Podcast Section

Timeline of a Tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri

Ferguson, Missouri resident John West (L) hands a rose to a police officer. (Getty Images)

MSNBC

THE ED SHOW

Ferguson gained the attention of the entire nation over the past two weeks, following the death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Watch: Ed Schultz helps to recap the past events (MSNBC Video)


Related:
Ferguson Sees First Signs of Normalcy Since Brown Shooting (MSNBC)
Attorney General Eric Holder’s Stop in Ferguson is Deeply Personal
‘Smoke and Mirrors’ Punditry in Ferguson Shooting
CPJ Condemns Ongoing Harassment, Arrests of Reporters in Ferguson
What a Getty Photographer Captured Before He Was Arrested in Ferguson
Ferguson on Edge: Protests Continue After National Guard Called (Video & Photos)
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

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Pictures of the Week: Ethiopia’s Little-known Churches

(Photo: BBC travel slideshow)

BBC

By Audrey Scott and Daniel Noll

With their sheer cliffs, surreal rock formations and vertical spires, northern Ethiopia’s Gheralta Mountains recall stretches of the southwestern United States’ red desert landscape. The primary difference: perched high and tucked away into these mountain cliffs are some of the country’s least visited rock-hewn Ethiopian Orthodox cave churches, some of which are more than 1,000 years old.

The Gheralta cluster, located in Tigray Province, includes more than 30 structures. Although local legend claims that these churches date to between the 4th and 6th Centuries, historians believe that they were more likely built from the 9th to 12th Centuries. That, and its location, makes the Gheralta cluster the geographic and artistic midpoint between the early Ethiopian Orthodox centres of Aksum, built from the 4th to 10th Centuries in the north, and Lalibela, from the 12th to 13th Centuries, further south. (Daniel Noll)

Read more and see the slideshow at BBC.com »

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New Charges Against Ethiopian Publications Further Diminish Critical Voices – CPJ

Addis Guday magazine is among the publications charged. (Addis Guday)

CPJ

By Tom Rhodes

Five independent magazines and a weekly newspaper have been charged by Ethiopia’s Justice Ministry, a move that may add to the long lists of shuttered publications and Ethiopian journalists in exile. In a press release issued August 4, the ministry accused the journals of publishing false information, inciting violence, and undermining public confidence in the government, news reports said.

The ministry said it pressed charges after running out of patience with the publications for “encouraging radicalism and terrorism.” The state broadcaster aired the ministry’s announcement, but none of the publications received the charge sheet, local journalists told me. The six independent publications are Afro Times, a weekly newspaper, and magazines Addis Guday, Enku, Fact, Jano, and Lomi. All are popular alternatives to the state-run press, which espouses an increasingly positive narrative. Local journalists and news reports said the charges could be a way for the ruling party to silence critics ahead of elections expected in May 2015.

Repeated calls to the Justice Ministry and a government spokesman went unanswered.

Read more at CPJ.org »

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Ethiopia’s Impressive Economic Growth

Ethiopia has made great strides to become one of Africa's fastest growing economies and continues to record impressive economic growth. (CNBC Africa)

CNBC Africa

By: Elayne Wangalwa

The country which is sub-Saharan Africa’s fifth biggest economy is at the focal point of emerging economies’ interest with various delegations of foreign investors seeking investment opportunities in the largest landlocked country in the continent.

“If you look at it [Ethiopia] from an economic stand point, I think Ethiopia is one of the countries that has become the quint essential embodiment of the Africa rising narrative,” Julians Amboko, research analyst at Stratlink Africa from CNBC Africa.

The country’s economic growth is principally attributed to intense government projects aimed at achieving its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as the country aims at becoming a middle income status by 2025.

Read more at cnbcafrica.com »

Video: Investment opportunities in Ethiopia


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Ethiopia Coffee Export Earnings May Rise 25% on World Supply – Bloomberg News

The Ethiopian Commodity Exchange. (Credit: John Humphrey)

Bloomberg

By William Davison

Aug 21, 2014

Ethiopia’s arabica coffee export earnings are forecast to climb 25 percent to about $900 million in 2014-15 because of higher prices after a drought damaged plants in the biggest grower of the bean, Brazil, an industry group said.

Arabica prices on the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange could average $2 a pound if supplies of the crop in the world market are tight, Ethiopian Coffee Exporters’ Association General Manager Alemseged Assefa said in the capital, Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is Africa’s biggest producer of the crop and the origin of the arabica plant.

“Prices are favorable this year because of the Brazilian coffee drought,” Alemseged said in an interview on Aug. 18. “We presume that price will continue because of the drought.”

Arabica has surged 71 percent in New York since January after a drought hurt plantings in Brazil, the world’s biggest exporter of the beans, fueling speculation that consumption may outstrip supply. The Brazilian woes come as plantings in Central America, Mexico and Peru struggle to recover from a crop disease called leaf rust that has cut yields across the region over the past two years.

Arabica coffee for December delivery rose 1.5 percent to $1.89 a pound on the ICE Futures U.S. yesterday, tumbling 12 percent from a two-year high in April.

Read more »

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Detained Ethiopian Journalists and Bloggers Denied Bail – Reporters Without Borders

The three journalists are Tesfalem Waldyes, Edom Kasaye and Asmamaw Hailegiorgis, and the six bloggers – all members of the Zone 9 collective – Atnaf, Mahlet, Befekadu, Abel, Natnail and Zelalem.

Reporters sans Frontières (Paris)

21 AUGUST 2014

Three journalists and six bloggers who have been held for the past five months were denied bail by a federal court in Addis Ababa yesterday after the prosecution argued that article 3 of the 2009 anti-terrorism law, under which they are detained, precludes release on bail.

The defence said article 3’s bail prohibition does not apply because none of them has been individually charged with a specific crime under the anti-terrorism law. The defence also argued that article 3 violates the constitutional guarantee of the right to release on bail.

The three journalists are Tesfalem Waldyes, Edom Kasaye and Asmamaw Hailegiorgis, and the six bloggers – all members of the Zone 9 collective – are Atnaf Berhane, Mahlet Fantahun, Befekadu Hailu, Abel Wabella, Natnail Feleke and Zelalem Kibret. One of the collective’s co-founders, Soliyana Shimelis, is being prosecuted in absentia.

“The Ethiopian government is clearly trying to gag the media,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire. “These three journalists and nine bloggers have been held for nearly five months without being given the least guarantee of due process. The prosecution still has not said what precisely they are supposed to have done to justify the charges. We call for their immediate release because they have no place being in prison.”

The prosecution accused them on 17 July of “organizing themselves into covert sub-groups to overthrow the government by contacting and receiving finance and training from two designated terrorist groups” – the US-based opposition group Ginbot 7 and the separatist Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). They are facing up to 15 years in prison under the anti-terrorism law.

Restrictions on freedom of information have grown in recent months in Ethiopia, where at least six journalists are currently detained in connection with their work. A state broadcaster fired 20 employees because of their political views on 25 June, and the justice ministry announced on 5 August that it intended to bring criminal charges against six news publications for “encouraging terrorism and endangering national security.”

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

Related:
The World Tweets for Zone 9 Bloggers
41 Organizations Call for Release of Detained Ethiopian Journalists and Bloggers
As Ethiopia’s ‘Zone 9′ Bloggers Get Popular, They Get Charged With Terror
Zone 9 Bloggers Charged With Terrorism
Interview With the Lawyer of Illegally Detained Zone9 Bloggers
CPJ condemns closed court hearings for nine Ethiopian journalists
Zone9 Co-Founder Speaks Out (Video)

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There’s a Brother Fighting in Gaza and a Sister Waiting in Ethiopia – Jerusalem Post

Aregawi Tesfa’s battle to reunite his family, which has been torn between Ethiopia and Israel for over 10 years, is far from ending. (Photo courtesy Uri Perednik)

The Jerusalem Post

By URI PEREDNIK

During Operation Protective Edge, Aregawi Tesfa was not sure he would live to see the day after the war.

Tesfa fought on the front line in the most dangerous parts of the Gaza Strip, captured Hamas fighters and unfortunately also carried the bodies of young Israeli soldiers killed in the fighting.

But through it all, he knew that if he survived, his own battle was still far from over.

“All through the war I didn’t forget for one minute that when I’m done fighting Hamas, I will have to get back to the struggle to bring my sister to Israel.”

Tesfa’s battle to reunite his family, which has been torn between Ethiopia and Israel for over 10 years, is far from ending. A few days before the war, Tesfa presented his story to the Knesset internal affairs committee. The MKs of the committee were shocked to hear that all of Tesfa’s family lives in Israel while his sister was left behind.

Even though Tesfa’s sister received approval to make aliya from the previous interior minister, MK Eli Yishai, a senior ministry clerk named Mazal Cohen, together with the Immigrant Absorption Ministry, prohibited Tesfa’s sister from doing so.

Read more »

Related:
From an Ethiopian village to Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv

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Electronic Frontier to Ethiopia: Illegal Wiretapping Is Illegal, Even for Governments

(Image credit: CDN)

EFF | BY NATE CARDOZO

EFF to Ethiopia: Illegal Wiretapping Is Illegal, Even for Governments

Earlier this week, EFF told the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that Ethiopia must be held accountable for its illegal wiretapping of an American citizen. Foreign governments simply do not have a get-out-of-court-free card when they commit serious felonies in America against Americans. This case is the centerpiece of our U.S. legal efforts to combat state sponsored malware.

In February 2014, EFF filed suit against the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on behalf of our client, Mr. Kidane, an Ethiopian by birth who has been a U.S. citizen over a decade. Mr. Kidane discovered traces of Gamma International’s FinSpy, a sophisticated spyware product which its maker claims is sold exclusively to governments and law enforcement, on his laptop at his home in suburban Maryland. A forensic examination of his computer showed that the Ethiopian government had been recording Mr. Kidane’s Skype calls, as well as monitoring his web and email usage. The monitoring, which violates both the federal Wiretap Act and Maryland state law, was accomplished using spyware that captured his activities and then reported them back to a command and control server in Ethiopia controlled by the government. The infection was active from October 2012, through March 2013, and was stopped just days after researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab released a report exposing Ethiopia’s use of FinSpy. The report specifically referenced the very IP address of the Ethiopian government server responsible for the command and control of the spyware on Mr. Kidane’s laptop.

The Ethiopian government responded to the suit with the troubling claim that it—and every other foreign government—should be completely immune from suit for wiretapping American citizens on American soil. Ethiopia’s filing rests on several logic-challenged premises. Ethiopia claims that the recording of Mr. Kidane’s Skype calls and Internet activity at his home in Maryland actually took place in Ethiopia, and is therefore beyond the reach of any U.S. court. Worse still, Ethiopia claims that it had the “discretion” to violate U.S. law, reducing the Wiretap Act to something more like a traffic violation than a serious felony. Interestingly, Ethiopia does not actually deny that it wiretapped Mr. Kidane.

Read more »

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Ethiopia Seeks to Brand, Trademark Signature Coffee

Ethiopia, Africa's largest coffee grower, is set to continue talks with global buyers in hopes of branding and trademarking its world-renowned coffee and boosting national revenue. (World Bulletin)

World Bulletin News

20 August 2014

“The objective of the negotiations is to prevent illegal coffee trade, unfair price fixing and profiteering involving Ethiopian coffee brands in the world market,” Teshome Sileshi of Ethiopia’s Intellectual Property Office told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

He said 15 million Ethiopians directly or indirectly involved in coffee production receive less than 10 percent of the retail price from coffee sales while the rest goes to international middle men and distributors.

“So far, 34 countries have recognized and registered brands and trademarks for globally popular and on-demand varieties… grown in south and eastern Ethiopia,” he said.

“Twenty-seven of the stated countries are members of the European Union, while the rest include India, Japan, Canada, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, China and South Africa,” he added.

According to Sileshi, applications have been submitted to Australia and Brazil to brand and trademark Ethiopian coffee products, but, he said, “They haven’t responded yet.”

“The negotiation will continue drawing experiences from two consultant companies: Light Years IP and Arnold & Porter LLP,” Sileshi said.

Read more »

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‘Smoke and Mirrors’ Punditry in Ferguson Shooting

The self-righteous pundits in the blogosphere are at it again embellishing the truth of a tragic situation in Ferguson, Missouri with misleading and irrelevant information, as Talking Points Memo reports. (AP photo)

TPM

By DYLAN SCOTT

Far Right Says Michael Brown’s Raps Show He Was ‘A Criminal And A Thug’

Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was shot on Aug. 9 by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer, was an aspiring hip-hop artist. The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday on Brown’s SoundCloud page, a collection of amateur rap songs that Brown had posted before his death.

They contained much of the imagery and language common to so-called gangster rap. Pictures of Brown flashing alleged gang signs have also circulated in the conservative blogosphere.

FrontPage magazine, the online home of David Horowitz, whose self-described mission is to battle the radical left, labeled Brown “a criminal and a thug” in its summary of his character, which featured the rap lyrics.

“The fact that Brown liked performing thug music obviously doesn’t by itself make him a thug, but it does provide insight into his state of mind,” the site said. “The same can be said for the photographs that have surfaced of Brown posing like a tough guy, making gestures with his hands that some say are gang signs.”

FrontPage magazine, and others, connected Brown’s rap lyrics with the police report released Friday that said he was the “primary suspect” in a convenience store robbery that occurred minutes before he was shot. That report’s release, which was reportedly opposed by the Justice Department, has been criticized by Brown’s family and public officials as an attempt to paint a negative public image of Brown.

Read more »



Related:
CPJ Condemns Ongoing Harassment, Arrests of Reporters in Ferguson
What a Getty Photographer Captured Before He Was Arrested in Ferguson
Ferguson on Edge: Protests Continue After National Guard Called (Video & Photos)
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

CPJ Condemns Ongoing Harassment, Arrests of Reporters in Ferguson, Missouri

Getty Images photographer Scott Olson, who has been documenting the Ferguson, Mo., unrest since 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot by a police officer, was arrested Monday. Olson has since been released. (Getty Images)

CPJ

Press Release

New York –The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the continued harassment and detentions of journalists covering the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked by the police killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. At least 11 journalists have been detained and released without charge since Saturday, two of them on Wednesday, according to CNN. Some journalists reported being threatened by the police and hit with rubber bullets and tear gas, while other reporters have said they were intimidated by local residents, according to news reports.

“Ferguson is an international story and journalists are going to cover it. They have a right to do so without fearing for their safety or liberty,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “The harassment and detention of reporters must stop. From senior commanders on down, the word must go out to security forces to let journalists do their job.”

Read more at CPJ.org »

Video: Rachel Maddow – the flight ban over Ferguson prevents needed perspective (MSNBC)


Related:
What a Getty Photographer Captured Before He Was Arrested in Ferguson
Ferguson on Edge: Protests Continue After National Guard Called (Video & Photos)
How the rest of the world sees Ferguson (The Washington Post)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

U.N. Says Ethiopia Hosts More Refugees Than Any African Country

A woman and her children displaced by fighting in South Sudan sit outside her tent at the Kule camp for Internally Displaced People at the Pagak border crossing in Gambella, Ethiopia, July 10, 2014. (AFP)

VOA News

By Lisa Schlein

August 19, 2014

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND— The U.N. refugee agency reports Ethiopia now hosts more refugees than any other country in Africa, supplanting its neighbor, Kenya. The UNHCR says the main factor is the huge influx of refugees from conflict-ridden South Sudan.

UNHCR reports by the end of July, Ethiopia was sheltering almost 630,000 registered refugees, including nearly one-quarter of a million refugees from South Sudan. The agency says most of them, nearly 190,000, have fled into Ethiopia since war erupted in their country in mid-December.

Besides the South Sudanese, the UNHCR reports Ethiopia also is hosting 245,000 Somalis and nearly 100,000 Eritreans.

Kenya, in comparison, is hosting about 575,000 registered refugees, the majority of them Somalis.

Spokesman Adrian Edwards said the UNHCR, partner agencies and the Ethiopian government were providing protection and humanitarian aid at 23 refugee camps and five transit sites across Ethiopia.

He said camps were overcrowded due to the ongoing influx of refugees — about 25,000 new arrivals each month. He noted three camps opened early this year have reached their limit, so two new camps were being established.

Edwards said bad weather has complicated the situation for 18,000 refugees who are living in three temporary sites in the western region of Gambella.

“In recent weeks, heavy rain has, however, flooded three of the low-lying sites in this areas as well as Leitchuor Camp, where the situation is most serious. Some 10,000 refugees, about one-fifth of Leitchuor’s population of 47,500 have been hit by flooding. Many tents and shelters are under water and latrines have collapsed,” he said.

Edwards said the flooding was causing health concerns. He said the heavy rains were threatening to undermine gains made in preventing the outbreak of waterborne diseases.

“Much of the refugee population arriving in neighboring countries has been children throughout this crisis. They have particular vulnerabilities. We have stepped up measures to contain Hepatitis E among South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia. The disease has spread across South Sudan over the last two years and it has now appeared in the border camps in Ethiopia,” he said.

Edwards said since April, 12 refugees have died from Hepatitis E, a viral disease that causes liver failure and is spread by fecal contamination of water supplies or food.

The UNHCR was working with the Ethiopian government, WHO and other partners to try to contain the disease, Edwards said. Improvement to sanitation in the camps is also in the works after latrines were flooded he said, adding that this was adding to the increased risk of water-borne disease outbreaks.

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How the Rest of the World Sees Ferguson

Tear gas and smoke wafts around the site of a protest of the death of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, on Aug. 17, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. (Getty Images)

The Washington Post

By Adam Taylor and Rick Noack

August 18th, 2014

In many ways, the chaotic situation in Ferguson, Mo., seems like something that shouldn’t happen in America. As WorldViews has noted, many of the hallmarks of the conflict are reminiscent of scenes from the Arab Spring and the Ukraine crisis – our former colleague Max Fisher has even wondered how American journalists would cover Ferguson, if only it weren’t happening “here.”

There are plenty of foreign journalists reporting on Ferguson, however, and for them, Ferguson is international news. Their coverage of the shooting of Michael Brown and the subsequent unrest can offer a refreshing viewpoint on America’s many problems. They can also reveal a lot about how such disturbances are viewed at home.

For most Americans, the most familiar foreign news outlets covering Ferguson will probably be the British ones: Not only is there a shared language, but some British outlets, most obviously the Guardian but also the BBC and the Daily Mail, have made big pushes into the U.S. news market. Notably, some publications are treating the conflict as they might a war zone — the Telegraph has sent its Afghanistan correspondent, Rob Crilly, to cover the protests, for example (he was arrested while reporting this weekend).

Read more at The Washington Post »



Related:
National Guard Enters Ferguson Streets as Protests Turn Tense (LA Times)
Autopsy Shows Michael Brown Was Struck at Least 6 Times (NYT)

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UNICEF Report: Africa’s Population Could Hit 4 Billion By 2100

Seun Dupe sits with her newborn twins in a maternity hospital in Lagos, Nigeria. Nigeria is Africa's most populous country with more than 160 million people. It's estimated that number will be 1 billion by 2100.

NPR

By NPR STAFF

“The future of humanity is increasingly African.”

That’s the prediction in a new UNICEF report, which estimates that by the end of this century, 40 percent of the world’s people will be African — up from 15 percent now. The continent’s population currently sits at roughly 1.2 billion but will soar to more than 4 billion by 2100. Nearly 1 billion will live in Nigeria alone.

In a report released Wednesday, UNICEF projected the growth of Africa’s child population within the next century. And the numbers are staggering.

An estimated 1.8 billion births will take place in Africa in the next 35 years, the authors predict. By 2050, Africa will have almost 1 billion children under 18, making up nearly 40 percent of kids worldwide.

Lead author David Anthony tells NPR’s Melissa Block on All Things Considered that even the researchers were surprised by the findings. “[We] knew that the world’s population was swinging toward Africa,” he says. “But there have been new estimates released by the U.N. population division … that shows an even stronger swing than we have anticipated.”

