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CIA Believes Russia Helped Trump Win US Presidency: Obama Orders Full Review

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

The New York Times

Russian Hackers Acted to Aid Trump in Election, U.S. Says

WASHINGTON — American intelligence agencies have concluded with “high confidence” that Russia acted covertly in the latter stages of the presidential campaign to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances and promote Donald J. Trump, according to senior administration officials.

They based that conclusion, in part, on another finding — which they say was also reached with high confidence — that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems in addition to their attacks on Democratic organizations, but did not release whatever information they gleaned from the Republican networks.

In the months before the election, it was largely documents from Democratic Party systems that were leaked to the public. Intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russians gave the Democrats’ documents to WikiLeaks.

Republicans have a different explanation for why no documents from their networks were ever released. Over the past several months, officials from the Republican committee have consistently said that their networks were not compromised, asserting that only the accounts of individual Republicans were attacked. On Friday, a senior committee official said he had no comment.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


CIA Believes Russia Helped Trump Win White House


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

VOA News

Updated: December 10, 2016

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

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

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

The Democrats were plagued with leaked DNC emails as the presidential election drew near. The Times says intelligence agencies “have concluded that the Russians gave the Democrats’ documents to WikiLeaks.”
“We now have high confidence that they hacked the DNC and the RNC and conspicuously released no documents” from the RNC, an unnamed senior Obama administration official speaking about the Russians, told The Times.

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

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


New Yorkers vote in presidential election, Nov. 8, 2016. (R. Taylor / VOA)

Role of Congress

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

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

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

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

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

Inquiry back to 2008

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

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

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

Results of investigation

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

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

Trump team responds

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

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

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

Some U.S. Congress members welcomed the announcement.

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

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

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

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

Congressional issue

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

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

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

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


Related:
Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House (The Washington Post)

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Grand Opening: Inside Marcus Samuelsson’s First DC Restaurant

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

WTOP

Sneak peek: Inside MGM National Harbor

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

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

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

Food and Drink

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

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

Read more »


Related

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


Marcus Samuelsson (Facebook)

Eater Washington DC

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

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

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

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

Read more »


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History: US- Ethiopia Complicated Alliance

Emperor Haile Selassie chatting with President Franklin Roosevelt, February 20, 1945. (Photo: Seeker video)

Seeker

The U.S. supports Ethiopia with military aid, monetary assistance and bilateral trade. So what makes their relationship so complicated?

In October, the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning for Ethiopia. The State Department website says this warning is due to “ongoing unrest that has led to hundreds of deaths, thousands of arrests, as well as injuries and extensive property damage.”

Formal relations between the U.S. and Ethiopia stem back to 1903, and in spite of Ethiopia’s instability, the U.S. has maintained relations with them. What are the details of the relationship between these two countries?

Watch today’s Seeker Daily video to find out more.


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

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

International Business Times

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

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

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

Read more »


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

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

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

Newsweek

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »


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Why Trump Win is Fueling Divisions in US

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

Reuters

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

Wed Nov 23, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

Signs point to an ongoing atmosphere of confrontation.

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

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

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

That dynamic was evident last week.

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

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

DIVISION BREEDS CONFRONTATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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After Ethiopia Drama, Aviators Continue Vintage Plane Flights Across Africa

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

Reuters

Updated: 25 November 2016

Vintage plane rally moves on from Ethiopia

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

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

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

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

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

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

There was no immediate official comment about a resolution.

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

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

Missing British Pilot Found in Ethiopia


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

ITV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– VINTAGE AIR RALLY STATEMENT

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


Photo: ITV News


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

Associated Press

Published November 23, 2016

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

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

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

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

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


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CPJ: Ethiopian Newspaper Editor, Bloggers Caught in Worsening Crackdown

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

CPJ

Ethiopian newspaper editor, bloggers caught in worsening crackdown

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Read more »


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Photos: Great CNN Feature on Lalibela

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

CNN

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

Read more and see photos at CNN.com »


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

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

The New York Times

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at NYTimes.com »

Watch Senator Reid To Trump: Rescind Bannon appointment


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


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Watch: SNL Makes America Laugh Again

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

USA TODAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The jokes wrote themselves there.



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European Parliament Holds Hearing on Ethiopia Protests

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

VOA News

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

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

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

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

Diaspora protests

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

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

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

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

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

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

Calls for dialogue

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Los Angeles Times

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

The Washington Post

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

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

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

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

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

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


Related:

In Colorado, GOP Congressman Mike Coffman Enjoys Ethiopian Support


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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

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

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

Below are photos shared with Tadias Magazine:


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


(Courtesy photo)


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


(Courtesy photo)


Related:

Republican Congressman Mike Coffman Visits Four Ethiopian Churches in Colorado

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

(PRNewsFoto/Ethiopian National Movement)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

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

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

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

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


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

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Investors Getting Nervous About Ethiopia

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

The Washington Post

November 2nd, 2016

Investors Shy Away From Ethiopia in the Wake of Violent Protests

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

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

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

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

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


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

Read more at The Washington Post »


Related:
Ethiopia Unrest Worries Foreign Investors (VOA News)

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The Weeknd: Abel Tesfaye A Rising Starboy (Video)

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

The Wall Street Journal

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

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

Read more »


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

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

The Daily Beast

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

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

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


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

Oct. 30, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »


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Addis Standard Stops Printing Over Draconian Emergency Rules

(Images: Addis Standard magazine covers)

Reuters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »


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Ethiopia Unrest Triggers Tourism Collapse

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

Financial Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »


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

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

Reuters

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

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

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


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

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Thousands Held Under State of Emergency

(Photo: Reuters)

BBC News

Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

There is no mention where the people are being held.

Read more »


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

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Amnesty: Draconian Measures Will Escalate Ethiopia’s Deepening Crisis

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

Amnesty International

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—-

Background

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

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

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


Related:
1,000 arrested this month after violence (AP)
Ethiopia: Opposition Media Say Gonder on 3-day Strike in Response to State of Emergency
7 Things Banned Under Ethiopia’s State of Emergency
Ethiopia announces new curbs as part of state of emergency measures (Reuters)
In Ethiopia’s War Against Social Media, the Truth is the Main Casualty
Ethiopia: Opposition Wants ‘Real Change’ But Views on Tactics Differ (VOA)
Once a Darling of Investors, Ethiopia Sliding Towards Chaos — The Economist
The Washington Post Editorial Regarding Ethiopia’s State of Emergency
German’s Angela Merkel Calls for Ethiopia to Open Up Politics After Unrest
Angela Merkel Signals Support for Ethiopia’s Protesters in Visit (AP)
Ethiopia: Foreign Investors Warily Eye Crackdown – The Wall Street Journal
Ethiopia Put Under State of Emergency (AP)
In Ethiopia Protesters Attack Factories, Eco Lodge and Flower Farms
American Killed in Ethiopia Identified as UC Davis Researcher Sharon Gray
U.S. citizen killed, foreign factories attacked in Ethiopia
US Says Female American Citizen Killed in Ethiopia Amid Protest
After Ethiopia Irrecha Tragedy, Renewed Calls on U.S to Take Stronger Measure
Ethiopia Protests Continue Over Fatal Bishoftu Stampede at Irrecha Festival

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

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

International Business Times

October 18, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »


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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

United Nations’ Chief on Ethiopia Crisis

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

United Nations

The ASSOCIATED PRESS

Oct 17, 2016

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

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

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

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


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

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7 Things Banned Under Ethiopia’s State of Emergency

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

BBC News

Updated: October 17th, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some of the things that are restricted:

1. Social media

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

2. Broadcast Media

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

3. Protests

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

4. Gestures

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

Read the full list at BBC News »


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


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

ASSOCIATED PRESS

By ELIAS MESERET

Oct 16, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Once a Darling of Investors, Ethiopia Sliding Towards Chaos — The Economist
The Washington Post Editorial Regarding Ethiopia’s State of Emergency
German’s Angela Merkel Calls for Ethiopia to Open Up Politics After Unrest
Angela Merkel Signals Support for Ethiopia’s Protesters in Visit (AP)
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In Ethiopia’s War Against Social Media, the Truth is the Main Casualty

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

The Washington Post

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at The Washington Post »

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Ethiopia: Opposition Wants ‘Real Change’ But Views on Tactics Differ (VOA)
Once a Darling of Investors, Ethiopia Sliding Towards Chaos — The Economist
The Washington Post Editorial Regarding Ethiopia’s State of Emergency
German’s Angela Merkel Calls for Ethiopia to Open Up Politics After Unrest
Angela Merkel Signals Support for Ethiopia’s Protesters in Visit (AP)
Ethiopia: Foreign Investors Warily Eye Crackdown – The Wall Street Journal
Ethiopia Put Under State of Emergency (AP)
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Ethiopia Biz Boom A Thing of the Past?

(AP photo)

The Economist | From the print edition

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at The Economist »


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

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

Reuters

Tue Oct 11, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Reuters.com »


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Angela Merkel Signals Support for Ethiopia’s Protesters in Visit (AP)
Ethiopia: Foreign Investors Warily Eye Crackdown – The Wall Street Journal
Ethiopia Put Under State of Emergency (AP)

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

Ethiopia Protests Continue Over Fatal Bishoftu Stampede at Irrecha Festival

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

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

The Wall Street Journal

By MATINA STEVIS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »


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In Ethiopia Protesters Attack Factories, Eco Lodge and Flower Farms
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After Ethiopia Irrecha Tragedy, Renewed Calls on U.S to Take Stronger Measure

Ethiopia Protests Continue Over Fatal Bishoftu Stampede at Irrecha Festival

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Hillary vs Trump: Who Won 2nd Debate?

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

The New York Times

Who Won the Debate? Donald Trump Avoids Annihilation

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

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

Here is a sampling of the post-debate reaction:

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

Guy Benson, political editor at the conservative website Townhall

_______

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

Erick Erickson, writer for the conservative blog The Resurgent

_______

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

Ron Fournier, writer for The Atlantic

_______

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

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

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

Laura Ingraham, conservative commentator and editor of LifeZette

________

“Trump looks and sounds defeated. Almost incoherent…”

Marc Lamont Hill, Morehouse College professor

Read more at NYTimes.com »

—-
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New Ethiopia-Djibouti Railroad Opens

(AP photo)

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

By ELIAS MESERET

Ethiopia’s New Coastal Rail Link Runs Through Restive Region

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »


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

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

The Times of Israel

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at The Times of Israel »


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US Says Female American Citizen Killed in Ethiopia Amid Protest
After Ethiopia Irrecha Tragedy, Renewed Calls on U.S to Take Stronger Measure
Ethiopia Protests Continue Over Fatal Bishoftu Stampede at Irrecha Festival

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

(Photo via Observers/france24)

Oakland Institute

Irreechaa Holiday 2016: Protests and Tragedy

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

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


(Photo via Aljazeera)

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

State Violence Mounting in Ethiopia

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

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

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

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

House Resolution 861—Human Rights in Ethiopia

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

The US Must Act Now

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

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

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


Ethiopia Protests Continue Over Fatal Bishoftu Stampede at Irrecha Festival

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U.S. Election VP Debate Update

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

The New York Times

Tim Kaine and Mike Pence Clash Sharply Over Their Running Mates

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at NYTimes.com »


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CPJ: Release Blogger Seyoum Teshome

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

CPJ

October 3, 2016

Police arrest prominent Ethiopian blogger

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Read more »


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Benjamin Joy Award Goes to US Staff in Addis

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

Media Note

U.S. Departments of State Office of the Spokesperson

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

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

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


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Actor Znah-Bzu Tsegaye Flees Ethiopia

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

BBC News

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full article at BBC News »


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

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

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

BBC News

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

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

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

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

The war plan

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

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


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

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

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

Read more at BBC News »


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

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

Foreign Policy Magazine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full artcile at Foreign Policy Magazine »

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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, September 24th, 2016

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

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

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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


Muhammad Ali Headgear, Fifth Street Gym.

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

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

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos


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

(Photo via Obang Metho/Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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HRW: UN Needs to Step Up on Ethiopia

(Photo via HRW.org)

HRW

SEPTEMBER 19, 2016

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

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

Read more »


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

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

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

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

Politico

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Politico.com »

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


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Why Obama’s Soaring Approval Numbers are Very Good News for Hillary Clinton
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What Will the Next US President Mean for Africa?

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Global Ties Not Seen in NYC Blast

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

The New York Times

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

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


Photo by Rashid Umar Abbasi/Reuters. Times Video

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at NYTimes.com »


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

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

Politico

September 16th, 2016

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

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

Clinton’s comments came minutes before Trump was scheduled to speak in the same city about Obama’s citizenship, which his campaign said in a statement Thursday night that he accepted. Trump himself declined to say earlier Friday whether he believes Obama was born in the U.S., teasing a forthcoming “major statement” on the matter.

