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$1.6 Million Grant Boosts Schooling for Ethiopian Youth

The grant will fund programs targeting children and their families in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. (Courtesy photo)

VOA News

By Kim Lewis

An education program geared towards reducing the school drop out rate for youths in Ethiopia has received a $1.6 million dollar boost to help keep it going.

SOS Children’s Villages, the world’s largest organization dedicated to orphaned and abandoned children, announced that it received the grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

SOS Children’s Villages says the grant will fund EduCare, a program that provides services to raise grade-level completion rates for vulnerable children and their families in the city of Bahir Dar.

“Children in Ethiopia, as well as their families are still experiencing a large amount of poverty,” says Lynn Croneberger, chief executive officer of SOS Children’s Villages USA. “And when families are put in stressful situations, a lot of times the older children need to quit school and go to work and support their families,” she said.

The result is a large population of sibling or youth heads of households who take care of families.

“The families of vulnerable children and youth often times live in such extreme poverty that paying for school, uniforms and supplies is a luxury they cannot afford,” said Sahlemariam Abebe, acting national director of SOS Children’s Villages – Ethiopia.

Education instead of a Exploitation

This financial strain forces children to forgo schooling in order to work and financially help their families,” said Sahlemariam. “Child labor – at its worst – can lead to prostitution and other forms of exploitation.”

Croneberger hopes their EduCare program will provide more resources to children at risk of dropping out of school as well as their parents and the community, so the children can stay in school.

SOS Children’s Villages USA says Educare targets a thousand boys and girls, an estimated 400 caregivers and four partner schools. The funds will provide a stipend, and money for school supplies and food.

Most of the youths are between 13 and 16 years of age “so they’ve hopefully been through early education,” said Croneberger. “But now is the real risky time when they’re being looked at to provide an income for their families.”

Community schools will also receive support.

“A lot of these schools are also struggling so they don’t have a lot of money for the materials that they need for homework, for making it easier for kids to be able to study,” said Croneberger. “So we’ll be supporting the schools themselves as well. That obviously will benefit the community and be a resource for the community.”

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Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu of Ethiopia Among Most Influential Africans of 2014

The New African Magazine has named Ethiopia's Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu as one of the 2014 Most Influential Africans. (Photos courtesy: The New African Magazine & SoleRebels)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The New African Magazine has announced its annual list of ‘Most Influential Africans.’ The 2014 list includes renowned Ethiopian entrepreneur Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Founder and CEO of SoleRebels, which opened its first flagship U.S. store in Silicon Valley, California last month. In its announcement the magazine states: “In every corner of the continent, wherever there is injustice, oppression or tyranny, Africans of every stripe – from young to old, male to female, brave to even braver – are fighting and working for a better tomorrow. Africa is on the move. Given this transformation, happening at every level in every country, it may seem foolhardy to pick out just a hundred or so individuals of note as the continent’s most influential people. But in every march and movement, there are always a few figures who lead the line and who stick their heads above the parapets before anyone else – these can be trendsetters, visionaries, heroes, and at times even rabble-rousers whose actions or lack thereof, make or break the continent. Wielding influence comes in diverse forms and this collection portrays just that.”

“I am deeply honored to be named to this list of incredible personalities,” Bethlehem said in a statement.

To find out who made the list and why, read more at newafricanmagazine.com »

Related:
‘SoleRebels’ Launches Flagship US Store
Silicon Valley: Here Come Ethiopia’s SoleRebels
People of Our Time Who Are Changing the World

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UPDATE: Ferguson Sees Second Night of Unrest, Protests Staged Across the US

Violence broke out in the streets of Ferguson Monday evening following news that a grand jury did not indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. (AP)

VOA News

By William Gallo

The midwestern U.S. town of Ferguson faced a second night of unrest and solidarity demonstrations were held nationwide to protest a grand jury’s decision to not indict a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager.

More than 2,000 National Guard soldiers have been deployed in Ferguson, Missouri to guard against fresh racially charged riots, which broke out late Monday after it was announced that charges would not be filed against officer Darren Wilson.

VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem, who is in Ferguson, said there has been no repeat of the widespread looting that was seen on the first night of protests, when over a dozen buildings were set on fire and at least 61 people arrested.

“One reason is that the National Guard is spread out in multiple locations. We saw them outside the police department. They were behind the police lines. They were not in front, but they were in riot gear and in riot formation and in front of them was a united command riot formation. But they are scattered all over and guarding key areas in Ferguson and surrounding counties,” said Tanzeem.

A tense moment occurred late Tuesday, when a group of protesters began smashing the windows of and setting fire to a police vehicle in front of Ferguson City Hall.

Tanzeem said a large number of riot police and National Guard troops approached the area in armored vehicles and ordered the protesters to disperse.

“They started announcing that everyone needs to leave the area right now. At that moment somebody, we don’t even know if it was the police, somebody in the crowd threw pepper spray on a whole bunch of people, including on our own VOA colleague, who got pepper sprayed pretty badly. We had to immediately find medics and evacuate him and move him to safety,” said Tanzeem.

The St. Louis County Police Department said via Twitter that the area was declared an “unlawful assembly” and that those refusing to leave would be arrested. The department also said there were reports of bottles and fireworks being thrown at officers.

The shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown has inflamed tensions and brought to the surface concerns over police violence and racial discrimination in the predominantly black suburb of St. Louis and across the nation.

On Tuesday, demonstrators marched and disrupted traffic in cities including St. Louis, Cleveland, and Seattle. In Washington D.C., demonstrators laid on the ground in a so-called “die-in” protest in front of a police station. Protesters in New York also disrupted traffic on bridges and the Lincoln Tunnel, leading to a number of arrests.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday said he deplored the destructive acts, saying they are criminal and those responsible should be prosecuted. But America’s first black president also said he understands that many people are upset by the grand jury decision.

He said the frustrations of the protesters have “deep roots in many communities of color who have a sense that our laws are not always being enforced uniformly or fairly.”

Earlier Tuesday, Brown’s parents appeared at a news conference in a Ferguson church, alongside their lawyers and civil rights leader Al Sharpton. They described the grand jury decision announced Monday as “completely unfair.”

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said a federal investigation into the shooting continues. The Justice Department has been looking into whether the Ferguson Police Department is engaging in unconstitutional practices.

Officer Wilson made his first public comments about the incident Tuesday. In a television interview with ABC, Wilson said he feared for his life during the confrontation with Brown, saying the teenager was trying to take his gun.

The officer, who has been placed on leave, said he has a clean conscience “because I know I did my job right.”

Several eyewitnesses said Brown was putting his hands in the air to surrender as Wilson opened fire.

But St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch said Monday that testimony is not supported by evidence and that many of the witnesses contradicted themselves.



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Exiled Ethiopian Journalist Betre Yacob

Ethiopian Journalist Betre Yacob. (Credit: The Huffington Post)

The Huffington Post

By Maura Kelly

It was in Bahir Dar where I first meet Betre Yacob. He was working as an Information, Education and Communication Coordinator with an international NGO on HIV/AIDs programs, and for the rights of women and children. Betre, a graduate of Bahir Dar University and I connected instantly when he told me he also worked as a journalist and had just started a new blog. His focus was poor people and the government’s views on human rights in Ethiopia. We stayed in touch and every few months I’d receive an article and share it with HOPe and other media colleagues. At times the articles would be in English and other times they’d be in Amharic. I’m not sure when it started but sometime in 2012 the links would arrive blocked or the stories blacked out. Then Betre told me he decided to leave the NGO because his articles were drawing unwarranted government attention and he did not want the organization to suffer any negative effects. He had decided to become a journalist full time.

Life as a journalist

Working as an independent journalist in Ethiopia is a particularly difficult undertaking and Betre is one of hundreds of media workers who has been harassed and threatened to the point that he is now in self-imposed exile outside the country.

In 2012, Betre got assignments with various media outlets and covered local human rights violations and the state of Ethiopian media for the Italian website, AssamanInfo, the Ethiopian magazine, Ebony (both have since closed down) and The Daily Journalist. He also co-authored a book entitled “Nipo nipo tu” a collection of short stories illustrating socio-economic problems in Ethiopia.

“Ethiopia is a dangerous place to be a journalist” reported Betre. To garner support he helped launch and later became president of the Ethiopian Journalists Forum (EJF), an independent journalist association working for freedom of the press with over 30 journalists as members. “However, since its beginning EJF has been seen as an enemy by the Ethiopian government and has faced many accusations, ” he stated.

Read more at The Huffington Post »

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‘Gracias (Thank you) President Obama!’

Immigrants react to the president's executive action Speech on immigration: Some chanted, "Obama, Amigo, El Pueblo esta contigo!", which means, "Obama, Friend, The Community Is With You! (NBC News)

NBC News

BY SUZANNE GAMBOA

WASHINGTON — Bundled in winter coats, dozens of immigrants stood in front of the White House [on Thursday, November 20th] to watch and hear President Barack Obama via livestream on tablets and cell phones explain why he is taking executive action on immigration.

Huddling tightly around their mobile devices, those gathered let out occasional cheers and whoops as the president’s speech unfolded.

Some held battery-operated tea lights while some held American flags and signs that said “Gracias, Presidente Obama” with outlines of hand-holding families along the bottom.

Some chanted, “Obama, Amigo, El Pueblo esta contigo!”, which means, “Obama, Friend, The Community Is With You!

When his speech ended, some shouted, “Si se pudo!” which means, “Yes, we could!”

“Oh my God, this is good!” shouted Miguel Correa, an immigrant who has been in the U.S. illegally for 14 years. “Thanks, Obama!”


A demonstrator holds a sign reading “Thank you President Obama” outside the White House after Obama announced executive action on immigration on Thursday evening. (NBC News)


People watch President Barack Obama give a speech on executive action on immigration outside the White House on Thursday, Nov. 20. (NBC News)

In a brief, 10-minute speech, Obama laid out a case for issuing executive actions that would spare about 5 million immigrants from deportation. The president outlined a 3-part plan which included more resources for the border, as well as relief from deportation for parents who have been illegally in the U.S. for more than 5 years but whose children are citizens or lawful permanent residents. The president emphasized this is not a path to citizenship or legalization, but those who qualify will be granted relief from deportation for three years and get work permits.

Read more »

Watch: Obama Immigration Reform 2014 Speech Announcing Executive Action (FULL/NYT)


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Ethiopian Community Center Awarded $18,000 DC Mayor’s Office African Grant

Ethiopian Community Center, Inc. (ECC) in DC, which received $18,000, is one of eight organization who have been awarded the 2015 Mayor's Office African Community Grant. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

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

The recipients are: African Women’s Cancer Awareness Association; Citiwide Computer Training Center; Ethiopian Community Center; The Person Center DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Kankouran African Dance Troupe; Many Languages One Voice; Oromo Community Organization; and Hepatitis B Initiative of Washington, D.C.

In a press release OAA Director Ngozi Nmezi congratulated the awardees stating: “We are confident that the funding will enhance the capacity of these institutions – strengthening their culturally and linguistically targeted services so they continue to be bastions of support for the District’s African community.”

“We look forward to working with African-serving community-based organizations in their year long programs designed to respond to the particular needs of our diverse constituents,” adds Deputy Directer and Grant Manager Heran Sereke-Brhan.

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

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

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Photo of the Week: Ethiopian Jews Celebrating the Sigd Holiday

(Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Jewish Press

Hundreds of Ethiopian Jews take part in a prayer of the Sigd holiday on the Armon Hanatziv Promenade overlooking Jerusalem on November 20, 2014. The prayer is performed by Ethiopian Jews every year to celebrate their community’s connection and commitment to Israel. About [135,000] Ethiopian Jews live in Israel, many of them came in massive Israeli airlifts during times of crisis in Ethiopia in 1984 and 1991.

Read more at jewishpress.com »


Related:
Sigd – What Lies Behind This Ancient Ethiopian Jewish Festival?
CBS: 135,000 Ethiopians Living in Israel

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Can Farming in Ethiopia be Successfully Commercialised? (Video)

The BBC's Lerato Mbele reports from the Ethiopian town of Wonji, just south of Addis Ababa, for Africa Business Report. (Photo BBC)

BBC News

There may be a property and infrastructure boom in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, but more than 70% of Ethiopians still live in rural areas – farming grain and livestock.

The government, with the help of international donors, is trying improve the country’s farming sector, to boost production and put more farms onto a commercial footing – but there is still some way to go.

The BBC’s Lerato Mbele meets the Ethiopian farmers trying to find their place in the local and regional economy.

Watch: Can Farming in Ethiopia be Successfully Commercialised?


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Eritrea’s Youth ‘Fleeing for Ethiopia’ – UN

A renewed conscription drive in Eritrea has led to a sharp increase in the number of youths fleeing to neighboring Ethiopia, a UN refugee agency spokeswoman has told the BBC. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

BBC News

Eritreans ‘Fleeing Conscription Drive’ for Ethiopia – UNHCR

20 November 2014

More than 6,000 Eritreans had claimed asylum in Ethiopia in the past 37 days, double the rate seen in previous months, Karin de Gruijl said.

There has also been a rise in the number of Eritreans reaching Italy.

Eritrea says conscription is needed because of tension with Ethiopia.

About 100,000 people died in the 1998-2000 border war between the two countries.BBC News

Eritrea became independent after breaking away from Ethiopia.

The refugees, most of whom were between 18 and 24 years old, reported an “intensification” of efforts to conscript them into the army, Ms De Gruijl told the BBC’s Newsday programme.

Read more at BBC News »
—-
6,200 Eritreans Cross into Ethiopia in 37 Days, UN Refugee Agency Says


UNHCR reports that there are currently a total of 629,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Ethiopia.

World Bulletin

Over 6,200 Eritreans have crossed into Ethiopia over the past 37 days, an official with the UN refugee agency said Monday.

“More than 5,000 Eritrean asylum seekers crossed into the Ethiopian territory in October alone,” spokesperson for the UNHCR office in Ethiopia Kisut Gebregziabher told Anadolu Agency.

“In the first week of November, more than 1,200 Eritreans have arrived in Ethiopia,” he added.

Among those who managed to cross into Ethiopia, he said, were some 78 children.

According to a UNHCR report last July, there are a total of 629,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Ethiopia.

Some 99,000 of them are Eritreans. Most of them fled their country due to oppression and forced military service, Gebregziabher told AA earlier.

Eritrea and Ethiopia used to be a single country, but a 1993 referendum saw Eritreans vote for independence.

Tension between Addis Ababa and Asmara and has persisted since a bloody two-year border war, in which tens of thousands were killed, ended in 2000.

There are four refugee camps in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray Regional State that cater to Eritrean refugees: Shimelba (set up in 2004), May Ayni (2008), Adiharush (2010) and Hitsats (2013).

Read more »

Related:
Spike in Eritreans Fleeing into Ethiopia (Aljazeera)
Eritrea Faces Youth Drain (VOA News)

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CBS: 135,000 Ethiopians Living in Israel

The report by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) also states that in 2013, 1355 new immigrants arrived from Ethiopia, nearly a 50% reduction in aliya from the previous year. (The Jerusalem Post)

The Jerusalem Post

November 20th, 2014

The Ethiopian population in Israel stood at some 135,500 at the end of 2013 – 85,900 who were born in Ethiopia and 49,600 born in Israel to Ethiopian fathers, according to a report released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday, the eve of Sigd, a national holiday marked by Ethiopian Jews.

The majority of the Ethiopian population lives in two central localities – 38 percent in the Center and 24% in the South, with Netanya having the largest Ethiopian community at 10,900, followed by Rishon Lezion with some 7,400; Beersheba with 7,100; Jerusalem with 5,900; and Tel Aviv with 2,300.

The Ethiopian population, the report said, was a relatively young one – 29% children up to the age 14 and just 6% of the population over 65, compared to 12% of the general Jewish and “other” populations in Israel.

Some 88% of Ethiopians married their community, according to the report, which found that, in 2012, the average age for an Ethiopian man to wed was 29.3 years-old, 1.5 years above the Jewish male average, while the average age for an Ethiopian woman to wed stood at 26.4-years-old, 0.7 years above the Jewish female average.

Meanwhile, 3,126 babies were born to Ethiopian mothers in 2013, according to the report, which noted that the average Ethiopian woman gives birth to 2.8 children, compared to 3.05 children among the overall Jewish population.

The report also indicated that 1,355 new immigrants arrived from Ethiopia in 2013, an almost 50% reduction in aliya from the previous year.

Read more at The Jerusalem Post »

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The Yellow Movement at A.A. University Update on Abduction of Hanna Lalango

Ethiopian activist calls for justice in the case of Hanna Lalango who died allegedly after being gang-raped by five men in Addis Abeba last week. (Photo via Twitter)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Ethiopia – The Yellow Movement at Addis Ababa University — an initiative co-founded by law school lecturer Blen Sahilu and a group of students organized to advocate for the protection of women from gender based violence — is bringing international attention via social media to the recent broad daylight kidnapping and gang rape of a 16-year-old student, Hanna Lalango. The latest social media update regarding the case indicates that the suspects have all been apprehended and expected to appear before court today at Addis Ababa First Instance Court.

Below is an excerpt of what Blen Sahilu of the Yellow Movement AAU wrote on Facebook on Monday:

A few hours ago I had an emotional conversation with Hanna’s older brother. Hanna is the young victim of a gruesome kidnapping and gang rape that in the end took her life.

According to her older brother, Hanna was 16 years old (soon to be 17). She was the last born of six siblings, five girls and a boy. Hanna’s only brother had reluctantly agreed to meet me and brought his close friend along.

Hanna and her siblings were all raised by a stay at home mom and a public servant father.
“She was a typical young girl. A timid and respectful child” told me her brother, not knowing how exactly to describe his little sister. “She was really nice.”

She had complained about not feeling well the morning of her kidnapping. She kept on saying she is not feeling so good. After an ordinary day at her high school around Ayer Tena, Hanna got out of school at around 4pm and got on the nearest taxi that had a couple of passengers. The woyala shut the door and the taxi began moving. Hanna was being kidnapped.

The incredible cold bloodedness of the entire affair and how this drawn out torture must have made her feel like is something that makes me shiver.

Contrary to reports on the media that the suspects were caught as a result of a phone number given to the police by Hanna’s close friend, it turns out that the kidnappers were communicating with Hanna’s sisters while Hanna was at one of the suspect’s house. They went to meet them per their phone conversation and the same mini bus taxi pulled up next to them and they asked them to get inside to go see Hanna. They refused. They asked why they didn’t bring her and where she was. The men in the taxi drove off still taunting and teasing them. “You won’t see your sister then!”

That is when they took down the plate number of the minibus and gave it to the police.

They then got a call that Hanna was somewhere around Qeranyo, and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance because she had lost consciousness as soon as the kidnappers left her there.

As soon as she could speak, broken and terrified, Hanna tried to talk about what happened. She spoke of men doing horrible things, told her family the names she remembered. “She had terrible nightmares. She used to cry a lot.”

Putting two and two together the police arrested a couple of viable suspects. They brought them to the hospital so Hanna could identify them. She pointed each one of them out. One even tried to yell at her. But she remembered.

The doctors kept on saying it was a miracle that Hanna survived such a horrible attack. “Her genital area was such bad shape that even the doctors treating her were finding it difficult to hide their emotions.” Everyone was shocked and angry about what happened.

“On the last day, when I finally realized the full extent of the damage I was absolutely devastated and went out to borrow money so that we can move her to a private hospital. I was so scared that she might not make it. I was crying and talking to myself the whole time, people were staring at me. I did not care. I could not believe men born of women did this to my sister. Aren’t their mothers women too? Where did they come from??” said Hanna’s brother, trying to still grapple with the cruelty that took away his sister’s life.

I could not find the right words to tell him how sorry I was. But I tried.

I am still asking; Is this a random terribly unlucky incident? Or is this one of many such cases? Who are the suspects in custody? Have they done this before?

How many families have missing daughters or kidnapped or raped daughters that they are keeping a secret?
Why would they do that?

Well, because we live in a community that shames the victim more than the perpetrator. Because a woman who is raped, is defiled and ruined. She has no dignity. And a rapist? Well, that depends.

Isn’t it shocking that this same community breeds young men who drag their neighbors daughters into a dark corner to gang rape and assault. Isn’t it absolutely terrifying that we build a life around this disgusting reality because we refuse to confront it?

Hanna was wearing her school uniform when she left the house that morning, a blue skirt and matching blue sweater.

She was supposed to head back home and change in to her yebet libs and greet her father at the gate as she always does. “If someone else opens the gate for him, he would always ask “Hanna yet heda new?”

And here is what people are saying about the case on Twitter:



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ZTE May Lose $800m Ethiopia Deal

Reuters reports that Ethiopia has told Chinese telecoms firm ZTE Corp it risked losing part of its deal worth $800 million to expand the nation's network because of differences over costs of upgrading. (Image: CCTV)

Ventures Africa

Ericsson, Nokia May Snatch ZTE’s $800m Ethiopia Deal

November 19, 2014

Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia are lying in wait if an $800 million telecommunication deal between China’s ZTE Corp and Ethiopia falls through. According to Reuters, Ethiopia has told ZTE Corp it could lose its $800 million deal to expand the nation’s network due to differences over costs of upgrading existing systems.

The deal is part of a $1.6 billion contract awarded by the Ethiopian government and state-run operator Ethio Telecom to ZTE and another Chinese firm Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. The contract was awarded under a long-term loan package to be paid over a 13-year period with an interest rate of less than 1 percent.