Fertility rates have fallen in Africa but remain high compared with the rest of the world. Meanwhile, the number of women of reproductive age has grown enormously and is set to more than double in the next 35 years.

Read more at NPR »

Listen to the story on NPR’s All Things Considered


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UPDATE: All Four Ethiopian Athletes Planned to Seek Asylum, Police Report Says

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

The Register-Guard

By Josephine Woolington

AUG. 17, 2014

One of four Ethiopian athletes who went missing after an international track meet last month in Eugene told a University of Oregon police officer that all the athletes plan to seek asylum in the United States, according to a newly released UO police report.

Amanuel Abebe, 17, told the officer that he and the three other athletes — Dureti Edao, Meaza Kebede, Zeyituna Mohammed, all 18 — planned to start the asylum application process at a U.S. immigration service office in Portland on July 28, three days after the runners were reported missing, according to the police report, which was supplemental to the main police report. It was released to The Register-Guard on Friday after University of Oregon police reviewed the information.

When the UO officer told Amanuel that their case was getting lots of media coverage, the runner said that the athletes would go to the immigration office first thing the next morning. However, when the police officer checked in with several federal agencies on July 28 to see if the athletes had inquired about the asylum process, none said they did.

A spokeswoman with the U.S. Citizen and Immigrations Services said the agency does not release the names of individuals applying for any immigration services, including asylum, due to federal privacy law.

The four athletes went missing after last month’s World Junior Champion­ships at Hayward Field — the first time the meet was held in the United States. All four athletes were found safe with acquaintances in Beaverton and Washington.

Read More »

Related:
Police Confirm Athletes Defected
Two of the Runners Signed Contracts With Nike and Adidas Hours Before Disappearing
Last of Four Missing Ethiopian Athletes Found Safe in Washington State
Four Ethiopian athletes missing from World Junior championships (Oregon Daily Emerald)
Ethiopians Sweep Gold-Silver in 5000m World Junior Championships in Oregon (IAAF)

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Take a Hike Across Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains

The Simien Mountains: Once you've been up on the Roof of Africa in the Ethiopian Highlands, you won't want to come down. (Alamy)

The Wall Street Journal

By JEMIMA SISSONS

Updated Aug. 14, 2014

HAULING MYSELF UP a stony path, the air thins with every breath. Ribbons of mist weave past me and a vulture circles overhead. Just when I think my legs can’t take it anymore, I reach the top.

My guide, Mulat Gezahegn, warns me not to step any closer to the edge. Totally ignoring him, I bound forth out of blind curiosity. It is the most terrifying sensation I have experienced—and one of the most rewarding. I look over the edge of a precipice. All around me similar hills rise like turrets in the valley below, with sheer drops for sides, and it is hard to take in the scale. With these majestic cathedrals of rock—and not another soul as far as the eye can see—it’s obvious why they call this the Roof of Africa.

I spent my first few days in Ethiopia exploring the capital, Addis Ababa, then caught a flight to Gondar in the north, where I met Mulat and our driver, Melsie Nuru, and started preparing for our four-day, 50-kilometer trek across the Simien Mountains.

Read more at online.wsj.com »

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No Ebola Detected in Ethiopia: Spokesman

A doctor displays collected samples of the Ebola virus at the Centre for Disease Control in Entebbe, about 37km (23 miles) southwest of Uganda's capital. (Photo: Reuters)

Turkish Press

By Abebech Tamene

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has denied reports of the spread of Ebola in the country, saying steps were being taken to raise awareness about the deadly virus.

“So far no Ebola case was reported in Ethiopia,” Abel Yeshaneh, spokesperson for the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.

Yeshaneh said the Ethiopian authorities had adopted measures aimed at enhancing their ability to detect Ebola infections, adding that health workers were being trained to combat a possible outbreak.

“So far 300 health workers drawn from different health institutions in Addis Ababa have already received training and they will in turn give training to others,” Yeshaneh said.

According to the spokesperson, the training focuses on the causes and symptoms of Ebola, along with methods of prevention.

“Health professionals working in different health facilities in regional states will arrive here next week to undergo similar training,” he said.

He added that a special committee had already set guidelines aimed at preventing a possible outbreak of the virus.

Ebola, a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure, has claimed more than 1000 lives across West African states including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria.

Read more at Turkish Press »

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Seattle’s Drowning Victims ID’d as College Students Abenezer Getachew & Euel Desta

Abenezer Getachew and Euel Desta. (Photos: Komo 4 News Seattle)

Komo 4 News

By Lindsay Cohen

SEATTLE — Authorities have identified the two men who drowned in Seattle’s Green Lake as 23-year old Abenezer Getachew of Snohomish County and 21-year old Euel Desta of Shoreline. Both men were students at Shoreline Community College, according to a spokesman there.

Desta was studying engineering and loved sports, friends said Monday. He moved from Ethiopia to the United States as a child to live with his grandmother, who “wanted to give him a better life.”

“It was just devastating. It was just heartbreaking to hear her (react to the news),” said Amina Shah, who has known Desta for about eight years. “”Even though I couldn’t understand her, I knew that there was pain her voice. It just broke my heart.”

Desta and Getachew were playing soccer with friends at Green Lake Thursday night when they decided to go for a swim, police said. The men were last seen chasing after a ball on the east side of the lake before struggling to stay afloat and disappearing under the surface.

Read more »

Video: Seattle Green Lake drowning victims ID’d as local college students


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Kenenisa Bekele to Run Chicago Marathon

Kenenisa Bekele wins his 11th - and last - senior world cross-country title in 2008. (Getty Images)

Chicago Tribune

By Philip Hersh

Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, the greatest track distance runner of the 21st Century, will compete compete in this year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon, race officials announced Tuesday.

It will be Bekele’s second marathon. He won April’s Paris Marathon in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 4 seconds, fastest debut for a runner older than 30. Bekele, 32, was bothered by hamstring cramps near the finish.

“After my win in Paris, I understand the marathon distance a lot better, and I will bring that experience to Chicago,” Bekele said in a statement. “I know Chicago has a very fast course and, therefore, my goal is to break the course record of 2:03:45. After that, everything is possible.”

The Chicago Marathon never has had a runner with a track record as distinguished as Bekele’s.

He holds the world records at 5,000 and 10,000 meters. He won both those events at the 2008 Olympics after having won gold in the 10,000 and silver in the 5,000 at the 2004 Olympics. He won four straight world titles at 10,000 meters from 2003 through 2009, adding the 5,000 title in 2009. He also won both the long and short world cross-country titles five straight times from 2002 through 2006.

Read more at Chicago Tribune »

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The Andargachew Tsige Saga: Assurance Urged for Detained Briton

Andargachew Tsige (center) is pictured above during a Congressional hearing on Ethiopia in 2006 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Flickr)

Daily Mail

By PRESS ASSOCIATION

The Ethiopian government has been pressed to provide guarantees that a British national facing the death penalty will not be executed.

Political activist Andargachew Tsige has been detained in Ethiopia for six weeks following his removal from Yemen and denied consular access from British officials, the Foreign Office said.

He is secretary general of the banned Ginbot 7 movement, with reports stating he was sentenced to death in his absence in 2009 for plotting a coup – charges he and others denied.

Demeke Atnafu, charge d’affaires at the Ethiopian embassy in the UK, was summoned to the Foreign Office to meet Africa Minister Mark Simmonds.

In a statement, the Foreign Office said: “Mr Simmonds expressed deep concern that the Ethiopian authorities had not allowed consular access to Mr Andargachew Tsige, a British national who has now been detained in Ethiopia for six weeks after being removed from Yemen.

“Mr Simmonds asked the charge to urge his government to deliver on previous commitments to provide consular access without further delay and to provide assurances that they do not intend to carry out the death penalty imposed in absentia.”

Amnesty International says Ethiopian opposition leader Mr Tsige disappeared at Sana’a airport in Yemen while travelling between the United Arab Emirates and Eritrea in June.

They have asked the Ethiopian authorities to guarantee he is not tortured or ill-treated.

Read more »

Related:
UK Summons Ethiopian Diplomat Over Opposition Official’s Arrest
Why the arrest of Andargachew Tsige is a huge embarrassment for the West (FP)
BBC News: PM Hailemariam Defends Andargachew Tsege Arrest (BBC News)
Andargachew Tsige: Letter From UK’s Foreign Office to Ethiopian American Council (TADIAS)
Ginbot 7′s Andargachew Tsege: Ethiopia confirms arrest (BBC News)
Snatched: Justice and Politics in Ethiopia (The Economist)
Fears for Safety of Returned Opposition Leader (HRW)
Ethiopia Urged to Protect Opposition Leader (AP via The Washington Post)
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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Eritrea Faces Youth Drain (VOA News)

In this photo released by the Italian Navy on Monday and taken on Sunday, June 29, 2014, a boat overcrowded with migrants is pictured in the Mediterranean Sea. (AP)

VOA News

Joe DeCapua

August 11, 2014

A new report said a lot of young people are leaving Eritrea due to authoritarian rule, growing dissatisfaction and long-term national service. The International Crisis Group has called for both domestic and international action to reduce the youth drain.

Listen to De Capua report on Eritrean youth exodus

Many young Africans are leaving the continent hoping to find jobs and opportunities elsewhere. But the International Crisis Group said the youth exodus from Eritrea is acute.

It said the Eritrean government’s demand to “sacrifice individual ambition for the greater good of the nation” is causing people to leave.

Dr. Cedric Barnes, ICG’s Horn of Africa Project Director, said, “The primary driver at the moment seems to be because people are fed-up with the national service, where people are required to either join the army or work for the government in various capacities for very little money and with no prospect of being released. We are seeing people voting with their feet, as it were, to avoid these demands.”

Many risk their lives doing so.

“Well, that’s clear that that’s happening at various stages of the journey – even at the end stages in terms of the overloaded boats that seem to be arriving on the southern shores of Europe, especially Malta and Italy, where boats are overloaded. And these vessels are sinking, often drowning many of their occupants,” he said.

But their lives are in danger even before they get on the boats. They have to travel through lawless and dangerous parts of Sudan and Libya, for example. Barnes said for a time Eritrean forces prevented border crossings by lethal force if necessary.

Initially the government tried to crackdown on the migration. Then, Barnes says, it saw an economic opportunity through remittances and a two-percent tax imposed on the migrants. But Barnes said that’s not forestalling long-term issues.

“They’re losing their working population. They are losing the relatively scarce human capital that Eritrea has. This is affecting from the army to the national services, as well as families, especially the farms and other productive activities that need man and woman power.”

The International Crisis Group recommended that Eritrea re-set its relationship with the outside world by becoming more engaged diplomatically. It also recommends that Eritrea gradually demobilize its national service – and ease border tensions with Ethiopia.

Barnes said, “The kind of isolationist position that Eritrea has found itself in is preventing a society where people’s individual social / economic freedoms can be pursued – which is encouraging people to leave and look for better alternatives.”

The ICG also said that Eritrea should seek assistance from the European Union and the U.N. to help restructure the country’s economy to create more jobs for young people.

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Watch: Ethiopian Student Rahel Bogale – 2014 AVID Summer Institute Speaker

Rahel Bogale, 2014 Philadelphia Summer Institute student speaker. (Photo: AVID Center/YouTube)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) – The soon-to-be first generation college student, Rahel Bogale, who is a student at Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria, Virginia, was selected as the 2014 Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Summer Institute student speaker for the national convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to her high school “Rahel’s essay was chosen from thousands of applicants and comes with a $500 award.”

“My whole life I have been shy, reserved and often kept to myself,” Rahel said in her speech to her classmates. “As a student, I was the same way, not many teachers paid attention to me, because I earned decent grades in all my classes and I barely spoke up.” Rahel added: “As a young Ethiopian immigrant, I understood the value of education, and the pressure to somehow prove my parents’ sacrifice to leave everything – a lucrative accounting firm, two houses, and anything familiar to them – to move half-way around the world so I can have a better chance at life was something that I had to prove and it is all worth it.”

Watch: Rahel Bogale – AVID Philadelphia Summer Institute 2014 (Video by AVID Center)


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UPDATE: US Conducts New Iraq Airstrikes

(Photo: Reuters)

VOA News

Updated: August 10, 2014

The United States carried out a new round of airstrikes against Islamic State militants in northern Iraq on Sunday.

The Pentagon said fighter jets and drone aircraft destroyed an armed truck that was firing on Kurdish forces near Irbil, and then followed up with four more attacks on other armed trucks and a mortar position.

It was the fourth set of U.S. airstrikes since President Barack Obama last week authorized the country’s first campaign in Iraq since he withdrew all U.S. forces at the end of 2011 after nearly a decade of American involvement.

U.S. forces are attempting to blunt an offensive by the extremist Islamic State group that threatens to overrun Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region. U.S. and British aircraft also are supplying humanitarian aid for thousands of displaced Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities trapped in the area.

Late Sunday, the U.S. State Department said it has temporarily removed some staff from the U.S. consulate in Irbil.

A statement said some of the personnel were dispatched to the southern city of Basra, and others to the Jordanian capital, Amman. It said the move was made “out of an abundance of caution rather than any one specific threat.”

Watch related video by VOA’s Michael Bowman:

Concern over militants’ brutality

​Iraq’s Human Rights Minister Mohammed Shia al Sudani told Reuters that Islamic State militants executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing the town of Sinjar, and that some of the victims had been buried alive.

The U.S. military made three airdrops with more than 52,000 meals and thousands of liters of fresh drinking water for the displaced people on Mount Sinjar. British forces made their first humanitarian airdrop to the region on Sunday and France said it would supply “several tons” of aid.

Obama said Saturday the U.S. military’s airstrikes in Iraq have successfully destroyed arms and equipment that Islamic State militants could have used against Irbil. He said the problem posed by the group will not be solved in weeks and is going to take some time.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he is “deeply concerned” about the evolving humanitarian and security situation in Iraq. The U.N. chief called for “reason and wisdom to prevail.” He urged all Iraqi leaders “to form a broad-based government that is acceptable to all components of Iraqi society.”

Pope Francis on Sunday urged the international community to find a solution to the problems in Iraq, where he said the situation leaves him in disbelief.

French FM visit

On Sunday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius arrived in Iraq for talks in Baghdad and Irbil. He urged Iraqi leaders to form a broad-based unity government.

At a press conference with Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani in the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan he said that Islamic State militants were extremists who cannot accept those with different beliefs

He said that people are suffering because the Islamic State group, which he called the “Caliphate of Hate,” wants to kill or enslave all those who do not believe as they do.

For his part, Barzani thanked the U.S. and France for their assistance and indicated the Kurds were not demanding that their allies “fight for them,“ but help by giving “needed weaponry” and “air support” to the Peshmerga fighters to defend themselves.

The International Organization for Migration says the number of internally displaced people in Iraq now totals more than 1 million.

Islamic State extremists, most of whom are Sunni Muslims, have captured significant amounts of military hardware that U.S. troops turned over to Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government and to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters before the U.S. military withdrawal in 2011.

The Islamic State group, known for particularly brutal tactics, currently controls a large swath of eastern Syria and northwestern Iraq. It has declared the area a “caliphate,” and is actively recruiting other fighters to join the group.

On the ground

Meanwhile, Kurdish fighters known as Peshmerga say they have regained control of a district near Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan region.

Talking to VOA’s Kurdish Service Sunday, a Peshmerga fighter said his forces repelled an attack on Makhmur district from fighters of the Islamic State group.

Saber Ismael said that there were no more gunshots inside Makhmour city and that the Daesh, as Kurds refer to Islamic State militants, have fled.

He said local people now feel safe from an immediate threat by the radical group of Sunni fighters that have taken control of several areas of Iraq.

Speaking from Duhok, another town in the Kurdish region of Iraq, a VOA stringer said U.S. air strikes against Islamic State fighters are proving effective.

“People in the area are relieved and highly motivated because they now see that Peshmerga fighters are now being backed up by U.S. air strikes against the militants of Islamic State fighters,” said VOA Kurdish Service stringer Salam Balayi.



Edward Yerenian contributed to this report from Cairo, Kokab Farshori contributed from Washington. Some information provided by Reuters and AP.

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Over 1000 Attend 5th DC Africa Festival

Held on the eve of President Obama’s historic U.S. Africa Leaders Summit on Sunday, August 3rd, 2014, Mayor’s 5th Annual DC Africa Festival boasts record number of attendees. (Photo Courtesy: OAA)

OAA Press Release

Friday, August 8, 2014

Washington, DC – On Sunday, August 3, 2014, Mayor Vincent C. Gray and his Office on African Affairs (OAA) held its 5th Annual DC Africa Festival at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. A record number of people registered to attend the festival, which coincided with President Barack Obama’s historic US-Africa Leaders Summit and served as a welcome to the 50 African leaders being hosted in our nation’s capital. Over 1,000 attendees joined Mayor Gray and the Office on African Affairs for the festivities, held outdoors in the Reagan Building’s adjoining Moynihan and Woodrow Wilson Plazas.

“President Obama’s US-Africa Leaders Summit was a historic gathering, and our world class city was honored to host the African heads of state. The occasion warranted a parallel celebration of our city’s diverse African diaspora community. Therefore, we seized the moment to showcase their presence, culture and economic contributions to the District of Columbia,” said Mayor Gray. The Mayor also acknowledged the importance of Africa as a partner in trade and investment, noting the role of African diaspora businesses in cultivating meaningful links to the continent.

Emcee’d by Voice of America broadcast journalist Ndimiyake Mwakalyelye, the program kicked off with remarks from OAA Director, Ngozi Nmezi who stressed the importance of the festival theme, “From Africa to DC: Showcasing Diasporan Diversity, Building One City, highlighting its special focus on the migration of Africans to DC and the rapid growth of the District’s African population, which has experienced a near 70% increase over the past decade. Director Nmezi also introduced the office’s first-ever African Business Directory designed to serve as a tool for expanding African business networks and to educate the larger community on the presence of the city’s African businesses. The Directory is currently available on OAA’s website and a public launch is scheduled to take place in the coming months.

The festival program was packed with music by popular DC-based African bands and dance performers of international repute, including, Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Wayna, Cheik Hamala Diabaté, KanKouran West African Dance Company, Sahel, Moto Moto Marimba, Kignet Traditional Ethiopian Band and Emé & Heteru. DJ Underdog filled the air with rhythms and sounds from the African continent and beyond. The crowd was further captivated by Omenana Igbo, USA whose traditional Nigerian masquerade performance told the story of a young Igbo bride and groom. Festival goers got their own opportunities to share the spotlight when they participated in the customary Parade of African Flags procession which was accompanied by facts on each country and displayed the pride and connection that the District’s African Diaspora held for their countries of origin. The Community to Runway Fashion Show further showcased the variety of clothes, hairstyles, cultural identities, and historical roots of Africans in DC. African diversity was equally well represented in over 40 food, arts, and crafts vendors who displayed a variety of savory dishes, handmade and imported crafts, attire, and other artistic creations.

The connectivity of African cultures was difficult to miss at the Woodrow Wilson Plaza and this was matched in intensity with the variety of activities and demonstrations on the Moynihan Plaza. The quiet concentration of children playing African games and learning basket making activities at the Children’s Village; the robust resource corner featuring over 20 District government agencies and community based organizations who shared resources and information on available programs and services; the Wellness Pavilion where participants were offered advice on nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices and; the Culture Hut, where festival goers witnessed demonstrations on African acoustic instruments and hair braiding styles from east, west, and southern regions of the continent – all enriched the festival’s artistic, cultural and informational landscape. The festival wound down with a raffle draw in support of ‘We Count!’ – OAA’s demographic data collection initiative. Ritza Yana Hendricks of Southeast Washington, DC and Ihuoma Pearl Woko won round-trip tickets to any destination in Africa, courtesy of corporate donors, Ethiopian Airlines.