“Now, Donald’s advisers have the temerity to say he’s doing the country a service by pushing these lies. No. He isn’t. He’s feeding into the worst impulses, the bigotry and bias that lurks in our country. Barack Obama was born in America, plain and simple. And Donald Trump owes him and the American people an apology,” Clinton said.

Read more at Politico.com »


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Voters Look at Trump as Both Risky and Bold, Poll Finds
Why Obama’s Soaring Approval Numbers are Very Good News for Hillary Clinton
Obama Chides Wacky Trump for Putin Jibe
2016 U.S. Election Cartoonists’ Perspective
Watch: This is What America Looks Like: Tefere Gebre Helps Immigrants to Vote

Tefere Gebre: Don’t tell me I’m not American – The True story of my journey from Ethiopia to the U.S.
What Will the Next US President Mean for Africa?

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

U.S. Congressman Chris Smith Calls Out Ethiopia Rights Abuses

Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs’ subcommittee on Africa. (Photo: Public Domain)

CNS News

Rep. Chris Smith (R. N.J.) said on Tuesday that the human rights abuses taking place under the current government in Ethiopia are an “abomination.”

“It is an abomination when any country tortures its own citizens,” Smith told a press conference on Capitol Hill. “The post-traumatic stress disorder that is suffered by those, not to mention the physical injuries that they endure, but the psychological consequences usually go on for a lifetime.”

Smith, who is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs’ subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, was joined by Reps. Al Green (D-Texas) and Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) to announce the introduction of a bipartisan resolution “supporting respect for human rights and encouraging inclusive government in Ethiopia.”

“This legislation calls for credible investigations into the government in the Oromia and Amhara regions, as well as the recent fire and shootings at Qilinto Prison,” Smith said in his opening remarks. “House Resolution 861 also urges the government of Ethiopia to allow a United Nations human rights rapporteur to conduct an independent examination of the state of human rights in Ethiopia.”

Smith said the U.S. should consider all aspects of its relationship with its traditional Ethiopian ally, including foreign aid and the issuance of visas, when addressing rights abuses in that country.

Also attending the press conference was Feyisa Lilesa, who won the silver medal for the marathon at the 2016 Olympics.

Read more at CNSNews.com »

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

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

2 Ethiopia Opposition Leaders Arrested

For the past ten months Ethiopians have been staging protests in various parts of the country complaining of systematic economic and political marginalization of the majority population. (Photo: Reuters)

AFP

Addis Ababa – Two Ethiopian opposition leaders have been arrested and held in detention for the last two weeks, their party said on Monday, as the country grapples with rare anti-government unrest.

The authorities detained Agaw Democratic Party leader Andualem Tilahun and another senior party member, Beyilu Teshale, on August 29, but the information was only made public on Monday.

The party represents the Agaw people, an ethnic group numbering around two million based in the northern Amhara region, who have largely kept out of the trouble that has flared in Ethiopia this year.

“Andualem Tilahun was charged on allegedly public incitation against the government, which is not true,” Tesera Be, a party advisor who is currently in the United States, said.

“The charge is politically motivated to eliminate the opposition party in the region.”

The spokesperson for the regional government could not be reached for comment.

Read more »


Related:
Joint Letter to UN Human Rights Council on Ethiopia
17 Artists Cancel Ethiopian New Year Concerts Due to Protests
US Ambassador to UN on ‘Excessive Use of Force’ Against Ethiopia Protesters
Ethiopia’s Failing Ethnic-based Political System (Foreign Affairs Magazine)
Washington Post Editorial on Current Wave of Protests in Ethiopia
‘A Generation Is Protesting’ in Ethiopia, Long a U.S. Ally (The New York Times)


Protesters have been complaining about economic and political marginalization . (Photos: Reuters)

UPDATE: ‘Nearly 100 killed’ in Ethiopia Protests (BBC News)
Several dozen shot dead in weekend protests across Ethiopia (AP)

In Addis Ababa Security Forces Use Tear Gas to Disperse Protests (Reuters)
What is behind Ethiopia’s wave of protests? (BBC News)
Protests in Ethiopia’s Gonder City Signal Uncertain Future (VOA News)
Protest in North Ethiopian Region Signals Rising Discontent (Bloomberg)
Riots in Gonder Claim Casualties (DW Report — Jul 15, 2016)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

KQED on Menkir Tamrat’s California Farm

At his home in Fremont, California Menkir Tamrat grows specialty Ethiopian chili Peppers. (Photo: KQED)

KQED

Menkir Tamrat first came to the U.S. from Ethiopia to pursue a career in tech. But now he’s forging a connection to his childhood home through farming specialty Ethiopian chili peppers outside of Fremont in the East Bay.

At his farm, he walks down a row of leaf-green pepper plants to a shady arbor in back. The peppers are ripening to vibrant reds and chocolatey browns. In the coming weeks, Menkir will dry them, crush them and make them into spice blends essential to Ethiopian cuisine.

“Imagine, there’s the berbere, the chili, first,” Menkir explains. “And then 12- or 11-plus additions of seasonings and spices and herbs. So it’s a sum of all these different things.”

Menkir wasn’t always a farmer. He grew up in the countryside of Ethiopia in the 1960s. He watched farmers working in the fields and selling their vegetables at the market.

In the early 1980s, Menkir got his MBA and came to the Bay Area to start a career in high-tech management. The food from his homeland was never far from his heart. But when he tried to recreate it with local California ingredients, something was missing.

So he went to Ethiopia and brought back the seeds he needed to start a garden. At his home in Fremont, he filled his yard with Ethiopian herbs and vegetables…

Read more at KQED.org »


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Why Obama’s Soaring Approval Numbers are Very Good News for Hillary Clinton

President Obama is joined onstage by Hillary Clinton during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

Monday, September 12th, 2016

The last time that President Obama’s approval rating in Washington Post-ABC News polling was as high as it is in our new survey was six months after he took office. At 58 percent, Obama’s approval is 15 points higher than it was on the eve of the 2014 elections, where his party got blown out. Hillary Clinton’s hope is that the reversal of opinions on Obama two years later will also lead to a reversal of fortunes for other Democrats — and there’s reason to think that it will.

We’ll start by noting that Obama’s approval rating in our survey is quite a bit higher than in other recent polls. Earlier this month, CNN-ORC had him at 51 percent. At the end of August, Fox had him at 54. But even in Gallup’s weekly averages, Obama has been over 50 percent for most of this year.

In the past, we’ve seen a good correlation between final vote share and Post-ABC approval polling — even when the approval rating was tested in August or September of the same year. The line on the graphs below shows that correlation for years that we have data: As presidential approval improves, so does the vote share of the president’s party. At the low end are 1992, when Bill Clinton beat George H.W. Bush, and 1980, when Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter. At the high end are the reelections of Lyndon Johnson, Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. High approval, high results. Low approval, low results.

In other words, there’s a strong correlation between how people feel about Obama and how they feel about Clinton. Ninety percent of Clinton supporters approve of Obama’s job performance, 64 percent of them do so strongly. About the same percentage of Trump backers disapprove of Obama’s job performance, more of them feeling that way strongly.

We can flip that. Eighty-six percent of registered voters who strongly approve of Obama’s job performance back Clinton; more than half of those who approve of his performance somewhat plan to back the Democrat in November. Among those who strongly disapprove of Obama, 80 percent plan to back Trump. But even 6 percent of that group is leaning toward Clinton. (Only 1 percent of those who strongly approve of Obama plan to back Trump.)

Read more »


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2016 U.S. Election Cartoonists’ Perspective
Watch: This is What America Looks Like: Tefere Gebre Helps Immigrants to Vote

Tefere Gebre: Don’t tell me I’m not American – The True story of my journey from Ethiopia to the U.S.
What Will the Next US President Mean for Africa?

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

17 Artists Cancel New Year Concerts

At least 17 singers have cancelled New Year concerts due to the ongoing protests. (Photo: BBC News)

BBC News

Many Ethiopian singers have cancelled their concerts to welcome in Ethiopia’s New Year, which falls this year on 11 September.

Ethiopians will be ushering in 2009 on Sunday as their calendar is more than seven years out of sync with the one used in much of the rest of the world.

But some singers are planning to put a dampener on the celebrations that take place on New Year’s Eve.

They say it would not be good to celebrate when people are mourning those who have died in recent protests.

At least 17 singers have backed out of gigs to be held in various venues in the capital, Addis Ababa, and other cities.

Oromo singer Abush Zeleke was among those who announced their decision on their official Facebook page.

And on Twitter have reacted to the news:

Some Ethiopian musicians who live abroad are following suit.

US-based singer, Abby Lakew, announced she had cancelled all her shows in Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago and Las Vegas:

I do not want to perform on any stage as of right now while my people are dying!!!
I will pray for peace and I believe in one love!!! All people should be treated equally, with the same rights, dignity and human rights.”

There has been an unprecedented wave of protests in Ethiopia in recent months.

Demonstrations began in the Oromia region last November and have spread elsewhere.

And over the weekend at least 23 inmates died in a fire at a prison where anti-government protesters were reportedly being held.


Related:
Joint letter to UN Human Rights Council on Ethiopia
US Ambassador to UN on ‘Excessive Use of Force’ Against Ethiopia Protesters
Ethiopia’s Failing Ethnic-based Political System (Foreign Affairs Magazine)
Washington Post Editorial on Current Wave of Protests in Ethiopia
‘A Generation Is Protesting’ in Ethiopia, Long a U.S. Ally (The New York Times)


Protesters have been complaining about economic and political marginalization . (Photos: Reuters)

UPDATE: ‘Nearly 100 killed’ in Ethiopia Protests (BBC News)
Several dozen shot dead in weekend protests across Ethiopia (AP)

In Addis Ababa Security Forces Use Tear Gas to Disperse Protests (Reuters)
What is behind Ethiopia’s wave of protests? (BBC News)
Protests in Ethiopia’s Gonder City Signal Uncertain Future (VOA News)
Protest in North Ethiopian Region Signals Rising Discontent (Bloomberg)
Riots in Gonder Claim Casualties (DW Report — Jul 15, 2016)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Joint Letter to UN Human Rights Council on Ethiopia

(Photo credit: Civicus.org)

HRW

Geneva, 8 September 2016

To Permanent Representatives of
Members and Observer States of the
UN Human Rights Council

RE: Addressing the escalating human rights crisis in Ethiopia

Your Excellency,

The undersigned civil society organisations write to draw your attention to grave violations of human rights in Ethiopia, including the recent crackdown on largely peaceful protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions.

As the UN Human Rights Council prepares to convene for its 33rd session between 13 – 30 September 2016, we urge your delegation to prioritise and address through joint and individual statements the escalating human rights crisis in Ethiopia.

An escalating human rights crisis in Oromia and Amhara Regions

The situation in Ethiopia has become increasingly unstable since security forces repeatedly fired upon protests in the Amhara and Oromia regions in August 2016. On 6 and 7 August alone, Amnesty International reported at least 100 killings and scores of arrests during protests that took place across multiple towns in both regions. Protesters had taken to the streets throughout the Amhara and Oromia regions to express discontent over the ruling party’s dominance in government affairs, the lack of rule of law, and grave human rights violations for which there has been no accountability.

Protests in the Amhara region began peacefully in Gondar a month ago and spread to other towns in the region. A protest in Bahir Dar, the region’s capital, on 7 August turned violent when security forces shot and killed at least 30 people. Recently, on 30 August, stay-at-home strikers took to the streets of Bahir Dar again and were violently dispersed by security forces. According to the Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE), in the week of 29 August alone, security forces killed more than 70 protesters and injured many more in cities and towns across Northern Amhara region.

Since November 2015, Ethiopian security forces have routinely used excessive and unnecessary lethal force to disperse and suppress the largely peaceful protests in the Oromia region. The protesters, who originally advocated against the dispossession of land without adequate compensation under the government’s Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan, have been subjected to widespread rights violations. According to international and national human rights groups, at least 500 demonstrators have been killed and hundreds have suffered bullet wounds and beatings by police and military during the protests.

Authorities have also arbitrarily arrested thousands of people throughout Oromia and Amhara during and after protests, including journalists and human rights defenders. Many of those detained are being held without charge and without access to family members or legal representation. Many of those who have been released report torture in detention. The continued use of unlawful force to repress the movement has broadened the grievances of the protesters to human rights and rule of law issues.

The need for international, independent, thorough, impartial and transparent investigations

Following the attacks by security forces on protesters in Oromia earlier this year, five UN Special Procedures issued a joint statement noting that “the sheer number of people killed and arrested suggests that the Government of Ethiopia views the citizens as a hindrance, rather than a partner”, and underlining that “Impunity … only perpetuates distrust, violence and more oppression”.

In response to the recent crackdown, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, has called for “access for independent observers to the country to assess the human rights situation”. Ethiopia’s government, however, has rejected the call, instead indicating it would launch its own investigation. On 2 September, in a public media statement, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights reiterated the UN High Commissioner’s call to allow a prompt and impartial investigation led by regional or international human rights bodies into the crackdown.