Ethio, which enjoys a monopoly over Ethiopia’s telecom space, plans to double mobile subscribers to 50 million in 2015 and expand its 3G service. It also wants to introduce high-speed 4G network in Addis Ababa.

However, due to contractual differences, particularly with ZTE, the state-run telecom and the government are rethinking the deal with the Chinese tech giant, and are now considering Ericsson and Nokia to take its place. “We have contractual issues unresolved,” Communications and Technology Minister, Debretsion Gebremichael, told Reuters. “Swapping existing technology with no additional costs is one.” Ethiopia’s government expects the companies to upgrade existing equipment without extra charge, but ZTE says such upgrade would cost an additional $150 million to $200 million.

Read more »

Related:
Ethiopia says China’s ZTE could lose part of $800 mln in row over terms (Reuters)
ZTE at Risk of Losing Ethiopia Telecom Contract (The Wall Street Journal)

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Will the New Black Republicans in Congress Be Lawmakers — or Talk Show Hosts?

Three Republican lawmakers swept into Congress with the Republicans’ election tidal wave on Nov. 4th, and questions abound about their mission and their future alliances. (Getty Images)

The Root

BY: CHARLES D. ELLISON

With all the postelection buzz about historic firsts and trailblazing black Republicans crashing Congress, you’d think this was the first time conservatives of color would be stepping foot on the floor of the House of Representatives.

As a matter of fact, it’s not.

Yet as three black Republicans found themselves elected Nov. 4 in a red-state blaze of glory, their very public profiles remain shrouded in racial contradictions and Tea Party allegory. It was the history that almost flew under the polling radar until the dust settled a day later.

A night of Republican waves found Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-S.C.) appointment now bona fide and validated as the first elected African-American senator from the South since the 1880s. In the nearly blackless and very Mormon state of Utah, Mia Love, the Brooklyn, N.Y.-born mayor of Saratoga Springs, finally got her wish, becoming the first African American from her state and the first Haitian American elected to Congress. And deep in the very Hispanic part of Texas, black man Will Hurd just destroyed three decades of Latino-male political rule.

Electing black people to Congress is no longer a novel affair—despite the understandable worry from advocates who believe that it could become one if the political map gets redder and voting rights melt away. Still, there are now 43 black members of Congress in the House, in addition to two more in the Senate. With Hurd and Love in the mix, that will be 47 in the 114th Congress, the most we’ve ever seen at any one time.

If it’s any consolation to black Democrats scrambling to assess their relevancy on increasingly hostile political terrain, the black Republican bump just increased black representation in the House to a full 10 percent—3 percentage points fewer than the black proportion of the entire U.S. population.

Read more at theroot.com »

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London Man Andy Tsege Faces Death Penalty in Ethiopia (BBC Video)

The family of imprisoned Ethiopian opposition leader Andargachew Tsige say the British government should be doing more to help get him home. (BBC News)

BBC News

17 November 2014

The family of a north London man who is facing the death penalty in Ethiopia has said the government should be doing more to help get him home.

Andy Tsege, from Islington, who opposes the Ethiopian authorities, was seized in June and has been in solitary confinement ever since, his family says.

The Foreign Office says he is not being held “illegally”.

BBC London’s Charlotte Franks spoke to Mr Tsege’s partner Yemi Hailemariam, Maya Foa from human rights organisation Reprieve, and Andy’s sister Bezu Tsege.

Read more and watch the video at BBC »

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38 Killed in Bus Crash in Eastern Ethiopia

The accident took place in Legebenti locality when an Isuzu bus heading for Adama city from Awash town in the eastern part of Ethiopia collided with a Sino truck. (Image: VOA News)

World Bulletin

Thirty-eight people were killed in a deadly road accident in eastern Ethiopia on Saturday.

The accident took place in Legebenti locality when an Isuzu bus heading for Adama city from Awash town in the eastern part of Ethiopia collided with a Sino truck heading for Djibouti in the early hours of Saturday.

Police commander Bizuneh Godana expected the death toll to increase.

“There are many who sustained serious injuries,” he told Anadolu Agency.

The vehicles were moving in opposite directions just near the Metehara bend when the bus veered in an attempt to save a camel and crushed into the truck.

Read more »

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AFCON 2015: Algeria 3 – 1 Ethiopia

Ethiopia's Getaneh Kabede missed the game against Algeria on Saturday because of suspension. (Photograph: Reuters)

Super Sport

Algeria made it five wins from five in their 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifying campaign with their 3-1 victory over Ethiopia at the Stade Mustapha Tchaker in Blida on Saturday evening.

Goals from Sofiane Feghouli, Riyad Mahrez and Yacine Brahimi moved Algeria up to 15 points, the only team to have won all their games thus far.

Algeria head coach Christian Gourcuff made two changes to the side that beat Malawi last time out, with Med Lamine Zemmamouche and Saphir Taider replacing Rais M’Bolhi and Nabil Bentaleb respectively, while Bidvest Wits and Ethiopia striker Getaneh Kebede missed the game through suspension.

The hosts put Ethiopia under immense pressure in the opening 10 minutes of the encounter, with Rafik Halliche notably heading just wide.

It was Ethiopia, though, who opened the scoring completely against the run of play in the 22nd minute through Omod Okwory, who picked up the ball near the halfway line before bursting forward and hitting a right-footed effort past the Algerian glove-man.

Ethiopia continued to live dangerously, but Algeria’s finishing also left a lot to be desired in what was in all a frustrating opening half-an-hour for the hosts.

Read more »



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ZTE at Risk of Losing Ethiopia Contract

The contract in question, worth around $800 million, is to provide mobile-phone base stations and other equipment to upgrade and expand Ethiopia’s mobile network. (Image: CCTV)

The Wall Street Journal

By MATTHEW DALTON

The Ethiopian government has warned ZTE Corp. that it may cancel a huge contract it awarded to the Chinese telecommunications firm last year, amid concern about the prices ZTE is proposing to charge for its equipment, people familiar with the negotiations say.

Ethio Telecom, Ethiopia’s government-controlled, monopoly telecommunications operator, has been in contact with Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson and Nokia Corp. as possible replacements for ZTE, these people said. But Ethio Telecom has already started to award parts of ZTE’s contract to its Chinese rival, Huawei Technologies Co., an indication that the entire contract may be awarded to Huawei, said a person familiar with the moves.

The contract in question, worth around $800 million, is to provide mobile-phone base stations and other equipment to upgrade and expand Ethiopia’s mobile network.

The dispute between Ethiopia and ZTE is the latest problem to hit the country’s rickety communications network over the last eight years, during which ZTE has been the country’s main supplier of network equipment. Cancellation of the contract would also be another blow to ZTE’s business in Africa, where several countries have annulled contracts awarded to the firm because of concerns that it violated government purchasing rules, acted improperly or wasn’t up to the job.

Neither ZTE nor Ethiopian officials responded to repeated request for comment.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal »

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Medical Examiner: Almaz Gebremedhin’s Death Consistent With ‘a Traffic Accident’

Officials with the medical examiner’s office have ruled Almaz Gebremedhin’s death accidental and an autopsy reports says her injuries are consistent with a traffic accident. (CBSDFW)

CBS DFW

NORTH TEXAS – An autopsy has confirmed the body found in a van, in a North Texas pond, belongs to missing wife and mother Almaz Gebremedhin.

The remains of the 42-year-old were discovered in an 8-foot deep private pond in Wylie, more than a month after she disappeared. Local investigators had no clue as to what happened to Almaz Gebremedhin. It was a private investigator, hired by members of the Ethiopian community, who located the van in the pond that was along Gebremedhin’s route to work.

Officials with the medical examiner’s office have ruled Gebremedhin’s death accidental and an autopsy reports says her injuries are consistent with a traffic accident. Given that information, officials say no foul play is believed to be involved.

Monday night hundreds of people gathered at the Saint Michael Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Garland to show their respect for a grieving husband who seems frustrated that he had to hire private investigators to do what the Wylie Police Department couldn’t.
There were open displays of grief at the church, anguish that comes after a 40-day search for Almaz Gebremedhin. A search that ultimately ended the way so many feared.

Read more at CBSDFW.com »

Watch: Husband Wonders If PD Would Have Ever Found His Missing Wife (CBSDFW)


Related:
How a Texas Ethiopian Organization Assisted in Discovery of Almaz Gebremedhin

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Obama to Issue Executive Order On Immigartion

It’s not official yet, but White House officials are leaking news of an upcoming memorandum that will give these marching orders to immigration-enforcement agents. (Photo: President Barack Obama/GETTY)

The Root

BY: DIANA OZEMEBHOYA EROMOSELE

Nov. 14 2014

Federal officials who are responsible for tracking down and deporting undocumented immigrants will likely have new marching orders from the White House as early as next week that will be far more lenient.

According to a New York Times report, President Barack Obama is putting the final touches on a “memorandum” that will allow millions of undocumented immigrants who have lived and worked in this country for years and had children in the U.S. to stay and obtain the paperwork they need to work legally in this country.

The New York Times report is describing it as “a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration-enforcement system that will protect up to 5 million unauthorized immigrants from the threat of deportation and provide many of them with work permits.”

Nothing is official yet, but White House officials described the overall gist of the memorandum.

Read more at theroot.com »



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In US, Missouri on Alert as Grand Jury Verdict Nears in Michael Brown Case

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon at a press conference on Tuesday discussing the upcoming grand jury decision in the case of the unarmed black teenager who was killed by police in Ferguson last August. (Getty)

The Root

BY: DIANA OZEMEBHOYA EROMOSELE

Soon the nation will learn if a grand jury in Missouri has decided to bring charges against police Officer Darren Wilson, the cop who fatally shot the unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown. The state’s governor, Jay Nixon, thought it would be smart to place the state’s National Guard on standby just in case a verdict is rendered that does not jibe with public opinion, Al-Jazeera reports.

“The National Guard has been and will continue to be part of our contingency planning,” Nixon said on Tuesday during a news conference. “The guard will be available when we determine it is necessary to support local law enforcement.”

The way Ferguson, Mo.’s law enforcement handled the protests that occurred in the weeks after the fatal shooting was heavily scrutinized by community organizers, members of the media and even the White House.

Police officers have received extra hours of training to prepare to work with protesters who may want to demonstrate if Wilson is not brought up on any charges.

Read more at theroot.com »



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In Photo: Ethiopian Afrem Gebreanenia Wins at Iowa Kickboxing Tournament

Ethiopian-born MMA athlete Afrem Gebreanenia wins his fight over Brandon Villanueva of Next Edge Academy at Iowa Challenge in Sioux City, Iowa on November 8th, 2014. (Ashley Heim Photography)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Afrem Gebreanenia won his match against Brandon Villanueva of Next Edge Academy at Iowa Kickboxing Challenge held in Sioux City, Iowa last Saturday.

The Ethiopian-born mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter has a black belt in Taekwondo, but he says his dream is to pursue a career in the fighting ring. Since coming to the United States a few years ago the 21-year-old Minnesota-based athlete has earned his High School diploma and maintains a part-time job while dedicating himself to his passion, according to his manager Timothy White.

Below are photos from his recent competition:



You can learn more about Afrem Gebreanenia at: dynamicathletemgmt.wix.com/afremgmma.

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H&M Says No Cotton From Langrabbing

Swedish TV4 said H&M was using cotton from areas in Ethiopia that are vulnerable to land grabbing.

Reuters via Euronews

H&M says seeks to ensure cotton does not come from disputed land

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Hennes & Mauritz , the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, said on Tuesday that it made every effort to ensure its cotton did not come from appropriated land but could not provide an absolute guarantee.

Swedish TV4 said H&M was using cotton from areas in Ethiopia that are vulnerable to land grabbing — the buying or leasing of land in developing countries, often by foreign companies, without the consent of affected local communities.

“According to (TV4’s) investigation, cotton used for the production of H&M’s clothes in Ethiopia comes from areas subject to land grabbing,” TV4 said in an emailed statement.

H&M said it did not accept such practices.

It began small-scale buying of clothes from suppliers in Ethiopia in 2013, its first sourcing from an African country.

Its operations are widely seen as part of the Ethiopian government’s plans to build up a garment production industry.

“H&M does not accept appropriation of land, so-called land-grabbing,” the company said in a statement.

“Because of that we demand that our suppliers ensure that they do not use cotton from the Omo Valley region where there is a higher risk for land-grabbing.”

However, H&M said it could not guarantee that cotton in its clothes does not come from areas subject to land-grabbing.

Read more »

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NASA to Grant Scholarships to Ethiopian Students

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the United States government agency that is responsible for the civilian space program as well as for aeronautics and aerospace research. (Wikimedia)

Newstime Africa

By Addis Getachew

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) has said it would provide assistance to various institutions in Ethiopia in the areas of science and engineering.

The assertion came at a meeting between visiting NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom at the conclusion of the U.S. official’s weeklong visit to Ethiopia.

“Most of the discussion was about collaboration between NASA and various institutions here in Ethiopia, particularly in the science arena,” Bolden told reporters following the closed-door meeting with Adhanom.

“We talked about assisting in the operation of two new telescopes at Entoto Hills, the northern suburb of capital Addis Ababa, where the Ethiopian Space Science Observatory is located,” he said.

The talks also touched on the possibility of NASA providing scholarships to Ethiopian students, he added.

Bolden did not, however, specify the duration of the proposed scholarships, the number of Ethiopian students who would benefit from them, or when they would become available.

Scholarships would be granted, Bolden said, through NASA’s recently-instituted international internships program.

“The continent of Africa does not have a lot of observatories,” he said.

The meeting also tackled ways the two sides might explore potential partnerships, Bolden said.

Read more at Newstime Africa »

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History In Pictures: Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie in Bonn 60 years ago

In 1954 Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia became the first foreign head of state to visit the Federal Republic of Germany. His visit brought a breath of the exotic to then provincial Bonn. (Photo via DW)

Deutsche Welle

November 11th, 2014

For the young Federal Republic of Germany it was both a great honor and a sensation when the Ethiopian Negus Negesti (King of Kings) paid a visit in November 1954 as the first foreign head of state to visit what was then generally referred to as West Germany (to distinguish it from the postwar German Democratic Republic or East Germany.) On his arrival, Emperor Haile Selassie, who was dressed in an ornate uniform and wearing a helmet embellished with hair from Ethiopia’s heraldic beast, the black lion, attracted great attention.

Despite the historic significance of the visit, the government of the Federal Republic of Germany decided to show restraint in the welcome it extended to the royal guest. In the words of the German head of protocol at the time, Hans von Herwarth, “We said to ourselves, we have refugees here, there is great need in Germany [in the early postwar years], and heads would be shaken both in Germany and abroad if we were to display too much pomp and ceremony.” For von Herwarth, what was most important was that “the Emperor of Ethiopia should feel comfortable during his visit.” And so, elephants and camels were purchased from a traveling circus for the reception of the African head of state – since apparently no one knew that His Majesty was more interested in thoroughbred horses and took the opportunity to visit a number of stud farms while in Germany.

The intention was for the visit to be – as Chancellor Merkel would probably formulate it 60 years later – “a meeting of equals.” The guest had come not to beg for assistance but as a partner. Diplomatic relations between Germany and Ethiopia had already existed for 50 years. Now, the world’s last absolute monarch – “God’s Chosen One,” “Power of the Trinity,” ” Victorious Lion from the Tribe of Judah” – the man born as Tafari Makonnen, was coming to visit steelworks and hospitals and to hear from his German hosts how the technical achievements of the west could be imported to the empire on the Horn of Africa.


The Ethiopian emperor was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Bonn


Federal President Theodor Heuss (2nd left) hosted a formal banquet for the Ethiopian guest of honor


On his second visit to Germany in 1974 Haile Selassie met Chancellor Willy Brandt (r)

Read more at Deutsche Welle »

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‘Nightmare’ for Ethiopian Pastoralists as Foreign Investors Buy Up Land

Suri boys with water gourds herd cattle along a road in Tulgit, Omo valley, Ethiopia. (Photograph: Alam)

The Guardian

By David Smith

Ethiopia’s policy of leasing millions of hectares of land to foreign investors is encouraging human rights violations, ruining livelihoods and disturbing a delicate political balance between ethnic groups, a thinktank report has found.

The US-based Oakland Institute says that while the east African country is now lauded as an economic success story, the report, Engineering Ethnic Conflict, “highlights the unreported nightmare experienced by Ethiopia’s traditionally pastoralist communities”.

A controversial “villagisation” programme has seen tens of thousands of people forcibly moved to purpose-built communes that have inadequate food and lack health and education facilities, according to human rights watchdogs, to make way for commercial agriculture. Ethiopia is one of the biggest recipients of UK development aid, receiving around £300m a year.

The Oakland Institute’s research, conducted in 2012 and 2013, focused on 34,000 Suri pastoralists who have lived in south-west Ethiopia for up to three centuries. Suri livelihoods consist of herding cattle, goats and sheep, shifting cultivation, and hunting and gathering.

But the recent introduction of large-scale plantations “has not only made important grazing lands unavailable to the Suri and devastated their livelihoods, but disturbed political order between the Suri and other local ethnic groups, escalating violent conflicts”, the report says.

The investigation was prompted by 2012 reports of violence at Koka, a foreign-owned 30,000 hectare (74,000 acres) plantation established two years earlier to produce palm oil, although it has since expanded to grow moringa trees and maize, with plans for rubber trees.

According to a Kenyan NGO, Friends of Lake Turkana, the government cleared grass and trees to allow Malaysian investors to establish the plantation. Water was diverted from the Koka river to these plantations, leaving the Suri without water for their cattle.

In response, the Suri took up arms and battled government forces, Friends of Lake Turkana said. Government forces killed 54 unarmed Suri in a marketplace in retaliation. There have been more killings and arrests since.

Read more at The Guardian »

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New York Ebola Patient Leaves Hospital

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio hugs Dr. Craig Spencer as he is discharged from Bellevue Hospital, after being stricken by Ebola, in New York Nov. 11, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

VOA News

November 11, 2014

A New York doctor who is the last known Ebola victim in the United States has been cured of the deadly disease and left a hospital on Tuesday.

Officials at a New York hospital say that “after a rigorous course of treatment and testing,” 33-year-old Craig Spencer has been declared free of the Ebola virus. They said he “poses no public health risk.”

Spencer, working for Doctors Without Borders, contracted Ebola while treating patients in Guinea and was hospitalized after returning to the U.S. last month. He was experiencing fever, nausea, pain and fatigue and the fact that he went bowling and traveled on New York’s vast subway system sparked fears that Ebola could spread in the country’s largest city. He has been in isolation at New York’s Bellevue Hospital while undergoing treatment.

As he left the hospital, he told a news conference that his recovery shows the need for early detection and treatment of the disease. Now, he says the focus ought to shift back to West Africa, the center of the Ebola outbreak, and pleaded for public support for foreign medical workers treating Ebola victims.

“Please join me in turning our attention back to West Africa and ensuring that medical volunteers and other aid workers do not face stigma and threats upon their return home,” said Spencer. “Volunteers need to be supported to help fight this outbreak at its source.”

In a separate Ebola scare in the U.S., the 21-day Ebola incubation period has ended for a nurse, Kaci Hickox, who treated patients in Sierra Leone, although she never tested positive for Ebola. She fought strict quarantine demands in two states, but eventually agreed to medical monitoring, which ended at midnight Monday.

Only one Ebola patient has died in the United States, but underfunded health facilities in West Africa have been overwhelmed by the disease. Ebola has infected 13,000 people, killing nearly 5,000.

Video: Retracing steps of N.Y. Ebola patient (CNN)


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

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Obama Arrives in Beijing for Summit, State Visit Amid US- China Tensions

U.S. President Barack Obama passes an honor guard upon his arrival in Beijing, Nov. 10, 2014. (Reuters)

VOA News

By Luis Ramirez

November 10, 2014

BEIJING — President Barack Obama has arrived in Beijing on what is expected to be a polite but difficult three-day visit as tensions simmer between the two Pacific powers.

Obama arrived in the Chinese capital on Monday to a welcome that had all the trappings of a state visit. Still ahead is a dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Asia-Pacific leaders and, later, fireworks.

But with China growing more powerful both economically and militarily, there are tensions beneath the veneer of courtesy and pomp Obama was afforded at his arrival.

Evan Medeiros, the top official for Asian Affairs in the president’s National Security Council, told reporters that in coming here, Obama – in the rest of his term – wants to build a stable and diversified security order in which both powers can co-exist peacefully in the region.

“We see this trip as an important opportunity to define a forward-looking agenda for the U.S.-China relationship over the next two years, and to ensure that the U.S.-China relationship is defined for the most part by more and better and higher-quality cooperation on regional and global challenges, while also carefully managing the disagreements between the two countries,” said Medeiros.

Pushing an agenda of greater cooperation will not be easy for Obama, who comes here politically weakened by elections at home. And there are signs the welcome he is getting from the Chinese is only superficial.

In the days before the U.S. leader’s arrival, Chinese official newspapers have published disparaging remarks about Obama, including one describing him as “insipid,” and saying the results of recent U.S. elections show Americans are tired of his “banality.”

The United States is concerned about the continuing trade deficit, cyber issues, and Chinese maritime claims in the East and South China Seas. President Obama wants to dispel the impression among Chinese leaders that the U.S., through the rebalance of its forces to the Pacific, is trying to contain China.