The Mayor’s Office on African Affairs is deeply appreciative of the support from our major partners: Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, DC Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, DC Office of the Secretary, DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, DC Office of Human Rights, the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, and AmeriHealth. We are equally grateful to our corporate donors – Capital Petroleum Group, LLC, Ethiopian Airlines, and Safeway, and our incredible team of 50+ volunteers! Our thanks also go to photographers Adedayo Kosoko and Kaveh Sardari whose images capture the energy and dynamism of the festivities.

Related:
Tadias Interview: Ngozi Nmezi, Director of the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs

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Ethiopian Airlines CEO Says Company Plans to Expand Flights to U.S.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam says plans call for flights from Addis Ababa to Los Angeles, through Dublin, by June 2015. (Photo: Bart Jansen, USA TODAY)

USA TODAY

By Bart Jansen

The airline has quadrupled in size during the last decade, with 68 planes flying to 18 domestic airports and 82 international destinations on five continents.

Gebremariam was in Washington for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, where he called announcements of $33 billion in public and private U.S. investment in his continent “very encouraging.”

“Of course, we have isolated problems here and there,” Gebremariam said. “But overall the continent is doing well. The growth is very impressive.”

He acknowledged the challenges of dealing with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and avoiding conflict zones around the globe. But he said Africa is a popular and growing tourist destination with attractions such as Mount Kilimanjaro and Serengeti National Park.

“We encourage American tourists to visit,” Gebremariam said, where the entire continent is just a connecting flight away. “You will be connecting to 49 destinations all over the continent in a couple of hours.”

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Ethiopia and Its Press: The Noose Tightens

Photos from top left: Imprisoned Ethiopian journalists and bloggers Woubshet Taye, Reeyot Alemu, Eskinder Nega, and members of the Zone9 Collective (File images)

The Economist | From the print edition

Aug 9th 2014

ADDIS ABABA – A RANKING that countries do not aspire to ascend is the one compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based group. It reckons that Ethiopia is Africa’s second-worst jailer of journalists, ahead only of its ultra-repressive neighbour and bitter enemy, Eritrea. Cementing its lamentable reputation, on August 4th Ethiopia briefly resumed the trial of ten journalists and bloggers, nine of whom it has kept in prison since April; one is being tried in absentia. The court proceedings are to start again in earnest on August 20th.

The ten are accused of several offences, including breaches of the country’s controversial anti-terrorism laws. These include having links to banned opposition groups and trying to cause instability via social media. The government says the journalists and bloggers are connected to two groups that it deems terrorist organisations: the Oromo Liberation Front, a rebel outfit that seeks a better deal for Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, which predominates in the south; and Ginbot 7, a leading opposition movement formed after widespread protests following Ethiopia’s general election in 2005.

Read more »

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Photos & Video: President Barack Obama’s Historic U.S.- Africa Summit

First lady Michelle Obama takes her seat following President Barack Obama's toast at a dinner for the U.S. - Africa Leaders Summit, on the South Lawn of the White House, Aug. 5, 2014. (Photo: AP)

VOA News

August 06, 2014

President Barack Obama and African leaders have opened talks on expanding trade, improving security and strengthening government accountability across Africa.

The talks, at a series of forums Wednesday, are a highlight of a massive three-day summit in Washington involving some 50 African heads of state and government.

In opening remarks Wednesday, President Obama said a “new Africa” is emerging.

“With some of the world’s fastest growing economies, a growing middle class and the youngest and fastest-growing population on earth, Africa will help shape the world as never before,” Obama said.

The president said increased business opportunities in Africa could help transform the relationship between the U.S. and the African continent.

“It is time for a new model of partnership between America and Africa, a partnership of equals that focuses on African capacity to solve problems and on Africa’s capacity to grow, and that is why we are here,” he said.

Late Tuesday, the White House hosted a state dinner for the visitors, where the president noted his African heritage and said that for his family, the bonds between the U.S. and Africa are deeply personal.

Private, public investment

Earlier, Obama announced $33 billion in U.S. private and public investment in various African countries.

Speaking at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, he said the investment and financing commitments will support both African and American jobs. The bulk of the commitments will come from private sector companies like Coca-Cola and IBM.

The president emphasized that the U.S. is interested in more than just the abundance of natural resources to be found in Africa.

WATCH: President Obama Addresses US-African Leaders Summit

He said the Power Africa program introduced last year will aim to bring electricity to 60 million Africans, triple the previous goal.

But he cautioned that Africa’s future will be made on the continent, not the United States.

Obama said the U.S. will do more to help African nations trade with each other. He said it should not be harder to export goods to your neighbor than to export goods to Los Angeles or Amsterdam.

As the worst Ebola outbreak on record rages on in West Africa, Obama told African leaders that keeping their citizens healthy and putting a health care system in place will ensure their countries’ future economic success.

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Obama Announces $33B Commitment at Africa Forum (Video)

President Barack Obama speaks at the US - Africa Business Forum during the US - Africa Leaders Summit, Aug. 5, 2014, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington. (Photograph: Associated Press)

VOA News

August 05, 2014

President Barack Obama says the United States is making a major and long-term commitment in Africa with $33 billion in new investment.

Speaking Tuesday at the U.S.- Africa Business Forum in Washington, Obama said the new investment and financing commitments will support both African and American jobs. The bulk of the commitments will come from private sector companies like Coca-Cola and IBM.

Obama emphasized that the U.S. is interested in more than just the abundance of natural resources to be found in Africa. He noted that trade with Africa still represents a small fraction of overall U.S. commerce, adding that “we’ve got to do better, much better.”

The three-day Africa summit concludes Wednesday.

Obama said the Power Africa program he announced last year will triple its previous commitment of bringing electricity to 20 million more African homes and businesses, and said it is raising the bar to bring good things to life for 60 million African people.

But he cautioned the roughly 50 African heads of state gathered at the summit that the future of Africa is to be found on the African continent, not in the United States.

The president said the U.S. will do more to help African nations trade with each other. He said it should not be harder to export goods to your neighbor than to export goods to Los Angeles or Amsterdam.

As the worst Ebola outbreak on record rages on in West Africa, Obama told African leaders that keeping their citizens healthy and putting a health care system in place will ensure their countries’ future economic success.

s in the energy, banking, construction and information technology fields.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced an additional $10 million for a U.S. initiative to finance clean energy sources in Africa.

He said the U.S. wants to see millions of Africans gain access to power in their homes.

“More than 600 million Africans live without access to electricity today. And, our challenge is clear. We need to change those numbers and replace them with a partnership that benefits all sides by making sure that African companies, African cities, African towns, African families have access to clean and renewable energy,” said Kerry.

The U.S.-African Leaders summit opened on Monday with forums touching on a range of issues, including regional security, health, the environment and corruption.

50 heads of state

It comes on the second day of a U.S.-Africa summit involving nearly 50 African heads of state.

​”These investments will deepen U.S. economic engagement in Africa, fueling growth that will support broader African prosperity and emerging markets for U.S. businesses, which will support jobs in both the United States and Africa,” the White House official said.

Obama will take part in a discussion with corporate chief executives and government leaders at the event on Wednesday, which will be attended by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and former President Bill Clinton.

The business forum will allow dozens of African heads of state to mingle with U.S. and African executives, the official said. It will focus broadly on investment in finance, infrastructure, energy, agriculture and consumer goods.

More than 90 U.S. companies are slated to participate including Chevron Corp., Citigroup Inc., Ford Motor Co., General Electric Co., IBM, Lockheed Martin Corp., Marriott International Inc., Morgan Stanley and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Several African companies were also expected to attend.

In a brief preview of Obama’s remarks, the White House did not give specifics on the nature of the business deals or identify which companies were involved.

“These agreements represent conclusive evidence that America is open for more business with Africa as the continent’s economic ascent is just beginning,” Pritzker said in a statement.

“Each day, 250,000 Americans go to work in jobs supported by exports to Africa and these deals will lead to increased prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic in the months ahead,” she said.

The Obama administration has billed the summit as the first of its kind, but it comes long after Africa gatherings hosted in recent years by China, India, Japan and Europe, suggesting the United States is largely playing a game of catch-up for access to a market in several growing industries.

Opening day

The U.S.-African Leaders summit opened on Monday with forums touching on a range of issues, including regional security, health, the environment and corruption.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaking on Monday said the African continent has some of the world’s fastest growing economies, and that those countries will help shape future developments in the world.

“We’re on the cusp where the continent of Africa establishes itself as among the ranks of the world’s most prosperous economic and free nations,” Biden said.

“In your hands, with your help, Africa can and will go so much further. You’re the fastest growing economies in the world, and quite frankly the success of the rest of the world depends in part on your success,” he added.

Later Tuesday, Obama is hosting dinner at the White House for the African leaders.

The White House said singer Lionel Richie will entertain the leaders during the dinner on the South Lawn. For dinner, guests will dine on chilled spiced tomato soup, chopped farm-stand vegetable salad, grilled dry-aged beef and cappuccino fudge cake, according to The Associated Press.

The leaders of Sierra Leone and Liberia canceled their trips to Washington because of the Ebola epidemic facing their countries.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

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How Ethiopians in the US Cling Onto Their Heritage – BBC News

(Photo: BBC News)

BBC News

By Damian Zane

August 2014

Washington – The traditional music plays and children, some dressed in Ethiopian costume, perform a traditional dance: Raising and lowering their shoulders to the beat.

Like millions of other children in the United States, these American-Ethiopians are at summer camp.

However, this one is about maintaining their connection with their roots abroad.

It is in a regular office block on one of the main roads out of the US capital, Washington DC.

A 21-minute drive away is the grand venue where African heads of state and President Barak Obama are discussing US-Africa relations.

As the leaders try to negotiate a new phase of that relationship, the Ethiopian diaspora community is grappling with how it should relate to back home.

Estimates vary, but there are thought to be more than 200,000 Ethiopians in the Washington metropolitan area, by far the city’s largest and most visible African diaspora group.

While integrated into American life, many of them do not want to lose that connection and are keen for their children to know where they have come from.

Read more at BBC News »

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UK Summons Ethiopian Diplomat Over Opposition Official’s Arrest

Andargachew Tsige (center) is pictured above during a Congressional hearing on Ethiopia in 2006 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Flickr)

Reuters

Mon Aug 4, 2014

LONDON – Britain summoned Ethiopia’s chargé d’affaires on Monday to raise its concerns about the arrest of a British national being held in Ethiopia who has been sentenced to death over his involvement with an opposition political group.

Andargachew Tsige was sentenced to death in 2009 in absentia and another trial handed him life behind bars three years later. He was arrested in Yemen earlier this year and extradited to Ethiopia. [ID:nL6N0PK3GT]

On Monday, Britain summoned one of Ethiopia’s top diplomats in London to meet Foreign Office minister Mark Simmonds, who expressed “deep concern” that Andargachew had not been granted access to the British consulate.

“Mr Simmonds asked the chargé to urge his government to deliver on previous commitments to provide consular access without further delay, and to provide assurances that they do not intend to carry out the death penalty imposed in absentia,” a statement from the Foreign Office said.

Andargachew, secretary-general of the Ginbot 7 group, was among 20 opposition figures and journalists charged with conspiring with rebels, plotting attacks and attempting to topple the government.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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Why the arrest of Andargachew Tsige is a huge embarrassment for the West (FP)>
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Ginbot 7′s Andargachew Tsege: Ethiopia confirms arrest (BBC News)
Snatched: Justice and Politics in Ethiopia (The Economist)
Fears for Safety of Returned Opposition Leader (HRW)
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Yemen Extradites Exiled Ethiopian Opposition Chief, British Citizen, to Ethiopia (AFP)
Ethiopia Ginbot 7 leader facing death penalty ‘extradited from Yemen’ (BBC News)
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Washington Meeting of African Leaders Opens to Protests

Joseph Kabila, left, president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Secretary of State John Kerry at a news conference on Monday during a summit meeting with African heads of state. (Getty Images)

The New York Times

By ANDREW SIDDONS

AUG. 4, 2014

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the State Department on Monday, the start of a summit meeting here of more than 40 African heads of state, to denounce some of the leaders as “torturers” and “killers.”

The protesters, who were mostly from Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, said they were angry that the White House was looking to enhance economic ties with repressive governments. “Stop financing dictators,” the crowd chanted. “President Obama, shame on you.”

Obang Metho, director of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia, referenced Mr. Obama’s message to African leaders during his 2009 trip. “Africa doesn’t need strongmen. It needs strong institutions,” Mr. Obama said at the time.

“Now he is sitting with strongmen,” Mr. Metho said. “Where are the strong institutions?”

Read more at NYT »

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U.S.-Based Blogger Elias Kifle Files Lawsuit Against Ethiopia’s Government

(Image courtesy: IT Web Africa)

IT Web Africa

By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba

Published: 04 August 2014

US-based blogger Elias Kifle has filed a $120 million counter lawsuit against Ethiopia’s government, US lawfirm DLA and Saudi Arabian billionaire Mohammed Al Amoudi.

Kifle, a blogger for Ethiopianreview.com, says he filed the lawsuit in Atlanta’s US District Court for the Northern Georgia District.

Kifle alleges that Al Amoudi, the government of Ethiopia, DLA Piper, the deputy prime minister of Ethiopia Debretsion Gebremichael, and the Ethiopian government’s chief of security Getachew Assefa of “serially harassing” him.

Kifle’s lawsuit follows a defamation claim filed against him by Saudi Arabian billionaire Mohammed Al Amoudi’s business partner, Jemal Ahmed.

Kifle stands; though, accused of falsely reporting that Ahmed — who owns farms in Ethiopia that exports farm products to Saudi Arabia through his companies Saudi Star and Horizon Plantations — is engaged in human trafficking and the illegal grabbing of land from small farmers.

And Kifle says that since writing his report on Ahmed, he has been harassed, “hindering his constitutionally protected work, causing emotional distress to his family, and causing severe economic harm to him.”

“Mr Kifle also accuses DLA Piper, a large law firm with 4,000 lawyers, of extortion, racketeering and a relentless campaign of harassment on behalf of the Ethiopian government and its supporters,” says Kifle in a statement.

In his lawsuit, Kifle alleges “civil rights violations,” “abuse of process,” and “economic harm” against him.

Read More »

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UPDATE: Police Confirm Athletes Defected, At Least One May Seek Asylum in U.S

Zeyituna Mohammed (right) told authories she may seek asylum in the U.S., but she is not certain of her plans. (Photos: Meaza Kebede, Zeyituna Mohammed, Dureti Edao, Amanuel Abebe Atibeha/via (ODE)

Oregon Live

By Ian K. Kullgren

The four Ethiopian runners who disappeared from the IAAF Junior World Championships in Eugene this past weekend defected from their home country to avoid returning to widespread civil unrest there, police confirmed in a report released late Friday.

The report, provided by police in Federal Way, Washington, describes an interview with Zeyituna Mohammed, an 18-year-old woman runner on the Ethiopian national team. She told police that she and the other athletes decided to stay in the U.S. because they were too afraid to return to Ethiopia.

The report confirms for the first time what many close to the case, including the team’s coaches, had suspected — that the athletes’ disappearance was part of a plan to defect from Ethiopia.

Mohammed told authories she may seek asylum in the U.S., but she is not certain of her plans. It remains unclear whether the other three athletes, whom police found in Beaverton earlier this week, are planning to do so.

Read more at Oregon Live »

Related:
Two of the Runners Signed Contracts With Nike and Adidas Hours Before Disappearing
Last of Four Missing Ethiopian Athletes Found Safe in Washington State
Four Ethiopian athletes missing from World Junior championships (Oregon Daily Emerald)
Ethiopians Sweep Gold-Silver in 5000m World Junior Championships in Oregon (IAAF)

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Ethiopia’s Armenians: Long History, Small Numbers

The Boyadjian family, one of the earliest members of the Armenian community in Ethiopia. (Facebook)

Associated Press

By BETHAN McKERNAN

Aug 2, 2014

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The numbers at the St. George Armenian Apostolic Church in Addis Ababa are not adding up. Church records show an average of two funerals a year, but a wedding only every three years and a baptism every five.

“Some people don’t come to church vertically. Only horizontally,” Vartkes Nalbandian said with a laugh.

Vartkes is among a small handful of people keeping Ethiopia’s Armenian community alive. Despite a fall in numbers from a peak of 1,200 in the 1960s to less than 100 people today, the Armenian school, church and social club still open their doors.

“There is more to a community than just statistics. We are proud of the Armenian contribution to Ethiopia. It’s worth fighting for,” said 64-year old Vartkes, the church’s fulltime acting archdeacon since the last priest left in 2002.

But given the shrinking numbers, the fight can feel daunting.

Armenian goldsmiths, traders and architects were invited to settle in Ethiopia more than 150 years ago by Emperor Johannes IV. Buoyed by the ties between Ethiopian and Armenian Orthodoxy, the community thrived.

After the Armenian Genocide in 1915, Haile Selassie, Ethiopia’s regent who later became Emperor, opened his arms to the Armenian people even wider, adopting 40 orphans as wards of court. In return, the Ethio-Armenians proved fiercely loyal.

One trader used his European connections to buy arms for Ethiopia’s resistance movement against the Italian occupation during World War II. Others ran an underground newspaper. Several gave their lives in service of their adopted homeland.

“Those were the best days,” said 61-year old Salpi Nalbandian, who runs a leather business with her brother Vartkes and other family members. “We were valued members of the court. We made the crowns the emperors wore on their heads. We were not like the Italians, we weren’t invaders. We contributed.”

But the community’s fortunes have changed through the years.

Read more »

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Barack Obama’s Ambitions for Africa

President Obama speaking to the 500 YALI Mandela Washington Fellows on Monday, July 29th, 2014. (Photo: AMIP)

The Economist | From the print edition

America and Africa: The next great disruption

Aug 2nd 2014

AIR FORCE ONE AND WASHINGTON, DC – AMERICA, an exceptional place, has long stood out for a willingness to take big bets on the rise of others. Post-war American governments devoted vast amounts of money, attention and military might to rebuilding or being the midwife of economies and democracies in Europe and Asia, with spectacular results. Of the country’s 15 largest trading partners today, 11 are former recipients of American aid.

Now Africa is set to deliver a fresh asymmetric shock to the global order, taking its place as the last great emerging market. Its population is set to double by 2050, and will be astonishingly young. Does Barack Obama’s America have the patience and confidence to welcome this change, harnessing it for mutual gain? Or is today’s America more like an old-world power, risk-averse, inward-looking and fearful of change? Africa may seem a sideshow now, but it is not a bad test of America’s standing in the world…

America has reasons to bet big. It enjoys more latent goodwill than ex-imperial Europe (Nelson Mandela said that the election of Mr Obama, the son of a Kenyan economist, was proof that people everywhere should “dare to dream”). America is more trusted in Africa than China, whose vast investments have at times sparked comparisons with colonial exploitation.

Yet critics accuse Mr Obama of all but ignoring the continent, only paying his first lengthy visit as president in 2013, after his re-election. Asian and European cities have hosted numerous summits for African leaders, ending with ceremonies to sign agreements worth billions of dollars.

Read more at The Economist »

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Ambassador David Shinn on the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

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The World Tweets for Zone 9 Bloggers

A worldwide, multilingual Tweetathon under the hashtag #FreeZone9Bloggers was held on Thursday, July 31st calling attention to the case of the jailed Ethiopian bloggers and journalists. (Image: Zone9 Tumblr)

Aljazeera

Press freedom activists demand release of Ethiopian bloggers charged with terrorism

July 31, 2014

Calls for press freedom in Ethiopia are resurging with the upcoming trial of 10 bloggers and journalists. Some members of the group are part of the blogging collective Zone 9, and were charged earlier this month under Ethiopia’s widely-criticised anti-terrorism law.

