, which states in its platform: “We urge governments throughout the continent to recognize this threat to their own people. We support closer cooperation in both military and economic matters with those on the front lines of civilization’s battle against the forces of evil.”

Other GOP promises include the extension of health care support throughout the continent until 2025. The initiatives include President George W. Bush’s signature program to offer AIDS relief, known as PEPFAR, and funding to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Witney Schneidman, a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution and adviser to Clinton on Africa, believes that no matter who wins, both parties can find common ground in their shared interest to help the continent.

“Over the last two administrations, Bush and now Obama, there’s been a tradition of bipartisanship when it comes to Africa,” Schneidman said.

He pointed to the 2000 passage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act that received strong bipartisan support, which the President’s Emergency Program For AIDS Relief did as well. Obama’s efforts in Africa have similarly enjoyed broad support from both parties, he said.

“I would expect into the next administration that many of these programs will continue and this bipartisan consensus will be sustained,” Schneidman said.


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Tsehai Launches Harriet Tubman Press

Tsehai Publishers in collaboration with Loyola Marymount University is launching a new imprint called the Harriet Tubman Press focused on African American fiction, nonfiction and academic titles. (courtesy Image)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, August 13th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The California-based Tsehai Publishers in partnership with Loyola Marymount University has announced the launch of its new imprint: The Harriet Tubman Press for African-American Literature (HTP), adding to its collection of books on Ethiopian and African history.

Founder of Tsehai Publishers Elias Wondimu will be managing the new imprint. “We chose the name Harriet Tubman for several reasons,” Elias said in a statement. “To follow her example in paving a new path towards an equal and just society; in honor of our ancestors who endured so much to provide us our freedom; and to proclaim our commitment to document and share our stories to the world over.”

The joint press release from LMU and Tsehai Publishers stated: “HTP will be the newest imprint of TSEHAI Publishers, which is housed in the Marymount Institute for Faith, Culture and the Arts at Loyola Marymount University. Until now, TSEHAI has specialized in publications about African politics, history, social justice and literature. HTP will provide a home to books that share stories by African-American writers and scholars about what is happening in the United States.”

“Harriet Tubman Press will provide a new home for both established, as well as up-and-coming literary writers and scholars who strive to give authentic voice while chronicling the challenges and triumphs of their communities,” Elias shared.


Related:
In Pictures: Tsehai Publishers’ Temsalet DC Book Signing at Library of Congress
Photos: Temsalet Book Launch & Tsehai Publishers Presentation in New York City


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GOP Flight From Trump Continues

GOP party leaders are laying the groundwork to cut off support to Donald Trump in October. (Photo: Reuters)

Politico

08/11/16

Dozens of Republicans to Urge RNC to Cut off Funds for Trump

More than 70 Republicans have signed an open letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus urging him to stop spending any money to help Donald Trump win in November and shift those contributions to Senate and House races.

The letter comes as a number of Republican senators and high-profile GOP national security officials have come forward saying they cannot vote for Trump.

“We believe that Donald Trump’s divisiveness, recklessness, incompetence, and record-breaking unpopularity risk turning this election into a Democratic landslide, and only the immediate shift of all available RNC resources to vulnerable Senate and House races will prevent the GOP from drowning with a Trump-emblazoned anchor around its neck,” states a draft of the letter obtained by POLITICO. “This should not be a difficult decision, as Donald Trump’s chances of being elected president are evaporating by the day…”

The letter ticks off a series of Trump actions that they believe have “alienated millions of voters of all parties,” including, attacking Gold Star families, positive comments about violent foreign leaders and encouraging Russia to find Clinton’s lost emails.

“Those recent outrages have built on his campaign of anger and exclusion, during which he has mocked and offended millions of voters, including the disabled, women, Muslims, immigrants, and minorities,” the letter states. “He also has shown dangerous authoritarian tendencies, including threats to ban an entire religion from entering the country, order the military to break the law by torturing prisoners, kill the families of suspected terrorists, track law-abiding Muslim citizens in databases, and use executive orders to implement other illegal and unconstitutional measures.”

Read the full article at politico.com »

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