U.S. administration officials say they are expecting frank discussions. But Wilson Center analyst Robert Daly, a former U.S. diplomat in China, said the talks will emphasize the positive elements of the relationship and not get to the heart of the tensions between the existing power and the one that is rising.

“To date, neither side is willing to specify what accommodations it is willing to make. Or in the case of China, what it is, specifically, that it doesn’t like about the current set of arrangements in the western Pacific. China has never answered what it is that it would like to be able to achieve that it can’t achieve under the current set of arrangements,” said Daley.

Over the next two days Obama will participate in a summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation group APEC. U.S. officials see APEC as a means to set rules that will prevent conflicts in the region and hope this meeting will help them make progress on trade, cyberspace, and climate issues.

On Wednesday, President Obama’s official part of the visit begins and it is then that the more substantial conversations will happen with the Chinese leader behind closed doors.

Obama will depart Beijing later Wednesday to make his second to visit to Myanmar, also known as Burma. There, he will attend two East Asian summits before going to Australia for a gathering of the G20.

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Zone 9 Case Sees 11th Court Delay

Journalists Tesfalem Weldyes, Asmamaw Haile Giorigis, Edom Kassaye, and bloggers Mahlet Fantahun, Abel Wabela, Befeqadu Hailu, Zelalem Kebret, Atenaf Berahene and Natnael Feleke have been jailed since April.

The International Press Institute

By: Siobhan Hagan, IPI Contributor

VIENNA – An Ethiopian court this week delayed proceedings for an 11th time against six bloggers and three independent journalists, who were arrested in April in connection with their activities as part of the Zone 9 collective.

The court at a hearing on Tuesday adjourned the case until Nov. 12, 2014. The nine defendants, who were arrested in Addis Ababa on April 25 and 26, have now been in pre-trial detention for over six months.

The bloggers and journalists are being held on charges of alleged terrorism and inciting violence as a result of their contact with foreign human rights organisations and opposition political parties. They are being prosecuted under Ethiopia’s controversial, 2009 anti-terrorism law.

After a joint mission to Ethiopia with the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) last year, IPI called on Ethiopian authorities to release all journalists convicted under the legislation and urged that the law be amended in a way that does not inhibit constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression rights.

IPI Senior Press Freedom Adviser Steven M. Ellis said: “The Zone 9 case not only illustrates the stifling press environment in Ethiopia, but the severely impeded judicial proceedings in this case also interfere with the defendants’ due process rights.”

The Zone 9 Trial Tracker blog calls the 11th delay a “record” in a case that has been stalled since the April arrests and marked by repeated delays.

The first delays were a result of police requests for more time to conduct investigations. The defendants were not formally charged until July 17, when they were brought to the Lideta High Court for a hearing without legal representation. When they refused to be tried without a lawyer, the case was adjourned until the next morning. At a July 18 hearing, the trial was adjourned until Aug. 4.

The Trial Tracker blog reported that at Tuesday’s hearing there was confusion regarding changes in the courtroom venue. The blog said that the hearing was pushed back as a result of two presiding judges in the case being replaced with new judges, who were unprepared to make a ruling.

Before last year’s joint IPI/WAN-IFRA mission, African Union Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information Pansy Tlakula told IPI: “[F]ollowing the 2005 general elections in Ethiopia, freedom of expression and media freedom [have] been continuously deteriorating.”

In a report released on Jan. 14 following the mission, IPI said that Ethiopia’s use of sweeping anti-terrorism law to imprison journalists and other legislative restrictions were hindering the development of free and independent media in the country.

Photo credit: Jomanex Kasaye via IPI

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The International Credit Rating Agency Fitch Affirms Ethiopia at ‘B’, Outlook Stable

The international rating agency Fitch Ratings has affirmed Ethiopia's Long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'B' with stable outlook, the rating agency reported on Friday, November 7th, 2014.

Reuters

(The following statement was released by the rating agency)

PARIS/LONDON – Fitch Ratings has affirmed Ethiopia’s Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at ‘B’. The Outlooks on the Long-term IDRs are Stable. The Country Ceiling and the Short-term foreign currency IDR are both affirmed at ‘B’. KEY RATING DRIVERS Ethiopia’s ‘B’ IDRs reflect the following key rating drivers:- -Ethiopia is vulnerable to shocks even compared with ‘B’ rated peers despite strong improvements in its World Bank governance indicators and development indicators over the past decade. This is balanced by strong economic performance and improved public and external debt ratios since debt relief under HIPC in 2005-2007. -Macroeconomic performance is broadly in line with rated peers. The public sector-led development strategy implemented over the past decade, focusing on heavy investments in infrastructure, has sustained strong real GDP growth, which reached an estimated 10.3% in the fiscal year to 7 July 2014 (FY14), above most regional peers, although it may be overestimated according to previous reports by the IMF. Inflation, which has historically been high and volatile, has slowed to single digits since October 2013, due to a combination of moderate international food prices and reduced central bank financing of the budget deficit. However, Fitch believes inflation remains vulnerable to food price variations. -Public finances compare favourably with ‘B’ rated peers, but are exposed to rising contingent liabilities.

Read the full press release at Reuters.com »

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


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In Pictures: Amazing Photos of Ethiopia’s 5th Century ‘Church in The Sky’

Kes Haile Silassie, a priest at Abuna Yemata Guh, a church 2,500 feet high on a clifftop in northern Ethiopia. (Photo: Lonely Planet Traveller)

The Daily Mail Online

By ANDREA MAGRATH

November 7th, 2014

It would certainly be a test of even the most faithful’s devotion.

At 2,500 feet, Ethiopa’s ‘church in the sky’ is arguably the most inaccessible place of worship on earth, perched on top of a vertical spire of rock, with sheer, 650 feet drops on all sides.

To reach the extraordinary church on a clifftop in Tigray, one must scale a sheer 19 feet-high wall of rock without any climbing ropes or harnesses, inching along narrow ledges and crossing a rickety makeshift bridge.

It is said that in 5th century AD Egyptian priest Father Yemata walked to Ethiopia, climbed the mountains and quarried the church out of the rock.

‘Father Yemata, it seems, liked a dose of extreme sports with his divinity,’ writes Lonely Planet Traveller. The magazine features the church, Abuna Yemata Guh, in its new bookazine collating the best and most inspiring destinations visited by the publication.


Beautiful: The church was quarried from the rock on the mountain in 5th century. (Photo: Lonely Planet)

Read more and see the photos at The Daily Mail Online »

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7,550 Miles from Home, Chicago’s Ethiopians Build a Cultural Museum

(Photo by Danielle Elliott)

Gapers Block

By Danielle Elliott

Some 7,550 miles separate Chicago from Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

For the 10,000 Ethiopians living in Chicago, that distance seems a lot smaller due to the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago (ECAC), a nonprofit refugee resettlement agency, in Rogers Park.

The familiar smells of incense and coffee linger through the hallways of the center, but the real sense of Ethiopia is felt in a small room, 600 square feet, on the second floor. This is the place where the ECAC is trying to build a museum showcasing Ethiopia’s diversity and history, a symbol of their strong community.

“We want the museum to transfer information to children and share our rich history with the mainstream American community,” said Dr. Erku Yimer, the executive director and one of the founders of ECAC.

Yimer came to Illinois in 1975 for his graduate studies but wasn’t able to return home due to the civil war that broke out there in 1974. A provisional administrative council of military officers took control of the Ethiopian government and started the “Red Terror” genocide to eliminate its enemies. The war lasted over 16 years and left over a million dead. At the same time, a large-scale famine raged through the country. The result was a desperate refugee situation.

“The museum will empower us to some degree,” Yimer said. “Americans know us as a poor, famine-affected country, but we have a glorious history that we want to show.”

Many Ethiopians came to America to escape the political turmoil during the 1970s and 1980s and continued to emigrate in increasing numbers. According to the Migration Policy Institute, an independent think tank that analyzes immigration data, in 1980, nearly 26,000 East Africans lived in the U.S. By 2009, there were more than 423,000.

Many Ethiopian newcomers settled in Washington D.C., Maryland and California. Although Chicago isn’t on the list of top settlement cities, the city has a thriving Ethiopian population. Research from Rob Paral & Associates, a Chicago-based consulting firm that analyzes census data, shows that more than 60 percent of Ethiopians in Chicago live in the North Side resettlement communities of Uptown, Edgewater and Rogers Park.

“As a new community, we go back to Ethiopia if we can,” Yimer said. “People send family to speak the language (Amharic) and cement their relationship with Ethiopia.”

M’aza Dowling-Brown, the youth program director at ECAC, is also helping to establish the museum. She has been a part of the Chicago-Ethiopian community since she first started working for ECAC in 2008. An immigrant herself, she was adopted along with her five siblings from Ethiopia in 1998 by a family from Amherst, Mass., where the Ethiopian community was very small. She attended college in Washington D.C. and Ohio but feels most at home in the community where she works and lives now.

“Even though it doesn’t have a lot of numbers compared to other cities and people have different ethnic groups or political views, this is the only Ethiopian community that has stayed this strong for 30 years without dividing,” Dowling-Brown said.

Read more »

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Ethiopia-Egypt Trade Deals to Ease River Nile Row

Ethiopian government says the multi-billion dollar water project poses no threat to Egypt's share of the Nile. (Getty Images)

BBC News

Egypt and Ethiopia have signed a series of trade agreements which could help smooth diplomatic tensions over use of the River Nile waters.

The countries fell out over Ethiopia’s plans to construct a $4.3bn (£3.4bn) hydroelectric dam on the river.

Egypt was apparently caught by surprise when Ethiopia started diverting the Blue Nile to build the Grand Renaissance Dam in 2013.

The river is a tributary of the Nile, on which Egypt is heavily dependent.

Ministers from both countries signed more than 20 bilateral on deals on trade, health and education at a meeting in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

At the signing ceremony, senior government officials vowed to continue talks on how to resolve a three-year dispute over the dam, which remains a sensitive issue, says the BBC Emmanuel Igunza in Addis Ababa.

Read more at BBC News »

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Tsehai Publishers Strives for a Better Africa and Ethiopia

Tsehai Publishers was founded by Elias Wondimu and focuses on printing scarcely distributed books from Ethiopia. (Photo via Tsehai Publishers)

The Los Angeles Loyolan

By Kaitlin Perata

“When you think of Africa, what are the first three things that come to mind?” This is the first question I was asked when I began working at Tsehai Publishers at the beginning of the semester. Like I’m sure most of us would, I had trouble coming up with a sufficient answer to the question. It is for precisely this reason that Elias Wondimu, exiled Ethiopian journalist and current CEO of Tsehai Publishers, founded the company.

Finding few books on Ethiopia in the United States, Wondimu sought to fill a hole in the American book market by venturing into previously unchartered waters and creating his own publishing company that would simultaneously print scarcely distributed books and raise the standard of integrity in the publishing industry.

“The lack of positive narratives about my country led me to a path of discovery about the realities of all marginalized societies – including Africa, women and the poor among us. Institutions who control what stories get told controls our true information that we consume, our perceptions and by that our future society,” Wandimu said when discussing his motivation for launching Tsehai.

Tsehai means “the sun” in Amharic, Ethiopia’s official language, but Wondimu also named the publishing company after his late mother. The company was founded in 1998 with the intention of sharing his passion for Ethiopian and African issues, correcting media misinformation and bias about Africa, fostering intercultural dialogue and social justice and providing a platform for African creativity and knowledge to flourish. In 2007, Tsehai joined forces with LMU’s Marymount Institute for Faith, Culture and the Arts and from that partnership the Marymount Institute Press was born, embodying the Institute’s mission statement.

Read the full article at The Los Angeles Loyolan »

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Republicans Take Control of US Senate

Voters fill in their ballots as they vote in the U.S. midterm elections at a polling place in Westminster, Colorado, Nov. 4, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

VOA News

November 04, 2014

Republican candidates have won enough seats in Tuesday’s U.S. congressional elections to capture control of the Senate.

Democrats had held a 55-seat majority in the Senate, but Republicans picked up six seats with wins in Arkansas, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.

However, there several races were still to be decided.

In Louisiana, neither candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote. The Senate race between incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu and Republican challenger Bill Cassidy will go to a December 6 runoff.

Another tight race is in Georgia, where Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss is retiring. Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue are in a very tight battle to win that seat, and Democrats are hoping for a runoff if not outright victory.

McConnell reelected to sixth term

In other good news for the Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was reelected in Kentucky to a sixth term, easily beating his Democratic rival, Alison Lundergan Grimes. It was an ugly race, with both sides struggling to outspend the other, and polls showing Grimes leading McConnell as late as last week.

If Republicans grab control of the Senate, McConnell would become Senate majority leader and one of the country’s most powerful politicians. He would have the authority to decide which bills to bring up for a vote.

But the Democrats also secured a big win for an incumbent Tuesday, with U.S. news outlets calling the New Hampshire Senate race for Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

President Barack Obama said Senate Democrats faced what could be the toughest races since 1958, when Republicans lost 13 Senate seats under then-President Dwight Eisenhower.

A third of the Senate’s 100 seats were at stake in Tuesday’s elections, and Obama said many of the states with contested Senate races tend to tilt Republican.

Meanwhile, the TV networks predict the Republicans will keep control of the House, even gaining a number of seats. This could give the Republicans the highest number of House seats since 1947, when Democrat Harry Truman was the U.S. president.

The elections are pivotal because they will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control Congress during President Obama’s final two years in office.

With the president’s approval rating mired in the low 40 percent range, the Republicans’ best chances were in several states that Obama lost two years ago, even as he won reelection. Obama was not on the ballot, but he said his policies were, and Republicans sought to link their Democratic opponents to Obama’s unpopularity.

Republican victories

In other Senate victories for the Republicans, Lindsay Graham was re-elected in South Carolina, while a second Republican, Tim Scott, won the election to finish the term of Senator Jim DeMint, who resigned.

Scott became the first African-American elected statewide in South Carolina since the end of the American Civil War.

Republicans also picked up a seat in West Virginia that had been held by Democrats when Representative Shelley Moore Capito won the race to replace retiring Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller.

Former South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds, a Republican, will take over from retiring senator Tim Johnson. Rounds held off Democrat Rick Wieland and two independents.

Republican Cory Gardner defeated Colorado’s incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Udall.

Republican Tom Cotton won a bitterly contested Senate race in Arkansas. TV network projections gave Cotton a victory over two-time Democratic Senator Mark Pryor.

Polling results

Opinion surveys showed Republican candidates poised to win Senate races in Iowa and Alaska.

The accuracy of pre-election U.S. political surveys has often been erratic, with some polling turning out to be way off the mark. Even as several Senate races were deemed too close to call, analysts said Republicans had about a 70 percent chance of picking up at least six seats to control the Senate.

If Republicans do control Congress, it could presage new disputes with Obama over his signature legislative achievement, massive national health care reforms that have allowed millions of people to secure insurance coverage they could not previously afford.

Many Republicans view it as excessive government involvement in people’s health care and call for repeal of the law.

Many Republicans also attacked Obama’s handling of the current Ebola crisis, called for approval of an oil pipeline from Canada through the central U.S. and a curb on government regulation of businesses.

Some opposition lawmakers have also disputed the president’s handling of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

In the United States, the two main political parties are feuding over spending and tax policies and immigration reforms.

Obama has vowed to set new immigration rules by executive order by the end of the year, after the House did not act on comprehensive reforms approved by the Senate. Some Republicans already are saying they will seek to block the president from unilaterally changing the country’s immigration policies to allow millions of migrants who entered illegally to stay in the United States.

Ballot Initiatives on Marijuana, Guns

Some voters were given the chance to decide the legal status of guns and marijuana Tuesday.

Pot was on the ballot in the western U.S. states of Alaska and Oregon, as well as back east in Washington, D.C., and in Florida.

In the nation’s capital, voters could legalize a so-called “grow and give” provision, allowing for small amounts of marijuana to be grown and given away for recreational use, but not to be sold.

The measures in Oregon and Alaska would legalize retail sales of marijuana to anyone old enough to drink alcohol.

Florida voters will decide whether to make their state the 24th to allow marijuana use for medical reasons. The measure needs 60 percent approval to pass.

In the 2012 general election, Washington state and Colorado became the first states to legalize marijuana use by adults, and they have subsequently implemented systems for regulating and taxing sales of pot.

Washington state had two competing gun-related measures. One sought background checks for all gun sales and transfers, including private transactions. The other would prevent any such expansion covering purchases from private sellers.



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

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UK Cancels Aid to Ethiopian Police

Britain has given £1 billion in aid, including around £70 million for “governance and security” projects, to Ethiopia over three years. (Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP)

The Telegraph

By Matthew Holehouse

Britain has suspended most of a £27 million aid programme to support Ethiopia’s police force, The Telegraph has learnt, amid mounting allegations of torture, rape and murder by the regime.

Ministers pulled the plug on a scheme intended to improve criminal investigations, help Ethiopian police “interact with communities on local safety” and help women access the justice system.

The cancellation coincides with an Amnesty International report that documents how the Ethiopian security forces have conducted a campaign of torture, mutilation, rape and murder in order to suppress political opposition.

Britain has given £1 billion in aid, including around £70 million for “governance and security” projects, to the country over three years. Critics of the ruling regime have disappeared, and Amnesty International found allegations of men being blinded and women being gang raped and burnt with hot coals by regime officials.

There are mounting fears for the safety of Andy Tsege, a British national and critic of the regime, who was abducted in Yemen before being tortured and sentenced to death.

Read more at The Telegraph »

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Election 2014: What You Need to Know About Tuesday’s Midterm US Elections

Thom Tillis, the Republican candidate for Senate in North Carolina, greeted supporters in Asheville on Friday. (Credit Mike Belleme for The New York Times)

By THE NEW YORK TIMES

Things to look for in Tuesday’s midterm elections:

Control of the Senate:

• The Republicans need to pick up six seats in order to gain the majority. They have about a 70 percent chance of doing so, according to the latest forecast from The Upshot.

• They appear to be in strong position to win four seats held by Democrats — in Arkansas, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia.

• The task could be complicated if they lose Republican-held seats in Georgia, Kansas and Kentucky — three races that remain close.

• The other Senate races that will likely will determine the balance of power are in purple states currently held by Democrats — Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and North Carolina.

• In Louisiana, a three-way race could mean no candidate gets 50 percent, leading to a runoff, which would not be held until December.

The House:

• Republicans will almost certainly maintain control.

• The big question is how many seats they will pick up and whether a bigger majority will make Speaker John A. Boehner’s job easier or harder, as he tries to keep his caucus together.

Read more at NYT »

Related:
Mohammed Tahiro Interview: First Ethiopian American Candidate for U.S. Senate
Ethiopian American Council Endorses Congressman Mike Honda for Re-Election

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U.S. Deeply Concerned by Sentence of Ethiopian Journalist Temesghen Desalegn

Jailed Ethiopian journalist Temesghen Desalegn. (Photo credit: CPJ)

U.S. State Department

Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Department Spokesperson

Washington, DC – The United States is deeply concerned by the October 27 sentencing of Ethiopian journalist Temesgen Desalegn to three years in prison for “provocation and dissemination of inaccurate information.” Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are fundamental elements of a democratic society, and the promotion and protection of these rights and freedoms are basic responsibilities of democratic governments.

As President Obama stated during his meeting in September with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam, it is important that Ethiopia’s progress and positive example on economic development and regional conflict resolution extends to civil society as well. We urge Ethiopia to make similar progress with regard to respect for press freedom and the free flow of ideas and reiterate our call for the Ethiopian government to release journalists imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

Related:
Journalist Temesghen Desalegn Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

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Ethiopia’s Impressive Regreening Program

Bale Mountains, Ethiopia: Trees and shrubs can be seen growing on the steeper slopes along a ravine that was once plagued by erosion. (Photograph: Aaron Minnick/WRI)

The Guardian

Fifteen years years ago the villages around Abrha Weatsbha in northern Ethiopia were on the point of being abandoned. The hillsides were barren, the communities, plagued by floods and droughts, needed constant food aid, and the soil was being washed away.

Today, Abrha Weatsbha in the Tigray region is unrecognisable and an environmental catastrophe has been averted following the planting of many millions of tree and bush seedlings. Wells that were dry have been recharged, the soil is in better shape, fruit trees grow in the valleys and the hillsides are green again.

The “regreening” of the area, achieved in just a few years for little cost by farming communities working together to close off large areas to animals, save water and replant trees, is now to be replicated across one sixth of Ethiopia – an area the size of England and Wales. The most ambitious attempt yet to reduce soil erosion, increase food security and adapt to climate change is expected to vastly increase the amount of food grown in one of the most drought- and famine-prone areas of the world.

“Large areas of Ethiopia and the Sahel were devastated by successive droughts and overgrazing by animals in the 1960s and 1970s,” says Chris Reij, a researcher with the World Resources Institute in Washington.

“There was a significant drop in rainfall, people had to extend the land they cultivated and this led to massive destruction and an environmental crisis across the Sahel. But the experience of Tigray, where over 224,000 hectares of land has now been restored shows that recovery of vegetation in dryland areas can be very fast. Tigray is now much more food secure than it was 10 years ago. You really see the changes there,” he says.

Rather than just plant trees, which is notoriously unreliable and expensive in dry land areas, the farmers have turned to “agro-ecology”, a way to combine crops and trees on the same pieces of land.