Arrested in April, the bloggers and journalists’ trial begins on August 4, and some predict that it may last until the national elections in May 2015. Atnaf Berahane, Befekadu Hailu, Abel Wabela, Mahlet Fantahun, Natnael Feleke, and Zelalem Kibret are the six Zone 9 bloggers currently in custody, along with independent journalists Tesfalem Waldyes, Edom Kassaye, and Asmamaw Hailegiorgis. The tenth, Soliana Shimeles, lives in the United States and is being tried in absentia.

From Egypt to the United States, many expressed their support for the detained using #FreeZone9Bloggers in a tweetathon on July 31 started by Global Voices. The hashtag has been used over 10,000 times in the past month.

Read more at Aljazeera »

Related:
41 Organizations Call for Release of Detained Ethiopian Journalists and Bloggers
As Ethiopia’s ‘Zone 9′ Bloggers Get Popular, They Get Charged With Terror
Zone 9 Bloggers Charged With Terrorism
Interview With the Lawyer of Illegally Detained Zone9 Bloggers
CPJ condemns closed court hearings for nine Ethiopian journalists
Zone9 Co-Founder Speaks Out (Video)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopian Photojournalist Aziza Mohamed Held Without Charge

Ethiopian Photojournalist Aziza Mohamed. (Photo: Facebook)

CPJ

July 31, 2014

Nairobi – CPJ is alarmed by the detention of Addis Guday (“Addis Affairs”) photojournalist Aziza Mohamed, who has been in custody for two weeks without charge. Police arrested Aziza on July 18 while she was covering Muslim protests near Anwar Mosque in the capital Addis Ababa, local journalists told CPJ. She is being held at the Addis Ababa police headquarters.

Police investigators presented Aziza before the Kirkos First Bench Court today but requested further time for their probe before bringing formal charges, local journalists said. According to local journalists who attended the hearing, police told the court that Aziza was inciting protesters to violence during the demonstration. However, Aziza told colleagues who visited her in detention that plainclothes policemen arrested her in a café near the protests, likely after noticing her camera. Police searched Aziza’s home on July 26 and confiscated several music compact discs, local journalists said.

Read more at CPJ.ORG »

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

From left to right: Amanuel Abebe Atibeha, 17, Dureti Edao, 18, Meaza Kebede, 18, Zeyituna Mohammed, 18. All four were located safe days after being reported missing. (Oregon Daily Emerald)

Oregon Daily Emerald

By Victor Flores

Zeyituna Mohammed, the last of four Ethiopian track and field athletes reported missing from the IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene this past weekend, was found safe in Federal Way, Washington by Federal Way Police Tuesday night, according to University of Oregon Police Department spokesman Kelly McIver.

Federal Way Police located Muhammed, 18, at an acquaintance’s residence. UOPD received information from someone in Federal Way that Mohammed was there and asked Federal Way Police to do a welfare check.

Two Ethiopian track and field coaches reported late Friday evening that Muhammed and three of her fellow Ethiopian athletes had not checked into their rooms in a UO residence hall. Muhammed’s teammates – Amanuel Abebe Atibeha, 17, Dureti Edao, 18, and Meaza Kebede, 18 — were found safe in Beaverton, Oregon by police Monday afternoon.

The missing persons case is now closed, and the UOPD and UO will no longer be involved with these athletes’ situation.

“Law enforcement’s only interest was in confirming the safety of the individuals reported missing,” McIver wrote in a press release.

Some have speculated that the four athletes sought asylum in the United States, but that has not been confirmed. Ethiopians were the third largest group of people to receive asylum in the U.S. in 2012, behind China and Egypt.

Read more at Oregon Daily Emeralds »

Related:
Four Ethiopian athletes missing from World Junior championships (Oregon Daily Emerald)
Ethiopians Sweep Gold-Silver in 5000m World Junior Championships in Oregon (IAAF)

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Ethiopia Says U.K. Review of Aid Is Based on Fabricated Claims

Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry says the Gambella resettlements were voluntary and successfully achieved their goal of improving public services in sparsely populated areas. (Image: Wikimedia commons)

Bloomberg News

By William Davison

Jul 30, 2014

A British court’s decision to allow a judicial review of aid given to Ethiopia is based on “fabrications” about a resettlement program propagated by people outside the country, the Horn of Africa nation’s Foreign Ministry said.

The High Court in London on July 14 said a review could be conducted into whether the U.K.’s aid agency is adequately monitoring the human-rights record of Ethiopia’s government. The ruling came after an Ethiopian citizen said his government had used aid to implement a resettlement program in the western Gambella region under which he suffered abuses. The program forcibly moved tens of thousands of people and involved “serious human rights violations,” according to Human Rights Watch. The U.K.’s development agency said it didn’t fund the program.

Ethiopia is enacting a five-year economic growth plan in a bid to reduce poverty and develop industries beyond agriculture, which accounts for 80 percent of employment, according to the United Nations.

Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry said the Gambella resettlements were voluntary and successfully achieved their goal of improving public services in sparsely populated areas.

Read more at Bloomberg News »

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Bill Clinton, Michael Bloomberg at Africa Summit

Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been active in Africa for more than 15 years. (Getty Images)

Politico

By MIKE ALLEN

Bill Clinton will moderate the opening session of the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, which Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Commerce Department are co-sponsoring in Washington on Aug. 5 — the middle day of a three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit hosted by President Barack Obama.

The summit is expected to draw more than 40 African heads of state, the largest gathering of African leaders on U.S. soil — plus 200 U.S. and African CEOs, as well as Cabinet and congressional participants.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will introduce Obama for closing remarks. Vice President Joe Biden will also speak at the forum, to be held at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. Organizers say the forum is designed as “an opportunity for government and business leaders to come together to explore new investment possibilities that can fuel job creation in both the U.S. and African economies.”

Bloomberg, who has been active in Africa for more than 15 years, and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker will give opening remarks. Secretary of State Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim will be among those giving welcoming remarks. Moderators will include National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Charlie Rose.

Read more at politico.com »

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Ambassador David Shinn on the 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Multilingual Twitter Campaign Planned to Demand Release of Zone 9 Bloggers

(Photo courtesy: Zone9Tumblr)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – In solidarity with Ethiopia’s jailed Zone 9 bloggers and journalists, a worldwide, multilingual Tweetathon is being organized by the free speech advocacy organization Global Voices Online. The Twitter event (under the hashtag #FreeZone9Bloggers) is scheduled for Thursday, July 31st from 10am – 2pm.

“The Global Voices community and our network of allies are demanding justice for these men and women, all of whom have worked hard to expand spaces for social and political commentary in Ethiopia through blogging and journalism,” the organization announced. “We believe their arrest is a violation of their universal right to free expression, and that the charges filed against them are unjust.”

“The bloggers’ trial begins on August 4, 2014. Until then, and beyond, they will need all the support they can get. So this Thursday, we as a global community of bloggers, writers, activists, and social media experts will share this message around the world, tweeting in our native languages at community leaders, government and diplomatic officials, and mainstream media to draw public attention to the case.”

Below are details about the Tweetathon.

A Tweetathon Demanding the Release of Jailed Ethiopian Bloggers
Date: Thursday, July 31, 2014
Time: 10am – 2pm — no matter what time zone you’re in!
Hashtag: #FreeZone9Bloggers
More info at globalvoicesonline.org.

Related:
41 Organizations Call for Release of Detained Ethiopian Journalists and Bloggers
As Ethiopia’s ‘Zone 9′ Bloggers Get Popular, They Get Charged With Terror
Zone 9 Bloggers Charged With Terrorism
Interview With the Lawyer of Illegally Detained Zone9 Bloggers
CPJ condemns closed court hearings for nine Ethiopian journalists
Zone9 Co-Founder Speaks Out (Video)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia, Other African Governments Make Their Pitch in Houston

Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome will host the 2014 U.S. - Ethiopia Investment Summit at the Houstonian Club in Houston, Texas on Wednesday, July 30th, 2014. (Photo: World Bulletin)

Houston Chronicle

By Chris Tomlinson

July 29, 2014

African officials will be in Houston Tuesday to tour American energy infrastructure and to pitch for investments in their power sectors.

The energy ministers from Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania will meet Tuesday with U.S. Trade and Development Agency Director Leocadia I. Zak and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, as well as talk to officials from U.S. energy companies, the agency said.

Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome will also host the 2014 U.S. – Ethiopia Investment Summit at the Houstonian Club on Wednesday.

American companies have lagged behind their global competitors in taking advantage of the enormous economic growth and potential for big returns on the continent. I’ve written about the need for American investors to reconsider their preconceived notions about Africa. Now there’s a chance of Houston executives to hear the pitch firsthand.

The goal of the energy ministers’ visit to Houston is to show them the benefits of infrastructure investment in energy projects, and to inform U.S. executives about possible projects in Africa.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle »

Related:
Houston Chronicle Editorial: Ethiopia Needs to Do Better

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Oromo Nationalism on the Rise in Ethiopia

Protests and online activism in recent months have brought a resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia. (Photo: Oromo students protest against a government plan to expand Addis Ababa/Al Jazeera)

Al Jazeera

By William Davison

29 Jul 2014 09:35

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Aslan Hasan, a student belonging to the Oromo ethnic group in Ethiopia, was called either a guilt-ridden terrorist who committed suicide or an innocent victim of brutal state repression, depending on who you listen to.

His death came following a bout of violence in May, when Oromo students in several towns protested against a government plan for the capital Addis Ababa to expand into Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia’s largest and most populous federal region with around one-third of the nation’s over 90 million people.

Security services said Hasan hanged himself in his cell after being arrested for a grenade attack that occurred at Haramaya University in the east of the country. Online Oromo activists such as Jawar Mohammed say Aslan, 24, had his throat slit by police on June 1 while in custody after being snatched four days before.

Read more at Al Jazeera »

Related:
Anger Over ‘Violent Crackdown’ at Protest in Oromia, Ethiopia (BBC Video)
Ethiopian mother’s anger at murdered son in student protests (BBC News)
Minnesota Senate Condemns Recent Violence in Ethiopia’s Oromia State
The Brutal Crackdown on Ethiopia Protesters (Human Rights Watch)
Deadly Ethiopia Protest: At Least 17 Ambo Students Killed in Oromia State (VOA)
Ethiopia protest: Ambo students killed in Oromia state (BBC)
Students killed in violent confrontations with police in Ethiopia’s largest state (AP)
Ethiopia: Oromia State Clashes Leave At Least 11 Students Dead (International Business Times)
Ethiopia: Discussing Ethnic Politics in Social Media (TADIAS)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Anger Over ‘Violent Crackdown’ at Protest in Oromia, Ethiopia (BBC Video)

Ambo University in Oromia, Ethiopia. (Photo: BBC News)

BBC News

28 July 2014

A plan by the Ethiopian government to expand the capital’s administrative control into neighbouring states has sparked months of student protests.

Security forces have been accused of cracking down on demonstrators in the region of Oromia.

The government says 17 people died in the violence, but human rights groups say that number is much higher.

The BBC’s Emmanuel Igunza has gained rare access to the town of Ambo where the protests took place.

Watch the video at BBC News »

Related:
Ethiopian mother’s anger at murdered son in student protests (BBC News)
Minnesota Senate Condemns Recent Violence in Ethiopia’s Oromia State
The Brutal Crackdown on Ethiopia Protesters (Human Rights Watch)
Deadly Ethiopia Protest: At Least 17 Ambo Students Killed in Oromia State (VOA)
Ethiopia protest: Ambo students killed in Oromia state (BBC)
Students killed in violent confrontations with police in Ethiopia’s largest state (AP)
Ethiopia: Oromia State Clashes Leave At Least 11 Students Dead (International Business Times)
Ethiopia: Discussing Ethnic Politics in Social Media (TADIAS)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Four Ethiopian Athletes Missing in Oregon May be Staying With Friends

Four Ethiopian athletes are reported missing from World Junior track and field in Oregon. (Image: IAAF)

The Register-guard

By Jeff Wright

JULY 28, 2014

Four members of the Ethiopian track team taking part in the World Junior Champion­ships at Hayward Field have been missing since Saturday morning, University of Oregon spokeswoman Julie Brown said Sunday.

It’s possible that the four athletes — three women and a 17-year-old boy — are staying with friends and family elsewhere in the state, “but we have not been able to confirm that with them directly,” Brown said.

Despite speculation, it’s also not been confirmed that the four are seeking political asylum from their native country, Brown said.

The UO Police Department is leading a missing persons investigation with assistance from Eugene police, Portland police and the FBI, Brown said.

The 30-member Ethiopian team consists of 17 females and 13 males, according to the International Association of Athletics Federations website. Brown said she didn’t know the identities of the four athletes who are un­accounted for.

Essar Gabriel, IAAF general secretary, said late Sunday afternoon that association officials don’t know the athletes’ whereabouts.

The Register-guard »

Related:
Four Ethiopian athletes missing from World Junior championships (Oregon Daily Emerald)
Ethiopians Sweep Gold-Silver in 5000m World Junior Championships in Oregon

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Ethiopian Mother Angry Over Murdered Son

University graduates in Ambo, Ethiopia, where deadly protests took place in April, 2014. (Photo: BBC)

BBC News

By Hewete Haileselassie

27 July 2014

Ethiopia – “Yeshi” is still trying to come to terms with the trauma of discovering the body of her son being carried through the streets of the Ethiopian city of Ambo.

A rickshaw driver in his 20s, he had been caught up in deadly protests between the police and students in the city in April.

They were demonstrating about plans to extend the administrative control of the capital, Addis Ababa, into Oromia state.

Oromia is the country’s largest region and completely surrounds Addis Ababa – and some people feared they would be forced off their land and lose their regional and cultural identity if the plans went ahead.

The government says the “Masterplan”, as it is known, would allow them to better extend city services to rural areas.

Read more at BBC News »

Related:
Minnesota Senate Condemns Recent Violence in Ethiopia’s Oromia State
The Brutal Crackdown on Ethiopia Protesters (Human Rights Watch)
Deadly Ethiopia Protest: At Least 17 Ambo Students Killed in Oromia State (VOA)
Ethiopia protest: Ambo students killed in Oromia state (BBC)
Students killed in violent confrontations with police in Ethiopia’s largest state (AP)
Ethiopia: Oromia State Clashes Leave At Least 11 Students Dead (International Business Times)
Ethiopia: Discussing Ethnic Politics in Social Media (TADIAS)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

From Africa to Florida International University, Young Leaders Find Inspiration

Scholars discuss leadership goals in their roles back home in Africa as part of President Obama's Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders training at FIU on Thursday, July 24, 2014. (MH)

Miami Herald

BY JEFFREY PIERRE

After six weeks at Florida International University, Danbala Garba leaves with much more than good memories. The Nigerian human rights advocate plans to return and redouble his efforts on behalf of those seeking justice.

“I intend to work harder and fight through the court, now more than ever,” said Garba, 32. “I’ve been triggered by what I’ve learned here.”

Garba was among 25 young African leaders who spent six weeks at FIU as part of an Obama administration program to groom the next generation of leaders on the continent. The group left FIU on Saturday and plans to meet later in the day with Obama in Washington.

FIU was the only university selected in Florida to host the 25 young leaders between the ages of 25 and 35. They were selected from throughout sub-Saharan Africa for the Washington Fellowship for the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), which was created in 2010.

Read more at miamiherald.com »

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Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

UPDATE: MMA Fighter Afrem Gebreanenia

Ethiopia-Born Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Fighter Afrem Gebreanenia. (Photograph: YouTube)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, July 25th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopian MMA fighter Afrem Gebreanenia’s next fight is at the Victory Fighting Championships in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Friday, September 12th. Afrem lost his last match (held in Fort Riley, Kansas on July 12th) in the 3rd Round via “Rear Naked Choke.”

“It was a hard fought match and Afrem gave his all,” his manager Timothy White told Tadias Magazine. “He made a simple mistake and his opponent capitalized on it.”

Timothy adds that Afrem is already preparing for his upcoming event. “He will be looking to get back into the win column and would love for any of his fellow Ethiopians, along with general fans to support him,” He said. “Council Bluffs, Iowa is right next to Omaha, Nebraska which has a good size Ethiopian population.”



Tickets can be purchased at Cagetix.com – select the event “VFC: Fight Night Council Bluffs” and select fighter “Afrem Gebreanenia”.

You can learn more about the athlete at: dynamicathletemgmt.wix.com/afremgmma.

Related:
Meet Ethiopian Mixed Martial Arts Fighter Afrem Gebreanenia

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John Green and Bill Gates In Ethiopia

‏Bill Gates and John Green talk to students in Ethiopia. (Photo tweeted by Bill Gates)

The Wall Street Journal

By WSJ Staff

“Nerdfighters, meet changemakers,” Bill Gates tweeted to his 16 million followers.

The tech pioneer and world philanthropist was joined by young adult author and YouTube star John Green on a recent trip to Ethiopia. In case you aren’t quite up to speed on essential terms from John Green’s world, “nerdfighters” is the name John Green fans use to describe themselves, and their stated mission is to “increase awesomeness.” Green and his brother also have a charity organization called the Foundation to Decrease Suck, so it makes sense that Green would team up with a fellow Good Samaritan like Bill Gates.

Green detailed their visit to a rural Ethiopian health care center on his Tumblr blog, stating that “the world has a lot to learn from Ethiopia’s health investments.” He also shared that Gates was “the best listener — and question asker — he’s ever met.”

See photos from the trip at The Wall Street Journal »

Related:
Bill Gates in Ethiopia Says Africa Needs Better International Aid Audit
Bill Gates Receives Honorary Doctoral Degree From Addis Ababa University

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Bill Gates in Ethiopia Says Africa Needs Better International Aid Audit (Video)

Bill Gates in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Thursday, July 24th, 2014. (Photo: BBC News)

BBC News

24 July 2014

Bill Gates has called for an improved audit of international aid in Africa, to make sure it achieves its aims.

The billionaire philanthropist told the BBC that aid remains vital in ensuring Africa is lifted from poverty, but that African countries need to find solutions for their own problems, especially development matters.

He spoke to BBC Africa’s Emmanuel Igunza in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Watch the video at BBC News »

Related:
Bill Gates Receives Honorary Doctoral Degree From Addis Ababa University

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41 Organizations Call for Release of Detained Ethiopian Journalists and Bloggers

(Image courtesy: Htext Africa)

Freedom-now.org

Media Release

24 July 2014

Washington, D.C.: Today, Freedom Now joined 40 other human rights and civil society organizations in a letter to Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn expressing grave concern at the continued targeting of journalists and bloggers on terrorism charges. The letter, also joined by organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the PEN American Center, and the Committee to Protect Journalists, highlighted the recent terror charges laid against seven bloggers associated with the Zone 9 website (one in absentia) and three independent journalists in Ethiopia.

In calling on the Prime Minister to facilitate the immediate release of those writers detained under the widely-criticized 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, the letter (below) noted that previous prosecutions under the same law have been found by international institutions, such as the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, to violate Ethiopia’s obligations under international law. In closing, the regional and international organizations urge the Prime Minister to facilitate the immediate release all Ethiopians wrongly detained on terrorism charges and amend the law so that it complies with international human rights standards.

###

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Office of the Prime Minister
P.O. Box 1031
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

24 July 2014

Re: Detained Journalists and Bloggers

Dear Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn,

We write to you to express our grave concern regarding the terrorism charges laid against seven bloggers associated with the “Zone 9” website and three independent journalists in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights—which both expressly protect the right to freedom of expression. We therefore urge your government to fulfill its obligations under international law and release all individuals who have been arbitrarily detained in violation of their fundamental rights.