There are no effective avenues to pursue accountability for abuses given the lack of independence of the judiciary and legislative constraints. During the May 2015 general elections, the ruling EPRDF party won all 547 seats in the Ethiopian Parliament.

Ethiopia’s National Human Rights Commission, which has a mandate to investigate rights violations, has failed to make public its June report on the Oromia protests, while concluding in its oral report to Parliament that the lethal force used by security forces in Oromia was proportionate to the risk they faced from the protesters. The Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions has rated the Ethiopian National Human Rights Commission as B, meaning the latter has failed to meet fully the Paris Principles.

The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, who met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn at the margins of the European Development Days in June 2016, has called on all parties to refrain from the use of force and for a constructive dialogue and engagement to take place without delay. On 28 August, after the EPRDF party’s general assembly, Prime Minister Hailemariam reportedly ordered the country’s military to take any appropriate measures to quell the protests, which he described as illegal and aimed at destabilising the nation. Following a similar call regarding the Oromia protests, security forces intensified the use of excessive force against protesters.

A highly restrictive environment for dialogue

Numerous human rights activists, journalists, opposition political party leaders and supporters have been arbitrarily arrested and detained. Since August 2016, four members of one of Ethiopia’s most prominent human rights organisations, the Human Rights Council (HRCO), were arrested and detained in the Amhara and Oromia regions. HRCO believes these arrests are related to the members’ monitoring and documentation of the crackdown of on-going protests in these regions.

Among those arrested since the protests began and still in detention are Colonel Demeke Zewdu (Member, Wolkait Identity Committee (WIC)), Getachew Ademe (Chairperson, WIC), Atalay Zafe (Member, WIC), Mebratu Getahun (Member, WIC), Alene Shama (Member, WIC), Addisu Serebe (Member, WIC), Bekele Gerba (Deputy Chair, Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC)), Dejene Tufa (Deputy General Secretary, OFC), Getachew Shiferaw (Editor-in-Chief of the online newspaper Negere Ethiopia), Yonathan Teressa (human rights defender) and Fikadu Mirkana (reporter with the state-owned Oromia Radio and TV). 


Prominent human rights experts and groups, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, have repeatedly condemned the highly restrictive legal framework in Ethiopia. The deliberate misuse of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation’s overbroad and vague provisions to target journalists and activists has increased as protests have intensified. The law permits up to four months of pre-trial detention and prescribes long prison sentences for a range of activities protected under international human rights law. Dozens of human rights defenders as well as journalists, bloggers, peaceful demonstrators and opposition party members have been subjected to harassment and politically motivated prosecution under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, making Ethiopia one of the leading jailers of journalists in the world.

In addition, domestic civil society organisations are severely hindered by one of the most restrictive NGO laws in the world. Specifically, under the 2009 Charities and Societies Proclamation, the vast majority of Ethiopian organisations have been forced to stop working on human rights and governance issues, a matter of great concern that has been repeatedly raised in international forums including at Ethiopia’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

This restrictive and worsening environment underscores the limited avenues available for dialogue and accountability in the country. It is essential that the UN Human Rights Council take a strong position urging the Ethiopian government to immediately allow an international, thorough, independent, transparent and impartial investigation into alleged human rights abuses committed in the context of the government’s response to the largely peaceful protests.

As a member – and Vice-President – of the Human Rights Council, Ethiopia has an obligation to “uphold the highest standards” of human rights, and “fully cooperate” with the Council and its mechanisms (GA Resolution 60/251, OP 9). Yet for the past ten years, it has consistently failed to accept country visit requests by numerous Special Procedures.

During the upcoming 33rd session of the Human Rights Council, we urge your delegation to make joint and individual statements reinforcing and building upon the expressions of concern by the High Commissioner, UN Special Procedures, and others.

Specifically, the undersigned organisations request your delegation to urge Ethiopia to:

1. immediately cease the use of excessive and unnecessary lethal force by security forces against protesters in Oromia and Amhara regions and elsewhere in Ethiopia;

2. immediately and unconditionally release journalists, human rights defenders, political opposition leaders and members as well as protesters arbitrarily detained during and in the aftermath of the protests;

3. respond favourably to country visit requests by UN Special Procedures;

4. urgently allow access to an international, thorough, independent, impartial and transparent investigation into all of the deaths resulting from alleged excessive use of force by the security forces, and other violations of human rights in the context of the protests;

5. ensure that those responsible for human rights violations are prosecuted in proceedings which comply with international law and standards on fair trials and without resort to the death penalty;

6. and fully comply with its international legal obligations and commitments including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and its own Constitution.

Amnesty International
Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
Civil Rights Defenders
DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
Ethiopian Human Rights Project
FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights)
Foundation for Human Rights Initiative
Freedom House
Front Line Defenders
Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect
Human Rights Watch
International Service for Human Rights
Reporters Without Borders
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)


Related:
17 Artists Cancel Ethiopian New Year Concerts Due to Protests
US Ambassador to UN on ‘Excessive Use of Force’ Against Ethiopia Protesters
Ethiopia’s Failing Ethnic-based Political System (Foreign Affairs Magazine)
Washington Post Editorial on Current Wave of Protests in Ethiopia
‘A Generation Is Protesting’ in Ethiopia, Long a U.S. Ally (The New York Times)


Protesters have been complaining about economic and political marginalization . (Photos: Reuters)

UPDATE: ‘Nearly 100 killed’ in Ethiopia Protests (BBC News)
Several dozen shot dead in weekend protests across Ethiopia (AP)

In Addis Ababa Security Forces Use Tear Gas to Disperse Protests (Reuters)
What is behind Ethiopia’s wave of protests? (BBC News)
Protests in Ethiopia’s Gonder City Signal Uncertain Future (VOA News)
Protest in North Ethiopian Region Signals Rising Discontent (Bloomberg)
Riots in Gonder Claim Casualties (DW Report — Jul 15, 2016)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Obama Chides Wacky Trump for Putin Jibe

President Barack Obama says Donald Trump is "not qualified" to be president. (Photo: EPA)

BBC News

Barack Obama has chided Donald Trump as “wacky” and “uninformed” after the Republican candidate said Russia’s President Putin was a better leader.

Speaking in Laos, Mr Obama said that every time Mr Trump spoke it became clearer that the Republican contender was not qualified to be president.

In a televised forum on Wednesday, Mr Trump had praised Mr Putin’s “great control” and 82% approval rating.

Mr Trump and rival Hillary Clinton had taken questions from military veterans.

Mr Obama said: “I don’t think the guy’s qualified to be president of the United States and every time he speaks, that opinion is confirmed.”

The president pointed to the diplomatic work he had faced at both the Asean summit in Laos and the earlier G20 meeting in China.

He said: “I can tell you from the interactions I have had over the last eight or nine days with foreign leaders that this is serious business.

“You actually have to know what you are talking about and you actually have to have done your homework. When you speak, it should actually reflect thought-out-policy you can implement.”

Mr Trump had told the forum in New York that the Russian president had “been a leader far more than our president has been”.

Read more »


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Hillary Clinton Rips Donald Trump for Lauding Vladimir Putin
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Watch: This is What America Looks Like: Tefere Gebre Helps Immigrants to Vote

Tefere Gebre: Don’t tell me I’m not American – The True story of my journey from Ethiopia to the U.S.
Hillary Torches Trump: He is ‘Taking Hate Groups Mainstream’
How Can America Recover From Donald Trump’s Hatred and Paranoia?
What Will the Next US President Mean for Africa?
GOP Flight From Trump Continues

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

US Ambassador to UN on ‘Excessive Use of Force’ Against Ethiopia Protesters

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power visiting South Sudan on Sunday on her way to Ethiopia as part of the U.N. Security Council visit to the region. (Photo: Twitter/@AmbassadorPower)

The Associated Press

JUBA, South Sudan – The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations says her country has raised “grave concerns” about what it calls excessive use of force against protesters in Ethiopia.

Ambassador Samantha Power spoke to reporters late Sunday as the U.N. Security Council ended a visit to South Sudan. It moves on to Ethiopia on Monday for talks with African Union officials.

Power called the violence in Ethiopia “extremely serious” and called for a transparent and independent investigation. She said the U.S. has asked the government to allow people to protest peacefully.

Ethiopia has seen months of sometimes deadly protests calling for wider freedoms, while the government has been accused of killings, beatings and internet blockages.

The AU last week for the first time expressed concern about the recent unrest in its host country.


Related:
Ethiopia’s Failing Ethnic-based Political System (Foreign Affairs Magazine)
Washington Post Editorial on Current Wave of Protests in Ethiopia
‘A Generation Is Protesting’ in Ethiopia, Long a U.S. Ally (The New York Times)


Protesters have been complaining about economic and political marginalization . (Photos: Reuters)

UPDATE: ‘Nearly 100 killed’ in Ethiopia Protests (BBC News)
Several dozen shot dead in weekend protests across Ethiopia (AP)

In Addis Ababa Security Forces Use Tear Gas to Disperse Protests (Reuters)
What is behind Ethiopia’s wave of protests? (BBC News)
Protests in Ethiopia’s Gonder City Signal Uncertain Future (VOA News)
Protest in North Ethiopian Region Signals Rising Discontent (Bloomberg)
Riots in Gonder Claim Casualties (DW Report — Jul 15, 2016)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Update on Deadly Ethiopia Prison Fire

Officials in Ethiopia have confirmed that twenty-three people died when a fire broke out at Qilinto maximum security prison near Addis Abeba on Saturday, September 3rd, 2016 (Photo: Addis Fortune)

BBC News

Updated: September 5th, 2016

Ethiopia’s government has confirmed that 23 people died when fire broke out in a prison where prominent anti-government protesters are reportedly being held.

A statement from the government affairs communications team says 21 inmates died due to stampede and suffocation while two others were killed as they tried to escape Qilinto prison, on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa on Saturday.

But some local media have disputed the account citing unnamed witnesses who claim to have seen prisoners being shot by prison wardens.

Read more at BBC News »


Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Deadly fires are being reported in several high-security prisons across Ethiopia including in Addis Ababa and Debre Tabor towns. Ethiopia-based Addis Fortune reported: “The Qilinto maximum security prison [which holds high profile prisoners including opposition leader Bekele Gerba], located in southern Addis Abeba, caught fire this morning. Intensive gunfire ensued following the fire accident, creating a tense situation among local residents in the area.”

Other social media reports on Facebook and Twitter say an “unknown number of inmates are feared dead during a fire at Debre Tabor prison” in Gondar.


Debre Tabor prison house is on fire! #Ethiopia. (Picture via Twitter)

Footage: Fire broke out at Debre Tabor Prison


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In Island of Tasmania Ethiopians Rally for Rights of Marginalized People Back Home

In Australia's island state of Tasmania, Ethiopian immigrants joined a worldwide rally against persecution of ethnic groups in Ethiopia with a protest in front of Parliament House in Hobart, Tasmania. (The Mercury)

The Mercury

ETHIOPIAN immigrants have raised concerns for marginalised groups in the African nation at a rally outside Parliament House in Hobart.

Tasmanian Ethiopian Association chairman Dessie Assefa said oppression of ethnic groups by the country’s ruling political coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), created animosity between tribes.

“They are oppressed politically, financially, culturally,” Mr Assefa said.

About 50 people attended the rally today, holding Ethiopian and Australian flags and photographs of the violence in Ethiopia.

Tasmanian Ethiopian Association secretary Tadiyos Mandefro said the Oromo and Amhara people were the most oppressed groups in Ethiopia.

“People are attacked because of their ethnicity. Our people are in crisis,” he said.

Mr Mandefro said the Oromo and Amhara people are targeted the most.

“We are here to lobby the Tasmanian Government to address the Federal Government to raise these issues with Ethiopia,” he said.

“It is the only way we will be heard.”


About 50 people attended the rally in front of Parliament House in Hobart, capital of Australia’s island state of Tasmania. Picture: LUKE BOWDEN

Read more at Themercury.com.au »


Related:
Will Ethiopia’s Experiment With Ethnic Federalism Work? (Foreign Affairs Magazine)
Washington Post Editorial on Current Wave of Protests in Ethiopia
‘A Generation Is Protesting’ in Ethiopia, Long a U.S. Ally (The New York Times)


Protesters have been complaining about economic and political marginalization . (Photos: Reuters)

UPDATE: ‘Nearly 100 killed’ in Ethiopia Protests (BBC News)
Several dozen shot dead in weekend protests across Ethiopia (AP)

In Addis Ababa Security Forces Use Tear Gas to Disperse Protests (Reuters)
What is behind Ethiopia’s wave of protests? (BBC News)
Protests in Ethiopia’s Gonder City Signal Uncertain Future (VOA News)
Protest in North Ethiopian Region Signals Rising Discontent (Bloomberg)
Riots in Gonder Claim Casualties (DW Report — Jul 15, 2016)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

In Ethiopia Protesters Burn Flower Farm

The Esmeralda Farms, a company based in the Netherlands, started its flower growing business in Ethiopia on a 150 hectare land in early 2014. (Photos: Esmeralda Farms)

The Associated Press

A Dutch company says protesters in Ethiopia are torching flower farms as they target businesses with links to the government. Flowers are one of the country’s top exports.