Read more at The Guardian »

Video: A new documentary by film-maker Mark Dodd on the land restoration project in Tigray


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Spike in Eritreans Fleeing into Ethiopia

Thousands of Eritrean refugees are currently living in refugee camps in Ethiopia. More than 200 risk their lives every day, UN says, crossing a heavily-fortified border between arch enemy states. (AP photo)

Aljazeera

Over 200 Eritrean refugees are crossing the heavily fortified and dangerous border into neighbouring Ethiopia daily, the United Nations said in a report noting a “spike” in those fleeing.

Tens of thousands of people have fled the Horn of Africa country, escaping open-ended conscription and the iron-grip rule of President Issaias Afewerki, with many continuing northwards to brave the often harrowing journey towards Europe.

“The number of daily refugee arrivals spiked since the first week of September,” the October report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) read.

“At present, more than 200 Eritreans cross the Ethiopian border each day.”

Over 3,500 Eritreans have fled into northern Ethiopia in the past two months, taking the total to over 104,000 Eritrean refugees in the country.

No reason was given for the rise in numbers, but reports by rights groups say people are struggling under Asmara’s repressive government.

Thousands have also fled into Sudan, although the UN in July reported that Khartoum has forced some to return.

Read more »

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Wonderful Ethiopia Video From The Perennial Plate

(Photo: Vimeo/The Perennial Plate)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The team behind The Perennial Plate, an online weekly documentary series dedicated to exploring food around the world recently traveled to Ethiopia where they filmed their experience for their current episode. The video, co-produced and edited by Chef Daniel Klein and partner Mirra Fine includes music, Eshururu , by Dereb The Ambassador.

Watch: Ethiopia! from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo

Ethiopia! from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo.


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Nun Visiting NYC From Ethiopia Missing

30-year-old Ethiopian nun Tadelech Yohanis was last seen leaving Sacred Heart Convent Thursday afternoon on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. (New York CBS Local )

CBS New York

NEW YORK – A nun visiting the U.S. from Ethiopia is missing, the NYPD said.

Tadelech Yohanis, 30, was last seen at around 2 p.m. last Thursday. at Sacred Heart Convent on the Lower East Side.

Yohanis arrived in the U.S. Oct. 6 and was set to leave Sunday, Oct. 26.

On the 23rd, Yohanis left the convent with her passport and hasn’t returned, police said.

Yohanis is “in good mental condition” and is 5’9″ and about 150 pounds, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers’ website at or by texting their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are confidential.

Read more at CBS New York »

Related:
Still No Sign of Missing Ethiopian Mom Almaz Gebremedhin in Wylie, Texas

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Journalist Temesghen Desalegn Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

Ethiopian journalist Temesghen Desalegn, who was convicted this month in connection with a 2012 defamation case, has been sentenced to three years in prison (CPJ)

CPJ

Press release

Nairobi – The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today’s sentencing of Ethiopian journalist Temesghen Desalegn to three years’ imprisonment on charges of defamation and incitement that date back to 2012. A court in Addis Ababa, the capital, convicted Temesgen on October 13 in connection with opinion pieces published in the now-defunct Feteh news magazine, according to news reports. He was arrested the same day. Authorities have routinely targeted Temesghen for his writing. Temesghen’s lawyer said he plans to appeal the ruling, according to local journalists.

“With each journalist sentenced to prison, Ethiopia takes another step further from freedom of the press and democratic society,” said CPJ East Africa Representative Tom Rhodes. “We urge Ethiopian authorities to overturn Temesghen’s conviction on appeal and release him and all other journalists jailed for doing their jobs.”

A state crackdown on independent publications and bloggers has taken place in Ethiopia this year, prompting several Ethiopian journalists to flee into exile, according to CPJ research. With at least 17 journalists in jail, Ethiopia is the second worst jailer of journalists in Africa, second only to its neighbor Eritrea, CPJ research shows.

Read more at CPJ.org »

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Amnesty Says Ethiopia Detains 5,000 Oromos Illegally Since 2011

(Photo: Oromo students protest against a government plan to expand Addis Ababa earlier this year/Al Jazeera)

Bloomberg News

By William Davison

Oct 27, 2014

Ethiopia’s government illegally detained at least 5,000 members of the country’s most populous ethnic group, the Oromo, over the past four years as it seeks to crush political dissent, Amnesty International said.

Victims include politicians, students, singers and civil servants, sometimes only for wearing Oromo traditional dress, or for holding influential positions within the community, the London-based advocacy group said in a report today. Most people were detained without charge, some for years, with many tortured and dozens killed, it said.

“The Ethiopian government’s relentless crackdown on real or imagined dissent among the Oromo is sweeping in its scale and often shocking in its brutality,” Claire Beston, the group’s Ethiopia researcher, said in a statement. “This is apparently intended to warn, control or silence all signs of ‘political disobedience’ in the region.”…

The state-run Oromia Justice Bureau said the findings were “far from the truth” in a reply to Amnesty included in the report. “No single individual has been and would not be subjected to any form of harassment, arrest or detention, torture for exercising the freedom of expression or opinion.”

The majority of detainees are accused of supporting the Oromo Liberation Front, which was formed in 1973 to fight for self-determination, according to Amnesty.

Read the full article at Bloomberg News »

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Ethiopia’s South Sudan Refugees Beyond Capacity

Children displaced by fighting in South Sudan wait to be registered into the Kule 1 and 2 camps for Internally Displaced People at the Pagak border crossing in Gambella, Ethiopia, July 10, 2014. (AFP)

VOA News

By Marthe van der Wolf

October 27, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Spotlight: Amnesty International Comes Down Hard On Ferguson Police (Video)

The international human rights organization has issued a scathing critique of the Ferguson Police Department for its handling of protests following the shooting death of Michael Brown. (USNews)

Amnesty International

On the Streets of America: Human Rights Abuses in Ferguson

On August 9, 2014 Michael Brown, an 18-year old unarmed African American man, was fatally shot by a white Police Officer, Darren Wilson, in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown’s death set off protests which, as of this publication, are ongoing, as well as a long-overdue conversation on race, policing and justice. The events in Ferguson have also raised a range of human rights concerns, including the right to life, the use of lethal force by law enforcement, the right to freedom from discrimination, and the rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

Following the initial protests, Amnesty International USA sent a delegation to Ferguson from Aug. 14-22. The delegation was composed of staff working with the community and protesters on non-direct action and de-escalation tactics in protests and other staff who were there strictly to observe and monitor the protests and police response. While gaining first hand testimony in the midst of the protests and marches proved difficult, the following findings rely on observations made by staff during this mission and is supplemented by information from media reports.

This briefing document outlines some of the human rights concerns witnessed by Amnesty International and a series of recommendations that need to be implemented with regards to the use of lethal force by law enforcement officers and the policing of protests.

Use of lethal force: Death of Michael Brown
On Saturday August 9, 2014, 18-year old Michael Brown and a friend were walking down Canfield Drive in Ferguson, MO when they were confronted by Officer Darren Wilson. Moments later, Brown was fatally shot by Police Officer Wilson. Michael Brown’s body then lay on the street for at least four hours. According to the autopsy conducted by both the family and the County Medical Examiner’s Office, Michael Brown was shot six times.

Due to conflicting reports, what happened between Brown and Wilson remains uncertain. According to one witness, Brown and his friend attempted to walk away when the officer fired his weapon, shooting the unarmed Brown, whose hands were in the air. According to police statements, a physical confrontation between the officer and Brown resulted in the officer shooting the unarmed Brown.

Regardless, international standards provide that law enforcement officers should only use force as a last resort and that the amount of force must be proportionate to the threat encountered and designed to minimize damage and injury. Officers may only use firearms when strictly necessary to protect themselves or others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury. Even then, the intentional lethal use of firearms is justified only when “strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.”

Irrespective of whether there was some sort of physical confrontation between Michael Brown and the police officer, Michael Brown was unarmed and thus unlikely to have presented a serious threat to the life of the police officer. As such, this calls into question whether the use of lethal force was justified, and the circumstances of the killing must be urgently clarified.

Also troubling is Missouri’s broad statute on the use of deadly force. Amnesty International is very concerned that the statute may be unconstitutional and is clearly out of line with international standards on the intentional use of lethal force as it goes well beyond the doctrine that lethal force only be used to protect life.

Racial discrimination and excessive use of police force nationwide
The shooting of Michael Brown highlighted on a national level the persistent and widespread pattern of racially discriminatory treatment by law enforcement officers across the United States, including unjustified stops and searches, ill treatment and excessive, and sometimes lethal, use of force.

Read more and download the report at amnestyusa.org »

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Meet the Tour Operator: Yohannes Zeleke

Yohannes Zeleke is a man of many hats, including the one above. (Photo by David Cogswell)

Travel Pulse

By DAVID COGSWELL

When you hang with somebody, when you get down, travel around, eat meals together, hike around, discuss, argue, dance, drink, sing, laugh and various other things, you don’t often think about the initials after people’s names. But in truth Yohannes Zeleke, a member of the party that traveled to Ethiopia on the recent NTA Product Development trip, is a Ph.D.

As remarkable as those initials are, it’s one of the least interesting things that comes to mind about Dr. Zeleke. He is an anthropologist, an archaeologist with decades of digs in Europe, Asia and Africa under his belt. He’s an author. He’s a research associate with the Smithsonian Institution. He’s an alumnus of the University of California at Berkeley, The Russian Academy of Sciences and St. Petersburg State University. He teaches anthropology at the American University in Washington DC. He’s the president of the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the Africa Travel Association and he’s a tour operator.

The problem is where to begin. Any attempt to sum up his multi-faceted existence would fall short.

Yohannes Zeleke’s own long, winding journey began at Gondar, where he was born in one of Ethiopia’s largest cities and the site of Gondar Castle, a cluster of impressive stone structures built in 1636 by King Fasilides.

Growing up in Ethiopia, the site of the earliest known human fossils, as well as the Gondar Castle and many other sites of historical and religious significance, it is perhaps not surprising that he would have followed the courses of study of archaeology, anthropology and history.

Read more »

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When Ethiopians Joined Hands With Indians to Celebrate Diwali

Diwali (festival of lights) is an ancient Indian holiday celebrated each fall. (Photo: Scoop Whoop)

The New Indian Express

ADDIS ABABA: This year in Ethiopia, the celebration of Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, started early in a unique way with many new participants, both Indian and Ethiopian.

People like Muluken Belay, 35, an accountant at a private company, who have never been to an Indian function used to wonder how the festival looked like in reality after he saw it in movies. His dream would not have come true had it not been for Raju Kumar Kevelray Pandit, a fourth-generation Indian in Ethiopia who took the initiative to celebrate Diwali with his Ethiopian friends.

“The Indian community in Ethiopia with their deep-rooted presence since the times of the emperors in many aspects made the locals feel like they are part of its family”, Raju told IANS.

“My grandfather was the advisor for King Hailesellasie, my father used to work for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and I work at a private Indian company serving Indian and Ethiopian community”.

He wanted to organise an event where Indians could mix with Ethiopians to share and explore more about each other’s cultures. With the support of his friend they picked a restaurant known for its unique ambiance, Addis Down Town Capri Restaurant and Lounge, for this special event.

“When he came to our place proposing the idea we embraced it because we knew it was going to be special,” Demelie Arega, managing director of the restaurant, told IANS. “This is the first time we collaborated with any community and India is rich with its music and colourful with its presence. Indeed it is a great experience”.

The restaurant prepared a special menu specifically for the celebration for everyone to enjoy. The place was decorated with costumes, flowers and other items to reflect Bollywood-themed night . The Indian flag that was hung on the wall behind the DJs was hard to miss.

Participants like Muluken and his friends were happy to pay the 100 birr ($5) entrance fee for it was not something they would get all the time.

“I did not think I would actually witness this here in Addis Abba. I have been to many Indian restaurants and have so many Indian friends, but I have never seen them celebrate a function or dance,” Muluken told IANS smiling.

Read more at The New Indian Express »

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Ethiopia’s ‘African Tiger’ Leaps Towards Middle Income

People wait for a bus in Addis Ababa. The government has launched an ambitious modernisation plan in the Ethiopian capital. (Photograph: Giorgio Cosulich/Getty)

The Guardian

It is now three decades since Ethiopia experienced the infamous famine that cost the lives of more than a million people. The tragedy prompted the BBC’s Michael Buerk to describe it as “a biblical famine in the 20th century” and “the closest thing to hell on Earth”.

In sharp contrast with that devastating poverty, Ethiopia is now widely considered to be one of a pack of “African tigers”, with ambitious plans to become a middle-income country by 2025. The nation has, “like the proverbial phoenix, managed to rise from the ashes to become Africa’s fastest-growing non-energy-driven economy”, a senior tax adviser at KPMG Kenya recently noted.

The changes that have taken place in Ethiopia since the 1984 famine are commendable. Despite some dispute over the figures, there is consensus that Ethiopia has registered impressive economic growth for the past decade of somewhere between 8% and 10%. One effect of the progress is a greater capacity to cope with drought, preventing the descent into famine conditions that have occurred in the past. Ethiopia’s development efforts are also praised internationally for meeting some of the millennium development goals, particularly universal primary education and a reduction in infant mortality.

Read more at The Guardian »

Related:
Ethiopia, 30 Years After the 1984 Famine (The Guardian)
Ethiopian famine: how landmark BBC report influenced modern coverage (The Guardian)
Ethiopia: The famine report that shocked the world (BBC)

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Man Caught After Jumping White House Fence

The White House is seen from outside the north lawn fence in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Reuters)

VOA News

For the second time in a little more than a month, a man has jumped the White House fence, but this time the intruder was apprehended with the help of Secret Service dogs.

The jumper was caught Wednesday evening outside the White House after he scaled the north fence. A Secret Service spokesman said the suspect kicked at one of the dogs before a second dog subdued him.

The jumper was then taken to a nearby hospital. The White House was put on lockdown during the incident.

On September 19, Omar Gonzalez, a 42-year-old Army vet who is unemployed and homeless, bolted across the lawn and into the White House before being apprehended. He had a 9-centimeter knife in his pants and more than 800 rounds of ammunition, two hatchets and a machete in his car.

The unprecedented security breach led to congressional hearings and the resignation of Julia Pierson as Secret Service director.

Related:
U.S. Secret Service Director Resigns Over White House Security Breach

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Ethiopia, 30 Years After the 1984 Famine

A man walks past a portion of the Addis Ababa light railway under construction in Addis Ababa. (Photograph: Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images)

The Guardian

By David Smith

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Addis Ababa – With an Einsteinian shock of hair and a wise man’s beard, Mulugeta Tesfakiros, just off a flight from Washington, settled into an office of glass walls and vibrant artworks in Addis Ababa. The millionaire magnate, who has gone into the local wine business with Bob Geldof, mused on the new Ethiopia: “Most of the people need first security, second food … and democracy after that.”

An hour’s drive away stand the corrugated iron watchtowers of a prison. The inmates include nine bloggers and journalists charged with terrorism. Standing in a bleak courtyard on a family visit day, they talked about how they had been tortured.

“I feel like I don’t know Ethiopia,” one said. “It’s a totally different country for me.”

This is the Janus-faced society that is the second most populous country in Africa. A generation after the famine that pierced the conscience of the world, Ethiopia is both a darling of the international development community and a scourge of the human rights lobby. Even as investment conferences praise it as a trailblazer the entire continent should emulate, organisations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) describe it as “one of the most repressive media environments in the world”.


Three decades after images that shocked the world, country has become darling of the global development community – and the scourge of the human rights lobby. (Photograph: William Campbell/Sygma/Corbis)

To be in Ethiopia is to witness an economic miracle. The country has enjoyed close to double-digit growth for a decade. One study found it was creating millionaires faster than anywhere else on the continent. The streets of Addis Ababa reverberate with hammering from construction workers as the concrete skeletons of new towers and a monorail project rise into the crane-dotted sky. Ethiopia’s government says it is on course to meet most of the millennium development goals and, by 2025, to be a middle-income country.

Yet the frenetic urban expansion has uprooted thousands of farmers while, critics say, those who speak out against it are rounded up and jailed. Of 547 MPs, only one belongs to an opposition party. Activists and journalists describe an Orwellian surveillance state, breathtaking in scale and scope, in which phone conversations are recorded and emails monitored by thousands of bureaucrats reminiscent of the Stasi in East Berlin. The few who dare to take to the streets in protest are crushed with deadly force. Amnesty International has called it an “onslaught on dissent” in the runup to elections next year.

Read more at The Guardian »

Related:
Ethiopian famine: how landmark BBC report influenced modern coverage (The Guardian)
Ethiopia: The famine report that shocked the world (BBC)

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Ethiopian Maids Reveal Abuse From Employers in UAE

Ethiopian domestic workers in UAE: Wube Tamene (left) and Hedja Ousman (right). (7daysindubai.com)

7DAYS October 21, 2014

Two maids have spoken of the appalling abuse they claim was dished out by their employers, as a top diplomat called for an end to household “slavery”.

Hedja Ousman, 22, and Wube Tamene, 18, worked for families in the UAE and both say they were beaten, starved, and prevented from contacting their families in Ethiopia.

They have now sought refuge at the Ethiopian Consulate in Dubai.

Hedja, speaking to 7DAYS yesterday, told of the horrors she endured during the two years she worked for a Kazakh family in Ajman. She said her female employer didn’t like the prospect of the maid speaking to her husband.

She said: “My employer didn’t want me talking to her husband. Every time her husband would instruct me to do something, she would beat me.”

Hedja said the woman even cut off her hair to make her “less attractive”.

Hedja, who earned Dhs500 per month, said the abuse began three months after she started her job. She decided to escape last week when her employer accused her of stealing car keys and beat her.

“I saw the door open and I ran,” she said. I asked someone for water, they called the police for me. I’ve been at the consulate since. I want to go home.”

She has dropped the police case she had filed against her employer but the consulate says it intends to file a new one.

Read more »

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Ebola: Africa’s Image Takes a Hit

A burial team in protective gear buries the body of a woman suspected to have died from the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia on Saturday, October 18th, 2014. (AP photo)

The Associated Press

By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA

JOHANNESBURG — In the United States, some parents fearful of deadly Ebola pulled children out of a school after the principal returned from Zambia, an African nation far from the area hit by the disease. In Geneva, a top U.N. official warned against anti-African discrimination fueled by fears of Ebola. The disease has ravaged a small part of Africa, but the international image of the whole continent is increasingly under siege, reinforcing some old stereotypes.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – the African countries afflicted by the Ebola outbreak – have a combined population of about 22 million on a continent with more than 1 billion people. Their corner of West Africa encompasses an area the size of California, or almost as big as Morocco. Yet the epidemic feeds into a narrative of disaster on a continent of 54 countries that has seen some progress in past years, and false perceptions of Ebola’s reach are hurting African business distant from the affected areas.

“It speaks to a whole discourse about the danger of Africa,” said Michael Jennings, a senior lecturer in international development at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

He cited the recent decision of a British school to postpone a visit by a teacher from the West African country of Ghana after parents expressed concern about the Ebola virus. Ghana does not border the hard-hit nations and has not reported any cases of the disease.

Jennings said fearful people don’t necessarily react in a rational way and the message of some comments on social media in Britain is: “Why don’t we just stop everyone in West Africa from coming?”

Africa has had a troubled image. Famine in Ethiopia, chaos in Somalia and genocide in Rwanda drove the idea of a continent in perpetual crisis. In recent years, though, an end to a number of wars and ensuing stability and growth pointed to a turnaround that some enthusiasts dubbed “Africa Rising.”

Now the economic impact of Ebola fears is being felt in many parts of Africa. Hotels, tourism operators and conference organizers are recording increasing cancellations.

Thirty international buyers pulled out of an annual tourism expo that began Thursday in Zimbabwe’s resort town of Victoria Falls, said Karikoga Kaseke, the national tourism agency chief. He said business travelers from China and Malaysia were among those who recently canceled trips, and Jamaican musicians have also skipped Zimbabwean shows.

The southern African country is more than 4,800 kilometers (3,000 miles) from Ebola-hit Liberia, or about twice the distance between London and Moscow.

Read more »

Related:
U.S. Embassy: No Confirmed or Suspected Cases of Ebola in Ethiopia
Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

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Watch: Why President Obama’s Credit Card Was Declined at a Restaurant (CNN Video)

It was a safeguard against identity theft, he said. (Photo: President Barack Obama/GETTY IMAGES)

The Root

BY: LYNETTE HOLLOWAY

Oct. 18 2014

When President Barack Obama’s credit card was declined at a fancy restaurant in New York City last month, the first lady had him covered.

But CNN reports that bad credit was not the issue. The card was likely declined to prevent identity theft. The president told the story Friday while speaking to workers at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C., where he signed an executive order to bolster security measures for government credit cards.

“I guess I don’t use it enough, so they thought there was some fraud going on,” he said, according to CNN. “Luckily, Michelle had hers. I was trying to explain to the waitress that I’ve really been paying my bills.”

The incident occurred while the first couple was dining at Estela in downtown Manhattan during the president’s visit to New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly session.

Watch: Obama’s credit card declined at fancy restaurant

Read more at CNN »

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Bloggers Behind Bars: Zone9ers and Threats to Online Speech Across the Globe

The founding members of Zone9 blogging collective. This photo was taken right after they participated in digital security training in Ethiopia in December 2012. (Photo: Endalk Chala)

Global Voices Online

Written by Rebecca MacKinnon

We want more openness, more transparency,” Ethiopian writer Endalkchew Chala told me in a phone interview. “People deserve choice; people deserve access to the world’s knowledge.” For expressing views like these online, his friends were scheduled to go on trial for terrorism in early August—though the trial was later adjourned to October 15. It briefly reconvened last week then adjourned again until early November.