As you may be aware, six of the bloggers (Zelalem Kibret, Atnaf Berahane, Natnael Feleke, Mahlet Fantahun, Befeqadu Hailu, and Abel Wabela) and the three journalists (Tesfalem Waldyes, Asmamaw Hailegeorgis, and Edom Kassaye) were arrested in late April, shortly after it was announced that the Zone 9 website would resume its activities after suspending operations because of increasing harassment and surveillance. All nine detainees were subsequently held for nearly three months before any specific allegations were presented or formal charges filed against them. Most concerning, however, are reports that some of the detainees have complained of serious mistreatment by investigators and that defense lawyers and their clients have been excluded from some of the proceedings.

Recent reports now indicate that the detained bloggers and journalists have been charged under the widely-criticized 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, including provisions that provide for the death penalty, in addition to charges of committing “outrages against the constitution.” A seventh blogger, Soleyana Shimeles, was also charged in absentia. In accordance with the requirements of both Ethiopian and international law, we call on you to ensure that all allegations of torture or other forms of ill-treatment are promptly investigated and that no statements obtained through such means are admitted in court. Further, we call on you to ensure that the detainees have full access to the assistance of legal counsel and that the proceedings related to this case are open to the public, the media, and members of the diplomatic community.

Unfortunately, these prosecutions are only the most recent example of a worrying pattern. Outspoken Ethiopian journalists Eskinder Nega, Reeyot Alemu, and Woubshet Taye have all received long prison terms under the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, in trials marred by procedural flaws. Similarly, opposition activists including Andualem Arage have received sentences of up to life imprisonment on such grounds.

While your office has asserted that the prosecution of these individuals is unrelated to their work as journalists, independent inquiries have found that this is not the case. For example, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention held that the imprisonment of Mr. Nega violated Ethiopia’s obligations under international law and requested his immediate release. In addition to procedural violations, the Working Group found that the detention of Mr. Nega resulted directly from his exercise of free expression and that the overly broad offenses established by the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation constituted “an unjustified restriction on expression rights and on fair trial rights.” Despite such a finding, however, Mr. Nega remains in prison.

Other international bodies have similarly criticized your country’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation for being overly broad and a tool through which freedom of expression is limited. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted a resolution in 2012 stating that it was “gravely alarmed by the arrests and prosecutions of journalists and political opposition members, charged with terrorism and other offences, including treason, for exercising their peaceful and legitimate rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association.” This message reinforced an earlier statement by five United Nations special procedure mandate holders, including the Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, which expressed their “dismay at the continuing abuse of anti-terrorism legislation to curb freedom of expression in Ethiopia.” During Ethiopia’s Universal Periodic Review earlier this year, similar concerns were raised by a number of countries, including security allies of Ethiopia such as the United States of America.

Despite these clear findings that the targeting of writers under the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation is inconsistent with Ethiopia’s international obligations, prosecutors have now charged the seven Zone 9 bloggers and three independent journalists under that very law. As a result, they face exceedingly long prison sentences or even death. Such a practice violates international law and threatens to undermine the legitimacy of international security efforts in the region.

In light of these serious concerns, we urge you to facilitate the immediate release of all journalists and bloggers imprisoned under the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation and to revise the Proclamation to comply with regional and international human rights standards.

Sincerely,

1. Amnesty International
2. ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa
3. Central Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (REDHAC), Central Africa
4. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
5. Civil Rights Defenders, Sweden
6. Coalition pour le Développement et la Réhabilitation Sociale (CODR UBUNTU), Burundi
7. Committee to Protect Journalists
8. Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), South Sudan
9. Conscience International (CI), The Gambia
10. East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project
11. Egyptian Democratic Association, Egypt
12. Electronic Frontier Foundation
13. Ethiopian Human Rights Project (EHRP)
14. Elma7rosa Network, Egypt
15. English PEN
16. Freedom Now
17. Front Line Defenders, Dublin
18. Human Rights Watch
19. International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF)
20. Ligue des Droits de la personne dans la region des Grands Lacs (LDGL), Great Lakes
21. Ligue Iteka, Burundi
22. Maranatha Hope, Nigeria
23. Media Legal Defence Initiative
24. National Civic Forum, Sudan
25. National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, Kenya
26. Niger Delta Women’s movement for Peace and Development, Nigeria
27. Nigeria Network of NGOs, Nigeria
28. Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, Nigeria
29. PEN American Center
30. PEN International
31. Réseau africain des journalistes sur la sécurité humaine et la paix (Rajosep), Togo
32. Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), Uganda
33. South Sudan Human Rights Defenders Network (SSHRDN), South Sudan
34. South Sudan Law Society, South Sudan
35. Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition, Tanzania
36. Twerwaneho Listeners Club (TLC), Uganda
37. Union de Jeunes pour la Paix et le Développement, Burundi
38. WAN-IFRA (The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers)
39. West African Human Rights Defenders Network (ROADDH/ WAHRDN), West Africa
40. Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD), Zambia
41. Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Zimbabwe

Related:
As Ethiopia’s ‘Zone 9′ Bloggers Get Popular, They Get Charged With Terror (CS Monitor)
Zone 9 Bloggers Charged With Terrorism (BBC News)
Interview With the Lawyer of Illegally Detained Zone9 Bloggers (Trial Tracker Blog)
CPJ condemns closed court hearings for nine Ethiopian journalists
Zone9 Co-Founder Speaks Out (Video)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Clarification: There Are No Recent FAA Warnings For Flights In or Out of Ethiopia

Image courtesy: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

U.S. Embassy

Press Release

Clarification of 2000 U.S. Federal Aviation Administration Warning for Ethiopia

July 23, 2014

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – There has been no recent FAA warning for flights in or out of Ethiopia. The FAA flight prohibition (SFAR 87 of May 16, 2000) pertaining to Northern Ethiopia predates the June 18, 2000 cessation of hostilities between Ethiopia and Eritrea and has not been updated subsequently. The FAA advisory (KFDC A0012/97) pertaining to Ethiopia/Kenya dates to 2002.

Neither the FAA flight prohibition nor the FAA advisory was issued after Flight MH 17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine on July 17, as some media outlets have erroneously reported. Both the Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) No. 87 and the FAA advisory apply only to U.S. air carriers or commercial operators.

Read more »

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First Bottles of Ethiopian Wine Produced by French Firm Castel

Women pick grapes at the Castel vineyard near the town of Ziway in Ethiopia. Half of 1.2m bottles of Rift Valley wine are intended for export, with company planning to double production (Photo: Getty Images)

The Guardian

By Kim Willsher in Paris

Wednesday 23 July 2014

The grape names – merlot, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay – are distinctly French, but the label on the Rift Valley wines is surprising: made in Ethiopia.

The French beverage giant Castel, one of the world’s biggest producers of wines and beers, is raising a glass to its first production of 1.2m bottles of Ethiopian Rift Valley wine.

The African state’s former president Meles Zenawi, who died in 2012, encouraged Castel to develop vineyards in Ethiopia, one of Africa’s poorest countries, as a way of improving its image.

Half of the bottles are destined for domestic consumption and half for export to countries where the Ethiopian diaspora have settled, though 26,000 have already been snapped up by a Chinese buyer.

Although Castel does not expect its Ethiopian wine business to make a profit until 2016, it hopes to more than double production to 3m bottles a year. Though Ethiopia is better known for its production of another drink, coffee, Castel says the African country has the potential to rival the continent’s main wine producer, South Africa.

“It’s not that difficult because the climate is good and it’s not too hot,” Castel’s Ethiopia site manager, Olivier Spillebout, told Agence France-Presse. “Exports are small now, but year after year they will grow.”

The company has produced a better quality wine called Rift Valley, selling in Ethiopia for the equivalent of €7 (£5.50) and a grape-mix wine called Acacia, retailing at the equivalent of €5.

Read more at The Guardian »

Related:
The French Beverage Giant Castel Announces Wine Made in Ethiopia (AFP)

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Ethiopia Becomes China’s China in Search for Cheap Labor

Ethiopian employees work inside the Huajian Shoes' factory outside Addis Ababa. (Photographer: Ilya Gridneff/Bloomberg)

Bloomberg News

By Kevin Hamlin, Ilya Gridneff and William Davison

July 22, 2014

Ethiopian workers strolling through the parking lot of Huajian Shoes’ factory outside Addis Ababa last month chose the wrong day to leave their shirts untucked.

Company President Zhang Huarong, just arrived on a visit from China, spotted them through the window, sprang up and ran outside. The former People’s Liberation Army soldier harangued them loudly in Chinese, tugging at one man’s aqua polo shirt and forcing another’s shirt into his pants. Nonplussed, the workers stood silently until the eruption subsided.

Shaping up a handful of employees is one small part of Zhang’s quest to profit from Huajian’s factory wages of about $40 a month -– less than 10 percent the level in China.

Read more at Businessweek.com »

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Ethiopia Should Consider Currency Devaluation, Says World Bank

(Image credit: warosu.org)

Reuters

By Aaron Maasho

Tue Jul 22, 2014

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia should consider devaluing its currency to boost exports as they are mostly unprocessed products and need to stay competitive on price, a World Bank economist said on Tuesday.

Ethiopia, whose main exports are coffee, horticultural products, oilseeds and livestock, has operated a carefully managed floating exchange rate regime since 1992.

The last big devaluation was in 2010 when the birr lost 16.7 percent of its value to the dollar. The central bank quoted the birr at 19.6511/19.8476 to the U.S. currency on Tuesday.

“By one measure of real exchange rate, Ethiopia’s currency is 31 percent overvalued,” the World Bank’s lead economist in Ethiopia, Lars Christian Moller, said in Addis Ababa.

At an event to launch an economic report on the Horn of Africa nation, he said devaluing the currency by 10 percent could increase export growth by 5 percentage points a year.

Read more »

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As Ethiopia’s ‘Zone 9′ Bloggers Get Popular, They Get Charged With Terror

The US says it is 'deeply concerned' over prosecution of young social media activists. But Ethiopia is a key US ally on the Horn of Africa and any censure may remain rhetorical. (csmonitor)

CS Monitor

By William Davison

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — Ethiopia has charged 10 reform-minded bloggers and journalists with terrorism offenses – marking the latest in a long line of repressive acts against civil society by a key US partner in the Horn of Africa.

Seven of the 10 bloggers are part of a social media group called Zone 9. The group are mostly young urban professionals known for a fresh and reasoned approach to peaceful change — and who are increasingly well-respected – in an authoritarian nation known for a history of stifling free expression. With elections coming, some say the charges are an easy way for the government to link dissidents to terrorist groups and undermine them.

Six of the bloggers and the three journalists have been held since April, and are now charged under a 2009 terror law that has broad and loose terms. Analysts say these individuals may receive the same long prison sentences as opposition politicians and journalists recently sentenced on similar charges.

Read more at csmonitor.com »

Related:
Zone 9 Bloggers Charged With Terrorism (BBC News)
Interview With the Lawyer of Illegally Detained Zone9 Bloggers (Trial Tracker Blog)
CPJ condemns closed court hearings for nine Ethiopian journalists
Zone9 Co-Founder Speaks Out (Video)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopian Jailed in China’s First Khat Smuggling Case

(Image: Wikimedia commons)

Xinhua

July 22, 2014

An Ethiopian was sentenced to seven months in jail for trafficking khat to China, marking the first such case in the country, which classed the plant as an illegal drug this year.

The verdict was handed down earlier this month by the Intermediate People’s Court of Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province.

The defendant, Ibrahim Abdulsemed Abdosh, was also fined 30,000 yuan (about 4,878 U.S. dollars), the judge in the case, Liu Yun, told Xinhua Tuesday.

Chinese customs officers at the Hangzhou International Airport found0.63 kilograms of khat carried by the man, who had flown there from Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, on January 13, Liu said.

She said the man was aware of China’s ban on khat, a leafy plant chewed as a stimulant, but attempted to escape the immigration inspection.

Read more at china.org »

Related:
17 Indicted in NY Drug Ring Bust for Khat

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Ethiopia Detains 45 Nigerians For Alleged Drug Trafficking – Official

(Image: Google map)

Leadership Newspaper Nigeria

Jul 22, 2014

No fewer than 45 Nigerian nationals are being detained by the Ethiopian authorities for alleged drugs trafficking and related offences, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

A top official of the Embassy of Nigeria in Addis Ababa, who preferred not be mentioned, told NAN that the suspected traffickers, including seven ladies, were arrested at the Addis Ababa International Airport within a period of five months.

The suspects are being detained in various detention facilities within the city while awaiting trial in accordance with international laws on trafficking of drugs and other related offenses.

The embassy official said the suspected traffickers were on transit through the Addis Ababa Airport from countries in South America being points of origin.

The official said most of the suspects were heading to Nigeria and some countries in West Africa being their destination points.

Read more »

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Australia Grants Permanent Protection Visa to Teenager Who Fled Ethiopia

Australia's immigration minister Scott Morrison during question time in parliament. (Photograph: AAP)

The Guardian

By Oliver Laughland

Tuesday 22 July 2014

The immigration minister has issued a permanent protection visa to an unaccompanied minor who fled Ethiopia and arrived in Australia by boat, in a major backflip that could have ramifications for other asylum seekers in Australia.

Since the Coalition government came to power in September, Scott Morrison has aggressively stated it would not issue permanent visas to asylum seekers who arrive by boat in Australia and has attempted to cap the number of permanent visas it offers.

But he has now issued a visa to the 15-year-old boy whose case led to a high court ruling that such a cap was invalid.

After the ruling, Morrison had initially indicated he would still not grant the boy a permanent visa, and had appeared intent upon getting around the ruling by introducing a new public interest test in July.

Morrison said following the ruling: “The policy of the Australian government is that those who arrived illegally by boat or plane … should only be granted a temporary visa.

Read more at The Guardian »

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U.S.-AFRICA SUMMIT: United Africa? Not Yet

From Marcus Garvey to Bob Marley, see leading figures who championed a United States of Africa. (WSJ)

The Wall Street Journal

By PETER WONACOTT CONNECT

The journalist and black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey wrote a poem about it. The reggae great Bob Marley sang about it. And the Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi poured his oil wealth into it. But none lived to see a United States of Africa.

This history of disappointed hopes will provide the backdrop in early August when President Barack Obama hosts the inaugural U.S.-Africa summit in Washington. Only a few of Africa’s 54 leaders—including Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, who is still the target of U.S. sanctions—haven’t been invited.

The U.S. wants to discuss continent-wide issues, such as security and terrorism, and to promote regional initiatives, such as shared electricity. To stress the breadth of the meeting’s aims, Mr. Obama plans to meet with the African heads of state as a group, not individually—a move that has ruffled some diplomatic feathers.

The vision of an impoverished continent of countries coming together as one, flexing its muscle in geopolitics and the global economy, has long enticed activists, poets and politicians. But today’s Africa remains divided, largely along hastily drawn colonial-era borders. The question now is whether the still-remote idea of political unity can find new life in the more modest goal of an integrated economic community. The obstacles are formidable.

Read more at WSJ.com »

Related:
Transport Chiefs From Five Countries to Visit Chicago Ahead of U.S.-Africa Summit (TADIAS)
Beyond Obama Haters: Real Recommendations for The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit (Brookings)
Ambassador David Shinn on the 2014 Africa Summit in DC (TADIAS)

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Ethiopia’s Child Brides See Marriage As Key to Jobs Abroad, Says Thinktank

Lubaba Abdella and the family she supported with her earnings in Saudi Arabia. Her marriage lasted only three months and her husband hit her. (Photograph: Clare Price/ODI)

The Guardian

By David Smith

Monday 21 July 2014

Up a bumpy, winding dirt track in the mountains of northern Ethiopia, past two bulls chewing pasture and a rondavel built from sticks and cow dung, is the modest home of Lubaba Abdella, its mudbrick walls reinforced by eucalyptus bark and topped by a corrugated roof.

Abdella has lived a lifetime, yet she is still in her teens. She dropped out of school, married, divorced three months later and emigrated illegally so she could cook and clean for a family in Saudi Arabia, earning money to support her parents and eight siblings. Now she is home and back to square one.

Three-quarters of girls in the Ethiopian region of Amhara become child brides like Abdella, according to the London-based Overseas Development Institute. Many also join the so-called “maid trade”: up to 1,500 girls and women leave the east African country each day to become domestic workers in the Middle East. A study has shown for the first time how these pernicious trends feed off each other.

In Ethiopia’s Muslim communities it is often deeply shameful or “sinful” for girls to remain unmarried after they begin menstruating, notes the ODI. But once girls are married and sexually initiated, parents consider their social and religious obligations complete.

The thinktank’s researchers in Amhara found it was therefore becoming common for parents to insist on marriage followed by a swift divorce so that their daughter was free to migrate and send her earnings home to her parents, rather than her husband. The fact a girl had already been “deflowered” meant she was seen as less likely to be disgraced by foreign men. “It’s a question of virtue and virginity,” one local researcher said. “Better to lose it in a dignified way.”

Read more at The Guardian »

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The French Beverage Giant Castel Announces Wine Made in Ethiopia

The French beverage giant Castel, which bottled its first batch of Ethiopian wine this year, is helping change the way outsiders view the country and doing its bit to boost foreign investment. (Photo: AFP)

AFP

Published: 20 Jul 2014

Beyond the donkeys on a potholed road in southern Ethiopia, is an unexpected sight — vineyards bursting with merlot, syrah and chardonnay grapes ripening in the African sun.

The scene is more reminiscent of France’s Beaujolais region than this corner of the Horn of the Africa, which for many still conjures images of famine, poverty and war.

“People outside Ethiopia may know of the drought 10 years ago,” Industry Minister Ahmed Abtew told AFP. “But when they see wine with ‘Made in Ethiopia’ on it, their mind automatically changes.”

The French beverage giant Castel, which bottled its first batch of Ethiopian wine this year, is helping change the way outsiders view the country. It is also boosting government hopes of attracting foreign investment, key to its plans to reach middle income status by 2025.

The country’s growth rates are already among the highest in Africa, hitting 11.2 percent last year according to the government, although the International Monetary Fund puts the figure at 8.2 percent.

For Castel, the ambition is merely to produce good wine, and Ethiopia is an ideal — if surprising — place to do that.

Read more »

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Clarification: There Are No Recent FAA Warnings For Flights in or Out of Ethiopia

Image courtesy: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

U.S. Embassy

Press Release

July 23, 2014

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 23, 2014 – There has been no recent FAA warning for flights in or out of Ethiopia. The FAA flight prohibition (SFAR 87 of May 16, 2000) pertaining to Northern Ethiopia predates the June 18, 2000 cessation of hostilities between Ethiopia and Eritrea and has not been updated subsequently. The FAA advisory (KFDC A0012/97) pertaining to Ethiopia/Kenya dates to 2002.

Neither the FAA flight prohibition nor the FAA advisory was issued after Flight MH 17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine on July 17, as some media outlets have erroneously reported. Both the Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) No. 87 and the FAA advisory apply only to U.S. air carriers or commercial operators.

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


Image courtesy: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Published: Saturday, July 19th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that it has prohibited all U.S. air carriers and commercial operators from flying in Ethiopian airspace north of 12 degrees latitude as precaution following the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine on Thursday.

The Washington Post reports that the “FAA expanded an existing regulation that prohibited certain flights from operating in the region. The FAA regularly issues airspace restrictions and prohibitions for U.S. aircraft traveling through potentially hostile airspace.”

The FAA document entitled ‘Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 87 – Prohibition against Certain Flights Within the Territory and Airspace of Ethiopia’ states that “This Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) applies to all U.S. air carriers or commercial operators, all persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA unless that person is engaged in the operation of a U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier, and all operators using aircraft registered in the United States except where the operator of such aircraft is a foreign air carrier.”

In describing the “potentially hostile situation” in the Horn of Africa the advisory notes that “Aircraft that cross into Ethiopian airspace while taking off or landing at Mandera Airstrip in Kenya may be fired upon by Ethiopian forces. Mandera is located in the extreme northeastern corner of Kenya, adjacent Ethiopia and Somalia. Operators considering flights to northeastern Kenya should familiarize themselves with the current situation.”