The Esmeralda Farms statement comes amid anti-government protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions in recent weeks that residents and rights groups say have left dozens dead.

The company says its 10 million Euro investment went up in smoke this week in Bahir Dar city and that several other horticulture companies were affected.

Demonstrators have been calling for wider freedoms in this East African country. The Ethiopian Human Rights Council has said government security forces are using excessive force against them.

Ethiopia’s government, a close security ally of the West, is often accused of silencing dissent, even blocking internet access at times.


Related:
Esmeralda Farms statement: Esmeralda Farms Burn Down in Ethiopia
Dutch, Israeli Farms in Ethiopia Attacked by Protesters (Bloomberg)

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NYT Spotlights Harlem’s Tsion Cafe

Beejhy Barhany, the chef, and her husband, Padmore John, a native of Dominica, opened Tsion in 2014 in the historic Harlem district of Sugar Hill. (Photo: The New York Times)

The New York Times

At Tsion Cafe in Harlem, Food From Ethiopia via Israel

On one side lie eggs scrambled with lox over a drape of injera, the sour, springy Ethiopian flatbread as thin and pliant as a crepe and perforated like coral. On the other side, challah French toast, its egg coating spiked with awaze, a meld of earthy-hot berbere and tej, or Ethiopian honey wine, a drink of millenniums past.

At Tsion Cafe in Harlem, breakfast is biography. Beejhy Barhany, the chef, was born in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, into a community of Beta Israel, as Ethiopian Jews are known. In 1980, when she was 4, her family and almost the entire population of her village fled on foot to Sudan, walking only at night to evade detection and resting on the Sabbath.

They hoped one day to reach the Holy Land, invoking Israel’s Law of Return, which welcomes those of Jewish heritage as immigrants. (According to one origin story, Ethiopian Jews are descended from King Solomon and Queen Sheba.) After three years, Ms. Barhany’s family was smuggled through Kenya and Uganda by Land Rover, then flown to France and, finally, Israel.

She spent four years on a kibbutz tilling the land, an experience that taught her to respect ingredients in their natural state. At Tsion, Ethiopian vegetable stews betray little tinkering beyond the near-melt of slow-cooked onions, garlic and ginger that gives body to every dish, and an occasional shot of berbere, a concatenation of 17 spices, the strongest among them cumin, cardamom and chile.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


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

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

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The New York Times on Berhanu Nega

Berhanu Nega. (Photo: The New York Times)

The New York Times

Once a Bucknell Professor, Now the Commander of an Ethiopian Rebel Army

Berhanu Nega was once one of Bucknell University’s most popular professors. An Ethiopian exile with a Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research in Manhattan, he taught one of the economics department’s most sought-after electives, African Economic Development. When he wasn’t leading seminars or puttering around his comfortable home in a wooded neighborhood five minutes from the Bucknell campus in rural Lewisburg, Pa., Nega traveled abroad for academic conferences and lectured on human rights at the European Parliament in Brussels. “He was very much concerned with the relationship between democracy and development,” says John Rickard, an English professor who became one of his close friends. “He argued that you cannot have viable economic development without democratization, and vice versa.” A gregarious and active figure on campus, he rooted for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cleveland Cavaliers, campaigned door-to-door for Barack Obama in 2008 and was known as one of the best squash players on the Bucknell faculty. He and his wife, an Ethiopian-born optometrist, raised two sons and sent them to top-ranked colleges, the University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon. On weekends he sometimes hosted dinners for other Bucknell professors and their families, regaling them with stories about Abyssinian culture and history over Ethiopian food he would prepare himself; he imported the spices from Addis Ababa and made the injera, a spongy sourdough bread made of teff flour, by hand.

Nega remained vague about his past. But students curious enough to Google him would discover that the man who stood before them, outlining development policies in sub-Saharan Africa, was in fact intimately involved in the long-running hostility between Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea, a conflict that has dragged on for half a century. By the start of the millennium, its newest incarnation, a border war over a patch of seemingly worthless ground just 250 square miles in size, devolved into a tense standoff, with the two nations each massing along the border thousands of troops from both official and unofficial armies. One proxy army fighting on the Eritrean side, a group of disaffected Ethiopians called Ginbot 7, was a force that Nega helped create, founding the movement in 2008 with another Ethiopian exile, Andargachew Tsege, in Washington. The Ethiopian government, which had previously detained Nega as a political prisoner for two years in Addis Ababa, now sentenced him to death in absentia. Bucknell students who did learn about their teacher’s past were thrilled. “It made his classes exciting,” Rickard says.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


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Ethiopia: Lucy Bones’ 3D Scans Released

Lucy’s arm bone undergoes a computed-tomography scan. (Photo: Marsha Miller/UT Austin)

Nature Magazine

Print your own 3D Lucy to work out how the famous hominin died

The world’s most famous fossil is now open source. 3D scans of Lucy — a 3.18-million-year-old hominin found in Ethiopia — were released on 29 August, allowing anyone to examine her arm, shoulder and knee bones and even make their own 3D-printed copies.

The scans accompany a Nature paper that argues that Lucy, a human relative belonging to the species Australopithecus afarensis, died after falling from a tree (J. Kappelman et al. Nature http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature19332; 2016).The team behind the paper also made the scans available to the public and is eager for other researchers to test the hypothesis by printing out the bones.

“It’s one thing for me to describe it in detail in paper, but it’s another thing to hold these things, to be able to print them out, look at them and put them together,” says team leader John Kappelman, a palaeoanthropologist at the University of Texas at Austin.

His team received approval from the National Museum of Ethiopia and the country’s government to make the models of Lucy public. “My sense from the Ethiopians is that Lucy is not only their national treasure, but they see her as a treasure for humankind,” says Kappelman, who hopes that the country will soon release digital scans of the rest of Lucy and that other countries may follow suit with other hominin fossils.

“Coming from Ethiopia, it really is a positive step, because other countries that are hesitant may be willing to do the same thing,” says Louise Leakey, a palaeontologist at Stony Brook University in New York.

But Kappelman and others say that such a move could threaten cash-strapped museums — many of them in Africa — that rely on income generated from casts of their fossil collections to help them survive.

Read more at Nature.com »


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Hillary Torches Trump: He is ‘Taking Hate Groups Mainstream’

In a speech in Reno, Nevada on Thursday Hillary Clinton blasted her opponent Donald Trump for emboldening racists and allowing a paranoid 'radical fringe' to take over the Republican Party. (Getty Images)

The Huffington Post

Hillary Clinton Excoriates Donald Trump For Taking White Supremacy Mainstream

WASHINGTON ― Hillary Clinton said Thursday that Donald Trump is “taking hate groups mainstream,” allowing a “radical fringe” to take over the Republican Party.

Speaking at a rally in Reno, Nevada, Clinton focused on Trump’s divisive, racist comments, telling voters, “There’s no other Donald Trump. This is it.”

Trump is currently trying to turn things around with black voters, asking for their support by painting all African-Americans as living in dire poverty in horrifically dangerous communities.“What do you have to lose?” he said at one event in Virginia, explaining why he thinks black voters should support him.

In her speech, Clinton dug into the Republican nominee’s past, noting that during the early years of his business career, his real estate company was sued by the Justice Department for refusing to rent apartments to blacks and Latinos. On their applications, Trump’s company would write “C for colored,” Clinton said.

“And let’s not forget Trump first gained political prominence leading the charge for the so-called ‘birthers,’” Clinton continued. “He promoted the racist lie that President Obama isn’t really an American citizen – part of a sustained effort to delegitimize America’s first black president.”

“It takes a lot of nerve to ask people he’s ignored and mistreated for decades, ‘What do you have to lose?’” she said. “The answer is everything!”

Read more »


Related:
How Can America Recover From Donald Trump’s Hatred and Paranoia?
What Will the Next US President Mean for Africa?
GOP Flight From Trump Continues

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US Issues Travel Alert for Ethiopia

At least 100 people were killed during protests across Ethiopia this month as demonstrators clashed with security forces in various regions of the country, according to Amnesty International. (Image: BBC News)

Press Release
U.S. Department of State

AUGUST 19, 2016

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling in certain regions of Ethiopia due to anti-government protests, some of which have involved violence. Associated disruptions in telephone and internet services have hampered the U.S. Embassy’s ability to communicate with U.S. citizens in Ethiopia. This Travel Alert expires on February 18, 2017.

Since November 2015, anti-government protests, mainly in the regional states of Amhara and Oromia, have resulted in violent clashes between demonstrators and government security forces. Internet, cellular data, and phone service have been sporadically restricted or completely cut off prior to and during some of the protests, impeding the U.S. Embassy’s ability to communicate with U.S. citizens.

Protests are likely to continue, and could spread to other parts of the country, including the capital, Addis Ababa. U.S. citizens in Ethiopia should increase their level of situational awareness, continuously assess their surroundings, evaluate their personal level of safety, and avoid demonstrations and large gatherings.


Protesters have been complaining about economic and political marginalisation. (Photos: Reuters)

—-
Related:
Washington Post Editorial on Current Wave of Protests in Ethiopia
‘A Generation Is Protesting’ in Ethiopia, Long a U.S. Ally (The New York Times)
UPDATE: ‘Nearly 100 killed’ in Ethiopia Protests (BBC News)
Several dozen shot dead in weekend protests across Ethiopia (AP)

In Addis Ababa Security Forces Use Tear Gas to Disperse Protests (Reuters)
What is behind Ethiopia’s wave of protests? (BBC News)
Protests in Ethiopia’s Gonder City Signal Uncertain Future (VOA News)
Protest in North Ethiopian Region Signals Rising Discontent (Bloomberg)
Riots in Gonder Claim Casualties (DW Report — Jul 15, 2016)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

What Will the Next US President Mean for Africa?

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, and his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. (AP)

Voice of America

As the first U.S. president with familial ties to Africa, President Barack Obama has left a mark and a legacy on the continent. Among his signature achievements is Power Africa, which aims to add 60 million new electrical connections to light up the continent.

Obama also launched the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), which mentors and funds projects for ambitious young people. He has also helped expand trade to the continent and has visited sub-Saharan Africa four times, more than any other U.S. president.

But as Africans closely watch this year’s presidential race, they are wondering what the policy of either party’s candidate — Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton or Republican candidate Donald Trump — would look like toward the region.

African policy has not been a priority topic on the campaign trail for either candidate, but each has advisers who offer hints at how they would approach Africa as president.


President Barack Obama addresses a Young African Leaders Initiative gathering in Washington, Aug. 3, 2016. (AP photo)

Clinton offers continuation

Tom Daschle, former Senate majority leader and a Clinton supporter, said Clinton’s relationship with the continent runs deep, especially with the Clinton Foundation, which has worked to fight AIDS and supports educational initiatives.

“Hillary and Bill Clinton have really made a commitment to Africa and the relationship between our continents for a long time,” Daschle said. “The Clinton Foundation has been extremely active in Africa, and so we think it really represents a new chapter for the relationship. We are very really bullish and very optimistic about what it could mean.”

He also said Clinton would have a very different perspective on immigration than her opponent, who has pledged to halt immigration for Muslims and for people coming from areas of the world with high instances of terror.

“I think it’s night and day when it comes to immigration,” Daschle said. “We believe in immigration. We think that immigration is really the reason why we celebrate the diversity and the strength that is America. And the more we can embrace immigration, the more we believe we have an opportunity to help create stability around the world, in addition to enhancing their own diversity.”

Trump’s counterterrorism efforts

Trump has made little mention of Africa in his campaign appearances.

The closest Africa has come to being a hot topic was when Trump mispronounced the nation of Tanzania when speaking about terrorism. Additionally, some animal-rights activists have protested the fact that two of Trump’s sons go on hunting trips to shoot big game in Africa.

Walid Phares, a Lebanese-American foreign policy analyst and adviser to the Trump campaign, said he has met with ambassadors from about 50 countries and addressed their concerns.

“We confirmed that a Trump administration would show solidarity with Africa,” Phares told VOA.

He said Trump will be eager to form security partnerships with African countries to combat shared enemies such as extremist groups. Many African countries, including Libya, Mali and Tunisia, have seen their security situation erode, Phares said, adding that he believes they are hungry for a stronger commitment to fighting terror from the White House.

“Africans like Obama, for sure, but his foreign policy was not good for Africans and Sahel countries feel they were not part of this policy,” Phares said. “They would rather go now with a Trump administration. Without security, there is no economy.”

2016 party platforms

Each of the two parties mention policy toward Africa in official party platforms introduced and voted on at the party conventions.

The Democratic Party platform promises to improve capabilities in crisis response and provide protection of civilians with an emphasis on women and girls.