In July, Ethan Zuckerman wrote a detailed post here on Global Voices describing the origins of the Zone 9 bloggers collective, and why they chose that name, and the implications of their case in Ethiopia. In a nutshell, two years ago Endalk (as his friends and colleagues like to call him) got together with several like-minded young Ethiopian writers and journalists to launch a hard-hitting blog called “Zone9.” The blog’s name derives from Addis Ababa’s infamous Kaliti prison, divided into eight zones with political prisoners confined to Zone Eight. They chose the name Zone9 intending to suggest that the entire nation was becoming a virtual prison—effectively a ninth zone. “All of Ethiopia is part of it,” explains Endalk. In 2011, one inmate, journalist Eskinder Nega, was arrested for the seventh time after writing a column, which ironically criticized the Ethiopian government’s habit of arresting journalists on terrorism charges.

Such edginess was too much for their government to take. Six of the Zone9 bloggers were arrested this past April. Three months later, they were formally charged with terrorism and “related activities.” Endalk, pursuing a graduate degree in Portland, Oregon when the arrests took place, is now their informal spokesperson, blogging and tweeting the latest developments. The group’s alleged crimes include attending trainings by international technical experts on how to use software tools to shield themselves from electronic surveillance. They are also accused of clandestinely organizing themselves into a blogger collective—a bizarre accusation given that Zone9 is a public website.

For the past two years, Endalk and four other Zone9 members also ran the Amharic edition of Global Voices Online. The group translated to Amharic (the dominant local language in Ethiopia) Global Voices posts written by contributors from around the world—particularly those related to activism, freedom of expression, and censorship— of strong relevance to an Ethiopian audience whose state-controlled media is heavily censored.

Read more at Global Voices Online »

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Professor Mohammed Tahiro for US Senate

Professor Mohammed Tahiro of Texas is running for US Senate as a write-in candidate in the upcoming midterm U.S. elections. (tahiro2014.org)

Tahiro2014.org

Mohammed Abbajebel Tahiro was born in Ethiopia in 1964. After completing his elementary and secondary education, he enrolled at Addis Ababa University with an academic interest in theoretical physics. Due to political upheaval and social instability, he left the country for a brief sojourn in Nairobi, Kenya before making the long journey to the United States of America in 1989.

Mohammed met and married his wife Shadia Omar in 1996 during his stay in Minneapolis. They have four school-aged children. The Tahiros relocated to North Texas where he was instrumental in establishing and running a logistics company that employed dozens of workers and subcontractors for more than a decade.

He continued his collegiate career at the University of Texas system and earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in Economics; and for the past eight years, he has been teaching in his field of discipline. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Economics at Collin College in Plano, Texas.

As an avid student of Economics, Professor Tahiro has studied the US deficit and budget crisis, and has designed an effective framework for sustainable reduction of the ballooning debt. As an immigrant, he understands the unspoken nuances of the immigration reform proposals, and he is positioned to lend salient contributions to the discourse that is informed by his passionate appreciation for the value of the American Promise.

Mohammed Abbajebel Tahiro is an American in the State of Texas with an effective and sustainable plan to represent the interests of the diverse constituents in the Lone Star State.

More information about the candidate at Tahiro2014.org »

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Ethiopia-to-Djibouti Rail to Be Complete in a Year, PM Says

(Photo: ertagov)

Bloomberg News

By William Davison

An electrified rail link from Ethiopia’s capital along its main trade route to neighboring Djibouti will be completed by October 2015, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said.

The Railways Corp. project, funded with a $1.6 billion advance from the Export-Import Bank of China and by Ethiopia’s government, is half complete, he said yesterday in the capital, Addis Ababa.

“Priority has been given to it,” Hailemariam said in response to questions from members of parliament. “Next October, the line will be finished.”

The 656-kilometer (408-mile) railway is part of a five-year growth plan for Ethiopia started in mid-2010 that seeks to spend 569.2 billion birr ($28 billion) of public and private funding on infrastructure and industry. The new route to Djibouti may halve travel times, according to the government.

Seven out of 10 cane factories being built by the state-owned Sugar Corp. will also be completed in a year’s time, with the rest finished in the subsequent six months, the premier said. “We will be able to export the sugar they produce this year,” he said, referring to the Ethiopian calendar year that ends Sept. 11.

Sugar Corp. signed $580 million of government-guaranteed loans last October with the China Development Bank to finance six processors in the South Omo region, while China’s Ex-Im Bank provided a credit line of $500 million in May for a sugar plant in the northern Tigray region, according to data on the Finance Ministry’s website.

Read more at Bloomberg News »

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UPDATE: Ethiopia Protected From Possible al-Shabab Attacks

People walk through the streets of a shopping area in Addis Ababa. (Photo: Reuters)

VOA News

By Marthe van der Wolf

October 17, 2014

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the country is protected at all times from attacks by the Somali militant group al-Shabab but is asking its citizens to be vigilant. The American Embassy in Addis Ababa issued a terror warning earlier this week.

Ethiopia’s government says that despite the terror alert issued by the U.S. Embassy this week, the country is safe.

Ambassador Taye Atske Selassie, of Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, spoke to international diplomats in Addis Ababa Friday morning.

“We would like to assure our diplomatic community in Addis that we are taking every step that al-Shabab will not have foothold, not only in the city but also in this country,” he said.

The U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia’s capital warned Tuesday it had credible reports that the Somali militant group al-Shabab may be planning an attack in the Bole area of Addis Ababa. Bole is an upscale neighborhood with many hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and bars frequently visited by both Ethiopians and foreigners.

US security warning

The warning – posted on the U.S. State Department website – said it had no exact targets by but warned American citizens to avoid public places in Bole. The alert said al-Shabab may be targeting Addis Ababa in retaliation for Ethiopian troops taking part in AU military operations against the Islamist group in Somalia.

Africa Union forces have been successful in breaking al-Shabab’s grip on Somalia during the past three years and have liberated close to 70 percent of areas under the group’s control. The latest success was in Barawe – the last strategic town held by al-Shabab.

U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, Patricia Haslach says the embassy is not trying to undermine the Ethiopian government on security issues.

“If we have access to information we need to share it with the American public, that is law and that is what I operate under. I can also assure you that we work extremely closely with the Ethiopian government and they were notified ahead of time of our intentions,” she said.

Ethiopia’s government is also asking its citizens to be vigilant at times against any group that wants to harm Ethiopia as the country remains in a state of high alert.

Ethiopia has not had large scale terrorist attacks compared to other countries in the region contributing troops to the AU military mission in Somalia.

Kenya has been hardest hit with multiple attacks and kidnappings; the most recent being the 2013 terror attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall in which 67 people were killed.

Related:
US Embassy Warns of al-Shabab Attack in Ethiopia

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Boom Times for Ethiopia’s Coffee Shops

Tomoca now has five cafes across Addis Ababa. (Photo: BBC)

BBC News

By James Jeffrey

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Traditionally it takes rather a long time to be served a cup of coffee in Ethiopia – but things are now speeding up.

As coffee plants originate from the east African nation – where they first grew wild before cultivation started in the country more than 1,000 years ago – it is perhaps unsurprising that Ethiopians take coffee drinking very seriously.

So much so that Ethiopia has a ceremonial method of making coffee at home that continues to this day.

The ceremony sees raw beans roasted over hot coals, with each person in attendance being invited to savour the smell of the fumes. The beans are then ground with a wooden pestle and mortar before finally being brewed – twice – in a clay boiling pot called a jebena.

While the resulting coffee is inevitably delicious, the whole process can take more than an hour. And a growing number of Ethiopians say they no longer have the time.

And so, as Ethiopia’s economy continues to expand strongly, more people – led by young professionals in the capital Addis Ababa – are instead buying pre-roasted beans, or visiting coffee shops to have their favourite drink made for them.

It means boom times for the country’s independent coffee roasters and cafes, who have seen their numbers rise and some are even looking to expand overseas.

Read more at BBC.com »

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Ali Mazrui: Death of A Towering Intellectual

Ali Mazrui, who has died at the age of 81, is regarded as one of Africa's foremost intellectuals. BBC News looks back at how the Kenyan academic and political writer influenced a post-colonial generation. (BBC)

BBC News

Mr Mazrui has been a household name in Kenya and beyond.

Born in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa on 24 February 1933, some 20 years before the Mau Mau uprising against British colonial rule, he always portrayed himself as a true patriot.

In his series of essays On Heroes and Uhuru-Worship, he wrote as an African scholar deeply involved in the fight for the freedom of his people, expressing empathy with those on the front line of the battle against colonialists.

“What about blaming the freedom fighter for the atrocities committed by the security forces contending him?” he asked.


Ali Mazrui wrote extensively about colonialism.


He condemned the atrocities committed by colonial rulers

Mr Mazrui’s writings, though embedded in history, still resonate because he talks about the need to recognise national heroes, without worshipping them.

They also give insight into some of the greatest concerns currently facing the world as he wrote about terrorism and Islam.

In one of his books, Islam between Globalisation and Counter Terrorism, he explained how the religion was entrapped in the danger of rising extremism.

Read more at BBC.com »

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Protest Planned Over Sentencing in Abuse of Adopted Ethiopian Children

Douglas, left, and Kristen Barbour, right, leave the Allegheny County Courthouse in Pennsylvania after being sentenced by Judge Jeffrey Mannin. (Photo: Bob Donaldson/Post-Gazette)

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

By Paula Reed Ward

A member of the Allegheny County Children, Youth and Families advisory board is organizing an event Friday to protest what she considers a lenient sentence for a former Franklin Park couple accused of abusing their adopted Ethiopian children.

“My personal calling is advocating for the most vulnerable children,” said Joanna Huss, who runs a public relations firm.

She is angry about the sentences received by Douglas and Kristen Barbour, who prosecutors said withheld food from the 6-year-old boy they adopted and forced him to lie in his own urine, and allowed the 1-year-old girl, who ultimately sustained a brain injury, to remain untreated for fractures she suffered.

The couple pleaded no contest to endangering the welfare of children. Douglas Barbour pleaded to two misdemeanor counts, with an agreement with prosecutors for a sentence of probation. Kristen Barbour pleaded to two felony counts, and her sentence was left up to the court.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning ordered Douglas Barbour to serve five years’ probation and sentenced his wife in the standard recommended guideline range — originally setting the penalty at six to 12 months alternative housing. But her attorney, Robert E. Stewart, filed a motion for reconsideration, saying that if she were forced to serve that sentence there would be no one at home to care for the couple’s two biological children because her husband works.

On Friday, the judge modified the sentence, requiring Kristen Barbour to serve her sentence at the Mercer County jail, but with work release. She will be allowed to leave the jail five days a week to go home and care for her children but report back each night.

Ms. Huss said she felt sickened by the sentence imposed. The protest at noon on Friday in the Allegheny County Courthouse courtyard is designed to bring attention to sentencing guidelines in Pennsylvania for crimes against children, generally, and to what she feels is an “injustice” in the Barbours’ case, specifically.

Amie Downs, a spokeswoman for county CYF, had no comment.

The protest is being conducted in Huss’ role as a private citizen, she said.

“I want people who have read about this to stand up,” Ms. Huss said. “Children who are abused — if there is a light sentence for the perpetrator, it’s no deterrent.

“It sends a message that we as a society don’t care.”

Read more news at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette »

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U.S. Embassy: No Confirmed or Suspected Cases of Ebola in Ethiopia

(Image: Ebola virus under the microscope)

U.S. Embassy – Ethiopia

Press release

Message for U.S. Citizens: Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Update

The U.S. Embassy would like to provide an update to our August 12, 2014 Information Message for U.S. Citizens regarding the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

Ethiopia continues to have no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola.

The Embassy is aware of erroneous media reporting regarding suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola in Ethiopia. Ethiopian government officials have also recently dismissed such rumors. U.S. Embassy officials, including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), continue to maintain a close working relationship with the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health and the Ethiopian Public Health Institute in both preparation and prevention of EVD.

The U.S. Embassy would like to again point U.S. Citizens traveling or residing in Ethiopia to consult online resources to best educate themselves about EVD. Visit both the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) websites for this specific information via the links below:

CDC Ebola Website – http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Ethiopia enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Ethiopia. For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us onTwitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa is located at Entoto Street, P.O. Box 1014. The Consular Section of the Embassy may be reached by telephone: +251-111-306000 or e-mail at consacs@state.gov, and is open Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. For after-hours emergencies, U.S. citizens should call +251-111-306911 or 011-130-6000 and ask to speak with the duty officer.
—-
Related:
Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

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US Embassy Warns of al-Shabab Attack in Ethiopia

Ethiopia map. (Credit: VOA)

VOA News

October 15, 2014

The U.S. embassy in Ethiopia is warning of a possible terrorist attack in a part of the capital, Addis Ababa.

The embassy says it has received reports that Somali militant group al-Shabab intends to target Bole, a southeastern district of the city.

An embassy statement says the location of the alleged possible attack is not known but says “restaurants, hotels, places of worship, supermarkets and shopping malls in the Bole area should be avoided until further notice because they are possible targets for a potential imminent terrorist attack.”

It also advises U.S. citizens to avoid large crowds and places where both Ethiopians and Westerners often go.

Ethiopia is one of several African countries that have troops in Somalia fighting al-Shabab.

The militant group has suffered reversals, including the recent death of its leader in a U.S. drone strike, but continues to launch deadly attacks.

Last year, an al-Shabab attack on a mall in Nairobi left at least 67 people dead.

Twice this year, the group has attacked the Somali presidential palace in Mogadishu.

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Authorities in Ethiopia Convict Journalist Temesghen Desalegn

Temesghen Desalegn has been convicted in connection with a 2012 defamation case. (CPJ)

CPJ

October 15, 2014

Nairobi — An Ethiopian court on Monday convicted journalist and magazine owner Temesghen Desalegn in connection with a 2012 defamation case, according to news reports and local journalists.

The Federal High Court in the capital, Addis Ababa, found Temesghen guilty of incitement, defamation, and false publication in connection with a series of opinion pieces published in Feteh (“Justice”), the journalist’s now-defunct weekly newsmagazine, according to local journalists’ translation of the charge sheet that was reviewed by CPJ. Authorities took Temesghen into custody Monday afternoon.

If convicted, the journalist could face up to 10 years in prison, according to his lawyer, Ameha Mekonnen. His sentencing is scheduled for October 27, according to news reports.

Information Minister Redwan Hussein said the case stemmed from articles published in Feteh about two years ago, according to news reports. Two of the articles discussed the peaceful struggles of Ethiopian youth movements for political change and two columns criticized alleged government efforts to violently suppress student protesters and ethnic minorities, according to the charge sheet.

Temesghen was briefly arrested in August 2012 on the same charges, but authorities dropped the charges and released him five days later without explanation, he told CPJ at the time. A judge in the Federal High Court revived the charges in February 2013 after a state prosecutor announced in court in December 2012 that the charges would be refiled against him.

The court on Monday also convicted in absentia Mastewal Birhanu, the former publisher of Feteh, with inciting the public to violence by printing the magazine, according to the charge sheet.

“In case the recent crackdown on current publications in Ethiopia did not illustrate authorities’ fear of independent voices, they have now resorted to convicting a journalist on two-year-old criminal defamation charges,” said CPJ East Africa Representative Tom Rhodes. “We urge Ethiopian authorities to drop this case–as they did once before–and free Temesghen Desalegn immediately.”

Authorities have routinely targeted Temesghen’s writing. In May 2012, he was given a four-month suspended prison sentence and fine after Feteh published a statement made by imprisoned journalist Eskinder Nega during his trial. Temesghen paid the fine.

The government ordered printers to block the distribution of Feteh in July 2012 in connection with a series of articles about the health of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, local journalists said. Authorities blocked three other subsequent publications started by Temesghen, including Addis Times, Le’ilena (“Magnanimity”), and the latest, Fact, according to local journalists.

The last edition of Fact was published in September 2014 after authorities ordered printers to cease publishing the magazine, local journalists told CPJ. In August, the Justice Ministry accused Fact and five other independent weekly publications of inciting violence, publishing false news, and undermining public confidence in the government. All publications have since ceased publication.

Last week, an Ethiopian court sentenced in absentia to three-year jail terms the general managers of three of the publications, including Fact, Addis Guday, and Lomi. The general managers are accused of inciting the public by spreading false information and subverting the constitutional order, according to news reports.

A state crackdown on independent publications and bloggers has taken place in Ethiopia this year, prompting several Ethiopian journalists to flee into exile in 2014, according to CPJ research. With at least 17 journalists in jail, Ethiopia is the second leading jailer of journalists in Africa, second only to its neighbor Eritrea, CPJ research shows.

Related:
Ethiopian Editor Convicted for Inciting Public With Articles (Bloomberg)

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The World Health Organization: Ebola Epidemic ‘Could Lead to Failed States’

The Ebola epidemic threatens the "very survival" of societies and could lead to failed states, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned. (BBC)

BBC News

The outbreak, which has killed some 4,000 people in West Africa, has led to a “crisis for international peace and security”, WHO head Margaret Chan said.

She also warned of the cost of panic “spreading faster than the virus”.

Meanwhile, medics have largely ignored a strike call in Liberia, the centre of the deadliest-ever Ebola outbreak.

Nurses and medical assistants had been urged to strike over danger money and conditions. However, most were working as normal on Monday, the BBC’s Jonathan Paye-Layleh in Monrovia said.

A union official said the government had coerced workers – but the government said it had simply asked them to be reasonable.

In a speech delivered on her behalf at a conference in the Philippines, Ms Chan said Ebola was a historic risk.

“I have never seen a health event threaten the very survival of societies and governments in already very poor countries,” she said. “I have never seen an infectious disease contribute so strongly to potential state failure.”

She warned of the economic impact of “rumours and panic spreading faster than the virus”, citing a World Bank estimate that 90% of the cost of the outbreak would arise from “irrational attempts of the public to avoid infection”.

Ms Chan also criticised pharmaceutical firms for not focusing on Ebola, condemning a “profit-driven industry [that] does not invest in products for markets that cannot pay”.

Read more at BBC News »

Related:
Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

Video: New US Ebola Case Raises Fears (MSNBC)

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Ethiopia’s Top Ten Religious Highlights

Travel Pulse lists religious sites in Lalibela, Axum, Harar, Debre Birhan, Bahir Dar, Tigray, Gondar, Sheikh Hussein (southeastern Ethiopia) and Debre Libanos as Ethiopia's top ten religious highlights.

Travel Pulse

Ethiopia is emerging from the shadowy sidelines of the world community and joining the global travel industry, bringing its attractions to market. The richness of the country’s historical sites will surprise most people who have never visited the country before. Besides its fertile sub-saharan landscape and natural wonders, the East African country has a wealth of historical sites, and many major religious sites.

NTA (National Tour Association) recently conducted a Product Development Trip to Ethiopia, sponsored by the Ethiopian government, to introduce American tour operators to the country’s tourism possibilities.

Read more and see the list at travelpulse.com »

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New US Ebola Case Raises Fears

New US Ebola Case in Dallas, Texas raises fears. (Photo: VOA )

VOA News

By Michael Bowman

October 13, 2014

U.S. health officials are scrambling to respond to a new Ebola case – that of a nurse in Dallas, Texas, who cared for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who died last week.

America’s medical community is reviewing and tightening protocols to detect and contain the virus, as officials around the world express growing alarm about the deadly disease.

Hazardous materials workers cleaned out the apartment of a Dallas nurse, said to be in her 20s, who tested positive for Ebola. Neighbors are unnerved.

Extensive protective gear and rigorous hospital protocols designed to prevent transmission of the virus evidently failed, prompting many questions but few answers. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden cannot rule out even more cases being detected. He told CBS “Face the Nation” TV program that there was clearly “a breach in protocol.”

“We know from many years of experience that it is possible to care for patients with Ebola safely without risk to health care workers,” he said. “But we also know that it is hard, that even a single breach can result in contamination.”

Amid the finger-pointing, a complaint from an American nurses association. Katy Roemer says nurses are not getting the information they need to protect themselves.

“When the nurses become infected, they are blamed for not following the protocols,” she said. “This is not going to work.”

Major U.S. airports have strengthened health screening procedures for passengers arriving from Africa. That may not be enough, according to Republican Congressman Michael McCaul, who does not rule out temporarily halting U.S. visas granted in parts of Africa.

“The American people are rightfully concerned,” he said. “They are concerned because the Ebola virus is an unseen threat. And it is only a plane flight away from our shores.”

Mounting fears extend beyond countries that have registered Ebola cases. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

“This is a global epidemic,” he said. “We are cooperating with other countries, in addition to preserving our borders.”

But panic is unwarranted and unhelpful, according to Dr. Ian Smith of the World Health Organization.

“Fear of infection has spread around the world much faster than the virus,” he cautioned.

Amid mounting anxieties, some possible good news: Russian health officials say they have developed vaccines against Ebola that are ready for testing.