Other countries where the American flight prohibitions apply include Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Congo, Egypt Sinai Peninsula, Iran, Kenya, Mali, Syria and Yemen.

The document adds that the special regulation will remain in effect until further notice from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Click here to read FAA’s flight advisory and prohibition for U.S. aircraft in Ethiopia.

Video: Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months


Related:
Ukraine: Russians Shot Down Malaysia Flight (VOA News)

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HRW: Drop Case Against Zone 9 Bloggers

Human Rights Watch says "Politically Motivated Charges Show Misuse of Terrorism Law." (File photos)

HRW

Ethiopia: Drop Case Against Bloggers, Journalists

(Nairobi, July 19, 2014) – The Ethiopian government should immediately drop politically motivated charges brought against 10 bloggers and journalists on July 17, 2014, under the country’s deeply flawed anti-terrorism law.

The Ethiopian authorities arrested six of the bloggers and three journalists on April 25 and 26. They have been detained in Maekelawi, the Federal Police Crime Investigation Sector in Addis Ababa. The court charged the nine with having links to banned opposition groups and trying to violently overthrow the government, local media reported. A tenth blogger, who was not in Ethiopia at the time of the arrests, was charged in absentia.

“Ethiopia’s courts are making a mockery of their own judicial system,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Hiding behind an abusive anti-terrorism law to prosecute bloggers and journalists doing their job is an affront to the constitution and international protection for free expression.”

The charges are part of an intensified crackdown in Ethiopia in recent months against perceived political opponents, Human Rights Watch said.

The six bloggers in custody are Atnaf Berahane, Befekadu Hailu, Abel Wabela, Mahlet Fantahun, Natnael Feleke, and Zelalem Kibret. Soliana Shimeles was charged in absentia. The three journalists are Tesfalem Waldyes, Edom Kassaye, and Asmamaw Hailegiorgis, an editor at weekly magazine Addis Guday.

The bloggers are part of a blogging collective known as Zone 9, which provides commentary on current events in Ethiopia. The Zone 9 group had stopped blogging in February after security officials harassed the group and questioned them about their work and alleged links to political opposition parties and human rights organizations.

Zone 9 announced on Facebook on April 23 that they would resume blogging, and on April 25 and 26 the six bloggers were arrested. They were detained for over 80 days without charge, and remain in custody. Their lawyer, Ameha Mekonnen, has had only sporadic access to them, and family members were not allowed to meet with them until July 9. The lawyer plans to bring a civil suit about irregularities in the legal process, media reports said.

The bloggers and journalists are accused of connections to Ginbot 7 and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), two of five organizations designated as terrorist organizations in 2011 by the House of Representatives, the Ethiopian parliament. Human Rights Watch has not yet obtained the charge sheets, but credible media reports say that the bloggers and journalists are alleged to have taken directions from Ginbot 7 and OLF, planning and organizing terrorist acts, and agreeing to overthrow the government through force.

Judge Tareke Alemayehu was reported in the media saying that the group “took training in how to make explosives and planned to train others,” accusing them of plotting “to destabilize the nation” and using blogging as a cover for “clandestine” activities.

Human Rights Watch and other organizations have repeatedly raised concerns about Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law’s overly broad definition of “terrorist acts” and provisions on support for terrorism. Its vague prohibition of “moral support” for terrorism has been used to convict a number of journalists. Since 2011, at least 11 journalists, and possibly many more, have been convicted for their journalistic activities, even though the Ethiopian constitution and international law protect media freedom.

Three of the Zone 9 bloggers were outside of Ethiopia when their colleagues were arrested. According to media reports, one of these, Soliana Shimeles, was charged in absentia with coordinating foreign relations for the group and coordinating digital security training with “Security in-a-box”, a publicly available training tool used by advocates and human rights defenders. Human Rights Watch has documented how the Ethiopian government monitors email and telephone communications, often using information unlawfully collected, without a warrant, during interrogations.

“The fact that bloggers used digital security isn’t terrorism but common sense, especially in a repressive environment like Ethiopia,” Lefkow said. “The government should drop these charges and immediately release these nine journalists and bloggers, as well as others who have been wrongfully prosecuted under the anti-terrorism law.”

Others caught up in the government’s recent crackdown are four opposition leaders affiliated with political parties – Yeshewas Asefa of the Blue Party, Abraha Desta of the Arena Tigray party, and Daniel Shibeshi and Habtamu Ayalew of the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party. They were arrested on July 8, 2014, accused of providing support to terrorist groups, media reports said. They are scheduled to appear in court on August 14.

On June 23 or 24, Andargachew Tsige, a British citizen and secretary-general of Ginbot 7, was deported to Ethiopia from Yemen while in transit, in violation of international law prohibitions against sending someone to a country where they are likely to face torture or other mistreatment. He had twice been sentenced to death in absentia for his involvement with Ginbot 7. His whereabouts in Ethiopia are unknown. He has been detained for more than three weeks without access to family members, legal counsel, or UK consular officials, in violation of Ethiopian and international law.

Related:
Zone 9 Bloggers Charged With Terrorism (BBC News)
Interview With the Lawyer of Illegally Detained Zone9 Bloggers (Trial Tracker Blog)
CPJ condemns closed court hearings for nine Ethiopian journalists
Zone9 Co-Founder Speaks Out (Video)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

The Andargachew Tsige Saga: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Ethiopia?

Why the arrest of one of Addis Ababa's most vocal critics is a huge embarrassment for the West. (FP)

Foreign Policy Magazine

By Martin plaut

Tall metal metal gates guard a courtyard just off a busy street north of London’s financial district. The area, once down and out, is today much sought after, but scattered between the newly refurbished warehouses and loft apartments are some blocks of municipal housing populated largely by the city’s African immigrant communities. Inside their yard, small boys are kicking a soccer ball. “Yemi’s my mum,” one of the boys says, leading the way up the building’s aging concrete stairwell to the fourth-floor flat.

A small, slim woman, Yemi smiles easily. On her shelves are portraits of her parents, who left Ethiopia for the United States in 1982 to make a new life for their family. A black-and-white photograph shows her father as a young man in Ethiopian uniform. “He was in the army,” Yemi explains. “But he left for civilian life in 1972 before the Derg took power.”

The Derg, or “Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces, Police, and Territorial Army,” comprised a group of low-ranking officers who deposed Emperor Haile Selassie. The emperor had ruled Ethiopia for four decades until his failure to respond to a devastating famine in 1974 led to his overthrow and subsequent murder. Mengistu Haile Mariam, an obscure army major, led the coup and went on to rule Ethiopia with an iron fist, engaging in a ruthless campaign of repression that became known as the Red Terror. Executions were rife and tens of thousands of people were imprisoned until the Derg was ousted by the country’s current rulers in 1991.

Yemi was lucky that her father left the military when he did. “Yes,” she agrees, “they killed so many of their own.”

The violent revolutions that have marked Ethiopia’s recent history still reverberate today. The country has enjoyed substantial donor support ever since the devastating 1984-1985 famine and has been an important ally in the fight against Islamic extremism in the Horn of Africa. But the government, while nominally democratic, still tolerates little opposition — a reality Yemi knows all too well.

Yemi, whose full name is Yemsrach Hailemariam, is today caring for her two small boys and their sister on her own. On July 9, her partner, Andargachew Tsige, a leader of Ethiopia’s largest exiled opposition movement, was arrested in an airport transit lounge in Yemen. He had been on his way from the United Arab Emirates to Eritrea when he was picked up by Yemeni security, who then bundled him onto a plane bound for Ethiopia.

Read more at foreignpolicy.com »

Related:
BBC News: PM Hailemariam Defends Andargachew Tsege Arrest (BBC News)
Andargachew Tsige: Letter From UK’s Foreign Office to Ethiopian American Council (TADIAS)
Ginbot 7′s Andargachew Tsege: Ethiopia confirms arrest (BBC News)
Snatched: Justice and Politics in Ethiopia (The Economist)
Fears for Safety of Returned Opposition Leader (HRW)
Ethiopia Urged to Protect Opposition Leader (AP via The Washington Post)
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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Denver Post: The 2nd Taste of Ethiopia Festival Has a New Day and Place – Aug 3

Yohanis Mekonen, 8, center, looks up while dancing in a circle at the first annual Taste of Ethiopia Grand Festival at Laredo Elementary School in Aurora, Co, on July 28, 2013. (Denver Post file photograph)

The Denver Post

By Joey Bunch

The second Taste of Ethiopia Festival has a new day and place: Aug. 3 at Central Park in Denver’s Stapleton neighborhood.

This year’s event joins Denver Days, Mayor Michael Hancock’s week-long tour of events across the city intended to “help neighbors get to know each other and get involved with their communities,” according to the city.

The Taste of Ethiopia, which runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., includes not just food and drinks, but cultural performances, vendors and music.

Last year, thousands turned out on the last Sunday in July to dine at the first festival, which took place at Laredo Elementary School in Aurora.

Lines lasted until the food — prepared by a team of volunteer cooks with Ethiopian lineage — ran out. There was standing room only for the cultural performances in the school gym.

“As a vibrant and growing community in Colorado, we want to share our best values and culture with Colorado,” said festival organizer Nebiyu Asfaw. “We have a very rich heritage and culture that greatly emphasizes community and sharing.”

Asfaw said the food will be prepared with fresh ingredients “and lots of love.”

Read more at The Denver Post »

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British MPs Brand Ethiopian Farmer Case Funded by UK Taxpayers ‘Ridiculous’

Ethiopia's Gambella region. (Getty Images/AFP)

Daily Mail

By JAMES SLACK and IAN DRURY

An Ethiopian farmer has won permission to use taxpayers’ money to sue the British Government … for sending aid to his homeland.

The case, branded ridiculous by MPs, will be funded entirely by the public even though the farmer has never set foot in this country.

The 33-year-old Ethiopian – granted anonymity to protect his family – says ministers are funding a one-party state in his country that has breached his human rights. He says foreign aid helped the regime inflict ‘brutal treatment’ on thousands of farmers driven from their land, against the International Development Act 2002.

Taxpayers will pay for both the farmer’s lawyers and a defence team from the Department for International Development, in a case that could cost tens of thousands of pounds. This is in addition to the £1.3billion Britain has sent to Ethiopia since 2010.

The farmer lodged the court papers from Kenya, before Justice Secretary Chris Grayling introduced rules to prevent cases being brought by those who have never set foot in the UK. The changes, which come into force next month, will mean anybody seeking legal aid in civil cases must have been resident in Britain for at least 12 months.

A Whitehall source said: ‘Whatever hardships this man has faced, the idea that someone without any connection to this country can get public money to sue the Government borders on the farcical.’

Read more at Daily Mail Online »

Related:
Ethiopian Man Takes UK to Court Over Resettlement Policy (BBC News)

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Zone9ers ‘Trial’: Interview With the Lawyer of Illegally Detained Bloggers & Journalists

(Image: Courtesy Trial Tracker Blog and © Fractal Element from Facebook)

Trial Tracker Blog

July 14, 2014

Translator’s note: The first instance court of Arada bench was expected to wrap up the pre-trial ‘hearing’ which took more than 70 days and yet the bloggers were not even brought before the judge. Mr. Amaha a lawyer defending the bloggers & journalists who are detained on unclear but shaping up to be on terrorism charges expected the first instance court at Arada bench to rest the pre-trial procedure on Saturday. The court had set the 12th July hearing for closing arguments but with an extraordinary move the police referred the case to the Federal High Court without even the presence of the defendants and their lawyer himself. The shift overlooked the court and contravenes even the standard procedure of the biased justice system. The lawyer speaks to Dawit Solomon, a journalist based in Addis Ababa about the issue. Here are the translated excerpts from the interview.

DAWIT: What were your thoughts on your way to the court for Saturday’s procedure?

AMAHA: I expected the police might demand for more time to wrap up their interrogation as usual. I also sought to see how the court would reply to this repeated claim of the police. Nevertheless, to the shock of me and all people who were here what unfolded was really baffling. Since the detainees were not brought to the court some journalists went straight to the court’s registrar to ask about the case. Then a person who claimed himself as “the detective” of the case told the journalists since he is done with the interrogation he submitted the case for a prosecutor. He further claimed that the case is closed. This was what I was told by the journalists then I also went in to verify which I found it true. They closed the case without the presence of the defendants and without the presence of me who is representing them.

Read the Full Interview »

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CPJ condemns closed court hearings for nine Ethiopian journalists
Zone9 Co-Founder Speaks Out (Video)

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BBC News: Ethiopian Man Takes UK to Court Over Resettlement Policy

Villagers say they are being forcibly relocated from Ethiopia's Gambella region. (Getty Images/AFP)

BBC News

14 July 2014

A legal battle has been launched by an Ethiopian citizen who claims the UK has helped to fund a “brutal” resettlement programme in his country.

The man, who can only be referred to as “O”, won permission to seek a judicial review at London’s High Court.

He wants a ruling that the UK acted unlawfully by providing aid to Ethiopia without assessing its human rights record.

The UK government has denied funding the programme.

The case arises from Ethiopia’s decision to resettle individuals from rural communities into new and larger “communes”, known as the Commune Development Programme (CDP), in an attempt to reduce poverty.

Read the full story at BBC News »

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Ethiopia’s Nile Dam Project Signals Its Intention to Become an African Power

Labourers work at the Grand Renaissance dam in Guba Woreda, Ethiopia. (Photograph: Reuters)

The Guardian

By Emeline Wuilbercq

Monday 14 July 2014

The 4×4 roars off, kicking up a cloud of dust. With one hand on the wheel, the other stifling a yawn, Semegnew Bekele could do this trip with his eyes shut. A construction engineer, he has driven down this track at every hour of the day or night over the past three years. “Ordinary people are building an extraordinary project,” he says. He is referring to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam (Gerd), in the north-west corner of the country close to the border with Sudan. Four hours away from the town of Assosa more than 8,500 workers and engineers are labouring on a massive project to harness the waters of the Blue Nile.

The site is closely guarded. Only officially authorised vehicles are allowed through the three checkpoints. As the kilometres flicker by, the din of the diggers becomes more audible. Then the gigantic site itself appears, with thousands of tonnes of aggregate piled up and smooth expanses of concrete lining the bottom of the Guba valley, ringed by arid hills. The hundreds of families belonging to the Gumuz indigenous people, who lived off fishing, have been moved to a location several tens of kilometres away, making room for a hydroelectric power station that will be the largest in Africa when it comes online in 2017. At present only a third of it has been built.

Bekele, who works for the Ethiopian Electric Power corporation, has already worked on two dam construction jobs, both on the river Omo in the south-west. He answers our questions with a flood of figures: the dam will be 1,780 metres long and 145 high, with a reservoir covering 1,874 sq km expected to contain 70bn cubic metres of water. Output from the 16 turbines will total 6,000MW. It will be sufficient to meet growing demand in Ethiopia, now Africa’s second most populous country, where gross domestic product is estimated to have grown by 10.5% annually over the past five years.

Read the full story at The Guardian »

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Tullow Oil Fails to Find Oil in Ethiopia

Irish-listed explorer says well at Chew Bahir Basin will be plugged and abandoned. (Photo: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times)

The Irish Times

By Pamela Newenham

Tullow Oil has announced that the Gardim-1 exploration well, drilled on the eastern flank of Chew Bahir Basin in Ethiopia, has failed to find commercial levels of oil.

The well intersected lacustrine and volcanic formations, similar to those found in the Shimela-1 well on the north-western flank of the basin.

The explorer said it has reached a total depth of 2,468 metres in basement, without encountering commercial oil.

“We have now drilled two independent wildcat wells in the Chew Bahir Basin, neither of which encountered commercial oil,” exploration director Angus McCoss said.

“Whilst our analysis continues, initial indications suggest that the targeted seismic anomalies related to lavas that flowed into a lake basin,” he added.

As a result, the well will now have to be plugged and abandoned.

Read more at The Irish Times »

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WORLD CUP 2014: Germany Defeats Argentina, 1-0, in Extra Time to Win Final

German players celebrated after Mario Götze, right, scored in extra time. (Photo: Reuters)

By VICTOR MATHER | NYT

Germany won the World Cup with a 1-0 extra time victory over Argentina on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro.

The game was deadlocked at 0-0 after regulation, but at the 113-minute mark in overtime, Mario Götze, a substitute, chested down an Andres Schurrle cross and volleyed in the winning goal.

Though there were no goals in regulation, there was plenty of action, and both sides rued some missed chances.

The title is considered Germany’s fourth World Cup, though the first three of those were by West Germany. It was also the first time a European country won the World Cup in the Western Hemisphere after six failures.

The Germans were dominant throughout this Cup, and though this game won them the title, they may be remembered more for their 7-1 shellacking of host Brazil in the semifinal.

Read the Full story »

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20 Journalists Fired from Ethiopia State-run Oromia Radio and Television, in Hiding

People demonstrate in Addis Ababa on May 24 against security forces who shot at students at a peaceful rally weeks eearlier in Oromia state. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

CPJ

By Tom Rhodes/CPJ East Africa Representative

If they cannot indoctrinate you into their thinking, they fire you,” said one former staff member of the state-run Oromia Radio and Television Organization (ORTO), who was dismissed from work last month after six years of service. “Now we are in hiding since we fear they will find excuses to arrest us soon,” the journalist, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal, told CPJ.

On June 25, 20 journalists from the state broadcaster in Oromia, the largest state in terms of area and population in Ethiopia, were denied entry to their station’s headquarters, according to news reports. No letters of termination or explanations were presented, local journalists told CPJ; ORTO’s management simply said the dismissals were orders given by the government. “Apparently this has become common practice when firing state employees in connection with politics,” U.S.-based Ethiopian researcher Jawar Mohammed said in an email to CPJ. “The government seems to want to leave no documented trace.”

The journalists, some of whom had worked for the state broadcaster for over five years, can only speculate on the reason for their dismissals. Two of them told CPJ they believe it is linked to student protests earlier in the year.

On April 25, students at Ambo University, Oromia State, protested the government’s “Master Plan” to cede parts of Oromia State to the capital, Addis Ababa, a federal region, according to news reports. The state claimed in a statement that eight people died in violent protests in Ambo over a plan designed to provide urban services to rural areas. Oromo citizens say that many more died in Ambo at the hands of security forces for demonstrating against a proposal they fear will lead to the federal government grabbing their land and reducing local autonomy, news reports said. More student and civil society protests ensued soon after the Ambo University demonstrations and authorities were determined to quell any reporting on the unrest.

Read more at CPJ Blog.

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BBC News: PM Hailemariam Defends Andargachew Tsege Arrest

PM Hailemariam Desalegn: "If you have any connection with terrorists don't think that the Ethiopian government will let you [go] free." (BBC News)

BBC News

11 July 2014

Ethiopia had a moral obligation to arrest the opposition leader who was controversially extradited from Yemen last month, Ethiopian leader Hailemariam Desalegn has told the BBC.

“Andargachew Tsege is a Trojan horse for the Eritrean government to destabilise this country,” he said.

He was sentenced to death in 2009 while in exile for plotting a coup.

Foreign governments could express their concern, but the man would be dealt with according to the law, the PM said.


Andargachew Tsige, a UK national, leads the banned Ginbot 7 movement. (Image: Ethiopian TV via BBC)

Andargachew, a UK national, is secretary-general of Ethiopia’s banned Ginbot 7 movement.

The group says Andargachew was on his way from the United Arab Emirates to Eritrea when he was detained at Sanaa airport on 24 June.

Ethiopia and Eritrea are long-time rivals and the neighbours fought a bitter border war between 1998 -2000, which left some 100,000 people dead.

Read more at BBC.