They promise to continue Obama’s initiative to combat wildlife trafficking and make counterterrorism efforts a priority.

“We will work to end the reign of terror promulgated by Boko Haram, al-Shabab, AQIM and ISIS,” the platform reads.

Terrorism is similarly important to the Republican Party, which states in its platform: “We urge governments throughout the continent to recognize this threat to their own people. We support closer cooperation in both military and economic matters with those on the front lines of civilization’s battle against the forces of evil.”

Other GOP promises include the extension of health care support throughout the continent until 2025. The initiatives include President George W. Bush’s signature program to offer AIDS relief, known as PEPFAR, and funding to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Witney Schneidman, a nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institution and adviser to Clinton on Africa, believes that no matter who wins, both parties can find common ground in their shared interest to help the continent.

“Over the last two administrations, Bush and now Obama, there’s been a tradition of bipartisanship when it comes to Africa,” Schneidman said.

He pointed to the 2000 passage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act that received strong bipartisan support, which the President’s Emergency Program For AIDS Relief did as well. Obama’s efforts in Africa have similarly enjoyed broad support from both parties, he said.

“I would expect into the next administration that many of these programs will continue and this bipartisan consensus will be sustained,” Schneidman said.


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Tsehai Launches Harriet Tubman Press

Tsehai Publishers in collaboration with Loyola Marymount University is launching a new imprint called the Harriet Tubman Press focused on African American fiction, nonfiction and academic titles. (courtesy Image)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, August 13th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The California-based Tsehai Publishers in partnership with Loyola Marymount University has announced the launch of its new imprint: The Harriet Tubman Press for African-American Literature (HTP), adding to its collection of books on Ethiopian and African history.

Founder of Tsehai Publishers Elias Wondimu will be managing the new imprint. “We chose the name Harriet Tubman for several reasons,” Elias said in a statement. “To follow her example in paving a new path towards an equal and just society; in honor of our ancestors who endured so much to provide us our freedom; and to proclaim our commitment to document and share our stories to the world over.”

The joint press release from LMU and Tsehai Publishers stated: “HTP will be the newest imprint of TSEHAI Publishers, which is housed in the Marymount Institute for Faith, Culture and the Arts at Loyola Marymount University. Until now, TSEHAI has specialized in publications about African politics, history, social justice and literature. HTP will provide a home to books that share stories by African-American writers and scholars about what is happening in the United States.”

“Harriet Tubman Press will provide a new home for both established, as well as up-and-coming literary writers and scholars who strive to give authentic voice while chronicling the challenges and triumphs of their communities,” Elias shared.


Related:
In Pictures: Tsehai Publishers’ Temsalet DC Book Signing at Library of Congress
Photos: Temsalet Book Launch & Tsehai Publishers Presentation in New York City


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GOP Flight From Trump Continues

GOP party leaders are laying the groundwork to cut off support to Donald Trump in October. (Photo: Reuters)

Politico

08/11/16

Dozens of Republicans to Urge RNC to Cut off Funds for Trump

More than 70 Republicans have signed an open letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus urging him to stop spending any money to help Donald Trump win in November and shift those contributions to Senate and House races.

The letter comes as a number of Republican senators and high-profile GOP national security officials have come forward saying they cannot vote for Trump.

“We believe that Donald Trump’s divisiveness, recklessness, incompetence, and record-breaking unpopularity risk turning this election into a Democratic landslide, and only the immediate shift of all available RNC resources to vulnerable Senate and House races will prevent the GOP from drowning with a Trump-emblazoned anchor around its neck,” states a draft of the letter obtained by POLITICO. “This should not be a difficult decision, as Donald Trump’s chances of being elected president are evaporating by the day…”

The letter ticks off a series of Trump actions that they believe have “alienated millions of voters of all parties,” including, attacking Gold Star families, positive comments about violent foreign leaders and encouraging Russia to find Clinton’s lost emails.

“Those recent outrages have built on his campaign of anger and exclusion, during which he has mocked and offended millions of voters, including the disabled, women, Muslims, immigrants, and minorities,” the letter states. “He also has shown dangerous authoritarian tendencies, including threats to ban an entire religion from entering the country, order the military to break the law by torturing prisoners, kill the families of suspected terrorists, track law-abiding Muslim citizens in databases, and use executive orders to implement other illegal and unconstitutional measures.”

Read the full article at politico.com »

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‘Nearly 100 killed’ in Ethiopia Protests

Rallies have continued across Ethiopia despite a protest ban announced on Friday. (Photo: Reuters)

BBC News

Updated: August 8th, 2016

Nearly 100 people were killed in the weekend’s protests in Ethiopia as demonstrators clashed with security forces in different parts of the country, Amnesty International says.

The rights group says the most deadly incident happened in Bahir Dar, where at least 30 people died on Sunday.

The authorities have said seven died in Bahir Dar and that security forces were reacting to violence from protesters.

There has been an unprecedented wave of protests in Ethiopia in recent months.

People in the Oromo and Amhara regions have been complaining about political and economic marginalisation.

Amnesty says that 67 people died when “security forces fired live bullets at peaceful protesters” in different towns and cities in the Oromo region over the weekend.

There were clashes between security forces and protesters on Sunday in Bahir Dar, the Amhara regional capital.

Opposition activists have given similar figures for the number of people killed.

Read more at BBC News »


Protesters have been complaining about economic and political marginalisation. (Photos: Reuters)

—-
Related:
Several dozen shot dead in weekend protests across Ethiopia (AP)

In Addis Ababa Security Forces Use Tear Gas to Disperse Protests (Reuters)
What is behind Ethiopia’s wave of protests? (BBC News)
Protests in Ethiopia’s Gonder City Signal Uncertain Future (VOA News)
Protest in North Ethiopian Region Signals Rising Discontent (Bloomberg)
Riots in Gonder Claim Casualties (DW Report — Jul 15, 2016)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

What’s Behind the Protests in Gondar?

A large crowed of people held a peaceful demonstration in Gondar on Sunday. (Photo via Twitter: Liya B. Tefferi @liyanatefferi)

BBC News

Sunday’s protest in Ethiopia involving thousands of people in Gondar, a city in Amhara region, is a rare example of an anti-government demonstration in the country.

It was organised on social media but no group has taken responsibility for it. The demonstration comes two weeks after another protests in the city in which 15 people died, including members of the security forces and civilians.

What’s behind the protests?

At the root of the recent demonstrations is a request by representatives from the Welkait community – known as the Welkait Amhara Identity Committee – that their land, which is currently administered by the Tigray regional state, be moved into neighbouring Amhara region.

The Welkait committee says community members identify themselves as ethnic Amharas and say they no longer want to be ruled by Tigrayans.

Demonstrations began a fortnight ago but leaders of the Welkait community have been asking for the move for a year.

Read more at BBC News »


(Photo via Twitter: Wendwesen T @wondTE)


Related:
Protests in Ethiopia’s Gonder City Signal Uncertain Future (VOA News)
Protest in North Ethiopian Region Signals Rising Discontent (Bloomberg)
Riots in Gonder Claim Casualties (DW Report — Jul 15, 2016)

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Hillary Accepts Historic Nomination

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton waves to delegates before speaking during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo)

The Associated Press

Hillary Clinton accepts historic role as first woman nominated for president by a major U.S. party

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Promising Americans a steady hand, Hillary Clinton cast herself Thursday night as a unifier for divided times, an experienced leader steeled for a volatile world. She aggressively challenged Republican Donald Trump’s ability to do the same.

“Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis,” Clinton said as she accepted the Democratic nomination for president. “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”

Clinton took the stage to roaring applause from flag-waving delegates on the final night of the Democratic convention, relishing her nomination as the first woman to lead a major U.S. political party. But her real audience was the millions of voters watching at home, many of whom may welcome her experience as secretary of state, senator and first lady, but question her character.

She acknowledged those concerns briefly, saying “I get it that some people just don’t know what to make of me.” But her primary focus was persuading Americans to not be seduced by Trump’s vague promises to restore economic security and fend off threats from abroad.

Clinton’s four-day convention began with efforts to shore up liberals who backed Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and it ended with an outstretched hand to Republicans and independents unnerved by Trump. A parade of military leaders, law enforcement officials and Republicans took the stage ahead of Clinton to endorse her in the general election contest with Trump….

The Democratic nomination now officially hers, Clinton has just over three months to persuade Americans that Trump is unfit for the Oval Office and overcome the visceral connection he has with some voters in a way the Democratic nominee does not.

She embraced her reputation as a studious wonk, a politician more comfortable with policy proposals than rhetorical flourishes. “I sweat the details of policy,” she said.

Clinton’s proposals are an extension of President Barack Obama’s two terms in office: tackling climate change, overhauling the nation’s fractured immigration laws, and restricting access to guns. She disputed Trump’s assertion that she wants to repeal the Second Amendment, saying “I’m not here to take away your guns. I just don’t want you to be shot by someone who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.”

Read more »


Related:
Clinton declares U.S. is at a ‘moment of reckoning’ (The New York Times)
President Obama’s Full DNC Convention Speech: ‘The America I Know’ (Video)

Watch: Former NYC Mayor Bloomberg on Trump: ‘I’m a New Yorker, And I know a Con When I See One’

Hillary Clinton Wins Historic Nomination
At Democrats’ Convention in Philly Michelle Obama Brings Down the House

On Their Convention’s Eve in Philly, Democrats Bedeviled Anew by Email Scandal (AP)
Bernie Sanders Backers March Against Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia (NY Times)
Discord, Email Scandal Taint Eve of Democrats’ National Convention in Philly (VOA News)
Watch: Clinton Picks Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine for VP:

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President Obama’s Full DNC Speech

President Barack Obama and Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton wave to the crowd on the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 27, 2016. (Getty Images)

Huffington Post

President Obama’s Full DNC Convention Speech: ‘The America I Know’ (Video)

President Barack Obama on Wednesday night told Americans they face a stark choice in November ― an unusual election that has raised “fundamental” questions “about who we are as a people,” and pitted one of the most qualified candidates in history, Hillary Clinton, against an untrustworthy con man, Donald Trump.

In a Democratic National Convention speech that was at turns emotional and blistering and ended with Clinton appearing by his side, Obama began with a recitation of his accomplishments in office ― reducing unemployment and saving the auto industry, passing health care reform, a nuclear agreement with Iran and the killing of Osama bin Laden.

He acknowledged problems that the country still faces ― people struggling with bills, an epidemic of gun violence ― but he also professed his strong belief in the country’s ability to fix its problems, even if “change is never easy, and never quick.”

“The America I know is full of courage and optimism and ingenuity,” Obama said, contrasting this vision with the dark, pessimistic message that came from the Republican convention in Cleveland last week.

“What we heard was a deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other, and turn away from the rest of the world,” Obama said. “There were no serious solutions to pressing problems ― just the fanning of resentment and blame and anger and hate.”

After laying out those two visions, Obama made his case for Clinton, reminding people not only of her experience and expertise but also of her record of championing groups such as children and veterans.

Read more »

Watch: President Barack Obama FULL Speech DNC Convention – July 27, 2016


Related:
Video: Former NYC Mayor Bloomberg on Trump: ‘I’m a New Yorker, And I know a Con When I See One’

Hillary Clinton Wins Historic Nomination
At Democrats’ Convention in Philly Michelle Obama Brings Down the House

On Their Convention’s Eve in Philly, Democrats Bedeviled Anew by Email Scandal (AP)
Bernie Sanders Backers March Against Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia (NY Times)
Discord, Email Scandal Taint Eve of Democrats’ National Convention in Philly (VOA News)
Watch: Clinton Picks Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine for VP:

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Watch Bloomberg on Trump: ‘I’m a New Yorker, And I know a Con When I See One’

Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaking at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. (Photo: Reuters)

New York Daily News

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg ripped into Donald Trump on Tuesday in an unprecedented prime-time speech at the Democratic National Convention, calling him a dangerous “demagogue,” reckless hypocrite and — in the worst put-down one billionaire can hurl at another — a failed businessman.

In his most extensive remarks to date on the man who once described him as a “friend,” Bloomberg blasted Trump for his “well-documented record of bankruptcies,” numerous lawsuits and history of hiring undocumented immigrants – despite promises to build a wall to keep them out. “Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business. God help us,” Bloomberg said, to huge cheers from the crowd. He added, “I’m a New Yorker. And I know a con when I see one.”