Related:
Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic
Obama Calls for Better Protocol in US Ebola Cases

Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland (Video)

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Dublin Airport Announces Direct Flights to LA and Addis Ababa

Ethiopian Airlines will fly from Addis Ababa to LA with a stopover in Dublin from next summer, creating two new direct routes from Ireland in the process. (Photo by Gediyon Kifle for Tadias)

Independent.ie

By Pól Ó Conghaile

Dublin Airport’s route network for 2015 is rapidly expanding.

The airport’s latest coup comes in the shape of a stopover on a new Ethiopian Airlines route from Addis Ababa to LA – a move that will create two new year-round direct flights for the capital.

Ethiopian will sell both the Dublin-LA and the Dublin-Addis Ababa segments separately, Dublin Airport said in a statement issued this evening.

Three return flights per week will operate from Addis Ababa to Los Angeles from June 15th next, using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

The aircraft will have a two-hour stopover in Dublin.

Ireland has granted Ethiopian what are termed fifth freedom rights, enabling the airline to sell tickets on all sectors of the new route.

Read more »

Related:
Ethiopian Receives its 10th Dreamliner, the Largest Operator of the Aircraft in Africa

In Pictures: First Ethiopian airlines 787 Dreamliner lands in D.C. (2012)

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Chicago Marathon Results: Kenenisa 4th

Ethiopia's Kenensia Bekele, the greatest track distance runner of all time, was fourth in 2:05:51 in his second career marathon at the The 2014 Bank of America Chicago marathon on Sunday, October 12th.

Guardian LV

By Beth Balen

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

The 2014 Bank of America Chicago marathon, one of the big six World Marathon Majors, has been won by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge in 2:04:11, his first World Marathon Majors win, 7 seconds off his personal best time.

The other favorite, the fastest man in history at 5,000 and 10,000 meters, Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, ended the race in fourth place, with a time of 2:05:51 for his second marathon.

The runner-up position went to Kenyan Sammy Kitwara with a time of 2:04:28. Dickson Chumba of Kenya was third in 2:04:32. The top American, Bobby Curtis, finished ninth overall with a 2-minute personal record of 2:11:20 in his World Marathon debut.

Read more at Guardianlv.com »

Related:
Kenyans sweep Chicago Marathon; Kenenisa Bekele fourth (NBC Sports)

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Dam Rising in Ethiopia Stirs Hope and Tension – The New York Times

The main component of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, along the Blue Nile, is 32 percent complete. (Photograph credit: Jacey Fortin for The New York Times)

The New York Times

By JACEY FORTIN

OCT. 11, 2014

GUBA, Ethiopia — There is a remote stretch of land in Ethiopia’s forested northwest where the dust never settles. All week, day and night, thousands of workers pulverize rocks and lay concrete along a major tributary of the Nile River. It is the site of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the continent’s biggest hydropower plant and one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects ever in Africa.

Ethiopia is a poor country, often known best for its past famines, but officials say the dam will be paid for without foreign assistance — a point of national pride. Computer-generated images of the finished structure are framed in government offices, splashed across city billboards and broadcast in repeated specials on the state-owned television channel.

“We lean on the generousness of the rest of the world,” said Zadig Abrha, deputy director of the dam’s public mobilization office. “So there is a conviction on the part of the public to change this, to regain our lost greatness, to divorce ourselves from the status quo of poverty. And the first thing that we need to do is make use of our natural resources, like water.”

Ethiopia, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, has poured its resources into a slew of megaprojects in recent years, including dams, factories, roads and railways across the country.

But its strong, state-driven approach has been criticized for displacing rural communities, elbowing out private investors and muzzling political dissent. The Renaissance Dam, its biggest project, has met with resistance even outside Ethiopia’s borders, setting off a heated diplomatic battle with Egypt that, at one point, led to threats of war.

Read more at NYT »

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Ethiopia Says US Embassy Intruders Must Be Charged – Associated Press

The former security attache for the Ethiopian Embassy in DC, Solomon Tadesse, who has since returned home, fired a gun during a protest at the Embassy compound on Monday, September 29th, 2014.

Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

Oct 10, 2014

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia’s government said it hopes U.S. authorities will prosecute protesters who tried to take down the national flag on the grounds of its embassy in Washington.

A security attache at the embassy, who has since returned home, fired a gun during the Sept. 29 incident, which has renewed tensions between Ethiopia’s government and dissident groups.

Dina Mufti, a spokesman for Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Ethiopian state television late Thursday that the protesters have ties with Eritrea and the Somali Islamic extremist group al-Shabab.

He said the U.S. government is expected to protect the integrity of the embassy and to charge the “intruders,” who chanted anti-government slogans as they tried to take down the flag of Ethiopia.

But on Oct. 2, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman in Washington indicated that authorities were instead looking to investigate the shooting incident, which reportedly caused no injuries.

“In this case, we requested a waiver of (diplomatic) immunity to permit prosecution of the individual involved in that incident. The request was declined and the individual involved has now left the country,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Oct. 2.

Critics of Ethiopia’s government say it is intolerant of political dissent. Human Rights Watch says Ethiopia’s government has “clamped down heavily” on protests, arbitrarily detaining and beating protesters.

Yilikal Getnet, head the opposition Blue Party, said Ethiopia’s government routinely characterizes protesters as criminals, adding that opposition groups back home have been similarly treated.

DC Ethiopian Embassy Shooting Sparks Rival Protests


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

VOA News

By Pamela Dockins

October 07, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diplomat Memo: Ambassador Girma Biru on DC Ethiopian Embassy Shooting


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

Diplomat News Network

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ethiopian Diplomat Flees US to Dodge Prosecution, US Official Confirms


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

The Hill

By Mario Trujillo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. (Getty Images)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »


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

The Washington Post

By Victoria St. Martin

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

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

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

Read more and watch video at The Washington Post »

Related:

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

DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

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Malala, Indian Activist Awarded Nobel Prize

This year's Nobel Peace Prize winners are Indian children's right activist Kailash Satyarthi, left, and Pakistani schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai. (Reuters)

VOA News

October 10, 2014

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded jointly to Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai and Indian children right’s campaigner Kailash Satyarthi.

In announcing the winners Friday, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said the prize was awarded for “their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to an education.”

Malala rose to fame after Taliban militants shot her at close range in the head for speaking out against the Islamic extremists and demanding education for girls.

Satyarthi has headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the exploitation of children for financial gain. He also has helped develop important international conventions on children’s rights.

Congratulating the winners Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he thought the joint award was “terrific.”

“I think the two of them together represent and incredibly appropriate statement about the importance of women and children,” said Kerry.

Yousafzai and Satyarthi will be invited to a December awards ceremony in Oslo, Norway, where they will be given a medal and over $1 million in prize money.

In his speech Friday, Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland said the joint prize was symbolic because it was important for “a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism.”

Undeterred by bullets

Malala’s hometown of Mingora in Pakistan’s Swat Valley was infiltrated by militants from Afghanistan more than six years ago and for a time the community was living under the influence of the Pakistani Taliban. The Taliban set up courts, executed residents and closed girls’ schools, including the one that Malala attended.

Under a pen name, she began writing a blog about the harsh living conditions under Taliban rule.

On October 9, 2012, Taliban gunmen fired on Malala’s school bus, shooting her in the head and neck and wounding two of her classmates.

She was treated in Pakistan and later in Britain, where doctors mended parts of her skull with a titanium plate. She recovered enough to celebrate her 16th birthday last year with a passionate speech at the United Nations in New York, in which she appealed for compulsory free schooling for all children.

Malala told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and nearly 1,000 students attending an international Youth Assembly at U.N. headquarters that education was the only way to improve lives.

“Let us pick up our books and our pens,” she said. “They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.”

Malala has gone on to make several public appearances and has received a number of honors. In September 2013, she was given the Clinton Global Citizens Awards at a ceremony in New York.

Satyarthi fights to protect child laborers

Malala’s co-winner, Satyarthi, has campaigned for children’s rights in India for many years. He and other activists raided factories and other facilities to free children who were held in slave labor conditions. They also started an organization to educate the children and help them integrate into society.

“It’s a great honor for all those children who are deprived of their childhood globally,” Sayyarthi said upon receiving the news. “It’s an honor to all my fellow Indians who have got this honor. It’s not just an honor for me. It’s an honor for all those who were fighting against child labor globally.”

Born in Vidisha, India, in 1954, the husband and father of two gave up his career as an electrical engineer to concentrate on freeing children from slave labor. He also advocates for the right of all children to an education.

Satyarthi founded the New Delhi-based Bachpan Bachao Andolan, or Save the Childhood Movement, which fights child labor, child trafficking and child servitude. He heads the Global March Against Child Labor, a network of 2,000 civil society organizations and trade unions in 140 countries.

He also has led various forms of peaceful protest against exploiting children for financial gain.

The Nobel Prize, he said, means “people will give more attention to the cause of children in the world.”

Strategic recognition?

Satyarthi and Yousafzai both work on behalf of children, and they work in neighboring countries. But their countries have a deep mutual mistrust, and there have been several deadly border clashes this week.

The juxtaposition was not lost on Mustafa Kadri, South Asia specialist at the Human Rights organization Amnesty International.

“My feeling, personally, is the Nobel Committee is sending a message, which is to say that both India and Pakistan have a shared destiny,” he said. “They have the same sorts of challenges. They have very similar activists fighting for a better future for the children of these countries.”

Kadri and other experts pointed out Friday that while giving the Nobel Peace Prize to two children’s rights advocates is a tribute to the work they have done, it is also a statement about how much more work there is to do.

VOA’s Al Pessin and Selah Hennessy contributed to this report. Some material also came from Reuters.

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In Ethiopia Long Jail Sentences for Three Magazine Owners

Ethiopia's Minister of Justice, Getachew Ambaye. (Photo via en.rsf.org)

Reporters Without Borders

PUBLISHED ON WEDNESDAY 8 OCTOBER 2014.

They fled the country before the trial and were convicted in absentia

Ethiopia’s federal supreme court yesterday sentenced three magazine owners in absentia to more than three years in prison on charges of “inciting violent revolts, printing and distributing unfounded rumours and conspiring to unlawfully abolish the constitutional system of the country.”

The three, who fled the country when the prosecution was mooted, are Addis Guday publisher Endalkachew Tesfaye, Lomi publisher Gizaw Taye and Fact publisher Fatuma Nuriya. Their jail terms range from three years and three months to three years and eleven months.

Ethiopia’s justice ministry announced in August that it was bringing criminal charges against these three magazines and three other weeklies – Enqu, Jano and Afro-Times.

“The sentences imposed on these three magazine owners are shocking,” said Cléa Kahn-Sriber, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Africa desk. “The clearly outrageous grounds for their conviction are indicative of how a very authoritarian regime is manipulating the justice system. This type of persecution amounts to banning independent media in Ethiopia altogether.”

The authorities have been stepping up their persecution of news and information providers for the past several months. Six bloggers and three journalists (including an Addis Guday reporter) have been held since April. After repeated postponements, their trial is now scheduled for 15 October.

In June, 18 journalists were fired from Oromia Radio and Television Organization (ORTO), the main state-owned broadcaster in Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest region, for supposedly having “narrow political views.” The dismissal order came from the government.

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

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Enhanced Ebola Screening to Start at Five U.S. Airports

Atlanta International Airport. (AP Photo)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Press Release

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs & Border Protection (CBP) this week will begin new layers of entry screening at five U.S. airports that receive over 94 percent of travelers from the Ebola-affected nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

New York’s JFK International Airport will begin the new screening on Saturday. In the 12 months ending July 2014, JFK received nearly half of travelers from the three West African nations. The enhanced entry screening at Washington-Dulles, Newark, Chicago-O’Hare, and Atlanta international airports will be implemented next week.

“We work to continuously increase the safety of Americans,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “We believe these new measures will further protect the health of Americans, understanding that nothing we can do will get us to absolute zero risk until we end the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.”

“CBP personnel will continue to observe all travelers entering the United States for general overt signs of illnesses at all U.S. ports of entry and these expanded screening measures will provide an additional layer of protection to help ensure the risk of Ebola in the United States is minimized,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson. “CBP, working closely with CDC, will continue to assess the risk of the spread of Ebola into the United States, and take additional measures, as necessary, to protect the American people.”

CDC is sending additional staff to each of the five airports. After passport review:

* Travelers from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone will be escorted by CBP to an area of the airport set aside for screening.

* Trained CBP staff will observe them for signs of illness, ask them a series of health and exposure questions and provide health information for Ebola and reminders to monitor themselves for symptoms. Trained medical staff will take their temperature with a non-contact thermometer.

* If the travelers have fever, symptoms or the health questionnaire reveals possible Ebola exposure, they will be evaluated by a CDC quarantine station public health officer. The public health officer will again take a temperature reading and make a public health assessment. Travelers, who after this assessment, are determined to require further evaluation or monitoring will be referred to the appropriate public health authority.

* Travelers from these countries who have neither symptoms/fever nor a known history of exposure will receive health information for self-monitoring.

Entry screening is part of a layered process that includes exit screening and standard public health practices such as patient isolation and contact tracing in countries with Ebola outbreaks. Successful containment of the recent Ebola outbreak in Nigeria demonstrates the effectiveness of this approach.

These measures complement the exit screening protocols that have already been implemented in the affected West African countries, and CDC experts have worked closely with local authorities to implement these measures. Since the beginning of August, CDC has been working with airlines, airports, ministries of health, and other partners to provide technical assistance for the development of exit screening and travel restrictions in countries affected by Ebola. This includes:

  • Assessing the capacity to conduct exit screening at international airports;
  • Assisting countries with procuring supplies needed to conduct exit screening;
  • Supporting with development of exit screening protocols;
  • Developing tools such as posters, screening forms, and job-aids; and
  • Training staff on exit screening protocols and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)

    Today, all outbound passengers are screened for Ebola symptoms in the affected countries. Such primary exit screening involves travelers responding to a travel health questionnaire, being visually assessed for potential illness, and having their body temperature measured. In the last two months since exit screening began in the three countries, of 36,000 people screened, 77 people were denied boarding a flight because of the health screening process. None of the 77 passengers were diagnosed with Ebola and many were diagnosed as ill with malaria, a disease common in West Africa, transmitted by mosquitoes and not contagious from one person to another.

    Exit screening at airports in countries affected by Ebola remains the principal means of keeping travelers from spreading Ebola to other nations. All three of these nations have asked for, and continue to receive, CDC assistance in strengthening exit screening.

    Related:
    Dallas Ebola Patient Dies at Texas Hospital

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  • Dallas Ebola Patient Dies at Texas Hospital

    Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S. has died in a Dallas, Texas hospital. (Photo: NBC)

    VOA News

    October 08, 2014

    Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital says that Thomas Eric Duncan died Wednesday morning, 10 days after he entered the facility.

    Duncan had come to Dallas from his native Liberia, the epicenter of the West African Ebola outbreak.

    In Washington, the White House confirmed the U.S. will increase Ebola screening measures at airports that handle large numbers of West African passengers.

    Screening measures

    White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the measures would be put in place at five airports: JFK in New York, O’Hare in Chicago, Dulles outside Washington, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta and Newark International Airport in New Jersey.

    The Associated Press reported that officials could begin taking temperatures at JFK as early as this weekend. The screening measures would begin at the other airports next week.

    Duncan had arrived in the U.S. by air on September 20. He did not exhibit signs of Ebola until several days later, and was initially sent home from the Dallas hospital with antibiotics when he first went there on September 25.

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday it is tracking 48 people who had contact or may have had contact with Duncan in the days before he was admitted to the hospital.

    More aid requested

    Also on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it is urgent that more countries step up to help in the fight against Ebola, including sending more money, equipment and staff to contain the spread of the disease.

    In an impassioned plea, Kerry said progress against the disease is being made, but far too slowly and that the world is not where it needs to be in stemming Ebola’s spread.

    Slideshow from Kerry’s presentation

    Speaking with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in Washington, Kerry also said it is essential for airlines to keep flying to West Africa and for borders to remain open to allow for the movement of assistance and medical staff.

    His comments came shortly after Duncan died at a Dallas hospital.

    Earlier Wednesday, the United Nations mission in Liberia said a second member of its staff has contracted Ebola.

    In a statement, the mission said the international medical official is undergoing treatment, but did not specify their nationality. The first infected staff member died last month.

    Disease’s cost to Africa

    And the World Bank said on Wednesday that the regional impact of West Africa’s Ebola epidemic could reach $32.6 billion by the end of 2015 if it spreads significantly beyond the worst-hit countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the World Bank said on Wednesday.

    “The enormous economic cost of the current outbreak to the affected countries and the world could have been avoided by prudent ongoing investment in health systems-strengthening,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement.

    The World Health Organization also reported on Wednesday that nearly 3,900 people have died from the disease, including more than 2,200 in Liberia. The WHO said the total number of cases stands at just over 8,000.

    Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf told Reuters there are signs Ebola is “in decline” in her country.

    But the WHO statement said there is no evidence the epidemic in West Africa is being brought under control. The U.N. agency said a reported fall in the number of cases in Liberia reflects under-reporting by overwhelmed health workers.

    Material for this report came from AFP, AP and Reuters.



    Related:
    Spanish Nurse Becomes First Person to Contract Ebola Outside of Africa (Video)

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    Diplomat Memo: Ambassador Girma Biru on DC Ethiopian Embassy Shooting

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

    Diplomat News Network

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Ethiopian Diplomat Flees US to Dodge Prosecution, US Official Confirms


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

    The Hill

    By Mario Trujillo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. (Getty Images)

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more »


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

    The Washington Post

    By Victoria St. Martin

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

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

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

    Read more and watch video at The Washington Post »

    Related:

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

    DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

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    Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia: A landscape Full of Unique Wildlife

    Bale is known to be home to 78 mammal species and around 300 species of birds and researchers have recently found 22 previously unknown species of butterflies and moths. (Photo by SUE WATT)

    The Independent UK

    By SUE WATT

    Monday 06 October 2014

    Giant mole-rats were the main dish on the menu in Bale Mountains National Park. They are perhaps the weirdest rodents on earth, with an enormous head, big goofy teeth, a long bendy body, and legs as short as a sausage dog’s. Thankfully, looks aren’t important to the Ethiopian wolves that depend on these ugly creatures for sustenance: an estimated 5,000 giant mole-rats per square kilometre help keep the world’s rarest canids alive.

    Only 450 Ethiopian wolves survive today. Some 220 live around Bale’s bleak yet beautiful Sanetti Plateau in southern Ethiopia, a six-hour drive south from Addis Ababa. Despite their rarity, spotting them along the roadside through the National Park is almost as easy as spotting an urban fox in London. They look like foxes too, with deep russet coats and black-tipped tails, but they’re sleeker, taller, and incredibly handsome. In just 15 minutes on the plateau, we saw our first wolf, a juvenile, skulking low, then waiting patiently to pounce on his living lunch.

    You would never see this scene outside Ethiopia – both the wolf and giant mole-rats are endemic to the country. But they’re not the only endemic animals in the National Park, which is the size of Herefordshire. On the Dinsho Trail, we walked along tracks on undulating hillsides with massive juniper trees sheltering mountain nyala and Menelik’s bushbuck, both antelopes unique to Ethiopia. We saw the impressive twisted horns of the male mountain nyala poking from the top of a bush before the rest of him appeared, running ahead to protect his ladies. The smaller Menelik’s bushbuck, almost black with a fluffy coat and shorter horns, was more skittish, dashing into undergrowth on hearing us approach.

    “A lot of things pop up mysteriously here,” resident naturalist James Ndungu commented as we drove through the spectacular Harenna Forest on the Park’s southern slopes. “The other day, we saw a pack of 20 African wild dogs with young ones, so they’re obviously breeding. And a guest saw a black leopard here too.” Harenna is dripping with moss, giant heather and lichen: it’s the kind of place where you feel that trees have eyes and come alive at night.

    Bale is known to be home to 78 mammal species and around 300 species of birds, but who knows what truly lives here? Largely unexplored yet potentially full of exciting discoveries, researchers have recently found 22 previously unknown species of butterflies and moths.

    Read more »

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    Obama Ally Parts With Him on War Powers

    Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, right, talking with Senator Angus S. King Jr. of Maine at a meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee. (Credit Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    The New York Times

    By JONATHAN WEISMAN

    ORANGE, Va. — In June, after he had written a scorching opinion article seeking to constrain the president’s unilateral power to make war, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, one of Barack Obama’s earliest supporters, buttonholed the commander in chief at the White House for what he called “a spirited discussion.”

    The militants of the Islamic State were pouring across the Syrian border into Iraq, and seizing cities where so much American blood and treasure had been spilled. But Mr. Kaine said he told the president in no uncertain terms that if he intended to go to war, he would have to ask Congress’s permission. President Obama politely but firmly disagreed.

    They have been battling ever since.

    Read more at NYT »

    Related:
    Video: Obama Predicts Democrats Will Hold The Senate in Midterm Elections

    Obama, Ethiopia PM Hailemariam Hold Meeting in New York (Video & Text of Remarks)

    THE WHITE HOUSE
    Office of the Press Secretary
    New York City, New York
    September 25, 2014

    REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AND PRIME MINISTER HAILEMARIAM DESALEGN, BEFORE BILATERAL MEETING

    United Nations Building
    New York City, New York
    9:57 A.M. EDT

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I want to extend a warm welcome to Prime Minister Desalegn and his delegation. When I spoke previously at the Africa Summit about some of the bright spots and progress that we’re seeing in Africa, I think there’s no better example than what has been happening in Ethiopia — one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

    We have seen enormous progress in a country that once had great difficulty feeding itself. It’s now not only leading the pack in terms of agricultural production in the region, but will soon be an exporter potentially not just of agriculture, but also power because of the development that’s been taking place there.