Related:
Andargachew Tsige: Letter From UK’s Foreign Office to Ethiopian American Council (TADIAS)
Ginbot 7′s Andargachew Tsege: Ethiopia confirms arrest (BBC News)
Snatched: Justice and Politics in Ethiopia (The Economist)
Fears for Safety of Returned Opposition Leader (HRW)
Ethiopia Urged to Protect Opposition Leader (AP via The Washington Post)
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)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Irish Rugby Team Ulster Apologize for Weird ‘Ethiopia Photo’ Posted on Twitter

The Irish Rugby team Ulster has issued an apology over a photograph posted on Twitter which showed the white men apparently dressed up as Ethiopians - with black make-up on their faces and arms. (BBC)

BBC News

By Peter Coulter

Ulster Rugby have apologised after a photograph showing four of their players with their faces and bodies coloured with black makeup appeared on a social media site.

The photo was posted on the Twitter profile of Irish international Paddy Jackson.

It shows him with two other Irish internationals, Chris Henry and Andrew Trimble.

The photo has now been removed.

The others pictured are current Ulster player Michael Allen and former Ulster player Paddy McAllister.

Paddy Jackson, Chris Henry and Andrew Trimble were members of the Ireland squad that won this year’s Six Nations Championship.

Ulster Rugby said they “apologise unreservedly for any offence”.

In a statement, the club said the photograph showed the players at an “Olympic-themed fancy dress party held two years ago”.

“It was not the intention of the players to cause upset and the photograph has since been removed.”

Read more at BBC News.

Related:
Ulster sorry for ‘Ethiopia photo’ (U TV)

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Harlem Pastor Brewing up Ethiopian Coffee Distribution Deal

Reverend Nicholas S. Richards, the Co-founder and President of Abyssinian Fund, at his office in Harlem during an interview with Tadias Magazine - July, 2012. (Photograph: Kidane Mariam/Tadias Magazine)

New York Daily News

BY JAN RANSOM

He’s got a couple of beans up his sleeve.

The Rev. Nicholas Richards, founder of the Abyssinian Fund, a nonprofit that supports coffee farmers in Ethiopia, is in the middle of hashing out a distribution deal to launch an Aby Fund-branded coffee in the States, starting in the Big Apple.

“The Abyssinian fund believes Ethiopian coffee farmers have everything they need, but they just really need partners,” said Richards, an assistant minister at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem.

The Aby Fund, as Richards calls it, was founded in 2010 and supports 1,000 farmers from Chaffee Jenette village in Ethiopia, who have received $1 million worth of training and supplies from the Fund over the last five years.

The Abyssinian Fund believes Ethiopian coffee farmers have everything they need, but they just really need partners.
Richards envisions distributing Chaffee Jenette-grown coffee beans to such outlets as Fairway Market and Whole Foods Market, as well as restaurants and stores in Harlem, Union Square and Brooklyn. He hopes to ink deals in time to sell 1,000 bags of coffee this year, he said, adding there is a good demand for the Ethiopian-raised beans.

Read more at New York Daily News.

Video: Harlem Ethiopia Connection Featuring Rev. Nicholas Richards (TADIAS)


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Andargachew Tsige: Letter From UK’s Foreign Office to Ethiopian American Council

Andargachew Tsige, a UK national, leads the banned Ginbot 7 movement. (Image: Ethiopian TV via BBC)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has written a letter to the Ethiopian American Council (EAC) regarding Andargachew Tsige who was reported missing in Yemen and now confirmed to be in Ethiopia.

In the letter shared with Tadias Magazine Clive McGill, a desk officer responsible for Ethiopia in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) wrote: “Mr. Tsege’s disappearance is an issue of great concern for us, and as soon as we were informed of this we raised it repeatedly with the Yemeni Government and authorities at all levels, including with the Foreign Minister. It is unacceptable that they did not provide information to us, and that they have now confirmed that Mr. Tsege was removed to Ethiopia. We have raised this with them and will continue to do so in light of their disregard for their obligations under the Vienna Convention and Convention Against Torture.”

Mr. McGill stated that the Foreign Office has also already raised with the Ethiopian Government “the UK’s deep concerns” about Andargachew’s removal. “We have requested consular access without delay and reassurances that the death penalty imposed in absentia will not be carried out,” he said in the letter dated Wednesday, July 9th, 2014. “We will continue to raise this urgently with the Ethiopian authorities in Addis Ababa and London.” He added: “While we cannot comment further on individual consular cases, I hope that this reassures you about how seriously we are taking this issue. Mr. Tsege’s case is a priority for the British Government.”

Related:
Ginbot 7′s Andargachew Tsege: Ethiopia confirms arrest (BBC News)
Snatched: Justice and Politics in Ethiopia (The Economist)
Fears for Safety of Returned Opposition Leader (HRW)
Ethiopia Urged to Protect Opposition Leader (AP via The Washington Post)
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)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

BBC News: Ethiopia Confirms Arrest of Ginbot 7′s Andargachew Tsige

Andargachew Tsige, a UK national, leads the banned Ginbot 7 movement. (Image: Ethiopian TV)

BBC News

9 July 2014

Ethiopia has confirmed it has arrested opposition leader Andargachew Tsege, who disappeared in Yemen last month.

His UK-based wife Yemi Hailemariam told the BBC she was shocked to see him paraded on state television.

Ethiopian TV said Andargachew had been arrested in Yemen and then extradited.

It described him as the country’s “most wanted person”. He was sentenced to death in absentia in 2009 on charges of planning to assassinate government officials – which he denied.

Andargachew, a UK national, is secretary-general of Ethiopia’s banned Ginbot 7 movement.

Amnesty International last week warned he was at risk of being tortured while in Ethiopian custody.

Read more at BBC News.

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)
Ethiopia Urged to Protect Opposition Leader (AP via The Washington Post)
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)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Snatched: Justice and Politics in Ethiopia

Andargachew Tsige. (Image: Ethiopian TV via YouTube)

The Economist

Jul 9th 2014 | ADDIS ABABA

ANDARGACHEW TSIGE, an exiled Ethiopian opposition leader with British nationality, could be facing the death penalty after apparently being arrested and sent back to his country of origin while on a trip to the Gulf. While transiting in Yemen on June 23rd, during a journey from Dubai to Eritrea, Andargachew mysteriously ended up on a plane to Ethiopia. It is believed that he was detained by Yemeni officials and handed over to members of Ethiopia’s security apparatus.

Andargachew was charged by the Ethiopian authorities with terrorism and sentenced, in absentia, to death, at two separate trials between 2009 and 2012. Following post-election protests in 2005 he had fled the country and been granted asylum in Britain, where he created Ginbot 7, a leading opposition movement.

Now in the hands of the state which had legally prepared for his execution, his family are concerned about Andargachew’s safety. “The British embassy has still not been granted consular access,” says his wife, Yemisrach Hailemariam, who lives in London. “We are deeply concerned he is being tortured and they will wait for his wounds to be healed before anyone can see him.”

Read more at The Economist.

Related:
Ginbot 7′s Andargachew Tsege: Ethiopia confirms arrest (BBC News)
Fears for Safety of Returned Opposition Leader (HRW)
Ethiopia Urged to Protect Opposition Leader (AP via The Washington Post)
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)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

WORLD CUP 2014: Argentina Defeats Netherlands in Shootout, Advancing to Final

Argentina’s Javier Mascherano challenged Arjen Robben on a shot late in regulation time. (Photo: EPA)

By ANDREW DAS | NYT

9 July, 2014

Argentina converted all four of its penalty kicks in a shootout against the Netherlands on Wednesday in São Paulo to advance to the World Cup for the first time since 1990.

Lionel Messi made the first and his teammates Ezequiel Garay, Sergio Aguero and Maxi Rodriguez followed suit to earn Argentina a date with Germany in Sunday’s final in Rio de Janeiro. The Netherlands missed two of their first three attempts, with first Ron Vlaar and then Wesley Sneijder seeing their shots saved by Argentina’s goalkeeper, Sergio Romero.

The Netherlands will face host Brazil on Saturday in the third-place game. Read more.

Germany Crushes Brazil, 7-1, in Surreal World Cup Semifinal


Brazil’s Luiz Gustavo (l) and Germany’s Sami Khedira, go for the ball during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between Brazil and Germany at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, July 8, 2014. (AP)

By Mike Richman | VOA News

8 July, 2014

Germany gave one of the most breathtaking displays of offensive firepower in World Cup history Tuesday – demolishing host Brazil in the semifinals, 7-1, to advance to the championship game.

Germany’s goal total was the most ever by one team in a World Cup semifinal, while Brazil matched its worst-ever margin of defeat and allowed seven goals for the first time in 80 years. Brazil also lost its first official competitive match at home since 1975.

“The responsibility for this catastrophic result is mine,” Brazil’s coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. “I was in charge.”

The Germans seized control early, scoring five times in the first 30 minutes at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte.

Two of those goals came off the foot of Toni Kroos, and teammate Miroslav Klose recorded one to become the all-time scoring leader in World Cup history with 16 goals. Earlier in the tournament, Klose tied the prior record of 15 held by former Brazilian star Ronaldo.

Germany’s Andre Schuerrle also scored twice, both in the second half. Thomas Mueller and Sami Khedira each added a goal for Germany, which will appear in a record eighth World Cup final.

Oscar redeemed some pride for Brazil with a goal in the 90th minute.

“Brazil Shocked”

“Brazil was shocked after the goals. They did not expect that,” Germany’s coach Joachim Loew said of his team’s early offensive success. “They did not know what to do. Their defense was not organized. A little humbleness would not hurt now.”

In 1950, the only other time Brazil has hosted a World Cup, Uruguay beat the Brazilians in the championship game, 2-1.

“We wanted to make the people happy … unfortunately we couldn’t,” said Brazilian defender David Luiz, who had scored in each of the last two matches. “We apologize to all Brazilians.”

Germany was the apparent favorite entering the match, which featured two perennial football powerhouses that have won a total of eight World Cups.

Brazil played without captain Thiago Silva and star striker Neymar. Silva was serving an automatic one-game suspension because he accumulated two yellow cards. Neymar, who scored four goals in the tournament, was out with a fractured vertebra.

Nevertheless, Brazil would enjoy home-field advantage at a stadium seating thousands of its rabid, yellow-shirted supporters.

They were hoping that Brazil would repeat its performance from the 1962 World Cup. That year, legendary Brazilian Pele suffered an injury in the second match that prevented him from playing in the rest of the tournament. But Brazil went on to beat Czechoslovakia in the final, 3-1.

This time, though, Brazilian optimism quickly turned to despair at the hands of a German offense that attacked with surgical precision.

Germany Not Intimidated

“It was important to stay calm, cool and courageous in facing Brazilian passion,” Loew said.

Germany, which posted its biggest World Cup win since routing Saudi Arabia, 8-0, in a group match in 2002, next plays the winner of the other World Cup semifinal pitting Argentina against the Netherlands on Wednesday in Sao Paulo.

Argentina, led by four-time FIFA Player of the year Lionel Messi, is seeking its third World Cup championship. The Dutch, finalists three times, lost to Spain in the World Cup championship in South Africa in 2010.

The Dutch are concerned about star striker Robin van Persie, who has been suffering from stomach problems. Dutch coach Louis van Gaal said he would not be able to make a decision on van Persie’s status until the day of the game.

The semifinal winners meet for the championship in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday. The losers play for third place on Saturday in Brasilia.

In other news Tuesday, FIFA announced that the 2014 World Cup has broken online viewing records. The organization said, for example, that in the United States alone, a record 5.3 million people watched the round of 16 match between the U.S. and Belgium on the web sites of television networks ESPN and Univision.

Related:
Hyundai USA Releases World Cup AD “Epic Battle” Video by Wondwossen Dikran
David Mesfin: 2014 Hyundai FIFA World Cup Ad Features Work by Ethiopian Artists

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Lalibela One of The Top 50 Cities to See in Your Lifetime

(Photo by Alfonso N. Tappero)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s national treasure, the city of Lalibela, is getting more international media attention as a World Heritage Site. A recent travel highlight (see Huffington Post) by Minube lists Lalibela among “The Top 50 Cities to See in Your Lifetime.”

“With our ever-expanding bucket lists, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the essentials. Well, we’ve gone to the community of travelers at minube.net with a simple goal: find the greatest destinations on Earth,” the website notes. “From the great ancient capitals to the modern cities of Asia, the Americas, and beyond, here are the 50 cities you must see during your lifetime.”

Lalibela, listed as number 17, is described by Minube as “one of Ethiopia’s great holy cities and is famous around the world for its unique and stunning collection of monolithic churches carved right into the rock below your feet.”

Click here to see the list: “The Top 50 Cities to See in Your Lifetime”



Related:
Ethiopia’s Lalibela Among 19 Most Stunning Sacred Places in the World

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Human Rights Watch: Fears for Safety of Returned Opposition Leader

HRW: Yemen unlawfully deported Andargachew Tsige, Concerns over possible mistreatment. (Ginbot 7)

Human Rights Watch

JULY 7, 2014

London – An exiled Ethiopian opposition leader unlawfully deported by Yemen back to Ethiopia is at risk of mistreatment including torture. Andargachew Tsige is secretary-general of Ginbot 7, a banned Ethiopian opposition organization, and was convicted and sentenced to death in absentia in separate trials in Ethiopia in 2009 and 2012.

The current whereabouts of Andargachew, a British national, is unknown, raising concerns for his safety. The Ethiopian government should take all necessary steps to ensure Andargachew’s safety and his right to a fair trial. Many individuals arrested in politically related cases in Ethiopia are detained in Addis Ababa’s Maekelawi prison. In an October 2013 report, Human Rights Watch documented the use of torture by authorities against detainees in Maekelawi, including members of opposition political parties and organizations, as well as journalists.

“We are deeply concerned for Andargachew Tsige’s safety,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director. “Ethiopia needs to demonstrate that it is holding Andargachew in accordance with its international obligations, and he should be allowed immediate access to a lawyer, his family, and to British consular officials.”

Yemeni officials arrested Andargachew at El Rahaba Airport in Sanaa, Yemen, on June 23 or 24, 2014, while he was in transit on a flight from Dubai to Eritrea. They did not permit him consular access to UK embassy officials and summarily deported him to Ethiopia, credible sources told Human Rights Watch, despite his being at risk of mistreatment.

Yemeni authorities initially denied any knowledge of Andargachew’s detention and transfer to Ethiopia. Ethiopian government officials publicly called for his extradition from Yemen on July 3.

Under the Convention against Torture, which Yemen ratified in 1991, a government may not “expel, return (‘refouler’) or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.” These protections override any extradition treaty or other security arrangement that may exist between Yemen and Ethiopia.

Trials in absentia generally violate the defendant’s right to present an adequate defense, concerns heightened in cases involving the death penalty.

“Yemen blatantly violated its international legal obligations by deporting someone to Ethiopia who not only is at serious risk of torture, but also faces the death sentence after being tried in absentia,” Lefkow said.

Ginbot 7, of which Andargachew is a founding member, was established in the aftermath of Ethiopia’s controversial May 2005 national elections. The Ethiopian government banned Ginbot 7, which has advocated the armed overthrow of the Ethiopian government, and officially considers it to be a terrorist organization.

The government has prosecuted Ginbot 7 members and leaders in trials that did not meet international fair trial standards. In November 2009, a court convicted Andargachew and 39 others under the criminal code on terrorism-related charges. Andargachew, who was tried in absentia, was sentenced to death. In June 2012, he was convicted again in absentia, this time under the abusive 2009 anti-terrorism law, along with 23 journalists, activists, and opposition members. Again, he was sentenced to death.

Human Rights Watch has repeatedly criticized provisions in Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law that violate due process rights guaranteed under Ethiopian and international law. At least 34 people, including 11 journalists and four Ginbot 7 leaders, are known to have been sentenced under the law since late 2011 in what appeared to be politically motivated trials; the real number is likely much higher. Suspects held under the law may be detained for up to four months without charge, among the longest periods under anti-terrorism legislation worldwide.

Ethiopian courts have shown little independence from the government in politically sensitive cases. Defendants have regularly been denied access to legal counsel during pretrial detention, and complaints from defendants of mistreatment and torture have not been appropriately investigated or addressed – even when defendants have complained in court.

The Ethiopian government routinely denies that torture and mistreatment occurs in detention. It restricts access to prisons for international observers, monitors, and consular officials, making it difficult to monitor the number and treatment of prisoners. In several cases documented by Human Rights Watch, Ethiopian security officials have arrested foreign nationals, denied knowledge of their whereabouts, and delayed access for consular officials for long periods.

In 2007 Human Rights Watch documented the forced transfer of scores of men, women, and children from Somalia and Kenya to Ethiopia. One of the men, Bashir Makhtal, a Canadian citizen of Ethiopian origin who was accused of membership of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a banned armed movement in Ethiopia, was denied consular access for 18 months. Meanwhile in 2010 and again in 2012, refugees registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Kenya were unlawfully returned to Ethiopia and told Human Rights Watch that they were subsequently tortured in detention. In all of these cases, the individuals were accused of belonging to groups that the Ethiopian government has designated as terrorist groups.

“Given its appalling track record of mistreating members and perceived supporters of banned groups, Ethiopia should know that the world will be watching how it treats Andargachew Tsige,” Lefkow said.

Related:
Ethiopia Urged to Protect Opposition Leader (AP via The Washington Post)
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)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

In Africa, Jill Biden Talks Women’s Issues

Biden's trip to Zambia, Congo and Sierra Leone showcased issues facing women and girls. | Getty Images

Politico.com | By ASSOCIATED PRESS

July 7th, 2014

BUKAVU, Congo — Jill Biden, the wife of the U.S. vice president, traveled Saturday to conflict-wracked eastern Congo, where she met with survivors of sexual violence as part of her three-nation tour of the continent.

Her trip to Zambia, Congo and Sierra Leone, focused on highlighting issues facing women and girls, marks her third to Africa since Joe Biden became vice president.

During her stop in the Bukavu area, Biden visited the Panzi Hospital, which treats sexual violence survivors. As she was greeted by hospital personnel, she said she wanted “to learn and better understand the challenges facing Congolese women.”

Rape has long been used as a weapon of war on all sides of the conflict in eastern Congo, which has been mired in conflict for more than two decades.

She said that U.S. financing of projects had helped provide medical and psychological assistance to 13,000 victims in the country last year, and close to 4,000 women received legal help.

Read more.

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Zone9 Co-Founder Speaks Out (Video)

(Photo © Fractal Element from Facebook)

CPJ

By Rachael Levy/CPJ Google Journalism Fellow

In April, the Ethiopian government imprisoned nine journalists, including six bloggers from Zone 9, in one of the worst crackdowns against free expression in the country. Ethiopia is the second worst jailer of journalists in Africa, trailing only Eritrea, according to CPJ research.

Ethiopian government officials accuse the Zone 9 bloggers of working with foreign human rights organizations and using social media to create instability in Ethiopia. The group wrote about political repression and social injustice, and their blogs were frequently blocked inside the country. Two months after their arrests, they have yet to be officially charged.

Endalkachew H/Michael, one of the co-founders of Zone 9, is pursuing his doctorate in media studies at the University of Oregon and spoke with CPJ about press freedom in Ethiopia.

What follows is a condensed and edited version of our conversation. You can view CPJ’s Storify on the bloggers here.

Read more at CPJ Blog.



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Ethiopia Urged to Protect Opposition Leader

Exiled Ethiopian opposition leader Andargachew Tsige (center), who is a British citizen, is pictured above during a Congressional hearing on Ethiopia in 2006 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Flickr)

The Washington Post | By Associated Press

July 7th, 2014

KAMPALA, Uganda — Human Rights Watch says an exiled Ethiopian opposition leader who was recently deported from Yemen to Ethiopia is at risk of abuses including torture.

In a statement Monday, the rights group urged Ethiopia’s government to ensure the safety of Andargachew Tsige, the secretary-general of a banned Ethiopian opposition group called Ginbot 7.

Andargachew was convicted and sentenced to death in absentia in separate trials in Ethiopia in 2009 and 2012, but Human Rights Watch says he should be given a fair trial.