Read more »

Watch: Michael Bloomberg FULL Speech DNC Convention Takes On Donald Trump – 7/27/16


Related:
Obama at DNC Convention: ‘The America I Know is Full of Courage and Optimism’

Hillary Clinton Wins Historic Nomination
At Democrats’ Convention in Philly Michelle Obama Brings Down the House

On Their Convention’s Eve in Philly, Democrats Bedeviled Anew by Email Scandal (AP)
Bernie Sanders Backers March Against Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia (NY Times)
Discord, Email Scandal Taint Eve of Democrats’ National Convention in Philly (VOA News)
Watch: Clinton Picks Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine for VP:

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In Photos: Women’s Safe House in Addis

The Association for Women’s Sanctuary and Development (Awsad) provides holistic services for women and girls who have survived violence in Ethiopia. (Photograph: Maheder Haileselassie Tadese/Womankind)

The Guardian

Photographs by Maheder Haileselassie Tadese

Women and girls who have been abused need a range of services to help their recovery, including medical care, counselling and legal aid as well as training in life skills and employment, according to a report by Womankind Worldwide, More than a roof. A shelter in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, offers exactly this holistic approach.


The shelter set up in 2003, was the first organisation to open a women-only shelter in Ethiopia to support survivors of violence. The World Health Organisation estimates that one in three women have experienced violence in their lifetime. In Ethiopia, the most recent figures show that more than 48% of women aged between 15 and 49 had experienced physical violence by an intimate partner, and 59% reported sexual violence. (Photo by Maheder Haileselassie Tadese)


(Photo by Maheder Haileselassie Tadese)


Amelework Bezawork, 38, was among the first employees at the shelter. She is now assistant coordinator and trains residents in food preparation. (Photo by Maheder Haileselassie Tadese)

Read the full report and see more photos at The Guardian »


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Hillary Clinton Wins Historic Nomination

The Democratic Party made it official Tuesday, naming Hillary Clinton their candidate for president in 2016. (Photo: New York delegates cheer at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 26, 2016. (AP)

The Associated Press

Clinton Becomes First Woman Nominated for U.S. President

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Breaking a historic barrier, Hillary Clinton triumphantly captured the Democratic nomination for president Tuesday night, the first woman ever to lead a major political party in the race for the White House.

Delegates erupted in cheers as Clinton’s primary rival, Bernie Sanders, helped make it official when the roll call got to his home state of Vermont — an important show of unity for a party trying to heal deep divisions.

“I move that Hillary Clinton be selected as the nominee of the Democratic Party for president of the United States,” Sanders declared, asking that it be by acclamation.

It was a striking parallel to the role Clinton played eight years ago when she stepped to the microphone on the convention floor in Denver in support of her former rival, Barack Obama.

This time, Clinton shattered the glass ceiling she couldn’t crack in 2008. And in November, she will take on Donald Trump, nominated last week at the Republican convention in Cleveland.

The second night of the Democratic convention featured former President Bill Clinton, who was taking the stage to deliver a personal validation for his wife. Former presidents often vouch for their potential successors, but never before has that candidate also been a spouse.

Tuesday night wasn’t all celebratory. Moments after Clinton claimed the nomination, a group of Sanders supporters left the convention and headed to a media tent to protest what they said was their being shut out of the party. Earlier, several hundred gathered at Philadelphia’s City Hall under a blazing sun chanting “Bernie or bust.”

Read more »


Related:
At Democrats’ Convention in Philly Michelle Obama Brings Down the House

On Their Convention’s Eve in Philly, Democrats Bedeviled Anew by Email Scandal (AP)
Bernie Sanders Backers March Against Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia (NY Times)
Discord, Email Scandal Taint Eve of Democrats’ National Convention in Philly (VOA News)
Watch: Clinton Picks Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine for VP:

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

UPDATE: At Democrats’ Convention Michelle Obama Brings Down the House

Michelle Obama speaking on Monday, the first day of the Democratic convention. (Getty images)

The Huffington Post

Updated: July 25, 2016

PHILADELPHIA ― First lady Michelle Obama on Monday asked Americans to decide who they want serving as a role model for their children ― Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

This election, Obama said during her speech at the Democratic National Convention, “is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives.”

The crowd waved purple signs that read simply, “Michelle.”

Obama made clear that this election will determine who will give hope to the next generation, or instill fear.

“Every word we utter, every action we take, we know they are watching,” Obama said. “We as parents are their most important role models.”

That responsibility, Obama said, carries into her role as first lady, and her husband’s job as president

“We know that our words and actions matter not just to our girls, but to children across this country,” she said.

Taking a jab at Trump and others who have questioned the president’s citizenship and his faith, Obama repeated the advice she and the president have shared with their children.

“When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level,” she said. “No, our motto is: ‘When they go low, we go high.’”

Read more »

Watch: First Lady Michelle Obama Addresses the Democratic Convention in Philly


Related:
On Their Convention’s Eve in Philly, Democrats Bedeviled Anew by Email Scandal (AP)
Bernie Sanders Backers March Against Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia (NY Times)
Discord, Email Scandal Taint Eve of Democrats’ National Convention in Philly (VOA News)
Watch: Clinton Picks Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine for VP:

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Bill Gates Declines to Criticize Ethiopia Social Media Cut

Bill Gates. (Getty Images)

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has declined to criticize Ethiopia’s recent blockage of social media, saying it is up to individual countries to regulate their internet.

He was responding to Ethiopian reporters’ questions about the government’s disabling of social media sites earlier this month.

Ethiopian authorities said the sites were disabled during national school examinations so students would not be distracted.

Critics said the government has no legal basis to deny the freedom of expression to millions of citizens.

Gates said each country “decides what the rules are going to be in terms of pornography, hate speech . what is allowed and what’s not allowed.”

He added that making the internet low-cost and available is good for economic growth.

Gates was visiting Ethiopia to discuss health and agriculture.


Related:
In Ethiopia Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Viber Blocked for “Exam Week”

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Making America Afraid Again: His Tone Dark, Donald Trump Takes G.O.P. Mantle

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the final session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 21, 2016. (Getty Images)

The New York Times

CLEVELAND — Donald John Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday night with an unusually vehement appeal to Americans who feel that their country is spiraling out of control and yearn for a leader who will take aggressive, even extreme, actions to protect them.

Mr. Trump, 70, a New York real estate developer and reality television star who leveraged his fame and forceful persona to become the rare political outsider to lead the ticket of a major party, drew exuberant cheers from Republican convention delegates as he strode onto the stage of the Quicken Loans Arena and delivered a speech as fiery as his candidacy.

With dark imagery and an almost angry tone, Mr. Trump portrayed the United States as a diminished and even humiliated nation, and offered himself as an all-powerful savior who could resurrect the country’s standing in the eyes of both enemies and law-abiding Americans.

“Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation,” an ominous-sounding Mr. Trump said, standing against a backdrop of American flags. “The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country.”

Mr. Trump nearly shouted the names of states where police officers had been killed recently, as the crowd erupted in applause, and returned repeatedly to the major theme of the speech: “Law and order,” he said four times, each time drawing out the syllables.

Read more »


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Social Media Reacts to Trump’s Speech With #TrumpSpeechInFourWords
Donald Trump’s dark speech to the Republican National Convention, annotated
Former George H.W. Bush Speechwriter Calls Trump’s RNC Speech ‘Very Dark And Frightening’
Ted Cruz Defies GOP, Won’t Endorse Trump, Is Gangsta (The Root)
Trump’s Wife Melania Accused of Plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s 2008 Speech

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Trump’s Wife Melania Accused of Plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s 2008 Speech

Parts of Melania Trump's speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Monday, which she claimed she wrote. appears to have stolen passages from Michelle Obama's 2008 convention speech. (Getty)

The New York Times

JULY 19, 2016

CLEVELAND — The Republican Party woke up to a cascade of finger-pointing and confusion on Tuesday as the Trump campaign was rocked by accusations that parts of Melania Trump’s convention speech had been cribbed from the one that Michelle Obama delivered to Democrats in 2008.

The possibility that Ms. Trump’s remarks had been plagiarized cast a cloud over the second day of the Republican National Convention and laid bare lingering tensions within the party surrounding the nomination of Donald J. Trump, whose campaign continues to be plagued by stumbles and infighting despite several reboots.

The disarray was evident as Mr. Trump’s campaign and senior Republicans offered conflicting explanations for the similarities in the speeches, with some officials conceding that the passages were lifted and demanding accountability, and others insisting that nothing untoward had occurred.

Among Mr. Trump’s aides, there was a palpable sense of frustration that Ms. Trump’s speech, which they considered a highlight of the evening, had become a cause for embarrassment.

Read more »

Watch: Melania Trump Takes a big bite out of Michelle Obama’s 2008 DNC speech (The Root)


Related:
How Melania Trump Sent Her Speech Veering Off Course
‘The Astounding Carelessness Of Donald Trump Finally Caught Up With Him’


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Riots in Gonder Claim Several Casualties

The US has issued a temporary travel advisory on Gonder and warned its citizens and those travelling to the city to be cautious. (Photo: Ethiopian Government spokesperson Getachew Reda in Addis Abeba/ DW)

DW

At least 10 people have been killed in Gonder northern Ethiopia in clashes as locals with security forces. The government blames Eritrea for the unrest but residents cite disputes over land and ethnicity.

Ethiopia’s government spokesperson Getachew Reda has accused arch-enemy Eritrea for the unrest
According to several reports, the unrest in Gonder began earlier this week when armed police entered the city to arrest members of the “Wolkayit committee” who had been protesting against the government’s decision to merge the Wolkayit community and its land into the neighboring Tigray Regional State. The Ethiopian government spokesperson Getachew Reda on Friday accused the members of kidnapping, murder and being in possesion of arms with an intent of staging terrorist attacks. He also rejected any notion that the clashes was being spearheaded by the Amhara community.

“What happened is that there were individuals suspected of engaging in crime. So to arrest those individuals the Federal Police moved into this area,” Negusu Tilahun, Head of Communication Affairs with the Amhara Regional Government told DW.

“As result there was a clash between residents and the police. There was also an exchange of gunfire which resulted in the deaths of federal police officers and civilians as well. Besides that, there were also damages to property. The government and the public are now working together to bring the town back to its normal situation,” Tilahun said.

Ethiopian government officials have blamed opposition groups based in Eritrea for the unrest in Gonder. However, residents say ethnic tensions are the real reason behind the skirmishes.

Read more »


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In Ethiopia Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Viber Blocked for “Exam Week”

The authorities in Ethiopia say they have temporarily blocked access to social media during national exams week because it has "proven to be a distraction for students," according to a government spokesperson.

News 24

Addis Ababa – Ethiopia has blocked social media sites for the next few days, after questions from end-of-year exams were posted online last month, sparking a national scandal and leading to their annulment.

A government spokesperson said the ban was aimed at stopping students taking university entrance exams this week from being “distracted”.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Viber have been inaccessible in the Horn of Africa nation since Saturday morning.

“It’s blocked. It’s a temporary measure until Wednesday. Social media have proven to be a distraction for students,” government spokesperson Getachew Reda told AFP.

Prominent blogger Daniel Berhane denounced the move as a “dangerous precedent”.

“There’s no transparency on who decides why it’s necessary or who decides for how long,” he said.

“This time it’s for a few days but next time it could be for months [...] They’re flexing their muscles. They got multiple tools and they’re testing them.”

Read the full article at News 24 »


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Profiles of Ethiopian-born Jews and Life in Israel

In 2013, Pnina Tamano-Shata (L) made history when she became the first Ethiopian-born woman to join the Israeli parliament. And Daniel Sahalo (R) now 36, immigrated to israel as a child in 1984. (Photos: WaPo)

The Washington Post

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic trip to East Africa last week was aimed at boosting relations. But his last stop, in Ethiopia, held special meaning for many of the 135,000 Jews of Ethiopian origin who live in Israel today.

Netanyahu is the first Israeli leader to visit the East African country. Formal ties were established between the two states in 1992.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, second right, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, right, watch the guard of honor in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Thursday. (Mulugeta Ayene/AP)

Most Ethiopian Jews arrived in Israel in secret immigration operations that took place in the mid-1980s and early 1990s. In Operation Moses, during the ’80s, roughly 8,000 people were smuggled out of Ethiopia via Sudan and taken to Israel on secret flights organized by the Mossad, the Israeli foreign intelligence service. In Operation Solomon, in 1991, about 14,500 people were airlifted to Israel in less than 36 hours.

More recently, the immigrants have arrived via regular flights almost every month, yet an estimated 9,000 to 20,000 Ethiopian Jews remain in Ethiopia.

Today, about 85,900 Israelis of Ethiopian origin were born in Ethiopia, and 49,600 were born in Israel.

Read a few of their stories at The Washington Post »


Related:
Ethiopian-Israeli Filmmaker Alamork Marsha heads to Ethiopia for ‘Fig Tree’ shoot (Screen Daily)
Israeli Lawmaker Neguise Moved to Tears in Ethiopian Parliament
Israel to Build Ethiopian Heritage Center (The Jerusalem Post)

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Israeli Lawmaker Neguise Moved to Tears in Ethiopian Parliament

Ethiopian-Israeli Lawmaker Avraham Neguise listens to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu address the Ethiopian Parliament in Addis Ababa on Thursday, July 7th, 2016 . (Photo jpost)

The Jerusalem Post

ADDIS ABABA – Likud MK Avraham Neguise spoke with tears welling up in his eyes on Thursday about what it meant for him to watch Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu address the Ethiopian parliament.