    We’re strong trading partners. And most recently, Boeing has done a deal with Ethiopia, which will result in jobs here in the United States. And in discussions with Ban Ki-moon yesterday, we discussed how critical it is for us to improve our effectiveness when it comes to peacekeeping and conflict resolution. And it turns out that Ethiopia may be one of the best in the world — one of the largest contributors of peacekeeping; one of the most effective fighting forces when it comes to being placed in some very difficult situations and helping to resolve conflicts.

    So Ethiopia has been not only a leader economically in the continent, but also when it comes to security and trying to resolve some of the longstanding conflicts there. We are very appreciative of those efforts, and we look forward to partnering with them. This will give us an opportunity to talk about how we can enhance our strategic dialogue around a whole range of issues, from health, the economy, agriculture, but also some hotspot areas like South Sudan, where Ethiopia has been working very hard trying to bring the parties together, but recognizes that this is a challenge that we’re all going to have to work together on as part of an international community.

    So I want to extend my thanks to the Prime Minister for his good work. And we look forward to not only an excellent discussion, but a very productive relationship going forward.

    Mr. Prime Minister.

    PRIME MINISTER DESALEGN: Thank you very much, Mr. President. First of all, I would like to thank you very much for receiving us during this very busy time. We value very much the relationship between the United States and Ethiopia. And as you mentioned, my country is moving, transforming the economy of the nation. But needless to say that the support of the United States in our endeavor to move forward has been remarkable.

    I think the most important thing is to have the human capability to develop ourselves. And the United States has supported us in the various programs that helped us move forward in having healthy human beings that can produce. And as you mentioned, agriculture is the main source of our economic growth, and that has been the case because we do have our farmers which are devoid of malaria, which is the main debilitating disease while producing. So I think that has helped us a lot.

    And we value also the support the United States has offered to us in terms of engaging the private sector, especially your initiative of the Power Africa program, which is taking shape. I think it’s remarkable and a modern kind of approach. And in that sense, we are obliged to thank you very much for this program and to deepen this Power Africa initiative.

    Beyond that, you know that through your initiative and the leaders of the United States, we have the Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which is the most important program, where the private-public partnership is the initiative. We have a number of U.S. investors now engaged in agricultural production, helping the smallholder farmers, which is the basis for our agricultural growth that’s taking place now in Ethiopia.

    Besides, peace and security is very essential for any kind of development to take place. In that sense, our cooperation in peace and security and pacifying the region, the continent, as well as our Horn of Africa — I think this has helped us a lot to bring peace and tranquility in the region. And we’ve feel that we have strong cooperation. We have to deepen it. We have to extend now our efforts to pacify the region and the continent. Of course, also, we have to cooperate globally, not only in Africa, and that relationship has to continue.

    So, Mr. President, thank you very much for receiving us. We value this relationship, which is excellent, and we want to deepen it and continue.

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: Two last points I want to make. Obviously we’ve been talking a lot about terrorism and the focus has been on ISIL, but in Somalia, we’ve seen al-Shabaab, an affiliate of al Qaeda, wreak havoc throughout that country. That’s an area where the cooperation and leadership on the part of Ethiopia is making a difference as we speak. And we want to thank them for that.

    So our counterterrorism cooperation and the partnerships that we have formed with countries like Ethiopia are going to be critical to our overall efforts to defeat terrorism.

    And also, the Prime Minister and the government is going to be organizing elections in Ethiopia this year. I know something about that. We’ve got some midterms coming up. And so we’ll have an opportunity to talk about civil society and governance and how we can make sure that Ethiopia’s progress and example can extend to civil society as well, and making sure that throughout the continent of Africa we continue to widen and broaden our efforts at democracy, all of which isn’t just good for politics but ends up being good for economics as well — as we discussed at the Africa Summit.

    So, thank you very much, everybody.

    END 10:04 A.M. EDT

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    IMF: Ethiopia Needs to Implement Structural Reforms to Sustain Growth

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Ethiopia needs to move from public sector to private investment-driven growth to keep success. (Photo: Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa/Reuters)

    International Business Times

    By Boby Michael

    Despite Ethiopia’s achieving robust economic growth, while keeping inflation below 10% and improving social indicators, the International Money Fund says the country must now replace its public sector-led growth strategy with a private investment-led model for sustainable growth.

    “The sustainability of the current public sector-led growth strategy was threatened by several downside risks – including external financing of the public investment programme, declining prices for export commodities, and weather-related shocks,” IMF said. “Mitigating these risks will necessitate greater policy coherence and appropriate structural reforms going forward, to help shift the balance toward private sector-led, sustainable growth.”

    IMF agreed that Ethiopia’s macroeconomic performance continues to be strong, with robust economic growth supported by higher agricultural production and large public sector and foreign direct investments.

    Inflation remains contained and the fiscal stance at the general government level is cautious, although public enterprises continue to provide an expansionary impulse, IMF said.

    Public and publicly guaranteed external debt is estimated to have increased to about 23% of GDP from 20.5% in 2012/13, the Fund said.

    IMF said tight monetary policy has supported achieving the National Bank of Ethiopia’s (NBE) inflation objective in 2013/14. Base money, the nominal anchor of monetary policy, increased by 17.5% in April 2014, driven mainly by claims on the government.

    The current account deficit is estimated to have widened from $2.8bn (£1.7bn, 6% of GDP) in 2012/13 to $3.5bn in 2013/14 (7.1%). It was financed largely by concessional and non-concessional inflows as well as by foreign direct investment (FDI

    Read more at ibtimes.co.uk »

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    Ethiopian Diplomat Flees US to Dodge Prosecution, US Official Confirms

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

    The Hill

    By Mario Trujillo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. (Getty Images)

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more »


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

    The Washington Post

    By Victoria St. Martin

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

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

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

    Read more and watch video at The Washington Post »

    Related:

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

    DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

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    Why Ethiopia Did Not Bid for Afcon 2017

    Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) President Junedin Basha. (SuperSport)

    SuperSport

    Ethiopia failed to bid for Afcon 2017 after the final list of six countries that beat the deadline was made public on Wednesday.

    Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) had earlier in the month expressed their wish to host the prestigious tournament but after consultations with Caf executive members, EFF President and his executive shelved the plans and instead opted to focus on CHAN 2020 and Afcon 2025.

    Speaking to supersport.com, EFF President Junedin Basha sought to explain the new development expressing his confidence that the country would be bidding for future tournaments.

    “We had wanted to put up a bid but after several discussions with Caf Executives we decided to shelve the plans and prepare for 2020 CHAN and 2025 since we are not yet ready with the infrastructure that includes stadiums which are still under construction. It’s important to note that the 2017 bid was specific for countries that have managed to host top football tournaments and have existing facilities which we don’t have.”

    Read more at Supersport.com »

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    UK Taxpayers Funding Ethiopia’s Security, Though it Holds British Man on Death Row

    UK Government using taxpayer's money to train Ethiopia's security forces while British man is held there on death row. (The Independent)

    The Independent UK

    By CHRIS GREEN, SENIOR REPORTER

    Thursday 02 October 2014

    The Government is using taxpayers’ money to train security forces in Ethiopia who are currently holding a British father of three on death row, The Independent has learnt.

    Andargachew “Andy” Tsege, from London, was seized at an airport in Yemen on 23 June and resurfaced in Ethiopian detention two weeks later, in what his family believe was part of a political crackdown by the country’s government ahead of next year’s elections.

    The 59-year-old sought asylum in Britain in 1979 after being threatened by Ethiopian authorities over his political beliefs. He has since been an outspoken critic of the country’s government and was sentenced to death in absentia in 2009 following a mass trial – a punishment which his family fear may now be carried out.

    According the legal charity Reprieve, which has taken up Mr Tsege’s case, torture is common in Ethiopian prisons at the hands of security staff, who have been known to employ methods such as electrocution, beatings with rifle butts and the tying of bottles of water to men’s testicles.

    In 2012, the UK Government agreed to spend £2 million over five years to fund a series of master’s degrees in “Security Sector Management” for 75 Ethiopian officials. In supporting documents, the Department for International Development (DfID) said the country’s police and defence forces were “considered amongst the best in the region in terms of effectiveness and with regards to human rights”.

    Read more »

    Related:
    Snatched: Justice and Politics in Ethiopia (The Economist)
    Ginbot 7′s Andargachew Tsege: Ethiopia confirms arrest (BBC News)
    Fears for Safety of Returned Opposition Leader (HRW)
    Yemen Extradites Exiled Ethiopian Opposition Chief, British Citizen, to Ethiopia (AFP)
    Ethiopia Ginbot 7 leader facing death penalty ‘extradited from Yemen’ (BBC News)
    UK Stands Accused Over Extradition of Ethiopian Opposition Leader (The Guardian)
    Ethiopia Asks Yemen to Extradite Activist (Al Jazeera)
    Leading Ethiopian Opposition Figure Detained in Yemen (Yemen Times)

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    Republican Lawmaker ‘Outraged’ Over Threats to President Obama, His Family

    House Oversight Committee member Congressman Jason Chaffetz (Republican from Utah) leads the questioning of Secret Service Director Julia Pierson in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, (AP Photo)

    Utah The Deseret News

    SALT LAKE CITY — Hours after a House committee grilled the Secret Service director about a major security lapse at the White House on Sept. 19, whistleblowers revealed Tuesday that an armed security contractor with prior convictions for assault and battery was allowed on an elevator with President Obama during his visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on Sept. 16.

    “You have a convicted felon within an arm’s reach of the president, and they never did a background check,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told The Washington Post on Tuesday evening.

    “Words aren’t strong enough for the outrage I feel for the safety of the President and his family.”

    Obama was at the CDC to discuss the nation’s response to the Ebola virus crisis. The security contractor was allowed to ride in an elevator with the president but was questioned by government agents after he refused to comply with their request to stop filming Obama with his cellphone.

    Agents then questioned the guard and checked a database, which revealed his criminal history, The Washington Post reported.

    “His life was in danger. This country would be a different world today if he had pulled out his gun,” Chaffetz is quoted by The Washington Post.

    Read more »

    Related:
    Watch: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee on Secret Service breach: ‘Heads need to roll’ (MSNBC Video)

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    New Walya Coach Worried About Injuries, Lack of Federation Support

    “I have not got important support like getting video tapes for Mali so I have been depending on friends," says Ethiopia coach Mariano Barreto, speaking about the team's upcoming Afcon 2015 match with Mali.

    Super Sport

    By Collins Okinyo

    Ethiopia coach Mariano Barreto is concerned with the number of injuries that have cropped up in the team ahead of their clash against Mali ahead in the Afcon 2015 qualifiers.

    Barreto also rued missing out on a friendly match to prepare the team ahead of the clash as he noted that he was not happy with the training at the artificial Abebe Bikila stadium because the national stadium was not prepared in time.

    “I had talked to the federation about the need of a friendly match but the game was not effected on time meaning we will go to the match against Mali without any match preparation,” Barreto told supersport.com.

    Read more at Supersport.com »



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    Video: Man Brandishes Gun at Ethiopian Embassy in DC

    Secret Service agents detained an Ethiopian Embassy staff who brandished and appeared to fire a gun outside the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. on Monday, September 29th, 2014. (Images: ESAT)

    Tadias Magazine
    News Update

    September 29th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) The following video footage captured by ESAT shows the gunman brandishing his weapon outside the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. on Monday before shots were fired. Luckily, no one was hurt.

    Reuters reported that U.S. Secret Service agents briefly detained the person, but no arrests were made because he has diplomatic immunity. Reuters added: “A separate video made by a protester and provided to Reuters showed a bullet hole in the windshield of a car protesters said was outside the embassy gates”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Repeated phone calls to the embassy went unanswered.

    Video: Shot Fired outside Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, .D.C (FOX)
    DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

    By Maureen Umeh

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

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

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

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

    No injuries were reported.

    The Embassy of Ethiopia is located at 3506 International Drive, NW.

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    2014 Berlin Marathon Women Results

    Tirfi Tsegaye and Feyse Tadese of Ethiopia were the top two finishers in the women's race at the 2014 Berlin Marathon on Sunday, September 28th. (Photo: Wikimedia commons)

    REUTERS

    Results from the Berlin Marathon Women on Sunday, September 28, 2014

    1. Tirfi Tsegaye Beyene (Ethiopia) 2:20:18
    2. Feyse Tadese (Ethiopia) 2:20:27
    3. Shalane Flanagan (U.S.) 2:21:14
    4. Tadelech Bekele (Ethiopia) 2:23:02
    5. Abebech Afework (Ethiopia) 2:25:02
    6. Kayoko Fukushi (Japan) 2:26:25
    7. Anna Hahner (Germany) 2:26:44
    8. Ines Melchor (Peru) 2:26:48
    9. Rene Kalmer (South Africa) 2:29:27
    10. Adriana da Silva (Brazil) 2:38:05


    Related:
    2014 Berlin Marathon: Men’s Race – Universal Sports Video

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    From Gondar to Ben-Gurion University

    Ethiopians celebrating in Jerusalem. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

    THE JERUSALEM POST

    Ethiopian medical students study at Ben-Gurion University as part of exchange program.

    Naomi Teshome, 23, graduated doctor in Ethiopia, ever saw a cardiac catheterization during her years in medical school. In her two months as a visiting student at Ben-Gurion University’s School for International Health in Beersheba, she observed dozens of such procedures.

    “I’ve always dreamed of having a good medical system and it gives me so much pain to see people who can’t afford treatment,” Teshome told The Media Line. “It makes me really sad. When I see it here, it makes me want more for my country.

    This experience has given me more enthusiasm and commitment to work harder to see a better development of medicine in my country.”

    Teshome was one of three Ethiopian students hosted by the School for International Health just before they graduated.

    Their teacher, Nebiyu Mesfin, an assistant professor of medicine from the University of Gondar, said the young doctors will join a profession that is suffering from a shortage of doctors.

    “Until recently we had just 2,000 doctors for the whole country,” he told The Media Line. “Our population is approaching 90 million and there was a real shortage.

    Read more at The Jerusalem Post »

    Related:
    Rachel Nega: Ethiopian Doctor in Israel Breaking Barriers

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    Obama, PM Hailemariam Hold Meeting in New York (Video & Text of Remarks)

    President Barack Obama during a meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Thursday, September 25, 2014 in New York. Right: National Security Adviser Susan Rice. (Getty Images)

    The Washington Times

    By Dave Boyer

    President Obama called on world leaders Thursday to help stop the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa, saying the epidemic is still raging out of control.

    “This is more than a health crisis,” Mr. Obama said, wrapping up three days of diplomacy surrounding the United Nations General Assembly gathering. “The Ebola virus is spreading at alarming speed. This is a growing threat to regional and global security.”

    Read more at the Washington Times »

    Video: Remarks by Obama, Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Before Their Meeting (See text below)

    25 September 2014
    THE WHITE HOUSE
    Office of the Press Secretary
    New York City, New York
    September 25, 2014

    REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA
    AND PRIME MINISTER HAILEMARIAM DESALEGN
    OF THE FEDERAL DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA
    BEFORE BILATERAL MEETING

    United Nations Building
    New York City, New York
    9:57 A.M. EDT

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I want to extend a warm welcome to Prime Minister Desalegn and his delegation. When I spoke previously at the Africa Summit about some of the bright spots and progress that we’re seeing in Africa, I think there’s no better example than what has been happening in Ethiopia — one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

    We have seen enormous progress in a country that once had great difficulty feeding itself. It’s now not only leading the pack in terms of agricultural production in the region, but will soon be an exporter potentially not just of agriculture, but also power because of the development that’s been taking place there.

    We’re strong trading partners. And most recently, Boeing has done a deal with Ethiopia, which will result in jobs here in the United States. And in discussions with Ban Ki-moon yesterday, we discussed how critical it is for us to improve our effectiveness when it comes to peacekeeping and conflict resolution. And it turns out that Ethiopia may be one of the best in the world — one of the largest contributors of peacekeeping; one of the most effective fighting forces when it comes to being placed in some very difficult situations and helping to resolve conflicts.

    So Ethiopia has been not only a leader economically in the continent, but also when it comes to security and trying to resolve some of the longstanding conflicts there. We are very appreciative of those efforts, and we look forward to partnering with them. This will give us an opportunity to talk about how we can enhance our strategic dialogue around a whole range of issues, from health, the economy, agriculture, but also some hotspot areas like South Sudan, where Ethiopia has been working very hard trying to bring the parties together, but recognizes that this is a challenge that we’re all going to have to work together on as part of an international community.

    So I want to extend my thanks to the Prime Minister for his good work. And we look forward to not only an excellent discussion, but a very productive relationship going forward.

    Mr. Prime Minister.

    PRIME MINISTER DESALEGN: Thank you very much, Mr. President. First of all, I would like to thank you very much for receiving us during this very busy time. We value very much the relationship between the United States and Ethiopia. And as you mentioned, my country is moving, transforming the economy of the nation. But needless to say that the support of the United States in our endeavor to move forward has been remarkable.

    I think the most important thing is to have the human capability to develop ourselves. And the United States has supported us in the various programs that helped us move forward in having healthy human beings that can produce. And as you mentioned, agriculture is the main source of our economic growth, and that has been the case because we do have our farmers which are devoid of malaria, which is the main debilitating disease while producing. So I think that has helped us a lot.

    And we value also the support the United States has offered to us in terms of engaging the private sector, especially your initiative of the Power Africa program, which is taking shape. I think it’s remarkable and a modern kind of approach. And in that sense, we are obliged to thank you very much for this program and to deepen this Power Africa initiative.

    Beyond that, you know that through your initiative and the leaders of the United States, we have the Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which is the most important program, where the private-public partnership is the initiative. We have a number of U.S. investors now engaged in agricultural production, helping the smallholder farmers, which is the basis for our agricultural growth that’s taking place now in Ethiopia.

    Besides, peace and security is very essential for any kind of development to take place. In that sense, our cooperation in peace and security and pacifying the region, the continent, as well as our Horn of Africa — I think this has helped us a lot to bring peace and tranquility in the region. And we’ve feel that we have strong cooperation. We have to deepen it. We have to extend now our efforts to pacify the region and the continent. Of course, also, we have to cooperate globally, not only in Africa, and that relationship has to continue.

    So, Mr. President, thank you very much for receiving us. We value this relationship, which is excellent, and we want to deepen it and continue.

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: Two last points I want to make. Obviously we’ve been talking a lot about terrorism and the focus has been on ISIL, but in Somalia, we’ve seen al-Shabaab, an affiliate of al Qaeda, wreak havoc throughout that country. That’s an area where the cooperation and leadership on the part of Ethiopia is making a difference as we speak. And we want to thank them for that.

    So our counterterrorism cooperation and the partnerships that we have formed with countries like Ethiopia are going to be critical to our overall efforts to defeat terrorism.

    And also, the Prime Minister and the government is going to be organizing elections in Ethiopia this year. I know something about that. We’ve got some midterms coming up. And so we’ll have an opportunity to talk about civil society and governance and how we can make sure that Ethiopia’s progress and example can extend to civil society as well, and making sure that throughout the continent of Africa we continue to widen and broaden our efforts at democracy, all of which isn’t just good for politics but ends up being good for economics as well — as we discussed at the Africa Summit.

    So, thank you very much, everybody.

    END 10:04 A.M. EDT

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    President Obama at the United Nations: Ebola Threat to ‘Regional, Global Security’

    President Barack Obama addresses special meeting on the Ebola outbreak, United Nations, New York, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo)

    VOA News

    September 25, 2014

    Continuing White House efforts to combat the outbreak of Ebola in Africa, U.S. President Barack Obama warned a summit of world leaders in New York on Thursday that the disease is becoming “a growing threat to regional and global security.”

    Addressing the special United Nations meeting on the outbreak, Obama called efforts to stop the virus from spreading “in the interests of the entire world.”

    “In Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, public health systems are near collapse. Economic growth is slowing dramatically,” he said. “If this epidemic is not stopped, this disease could cause a humanitarian catastrophe across the region.”

    Citing recent U.N. commitments to fight the virus, Obama acknowledged some progress but said “it’s not enough.”

    “There’s a significant gap between where we are and where we need to be,” he said, calling on international organizations, member states, foundations and businesses to mobilize resources and offer support.

    “And more citizens — of all nations — can educate themselves on this crisis, contribute to relief efforts and call on their leaders to act,” he said. “Everyone can do something.”

    He then called on UN member states to heed calls from the “front lines” for increased medical supplies and aid.

    “Right now, patients are being left to die in the streets because there’s nowhere to put them and no one to help them,” he said. “One health worker in Sierra Leone compared fighting this outbreak to ‘fighting a forest fire with spray bottles.’ With our help, they can put out the blaze.”

    His comments come on the heels of a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report Tuesday that between 550,000 and 1.4 million people in West Africa could be infected with the Ebola virus by January 20, 2015.

    Based on the assumption that the actual number of Ebola cases has been underreported, the CDC said in a statement that “extensive, immediate actions — such as those already started — can bring the epidemic to a tipping point to start a rapid decline in cases.”

    The agency’s best-case model projects that by getting 70 percent of patients into facilities where the risk for transmission is reduced and burying the dead safely, the epidemic would be “almost ended” by January 20.