Yemeni authorities arrested him last month while he was in transit on a flight from Dubai to Eritrea and then deported him to Ethiopia.

Human Rights Watch said last year that Ethiopian authorities torture members of opposition groups and journalists detained in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Related:
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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Latinos and African Immigrants Squeezed as Banks Curtail Money Transfers

A Viamericas CD Mega in Virginia. Viamericas is a money transfer company with a large focus on Mexico. (Photo: NYT)

The New Yokr Times

By MICHAEL CORKERY

As government regulators crack down on the financing of terrorists and drug traffickers, many big banks are abandoning the business of transferring money from the United States to other countries, moves that are expected to reverse years of declines in the cost of immigrants sending money home to their families.

While Mexico may be most affected — nearly half of the $51.1 billion in remittances sent from the United States in 2012 ended up in that country — the banks’ broad retreat over the last year is affecting other countries in Latin America and parts of Africa as well. The banks are being held accountable not only for the customers who directly use their money transfer services but also for their role in collecting remittances from money transmitting companies and wiring them abroad.

“This is transforming the business and may increase the costs of international money transfers,” said Manuel Orozco, a senior fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue, a research group in Washington.

Read more at NYT.

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The Guardian: Britain is Supporting a Dictatorship in Ethiopia’

One of hundreds of families in the Gambella region who have been forcibly removed from their homes. (Getty Images)

The Guardian

By David Smith

Sunday 6 July 2014

It’s 30 years since Ethiopia’s famine came to attention in the UK. Now, a farmer plans to sue Britain for human rights abuses, claiming its aid has funded a government programme of torture and beatings as villagers have been removed from their homes.

“Life was good because the land was the land of our ancestors. The village was along the riverside, where you could get drinking water, go fishing and plant mango, banana and papaya. The temperature there was good and we could feed ourselves.”

This is how Mr O – his name is protected for his safety – remembers the home he shared with his family in the Gambella region of Ethiopia. The fertile land had been farmed for generations, relatively safe from wars, revolutions and famines. Then, one day, near the end of 2011, everything changed. Ethiopian troops arrived at the village and ordered everyone to leave. The harvest was ripe, but there was no time to gather it. When Mr O showed defiance, he says, he was jailed, beaten and tortured. Women were raped and some of his neighbours murdered during the forced relocation.

Read more at The Guardian.

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WORLD CUP 2014: Brazil’s Other Big Game

Brenda Pontes, right, the reigning queen of the Peladão’s beauty pageant in Brazil's Amazon rain forest getting ready for a television appearance at the A Crítica television station where she works. (Photo: NYT)

By JERÉ LONGMAN | NYT

JULY 6, 2014

MANAUS, Brazil — It was a newsroom like any television station newsroom, unless you count the brunette receptionist wearing a crown, sash and leopard print dress and offering friendly advice on how to spice up the World Cup.

“Beauty queens,” Brenda Pontes, 19, said.

The World Cup does have many things — consuming attention, enthralling soccer and a carnival atmosphere — but it does not have beauty queens.

In the Amazon rain forest, though, there is a tournament that is equal parts soccer and beauty pageant. It is one of the largest and most unusual amateur soccer competitions in the world, and perhaps the only one with a reality show. Pontes is the reigning queen.

The tournament is called the Peladão. The name is a reference to pelada, a Portuguese word that can mean a naked woman. But in this case it means soccer disrobed of big money and glamour and revealed in its informal essence — pickup games played in Brazil on dusty fields, on sandy beaches and even on ferries in floating villages.

Read more at The New York Times.

In Pictures: African teams at the 2014 FIFA World Cup

Watch: The 2014 FIFA World Cup on ESPN


Related:
Hyundai USA Releases World Cup AD “Epic Battle” Video by Wondwossen Dikran
David Mesfin: 2014 Hyundai FIFA World Cup Ad Features Work by Ethiopian Artists

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Friday Muslim Protests Resume in Ethiopia

Photograph: Protesters outside Addis Ababa's Anwar Mosque after Friday prayer last year. (File Photo)

Agence France Presse

Jul. 04, 2014

ADDIS ABABA: Hundreds of Muslims protesters demonstrated in Ethiopia Friday, demanding the release of 17 of their leaders jailed under terrorism charges last year.

“What the government is doing doesn’t solve the problem, rather it will worsen the situation,” said protestor Mohammad Seman, speaking at the demonstration following busy Friday prayers at a popular Addis Ababa mosque.

The leaders were arrested last August, following months of protests by Muslims accusing the government of interfering in religious affairs. They are currently on trial for intending to “carry out acts of terrorism.”

Protesters accuse the government of forcibly imposing the foreign Al-Ahbash branch of Islam, and appointing leaders, or majlis, of the Supreme Council on Islamic Affairs who are traditionally elected by members of the Muslim community.

“We want our freedom, we want neutral majlis,” said protester Noureddine Ali.

The demonstrators carried banners reading “let our voices be heard,” and “we will fight for our religion and rights” at the rally, before police arrested several protestors, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.

Seman said that the government should release the leaders and urged talks with the Muslim community.

“It is better to solve the problem with peaceful means,” he said.

The government did not return calls for comment Friday.

Human Rights Watch has urged the government to free the jailed leaders, accusing it of a “brutal crackdown” on protests.

Ethiopia has come under fire for its controversial anti-terrorism legislation, which rights groups have said is used to silence critics.

Over 30 percent of Ethiopia’s 91 million people are Muslim, while around 60 percent practice Orthodox Christianity, according to official figures.

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Ethiopia Says Expanding Zones to Become Industrial Hub

Ethiopian PM and Chinese premier visit Oriental Industrial Park in Ethiopia, May 5, 2014. (gov.cn)

Reuters

By Aaron Maasho

Fri Jul 4, 2014

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia will start setting up a new industrial park in September and will expand another at a total cost of $250 million, an official said, part of efforts to shift away from farming and become a hub for textiles and other industries.

The Horn of Africa nation aims to attract investors who are moving some manufacturing from China and other Asian markets, where costs are rising. Ethiopia offers cheap labour and fast improving power supply, transport and other infrastructure.

Luring new industry is seen as vital to maintaining high growth rates in Ethiopia’s still largely agrarian economy. The economy has expanded annually by double digits in the past decade and is forecast to grow by 8 percent or more this year.

Yaregal Meskir, deputy director general of the Ethiopian Industrial Development Zones Corporation, said plans were being finalised to expand the existing Bole Lemi Industrial Zone, on the southern outskirts of the capital, while a new industrial hub was planned at Kilinto, 30 km (20 miles) further south.

“We have witnessed many investors have come to acquire sheds and land and there is a long queue,” he told Reuters in an interview on Friday. “We prefer labour-based industries like garment manufacturing and shoe manufacturing for exports.”

After selecting a designer, he said building Bole Lemi phase two and the Kilinto Industrial Zone would start in September.

A third of the 156-hectare Bole Lemi site was developed at a cost of 2.5 billion birr ($127.5 million), financed by the state, in the first phase and has attracted Korean garment-maker Myungsung Textile Company and Taiwan’s George Shoe Corporation.

The Kilinto zone will cover 243 hectares.

Read more.

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Image of the Week: Ethiopian Troops Rallying Against Italy’s Invasion in 1935

This photo was taken in Addis Ababa at the start of the Second Italo-Ethiopian War in October 1935. (Courtesy: Martin Plaut )

Martin Plaut

This photograph, dated 30 October 1935, shows Ethiopian troops rallying to the cause of the Emperor Haile Selassie.

This is the information on the back of the photo: “Dedjazmatch Machacha, one of Ethiopia’s most influential leaders, recently marched into Addis Ababa with 10,000 of his followers to offer his services and those of his men to Emperor Haile Selassie. This picture shows some of Machacha’s troops in Addis Ababa before leaving for the North.”

Read more.

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Tom Hucker Still Ahead After First Absentee Vote Count in Maryland Primary

Tom Hucker, a candidate for Montgomery County Council District 5 seat in Maryland, who was endorsed by the Ethiopian American Council (EAC), is still leading his primary race. (Photo: courtesy of Tom Hucker)

The Washington Post

BY BILL TURQUE

Del. Tom Hucker slightly extended his slender margin over Evan Glass in the Montgomery County District 5 County Council Democratic primary race after the first set of absentee ballots were counted late last week.

Hucker won a slight plurality of the 570 absentee ballots, extending his lead from 225 to 244 votes.

Montgomery election officials said Monday there are two more sets of ballots remaining to be counted in the primary contest. Provisional ballots will be tallied on Wednesday and a final set of absentees on July 7.

Read more at The Washington Post.

Related:
Tom Hucker Leads in Close Primary in Maryland’s Montgomery County
Ike Leggett Wins Primary Election By A Wide Margin
Sam Liccardo Wins San Jose, California Mayoral Primary Election

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DC Cab Drivers Fed up With City’s ‘Abuses’

(Photo credit: Thomas Peter/Reuters)

PRI

By Naomi Gingold

Addis Gebreselassi is a taxi driver in Washington, DC. Like a lot of other immigrant drivers, he’s pretty highly educated — he was formerly an accountant. But he’s been driving a cab in the district for about 14 years.

Even though the job doesn’t get much repsect, he says it has its benefits: “You can work when you want it, not working when you don’t want it.”

The flexibility allows drivers to take care of their kids, take classes or even travel back to their home countries without wondering if they’ll lose their jobs.

In many ways, DC is an especially good place to set up shop as a cab driver. It’s the only major metro area in the US where a majority of drivers are independent owners and no company dominates the market. There are more than a hundred cab companies in DC, and, unlike in New York or Boston, licenses are pretty cheap.

But the DC Taxicab Commission controls pretty much everything drivers do, and drivers have long felt mistreated. “Some of the drivers get abused. They know in their hearts there is no fairness in this city,” Gebreselassie says, echoing complaints among drivers.

Read more at PRI.Org.

Audio: DC cab drivers fed up with ‘abuses’


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Reporters Without Borders on the Dismissal of 20 State Journalists in Ethiopia

Press release from Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

RSF

Mon, 30 Jun 2014

Reporters Without Borders condemns last week’s politically-motivated dismissal of 20 journalists from Oromia Radio and Television Organization (ORTO), the main state-owned broadcaster in Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest regional State.

The 20 journalists were denied entry to ORTO headquarter on 25 June and were effectively dismissed without any explanations other than their alleged “narrow political views,” an assessment the management reached at the end of a workshop for journalists and regional government officials that included discussions on the controversial Master Plan of Addis that many activists believe is aimed at incorporating parts of Oromia into the federal city of Addis Ababa.

The journalists had reportedly expressed their disagreement with the violence used by the police in May to disperse student protests against the plan, resulting in many deaths.

It is not yet clear whether the journalists may also be subjected to other administrative or judicial proceedings.

“How can you fire journalists for their political views?” said Cléa Kahn-Sriber, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Africa desk. “The government must provide proper reasons for such a dismissal. Does it mean that Ethiopia has officially criminalized political opinion?

“In our view, this development must be seen as an attempt by the authorities to marginalize and supress all potential critiques ahead of the national elections scheduled for 2015 in Ethiopia. These journalists must be allowed to return to work and must not be subjected to any threats or obstruction.”

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

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BRAZIL 2014: The Best World Cup Ever?

(Photo: football.voanews.com)

By Andrew Palczewski | VOA News

2 July, 2014

In the lead-up to the 2014 World Cup, there were fears that the event would be a disaster. Would the stadiums be finished in time? Could the teams face the steamy tropical heat of northern Brazil? Would pollution and protests mar the games?

Well, according to FIFA, the 2014 World Cup isn’t a disaster. In fact, they’re calling it the best World Cup…ever.

According to Reuters:

Brazil 2014 may have had organizational glitches, but it is shaping up to be the best on-field World Cup thanks to the exciting soccer being played, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said on Tuesday.

“I think it is the best World Cup in terms of the soccer,” Valcke said in an interview with Globo television’s SporTV cable channel. “It’s the World Cup with the most number of goals since 1982.”

Even before the 32-nation tournament enters the quarter-final phase this week, more goals have been scored than at the previous World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

A pretty bold statement…considering the tournament isn’t over yet.

In Pictures: World Cup 2014 Goal Celebrations


Related:
Hyundai USA Releases World Cup AD “Epic Battle” Video by Wondwossen Dikran
David Mesfin: 2014 Hyundai FIFA World Cup Ad Features Work by Ethiopian Artists

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Harar: The City of Beer And Mosques (BBC)

Ethiopia's historic city of Harar is one of Islam's holiest centres - but in recent times it has built up another tradition and is now also known for its brewery. (Photograph credit: ALAMY via BBC News )

BBC New

By Aidan O’Donnell

As holy cities go, Harar is a colourful one. Inside the walls of the old town I find buildings in greens, purples and yellows – its women seem to take this as a challenge, dressing in veils and robes of shocking pink and the brightest orange.

Harar lies far in the east of Ethiopia, with a road that rises out of the town in the direction of Somaliland.

The mighty Muslim leader Ahmed The Left-Handed led some fierce campaigns from here in the 16th Century.

On its narrow streets I meet goats, old men collapsed from chewing the narcotic khat and a young boy who stops to knock a football back and forth with me for a few minutes.

Off the main square, tailors sit in front of fabric shops ready to run up alterations.

Binyam, slotted behind his sewing machine, does a small tailoring job for me, recounting his Greek ancestry and the provenance of his sewing machine – a gift, he says proudly, which would cost you thousands in the local currency.

Read more.

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Preview: Ethiopian Movie ‘Beti and Amare’

Ethiopian-movie 'Beti and Amare.' (Courtesy Indiewire)

Indie Wire

BY VANESSA MARTINEZ

Premiering at the Durban International Film Festival, which runs July 17 through July 27, is the Kalulu Entertainment independent film production titled “Beti and Amare,” described as a part sci-fi/fantasy and part historical romantic drama set in World War 2-torn Ethiopia.

“Amare,” by German filmmaker Andy Siege, centers on on a young Ethiopian girl named Beti (Hiwot Asres), who seeks refuge from Mussolini’s Italian troops in the south of the country. In the midst of battling hunger and harassment from the local militia, an unprecedented fantastical event occurs causing Beti to fall in love.

Here’s the full synopsis: “Beti and Amare” is a historical science-fiction film set in 1936 Ethiopia. Beti, a young Ethiopian girl has escaped Mussolini’s troops and found refuge in the peaceful south of Ethiopia. As the Italians march ever closer Beti has to battle hunger, thirst, and the unwelcome sexual advances of the local militia. When the situation threatens to escalate towards the unthinkable, a spaceship cracks through the clouds… its cargo… love. This micro-budget gem is filled with many powerful moments made up of stunning, intense and thought provoking imagery, a unique but professional score and sound-design, and masterful acting.

Watch the trailer below:



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17 Indicted in NY Drug Ring Bust for Khat

The drug ring smuggled the Khat from Yemen, Ethiopia, and Kenya into New York and beyond, according to a 215-count indictment unsealed Friday in Brooklyn by the state's Attorney General. (photo DEA)

New York Daily News

BY OREN YANIV

17 members of an international drug ring were busted for smuggling tons of Khat into America, authorities announced Friday.

Seventeen members of the alleged drug ring that brought tons of the euphoria-inducing plant from Yemen, Kenya and Ethiopia to the city and beyond were charged in a 215-count indictment unsealed in Brooklyn by the state’s Attorney General office.

Khat’s leaves and stems are chewed in their fresh form and contains an amphetamine-like stimulant. It’s legal in many parts of the world, including Kenya and Ethiopia were it’s primarily cultivated, and has been used socially in Yemen for thousands of years.

But Khat is illegal in the United States and most other western countries, earning that designation in the United Kingdom this Tuesday.

Read more at NY Daily News.

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Tom Hucker Leads in Close Primary in Maryland’s Montgomery County

Tom Hucker (courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Washington, D.C. (TADIAS) — Tom Hucker, a candidate for Montgomery County Council District 5 seat in Maryland, who was endorsed by the Ethiopian American Council (EAC), is locked in a close Primary race, so far leading by 217 votes, in a contest that will likely be decided by absentee and provisional votes.

The Gazette, which covers Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, reports that “only 217 votes separate the top two vote-getters after Tuesday’s election, likely giving absentee and provisional voters the final say on who will hold the seat in December.”

All precincts reporting, Tom Hucker garnered 7,184 votes compared to his opponents: Evan Glass (6,967), Christopher Barclay (1,789), Terrill North (1,687), and Jeffrey Thames (982).

“However, 940 absentee ballots were requested in District 5 as of Tuesday and of those, 733 were requested by Democrats. The Board of Elections has yet to count absentee and provisional ballots,” The Gazette reported. “While it was too early to celebrate when reached Tuesday night, Hucker praised his campaign volunteers and staff for their hard work.”

Hucker also told the newspaper that he  will wait until “the last vote was counted” before claiming victory. “I’m definitely very proud of the diverse grassroots and relentlessly optimistic campaign that we ran,” he said. “People are exhausted. They left it all on the field.”

Although voter turnout was very low across Maryland on Tuesday, we are told that EAC helped coordinate getting the vote out for Hucker and other candidates through phone banking and volunteering in the field. If Tom Hucker wins, it would round out the successful campaigns of all the three candidates supported by the Ethiopian-American Council, including Montgomery County Executive Isaiah “Ike” Leggett, who won his primary bid for a third term, and San Jose, California Mayoral Candidate Sam Liccardo, who made the runoff as one of the top two primary winners gearing up for the Fall election season.

Stay tuned for updates.

Related:
Ike Leggett Wins Primary Election By A Wide Margin

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Your Chance to Present at 9th Annual African Economic Conference in Ethiopia

(Image: The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa logo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — The 2014 African Economic Conference will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in November and organizers are calling on African researchers in the Diaspora to participate. One of the key objectives of the annual conference, now in its ninth year, is to “provide an opportunity for young African researchers, Africans in the Diaspora, regional and sub-regional organizations to disseminate their research findings as well as share information with African policymakers on the work they do in the region.”

The two-day gathering — scheduled for November 17th through November 19th, 2014 — is being organized jointly by the African Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Africa and the United Nations Development Program.

“This year’s AEC will offer a unique avenue for researchers, policymakers and development practitioners from Africa, and elsewhere, to debate Africa’s soft infrastructure needs and their catalytic impact on speed and scope of economic transformation and inclusive growth,” noted the announcement from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). “In the light of Africa’s search for economic transformation and its current skills and technology deficit in the face of knowledge-intensive and innovation-driven global competition, Africa needs to urgently devise strategies to capitalise on its youth bulge to drive technological innovation, skills development and the search for new sources of comparative advantage.” The UN agency added: “There is also the need to reflect on the critical barriers to be overcome and seek to capture the lessons to be learnt from various experiences on the continent to guide the development of appropriate policy responses and investment frameworks (public and private). In addition, critical regional dimensions need to be examined.”

Organizers credit high commodity prices and good macroeconomic management for the continent’s notable “economic growth rates averaging 5.2 per cent over the past decade.” Despite this growth, conference organizers are keen to note that there is still failure to translate this success in terms of employment opportunities and other measures of socio-economic development.

“Much attention has been given to the constraints imposed by the physical infrastructure deficit on Africa’s industrialization and structural transformation goals. Issues around Africa’s deficit of soft infrastructure such as skills, technology and innovation have not received equal attention, even though Africa’s severe shortage of technical skills is arguably more likely to pose a binding constraint on achieving sustainable industrialization, transformation and inclusive growth. As the continent pursues its agenda for economic transformation and inclusive growth enshrined in the African Union’s vision of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena”, success will critically depend on the continent accumulating a critical mass of skills, technology and innovation. African leaders, by identifying youth development, and science, technology and innovation as key pillars of the AU Agenda 2063 and the African Common Position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, give credence to this view.”

Click here for the Call for Papers.

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