“It was very moving that the prime minister of Israel stood in the parliament of Ethiopia and spoke from the heart about the contributions of Ethiopians in Israel,” said Neguise, currently the country’s only Ethiopian-born MK.

Neguise, who emigrated from Ethiopia in 1985, remembers well when the parliament was not filled with speeches of praise to the Israeli-Ethiopian relationship, as was the case on Thursday, but rather with vitriolic addresses against Israel delivered by those who wanted to find favor with Russia’s leader Leonid Brezhnev, Libya’s strongman Muammar Gaddafi, and Cuba’s dictator Fidel Castro during the country’s communist era.

But on Thursday, Netanyahu, who was greeted by rhythmic applause in the red-carpeted parliament, told both houses of that body that the relationship is only growing.

Read more at The Jerusalem Post »


Related:
Ethiopian-born MK decries Netanyahu’s snub of country’s Jewish leaders (The Times of Israel)
Israel to Build Ethiopian Heritage Center (The Jerusalem Post)

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Ethiopia Elected to U.N. Council for 2017-18

The UN General assembly elected Ethiopia on Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 to join the Security Council along with Sweden and Bolivia for 2017-18. (Photo: UN Security Council/Twitter )

Reuters

Sweden, Ethiopia, Bolivia elected to U.N. council for 2017-18

Sweden, Ethiopia and Bolivia were elected to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday for 2017-18, with further voting taking place to decide another two seats with Kazakhstan competing against Thailand and the Netherlands against Italy.

The 193-member U.N. General Assembly elected Sweden with 134 votes in favor, Ethiopia with 185 and Bolivia with 183. Countries need more than two-thirds of the vote to win a seat.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)


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Ethiopia: Court Adjourns For Verdict in Professor Bekele Gerbas’s Case

Ethiopian opposition leader Professor Bekele Gerba pictured at the NPR office in Washington, D.C., August 2015. (Photo: Mahafreen H. Mistry/NPR)

Addis Standard

By Mahlet Fasil

Addis Ababa — Judges at the Federal High Court 19th Criminal Bench here in the capital have today adjourned the hearing until August 01, 2016 to give verdict involving the case for high level opposition figures.

The verdict will decide on whether or not defendants have a case to defend. Today’s decision came after judges have gone through prosecutors’ charges indicting defendants with terrorism related charges and the preliminary objection statements presented from the defendants.

The 22 detainees who are charged under various articles of Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP) include Bekele Gerba and Dejene Fita Geleta, first secretary general and secretary general of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC). All of them were arrested between November and December 2015, shortly after the start (and in connection with) Oromo protests in November that gripped the nation for the next five months. Defendants include several members of OFC, students and civil servants who came from various parts of the Oromia regional state…

Speaking to the court on behalf of the first four defendants, Dejene Fita Geleta said that he and the three other co-defendants with him, Addis Bulala, Gurmesa Ayano, and Bekele Gerba, have all been kept in a dark room since the last hearing on June 03 and were only allowed irregular family visits which often lasts between three-five minutes. He also told the court that the cell in which all the four were kept at has an open toilet inside it.

Lawyer Amha Mekonnen, who represented the four, on his part told the court that his client Bekele Gerba was denied access to a prescription medication after falling ill inside the facility.

Read the full article at addisstandard.com »


Related:
US Deeply Concerned by Charges of Terrorism Against Prof. Bekele Gerba
Ethiopia Charges Opposition Leader Professor Bekele Gerba With Terrorism

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On this day, 26 June 1962 Nelson Mandela Arrived in Ethiopia for Military Training

(Photo: The Nelson Mandela Foundation)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, June 26th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — The Nelson Mandela Foundation tweeted today: “On this day, 26 June 1962 Nelson Mandela arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for military training.”

Mandela arrived in Ethiopia under the alias David Motsamayi and disguised as a journalist. In his book, Long Walk to Freedom, he wrote: “I felt myself being moulded into a solider and began to think as a soldier thinks – a far cry from the way a politician thinks.”


(Image: Ethiopiaforums.com)

In Ethiopia Mandela’s instructors were Colonel Tadesse Birru, Colonel G.E. Bekele and Lieutenant Wondomu Befikadu. In an article published by Think Africa Press last year, Joseph Hammond noted: “Wondomu, a former fighter, led the physical training while Tadesse lectured Mandela in the philosophy of guerrilla warfare.”

Among the Ethiopians who knew Mandela was Captain Guta Dinka, a young soldier who was assigned to protect him during his stay in Ethiopia. Captain Guta, now 81, lived to tell the dramatic story of how he exposed an attempt to assassinate Mandela by mysterious foreign agents who had approached him to carry out the killing in exchange for cash payment.


Related:
Photographer Gediyon Kifle’s Tribute to Nelson Mandela

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Israel’s Only Ethiopian Lawmaker Awaits Invite from PM to Africa Trip

Ethiopian-Israeli Lawmaker Avraham Neguise. (Photo: BERNARD DICHEK/The Jerusalem Post)

The Jerusalem Post

Likud MK Avraham Neguise, the only MK from Ethiopia currently in the Knesset, is still waiting for an invitation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join him in two weeks on his trip to Africa, including a two-day visit to Ethiopia.

“No one has yet asked me,” Neguise, who is the chairman of the Knesset’s Caucus for Israel-Africa Relations, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

“I would be happy to go, it would be an honor for me, and I think it would bring honor to Israel,” he said. “It would be an important message to Africa and the world about Israel. I came here, got equal opportunity, and am now a legislator. This is the answer to those who say Zionism is racism, that Israel is apartheid. This is the answer to BDS.”

Neguise, who emigrated in 1985, said he hopes that the reason he has not yet been invited does not have to do with the mini coalition crisis he sparked in the spring along with fellow Likud MK David Amsalem when they refused to vote with the coalition and deprive it of its one-seat majority because the government reneged on a commitment to bring the remaining 9,000 immigrant applicants waiting in Ethiopia to Israel.

“The visit to Africa is a national interest, the other is a parliamentary issue,” Neguise said. “I was sent [to the Knesset] by the public to help [on issues important to them]. I did this because immigration is one of the highest values of the Likud, and also to prevent the suffering of the families.”

Neguise was referring to members of the Ethiopian community here waiting to be reunited with family members from Ethiopia.

Read more at The Jerusalem Post »


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Photo of the Week: NYC Mayor’s Daughter Chooses Ethiopian for Graduation Lunch

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio's daughter, Chiara de Blasio, and family pose for a photo with restaurant owners after a graduation luncheon at Walia in San Jose, California on Saturday June 11th, 2016 . (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, June 19th, 2016

New York (TADIAS) — Here is another fun graduation season story: Last week New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter chose Ethiopian food for graduation lunch with her family at San Jose’s famous Walia Restaurant – located not very far from Santa Clara University, her alma mater, in California.

“The Walia crew prepared special Ethiopian traditional dishes in honor of the graduate [Chiara de Blasio] and invited family members,” the owners told Tadias. “The daughter and the Mayor said that there were no other choices for the luncheon but Walia. We are greatly honored by their choice.”

It’s not the first time that the De Blasio family dined at Walia, however, as they were sighted last June enjoying injera at the same popular spot.

Below are more photos courtesy of the restaurant:


New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and family pose for a photo with Walia restaurant staff in San Jose, California on Saturday June 11th, 2016. (Courtesy photo)


The food prepared by Walia staff for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter graduation lunch on Saturday June 11th, 2016. (Courtesy photo)


(Photo courtesy of Walia Ethiopian restaurant)


Mayor Bill de Blasio’s security personnel take a photo at Walia Ethiopian restaurant in San Jose, California on Saturday June 11th, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

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Related:
In pictures: Google Co-Founder Larry Page at Walia Ethiopian Restaurant
Another Cool Sighting at Walia in San Jose
Facebook Founder Zuckerberg Enjoys Ethiopian Food at Walia Restaurant in San Jose

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Sylvia Pankhurst: An ‘Honorary Ethiopian’

Historian Richard Pankhurst's mother, Sylvia Pankhurst, was one of Ethiopia's most vocal supporters during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War writing to newspapers in defence of its sovereignty. (Getty Images)

BBC News

By James Jeffrey

How Sylvia Pankhurst Became An ‘Honorary Ethiopian’

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — Just inside the entrance of the Addis Ababa home of British historian Richard Pankhurst hangs a black and white photo of his suffragette mother, Sylvia Pankhurst.

She is pictured wearing a long and elaborate Edwardian dress with sleeves to her wrists, beneath a heading: “Votes for Women.”

She was one of the women whose campaigns, which included going on hunger-strike, led to British women being allowed to vote in the early 19th Century.

In the nearby sitting room, a tapestry hanging on a wall testifies to a less well known side of his mother.

It depicts Ms Pankhurst in June 1935 walking down a gravel path through a garden in the English city of Bath, accompanied by Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.

The image comes from a photo taken during his exile in England after Ethiopia was subsumed into the short-lived African empire of fascist Italy, Africa Orientale Italiana.

In previous years, Ms Pankhurst had gone to study art in Venice, where she witnessed the brutality of the fascist regime. Afterwards in the later 1920s and 30s she had become a vocal pacifist, anti-fascist and anti-colonialist activist.

So when Italy began building up its military presence in East Africa she proved to be one of Ethiopia’s most vocal supporters, writing to newspapers in defence of its sovereignty.

Read more at BBC.com »


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Clinton Wins in DC, Meets With Sanders

Hillary Clinton, pictured after meeting with Senator Bernie Sanders at a hotel in Washington, D.C., late Tuesday, brought a close to the primary election with a win in D.C., the final primary poll of 2016. (Reuters)

The New York Times

By YAMICHE ALCINDOR and PATRICK HEALY

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Meet as Their Battle Ends

WASHINGTON — With little affection or trust between them, Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders met privately for nearly two hours on Tuesday night to size each other up as they started exploring what kind of alliance they might build for the general election battle against Donald J. Trump.

Yet Mr. Sanders chose to withhold his endorsement of Mrs. Clinton, several Sanders advisers said, because he wants her to take steps to win his confidence before the Democratic convention, where his supporters expect him to speak and Clinton advisers hope he will give her his full-throated backing.

Aides to Mrs. Clinton said she had never expected his endorsement Tuesday night. A statement from the Clinton campaign after the meeting described it as “a positive discussion about their primary campaign, about unifying the party and about the dangerous threat that Donald Trump poses to our nation.” They discussed issues like raising wages and reducing college costs, and “agreed to continue working on their shared agenda, including through the platform development process for the upcoming Democratic National Convention.”

result (38)
Senator Bernie Sanders, center, after meeting with Hillary Clinton in Washington on Tuesday. (NY Times)

The Sanders campaign released a nearly identical statement, though it emphasized that the two candidates also spoke about “how best to bring more people into the political process.”

Read more at NYTimes.com »


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Border Clashes Between Ethiopia and Eritrea Heighten Fears of War (NY Times)

The outskirts of Asmara, the Eritrean capital, in February. Fresh border clashes between Ethiopia and Eritrea and recent talk of another border war have opened a vein of nationalism in Eritrea. (Photo: Reuters)

The New York Times

By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN

JUNE 13, 2016

NAIROBI, Kenya — The Eritrean Embassy in Kenya sent a text message alert Monday morning: The Ethiopians had attacked. Fighting on the border. Situation unfolding.

The jagged line separating Eritrea from its former ruler, Ethiopia, has been one of Africa’s most combustible flash points. Tens of thousands of soldiers died from 1998 to 2000 in a war that had been called as pointless as two bald men fighting over a comb.

As the news of renewed clashes in the rocky, barren frontier began to spread on Monday, many Ethiopians and Eritreans feared the worst. Witnesses said both sides were rushing troops to the Tsorona border area, and heavy artillery was apparently fired from both sides. On the Eritrean side, several people were reported to have been killed. The reports of fighting and the lack of solid information raised fears that the two countries could be sliding once again toward all-out war.

But by Monday afternoon, the extent of the fighting was unclear. The Ethiopian government said Eritrea started it. Getting more information out of Eritrea is like trying to see into a pitch-dark room: The government is one of the most secretive, isolated and repressive nations in the world.

Just last week, a United Nations panel accused Eritrea’s leaders of committing crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and enslavement.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


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U.S. SEC Fines Ethiopia’s Electric Utility $6.5 Million for Selling Unregistered Bonds in U.S.

The seal of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission hangs on the wall at SEC headquarters. (seedinvest.com)

PRESS RELEASE

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

SEC: Ethiopia’s Electric Utility Sold Unregistered Bonds in U.S.

Washington D.C. — The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Ethiopia’s electric utility has agreed to pay nearly $6.5 million to settle charges that it violated U.S. securities laws by failing to register bonds it offered and sold to U.S residents of Ethiopian descent.

According to the SEC’s order instituting a settled administrative proceeding:

Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) conducted the unregistered bond offering to help finance the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the Abay River in Ethiopia.