    “Stopping Ebola is a priority for the United States,” Obama said. “We will continue to lead and do our part. But this must also be a priority for the world.”

    The president then announced a Friday meeting of 44 nations in Washington aimed at advancing global health security. “And we will work with any country that shares that commitment,” he said.

    $1B plan

    The president announced last week a $1 billion-plus U.S. plan to help West African nations contain Ebola. “We need a broader effort to stop a disease that could kill hundreds of thousands, inflict horrific suffering, destabilize economies, and move rapidly across borders,” Obama said during his speech to the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday.

    “It’s easy to see this as a distant problem — until it is not. And that is why we will continue to mobilize other countries to join us in making concrete commitments, significant commitments to fight this outbreak, and enhance our system of global health security for the long term,” the president added.

    The U.S. has deployed doctors, scientists and military personnel to help “contain the outbreak and pursue new treatments,” Obama said.

    According to the World Health Organization, the exponential spread of the Ebola has now killed almost 3,000 people in West Africa.

    Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf will also take part through teleconference.

    According to news reports by The Associated Press, Sierra Leone on Thursday sealed off an area that is home to more than 1 million people as part of efforts to keep the virus from spreading.

    “The newly declared quarantine areas mean that about one-third of the country’s 6 million people are now living in areas where their movements are heavily restricted,” the report said.

    Also Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry announced the appointment of Ambassador Nancy Powell to lead the Ebola Coordination Unit at the Department of State.

    According to statement by State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, Powell, who most recently served as U.S. Ambassador to India, “served as the State Department’s Senior Coordinator for Avian Influenza.”

    “Ambassador Powell will lead the State Department’s outreach to international partners, including foreign governments, to ensure a speedy and truly global response to this crisis,” Psaki said.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is hosting Thursday’s gathering of world leaders aimed at rallying efforts to contain the outbreak, prevent future ones and treat those who are infected.

    Some information for this report comes from AP.

    Related:
    Ethiopian American Doctors Release Communiqué on Ebola Outbreak

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    Gash Wondimu: Excerpt From Short Story by Agazit Abate

    LA-based Agazit Abate is the daughter of Ethiopian immigrants. "Gash Wondimu" is inspired by the men and women who raised her, the country they left behind and the lives they built with their memories.

    Warscapes Magazine

    By Agazit Abate

    The resting place of the dead is respected here. Straight lines, manicured grass, clean concrete and untouched graves. Everything has its place. There is an order to things here. People die and are buried after careful planning. Death lays neat, it doesn’t pile up here.

    You know, I hear that they even keep bodies in walls. I can’t imagine that. Bodies should go back into the soil, but what do I know.

    You remember when Seifu told us that they were removing bodies from Yosef to build roads in Addis. His family had to collect the bones of his mother, father, and two brothers. The dead are overwhelming the new city there.

    ***

    You always did have bad timing. Looking back on things, I think we both did. Maybe our whole generation had bad timing, maybe that was our problem.

    You slipped into this earth the same way you slipped out, unexpected and displaced. I remember when you told me that your mother didn’t know she was pregnant with you until you began kicking. According to her calculations, you were supposed to arrive during the bright yellow blooms of adey abeba. She believed that you were a boy and that you would be born on new years’ day. She was only half right. You came early, during the rains. She was in a neighbors’ house across town and had to rush home to have you.

    It was 1940. Your mother believed that even though the Italians occupied Ethiopia, her home was free. She wanted to make sure that you were born on your grandfathers’ land, that your umbilical cord would be buried on that piece of earth. She didn’t make it home, but she kept the umbilical cord and buried it where she believed you belong. She said that the soil was soft, that she didn’t have to dig, and that the earth swallowed it. She knew that the land accepted you, that the resistance would succeed, and that the Italians would be leaving Ethiopia.

    We spent decades talking, and you die six months before things start getting interesting. Before protests and revolutions, before leaders fled, were overthrown, and killed. You died before our own two months of silence. Before change took place on our land and before everything stayed the same.

    I had to have conversations without you, sometimes with other people and sometimes with myself, sometimes at this spot, wondering what you would say.

    It’s cyclical. Now is the time for fire. It will burn out and we will deal only with what is left behind. Nothing is new.

    There was so much that we could have spoken about. The world was anxious for a time and you missed it.

    ***

    I’m an old man now. I’m older than I was when you died four years ago. You know what I mean by that. It feels like yesterday, but somehow my body remembers it differently.

    Walking up this hill to see you is getting harder and harder each time I come here. The landscape is crisp and unrelenting and you are resting at the top of what might as well be Entoto. This is a place for young people to come visit old people who have died. Thank God, Tsion decided to give you an upright tomb. Some of them lay flat in the ground. If yours was like that, where would I rest my back? There is no tree to give you shade, no base to give my body comfort. I would have to bring a chair up here. Imagine, carrying a chair all the way up here.

    I look older too. I get senior citizen discounts without even asking. I went on the bus last week and paid the full fare. The bus driver looked at me and said, “You know you only have to pay fifty cents.” I didn’t understand until I sat down and a man whose body has been lived in longer than the emperor, looked at me and nodded his head as if to say, welcome.

    But, I don’t mind getting old. I like it when people call me Gash Wondimu.

    Read more at Warscapes Magazine »

    About the Author:
    Agazit Abate received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Development Studies and Masters Degree in African Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. She works on projects related to cultural production and environmental sustainability.

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    Queen of Sheba, Bati, Massawa Among Top Ten African Restaurants In New York

    Forbes Magazine has named Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant, Bati Kitchen, and Massawa (Eritrean) among the top ten African restaurants in New York based on taste, service, ambiance and consistency.

    Forbes Magazine

    By Farai Gundan

    “I am an African. I am an African foodie. I am an African foodie in New York,” my remixed version of Sting’s classic song “Englishman in New York”.

    It is the best of both worlds. Or is it three worlds? African. Foodie. New York City. Life cannot get any sweeter than this! And September magnifies the beauty of these worlds even more. Three global events take place in New York City in this month alone – New York Fashion Week, The Clinton Global Initiative and the United Nations General Assembly. And the world it seems, descends upon this cosmopolitan mega-city in unprecedented numbers. There are restaurants galore in New York City – to suit every palate, craving and gustatory fetish.

    For most visitors and even New Yorkers themselves, the sheer number of restaurants in New York City can be daunting and overwhelming. So I teamed up with Akin Akinsanya, a fellow African foodie and founder and CEO of New York African Restaurant Week and his team to pick the top 10 African restaurants the Big Apple has to offer its residents and visitors – the adventurous and /or those seeking to satisfy their craving for African food.

    The criteria we used for picking the best African restaurants in New York City was taste, service, ambiance and consistency.

    Here are the top 10 African restaurants in New York City (in no particular order):

    See the list at Forbes.com »

    Photo credit: Queen of Sheba/Timeout

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    Al-Amoudi to Invest $500 Million in Ethiopian Coffee, Oranges

    Mohammed Al Amoudi. (Photo: thecelebworth.com)

    Bloomberg News

    By William Davison

    Horizon Plantations Ethiopia Plc, majority-owned by Saudi billionaire Mohamed al-Amoudi, plans to almost double annual revenue within three years by investing at least $500 million in coffee and orange projects.

    The agriculture company will train workers, improve roads and replace washing units at the Limmu and Bebeka coffee plantations, which together have over 18,000 hectares (44,479 acres) under coffee, General Operations Director Kemal Mohammed said in a Sept. 17 interview in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. The development is part of a five-year program to invest in projects that also include Upper Awash Agro-Industry Enterprise, the country’s largest orange grower with 1,200 hectares of citrus, he said.

    “We are sure because of the initiatives we have now, because of the inputs and techniques we’re applying, the productivity will increase to the maximum at the end of the five years,” Kemal said.

    Ethiopia, Africa’s biggest coffee producer, may see earnings from shipments of Arabica coffee rise 25 percent to about $900 million in 2014-2015 as prices rise because of shortage caused by a drought in Brazil, an exporters’ association said last month. Horizon bought the two coffee farms for 1.6 billion birr ($80 million) last year from the Ethiopian government, which is seeking investment in projects that process agricultural products.

    Horizon has a sales target of 500 million Ethiopian birr by 2017, Kemal said.

    Bebeka, in southwest Ethiopia, is the world’s biggest unfragmented coffee estate with 10,030 hectares under plantation, according to the company’s website. Limmu, 350 kilometers (218 miles) southwest of Addis Ababa in the Oromia region, has 8,000 hectares under coffee and produces 5,000 tons a year of the beans.

    Read more at Bloomberg News »

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    Migrants Caught in No-Man’s Land (Video)

    In the last 20 years more than 20,000 migrants have perished in the sea trying to reach Europe from Africa. This week alone some 800 migrants were reported drowned in the water between Libya and Italy.

    VOA News

    By Lisa Bryant

    The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren’t over.

    Lisa Bryant of VOA has the story:



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    Ethiopia’s Agriculture Hotline Provides Growing Opportunities for Farmers

    An Ethiopian farmer using a mobile phone. The country’s government relies on support in rural areas. (Photograph: Eric Lafforgue/Alamy)

    The Guardian

    By William Davison

    Addis Ababa – Ethiopia’s farmers are flocking to a hotline that provides free agricultural advice about planting crops, using fertiliser and preparing land as part of a government initiative to turn subsistence farmers into surplus sellers.

    The automated hotline has received nearly 1.5m calls from more than 300,000 farmers since it launched 12 weeks ago, according to Khalid Bomba, CEO of the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), an internationally backed government initiative. The 90 lines are now taking an average of 35,000 calls a day.

    Other African countries have used similar methods to get information to farmers, but Ethiopia’s initial success is unparalleled, Khalid said. “The numbers speak for themselves,” he said. “It’s working and the farmers are finding it useful.”

    The advice line is just one of 82 targets on the three-year-old agency’s agenda, which include devising “value chain” strategies for each key crop, increasing the use of higher-yielding seed and making credit more widely available for the nation’s approximately 70 million smallholder farmers. One of its most high-profile projects has been a soil-mapping exercise to understand which areas of the ecologically diverse country are suitable for particular crops and fertilisers.

    Read more at The Guardian »

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    Scotland Rejects Independence From Britain in a Close Vote

    Ballots tumble at an Aberdeen counting center in Scotland. The outcome headed off the political, economic and military imponderables that would have accompanied a divorce from the UK. (NYT)

    The New York Times

    By STEVEN ERLANGER and ALAN COWELL

    EDINBURGH — Voters in Scotland rejected independence from Britain in a referendum that had threatened to break up a 307-year union, according to projections by the BBC and Sky early Friday.

    The outcome was a deep disappointment to the vocal, enthusiastic pro-independence movement led by the Scottish first minister, Alex Salmond, who had seen an opportunity to turn a centuries-old nationalist dream into reality, and forced the three main British parties into panicked promises to grant substantial new power to the Scottish Parliament.

    The decision spared Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain a shattering defeat that would have raised questions about his ability to continue in office and diminished his nation’s standing in the world.

    Continue reading at The New York Times »


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    Gold for Genzebe Dibaba & Almaz Ayana at 2014 IAAF Continental Cup in Morocco

    Genzebe Dibaba won the women’s 3000m at the 2014 IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech, Morocco this past weekend, while her fellow countrywoman Almaz Ayana was victorious in the 5000m race. (Getty)

    Tadias Magazine
    News Update

    Published: Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

    New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopian athletes Genzebe Dibaba and Almaz Ayana won their respective races in the women’s competition at the 2014 IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech, Morocco on Sunday.

    “This weekend’s most dominant performance on the track came in the penultimate individual race courtesy of Almaz Ayana in the women’s 5000m,” reported Bob Ramsak for the IAAF. “Returning to the track where she claimed the African 5000m title last month, the 22-year-old Ethiopian won by nearly 25 seconds in a race she controlled from the midway point forward. ‘This is a lucky stadium for me,’” said Ayana, who reached the finish in 15:33.32.

    Per IAAF: Genzebe Dibaba, who finished first in the 3000m, “took the lead with exactly two laps to go and held it firmly en route to her 8:57.53 victory – her first over the distance outdoors this year.”

    “I expected to win and defend African colours,” said Dibaba, the fourth consecutive African winner of this title, “but the race was too slow for me. I don’t feel comfortable using such tactics, so that’s why I couldn’t wait for the last lap to make my final kick, and instead started to push 800 metres before the finish.”

    Read more at IAAF.org »

    Related:
    Sum, Dibaba, Fredericks and Souleiman win for Africa – Day 1 IAAF Continental Cup

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    2015 Africa Cup of Nations: Ethiopia Yet to Get Off the Mark

    So far the Ethiopian national team has lost the first two qualifying games against Algeria and Malawi for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations which will be held in Morocco early next year. (Getty Images)

    BBC Sport

    Nations Cup 2015 – Group B

    Top ranked African nation Algeria left it late to beat visitors Mali 1-0.

    The Eagles played the last 22 minutes with 10 men after Mahamadou Ndiaye was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

    With just nine minutes left to play, a free-kick from Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez found Carl Medjani whose header earned his side all three points.

    Atusaye Nayondo scored twice to help Malawi to a 3-2 home win against Ethiopia.

    Nyondo struck the first goal of the game on 18 minutes but Malawi were pegged back by an equaliser from Getaneh Kebede.

    However, a second-half effort from Frank Banda restored the hosts’ lead and Nyondo’s second goal rendered meaningless a stoppage strike from the visitors’ Yussuf Saleh.

    Malawi Football Association president Walter Nyamilandu wrote on his Twitter page: “Three vital points in the bag. A deserved victory that keeps our dreams alive though earned the hard way.”

    Algeria move to the top of the pool with a maximum six points while Mali and Malawi are on three and Ethiopia yet to get off the mark.

    Read more at BBC News »


    Related:
    Malawi knock Ethiopia further back

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    Colorado’s Ethiopian Community Celebrates New Year in Aurora

    (Image credit: Video still/The Denver Post)

    The Denver Post

    By Jesse Paul

    AURORA — Mulugeta Hailu moved from Ethiopia to Denver over two decades ago seeking an escape from political persecution.

    The move meant leaving his homeland and rich culture behind as he left for greener pastures. But now, after all those years, he’s a part of a growing Ethiopian community in Colorado of more than 27,000 whose size and closeness was clear here Sunday at a festival celebrating the Ethiopian New Year.

    In a way, a bit of the African nation moved to Colorado with Hailu.

    “We’re trying to teach our kids,” said Hailu, who has three young children. “Some of them don’t even speak our language.”

    Organizers expected about 1,000 people to attend the celebration at Del Mar Park where red, yellow and green Ethiopian flags hung from the trees. There was music, food and the happy shouts of playing children who danced around their parents, gathered in the shade and shielding themselves from the summer sun’s last rays.

    “This is very important because this is not just a holiday for a specific church or mosque,” said Shifferan Hajito, who runs the Ethiopian Community of Colorado, which organized the event. “This is regardless of religion, regardless of color.”

    Read more and watch video at The Denver Post »

    Related:
    Ethiopia Welcomes Year 2007
    At Global Fest 2014 Aurora, Colorado Welcomes Adama (Nazret) as Sister City

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    PM Hailemariam Desalegn Seeks Win-Win Relations With Egypt

    In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said that Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi is committed to relations between Egypt and Ethiopia. (World Bulletin)

    World Bulletin/Turkey

    News Desk

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said that Ethiopia is seeking a “win-win” relation with Egypt, saying that his country was seeking good relations with Cairo.

    In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Desalegn said that Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi is committed to relations between Egypt and Ethiopia.

    The Prime Minister also praised “excellent” relations between Ethiopia and Turkey, saying that relations between the two countries have been gathering momentum.

    The Ethiopian Premier also addressed several issues during the interview, including the activities of the Somali militant group Al-Shabaab and South Sudan’s peace talks.

    Read the interview at worldbulletin.net »

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    The Rastafarians’ Flawed African ‘Promised Land’ – BBC

    (BBC News Magazine)

    BBC News

    By Chris Summers

    Forty years ago Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was overthrown. It was a blow for all Rastafarians, who revere him as a god – and for those Rastafarians who had emigrated to Ethiopia, life suddenly got more difficult.

    In 1948 Emperor Haile Selassie gave 500 acres (200 hectares) of land at Shashamene, 150 miles (225km) south of Addis Ababa, to black people from the West who had supported him in his struggles with Mussolini’s Italy.

    The first settlers to arrive were African-American Jews, but they soon moved on to Liberia or Israel. After them, in 1963, came a dozen Rastafarians, and the numbers swelled after Selassie made an emotional visit to Jamaica three years later.

    The Rastafarians’ adoration of Selassie stems from the words of black consciousness leader Marcus Garvey, who said in 1920, “Look to Africa, when a black king shall be crowned, for the day of deliverance is at hand”. When Selassie was crowned emperor, 10 years later, many thought Garvey’s words had come true.

    Another belief widely held by Rastafarians is that they will eventually return to Africa – the continent their ancestors left in slave ships long ago. And quite often, according to Erin MacLeod – author of Visions of Zion: Ethiopians and Rastafari in the Search for the Promised Land – “back to Africa” is treated as synonymous with “back to Ethiopia”.

    Today there are up to 800 Rastafarians at Melka Oda, near Shashamene, as well as a few in the capital, Addis Ababa, and in the city of Bahir Dar. But how has life turned out for them in Ethiopia – and what do Ethiopians make of their Rastafarian neighbours?

    Read more at BBC News »

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    CIA: As Many as 31,000 Islamic State (IS) Fighters in Iraq, Syria

    Fighters from the Islamic State group parade in Raqqa, north Syria, earlier this year. (AP photo)

    VOA News

    U.S. intelligence says the Islamic State militant group has between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters on the ground in Iraq and Syria.

    A Central Intelligence Agency spokesman said Thursday this is much higher than the previous estimate of 10,000.

    He says the new estimate reflects stronger recruitment by the Islamic State since June following success on the battlefield and the declaration of a caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

    Earlier Thursday, ministers from 10 Gulf and Arab nations said Thursday they are committed to joining the United States in a “coordinated military campaign” against Islamic State fighters who have seized large swaths of Iraq and Syria.

    After talks in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with Saudi officials and U.S Secretary of State John Kerry, officials from the Gulf Cooperation Council, along with Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, said they are united against the threat from all terrorists, including Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

    The GCC countries represented in the Red Sea port city, the Saudi government’s summer home, included Saudi Arabia and its rival Qatar, along with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Oman.

    Non-Arab Sunni Turkey also attended the talks. But two other powerful regional powers, Shi’ite-ruled Iran and Syria, were excluded, a sign of how strong the Middle East’s sectarian divide remains.

    The Arab states agreed in a written communique to take many of the steps U.S. President Barack Obama spelled out Wednesday in his newly articulated strategy for wiping out the militants – stopping the flow of foreign fighters, cutting off funds for Islamic State, providing humanitarian aid to those terrorized by the militants and rejecting what the ministers call their “hateful ideology.”

    The ministers hailed the new Iraqi government and its pledge to advance the interests of all Iraqis, regardless of religion, nationality or sect.

    Kerry and Obama have called the new unity government in Iraq a key to destroying IS.

    Audio: VOA Correspondent Scott Stearns interviewed John Kerry Thursday in Saudi Arabia

    Saudi clout

    The Saudis, who are hosting a series of meetings with regional leaders, are key to the new coalition because of their country’s size, location and economic importance, “but also because of their religious significance with Sunnis,” according to a senior State Department official at the talks.

    Saudi Arabia’s primary role in the Sunni world is a major element in the U.S. plan to create a broad coalition against the militant group.

    U.S. officials also look to the Saudi kingdom to help bridge the Sunni-Shia divide, which is complicating efforts to confront Islamic State militants, specifically in Iraq.

    Saudi Arabia has come to understand the Islamic State group is a serious threat to their country as well – that it isn’t a mainstream Sunni movement.

    One element of Obama’s IS plan seeks to undermine the ideological and religious claims that the Islamic State militants make to Islam.

    The administration hopes Riyadh will use its influence among Islamic religious leaders.

    The coalition may need enhanced military basing and overflight rights for airstrikes against the Islamic State, the State Department official said. Saudi Arabia already has agreed to allow camps for training vetted moderate rebels to fight the IS insurgents.

    The official said Kerry was asking Arab leaders to use nationally-owned media – including Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya – as well as their religious establishments to speak out against Islamic State extremism in hopes of undermining its appeal to young recruits.

    In that push, Kerry echoed Obama’s denunciation of the IS (ISIL) group as not “Islamic” because no religion condones the killing of innocents.

    “ISIL claims to be fighting on behalf of Islam, but the fact is that its hateful ideology has nothing to do with Islam,” Kerry said.

    “ISIL is a manifestation of evil, a vicious terrorist organization, and it is a organization that achieves its goals only through violence, repression and destruction, fed by illicit funding and a stream of foreign fighters,” he added. “It has seized territory and terrorized the people who live there regardless of their sect or ethnicity.”

    Diplomatic push continues

    The top U.S. diplomat will continue his coalition-building efforts Friday in the Turkish capital, Ankara, in meetings with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

    Kerry will also stop in Egypt as part of the effort to line up international support against the Islamic State militants.

    The Mideast diplomatic push comes ahead of a conference set for Monday in Paris on how to stabilize Iraq. That meeting will include officials from the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China, and possibly other nations, even including Iran.

    VOA’s Scott Stearns discusses his interview with John Kerry


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