EEP held a series of public road shows in major cities across the U.S. and marketed the bonds on the website of the U.S. Embassy of Ethiopia as well as through radio and television advertising aimed at Ethiopians living in the U.S.

EEP raised approximately $5.8 million from more than 3,100 U.S. residents from 2011 to 2014 without ever registering the bond offering with the SEC.

“Foreign governments are welcome to raise money in the U.S. capital markets so long as they comply with the federal securities laws, including registration provisions designed to ensure that investors receive important information about prospective investments,” said Stephen L. Cohen, Associate Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “This settlement ensures that investors get all of their money back plus interest.”

The SEC’s order finds that EEP violated Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act of 1933. EEP admitted the registration violations and agreed to pay $5,847,804 in disgorgement and $601,050.87 in prejudgment interest. The distribution of money back to investors is subject to the SEC’s review and approval. Investors seeking more information should contact the administrator of the distribution, Gilardi & Co. LLC, at 844-851-4591.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Carolyn Kurr and Daniel Rubenstein and supervised by C. Joshua Felker. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Department of State.

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Obama Backs Clinton, Meets Sanders

President Obama met with Senator Bernie Sanders at the White House on Thursday before officially endorsing Hillary Clinton to succeed him as president of the United States. (AP photo)

The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Obama told Senator Bernie Sanders in an Oval Office meeting on Thursday to channel the energy of his presidential campaign’s millions of supporters behind Hillary Clinton, and said that Mr. Sanders would play a central role in shaping the Democratic agenda if he did.

Less than an hour and a half later, Mr. Obama, who had tried to remain neutral in the race between Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton, formally endorsed her.

Moving swiftly to unite his party after a primary campaign that has left many of Mr. Sanders’s supporters bitter and disillusioned, Mr. Obama, according to his aides, tried to mollify the maverick senator while prodding him to reorient his efforts against Mrs. Clinton into a broader bid to help Democrats in November.

There was no hint after the meeting that Mr. Sanders intended to challenge Mrs. Clinton for the nomination at next month’s convention, but hours later at a rally in Washington he urged voters there to go to the polls in their primary on Tuesday and to keep pushing for a political revolution.

After the White House meeting, Mr. Sanders vowed to take the ideas that have animated his campaign — addressing poverty and income inequality, increasing Social Security benefits, and reducing the role of money in politics — to the convention.

But he also announced plans to meet soon with Mrs. Clinton to discuss ways they could work together to defeat Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


Related:

Video: Obama Endorses Clinton Shortly After Meeting with Rival Sanders (VOA)

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Zone 9 Bloggers Still Can’t Leave Ethiopia

At a 2015 press conference with President Obama in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn asked the foreign press corps to "help our journalists to increase their capacity." (Getty Images)

NPR

May 31, 2016

Heard on Morning Edition

Zelalem Kibret remembers the day: July 8, 2015. He was in a prison library reading a biography of Malcolm X, his own copy, when some guards called his name and handed him a piece of paper. The message: All charges against him were withdrawn. He was being released.

“I was asking why,” says Zelalem, a 29-year-old lawyer and blogger. “And nobody was giving us a reason.”

Zelalem, who’d been in jail for more than a year on terrorism charges related to his blog posts, suspected the reason. His release, he believes, was a “personal gift” to President Obama, then three weeks away from an official visit to Ethiopia, the first ever by a U.S. president.

The U.S. had been pushing quietly the release of Zelalem and five other members of Zone 9, his blogging crew. Zone 9 takes its name from the eight zones of the infamous Kality Prison outside Addis Ababa, where political prisoners and journalists are held. Activists joke that the 9th Zone is everything outside the prison walls — the rest of Ethiopia.

“Zone 9 is Ethiopia with relative freedom, but still you felt that you are in detention,” Zelalem explains.

Zelalem and the other Zone 9 bloggers had been critical of corruption and repression by the Ethiopian government, but their blogs and Facebook posts were seen as a relatively safe space for criticism in a country with about 3 percent Internet penetration.

But the arrest of six bloggers, including Zelalem, and three other journalists in 2014 sent a signal that as Facebook was becoming more popular in Ethiopia, digital reportage might now become just as censored as print journalism. Journalists are regularly imprisoned under Ethiopia’s wide-ranging anti-terrorism law, which makes it a crime to have contact with any group that the Ethiopian government deems is trying to overthrow it.

At a press conference during Obama’s visit, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn conceded, “We need many young journalists to come up.” But, he said, “We need ethical journalism. There is also capacity limitations in journalism.”

The phrase “capacity limitations” — and its cousin, “capacity building” — came out of development lingo of the 1990s. Ethiopian officials often use “capacity” explanations to assert that journalists are jailed not because they are critical of the government — but because they are less professional, more unethical and more incendiary than Ethiopia’s fledgling democracy can tolerate.

In keeping with this theme, Hailemariam nodded to Obama’s traveling press corps and asked them to “help our journalists to increase their capacity.”

Obama had offered an opportunity for just that, promoting his Young African Leaders Initiative, which gives scholarships for 1,000 African leaders to study in the U.S. each summer.

Zelalem, out of prison but unable to get back his university teaching job, followed Obama’s advice. He applied and was accepted to the Young African Leaders Initiative. This summer, he was supposed to study civic leadership at the University of Virginia.

He won’t be going. Ethiopian immigration officials confiscated his passport at Bole International Airport in November. They also took away the passports of four of his five colleagues who were released in advance of Obama’s visit.

That’s when Zone 9 became more than a metaphor. They were literally imprisoned in their own country.

Zelalem sees this as evidence of a new strategy. In past years, Ethiopia has been willing to let its critical citizens flee the country. (For several years, Ethiopia has ranked on or near the top of the list of countries with the most exiled journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.) Now, Zelalem says, the government may be deciding that it’s better to keep critics close by.

“Especially for people like us working on social media,” Zelalem says. “Whether we are here or in America or somewhere else, we may write and we can reach our audiences. Therefore, it’s better to keep [us] here and silence [us].”

When I brought up Zelalem’s case with Ethiopia’s Minister of Communication, Getachew Redda, he said he wasn’t familiar with it. But he offered a different explanation for the blogger’s rough treatment at the hands of Ethiopian Immigration: Ethiopia’s young institutions, he said — including its judges and immigration officials — could zealously overstep their bounds. They could even make mistakes that would take months or years to correct.

The minister’s solution? “More capacity building.”

Read more at NPR.org »


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700 Deaths at Sea as Migrant Crisis Flares

A woman was helped aboard an Italian Navy vessel on Sunday at a harbor in southern Italy. So far roughly 41,000 migrants had been rescued at sea this year after leaving Libya. (Photo: Reuters)

The New York Times

Three Days, 700 Deaths on Mediterranean as Migrant Crisis Flares

ROME — The migrant ships kept sinking. First came a battered, blue-decked vessel that flipped over on Wednesday as terrified migrants plunged into the Mediterranean Sea. The next day, a flimsy craft capsized with hundreds of people aboard. And on Friday, still another boat sank into the deceptively placid waters of the Mediterranean.

Three days and three sunken ships are again confronting Europe with the horrors of its refugee crisis, as desperate people trying to reach the Continent keep dying at sea. At least 700 people from the three boats are believed to have drowned, the United Nations refugee agency announced on Sunday, in one of the deadliest weeks in the Mediterranean in recent memory.

The latest drownings — which would push the death toll for the year to more than 2,000 people — are a reminder of the cruel paradox of the Mediterranean calendar: As summer approaches with blue skies, warm weather and tranquil waters prized by tourists, human trafficking along the North African coastline traditionally kicks into a higher gear.

Taking advantage of calm conditions, smugglers in Libya send out more and more migrants toward Italy, often on unseaworthy vessels. Drowning deaths are inevitable, even as Italian Coast Guard and Navy ships race to answer distress calls. Last year, more than 3,700 migrants died in the Mediterranean, a figure that could be surpassed this year.

In a statement on Sunday, the United Nations Children’s Fund said many of the migrants who drowned in the past week were believed to be unaccompanied adolescents.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


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9-year-old Menabe Andargachew Takes UK to Court Over Dad’s Ethiopia Case

Menabe Andargachew poses with a picture of her family. (Photo: Cassandra Vinograd / NBC News)

NBC News

LONDON — It’s not every day that a 9-year-old American girl takes the British government to court.

But for Menabe Andargachew, it’s a matter of life and death: her father’s.

Andargachew “Andy” Tsege disappeared while catching a connecting flight through Yemen in June 2014. The political activist was snatched and forcibly taken to Ethiopia, where he had been sentenced to death for opposition work.

Tsege is British but so far his government hasn’t demanded his release. Now Menabe and her family are trying to force their hand: They filed a legal challenge alleging that approach is “unlawful.”

“My mom said he’s been sentenced to death,” Menabe says as her chin quivers. “I just don’t know if we can get him back in time.”

This week 61-year-old Tsege marked 700 days in detention — without any access to a lawyer.

His Maryland-born partner, family and lawyers say he was kidnapped — a victim of rendition carried out by Ethiopia, which has labeled him a terrorist and enemy of the state. Ethiopia says he was “extradited.”

Tsege was never formally notified of charges against him, trials or given an opportunity to present a defense, according the legal filing. His supporters allege that Tsege — a prominent member of the Ethiopian opposition — is a victim of political persecution.

“I have serious questions about the Ethiopian government’s use of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to limit free speech and political dissent, and Mr. Tsege’s grave case is one of many that gives cause for concern,” Sen. Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement to NBC News.

Read more »


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History: Obama Visits Hiroshima, Japan

President Barack Obama (L) hugs atomic bomb survivor Shigeaki Mori as he visits Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan on Friday, May 27, 2016 becoming the first sitting U.S. president to visit the city.

Associated Press

Friday, May 27, 2016

HIROSHIMA, Japan — With an unflinching look back at a painful history, President Barack Obama stood on the hallowed ground of Hiroshima on Friday and declared it a fitting place to summon people everywhere to embrace the vision of a world without nuclear weapons.

As the first American president to visit the city where the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb, Obama came to acknowledge — but not apologize for — an act many Americans see as a justified end to a brutal war that Japan started with a sneak attack at Pearl Harbor.

Some 140,000 people died after a U.S. warplane targeted wartime Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and 70,000 more perished in Nagasaki, where a second bomb was dropped three days later. Japan soon surrendered.

“Their souls speak to us,” Obama said of the dead. “They ask us to look inward, to take stock of who we are and who we might become.”

With a lofty speech and a warm embrace for an elderly survivor, Obama renewed the call for a nuclear-free future that he had first laid out in a 2009 speech in Prague.

This time, Obama spoke as a far more experienced president than the one who had employed his upbeat “Yes, we can” campaign slogan on the first go-round.

The president, who has made uneven progress on his nuclear agenda over the past seven years, spoke of “the courage to escape the logic of fear” as he held out hope for diligent, incremental steps to reduce nuclear stockpiles.

“We may not realize this goal in my lifetime, but persistent effort can roll back the possibility of catastrophe,” he said.

Read more »


Related:
The Song That Helped Japan Heal After WWII Gets an Ethiopian Remake

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The Song That Helped Japan Heal After WWII Gets an Ethiopian Remake

(Photo: deboband.com)

PRI

They combine saxophones and sousaphones, accordions and electric violins. Part Ethiopian pop and jazz, part American funk, part Eastern European brass ensemble, Debo Band is about as eclectic as musical fusion groups get.

Well, now even more eclectic.

On their new CD, “Ere Gobez,” the group adds yet another musical genre to their repertoire: Japanese folk.

And the high-energy tunes will really get you grooving.

Ere Gobez Album Trailer from Debo Band on Vimeo.

The Boston-based group has its deepest roots in Ethiopian music. Those are still strong in the band’s second album, but this time the songs are “going beyond reinterpreting the classic Ethio-jazz tunes from the golden era,” says accordion player Marié Abe. Saxophonist Danny Mekonnen says this album has a suite of three songs that really depart from that approach.

“These songs are not random tunes that we’re ‘remixing’ with Ethiopian flavors. Rather, these songs are inspired by our understanding of Ethiopia as a dynamic place created by real, but perhaps somewhat unexpected transnational encounters and hidden historical connections,” Abe says.

Take, for example, how the Debo Band reimagined a popular folk tune from Okinawa. “Hiyami Kachi Bushi” was written in the 1950s, eight years after the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Taira Shinsuke wrote the lyrics. The song was his attempt to try to help the people of Japan heal after World War II, particularly in Okinawa. It has since become a classic there.

So, what’s the Ethiopia connection? Abe, who is Japanese, points out that Ethiopia and Japan have shared some of the same hardships: “Military occupation, war, famine, and homesickness that comes with forced or voluntary migration under hard circumstances. So I felt like there was a lot in common with Ethiopian experiences and Okinawan experiences,” she says.

“Hiyami Kachi Bushi” has been covered so many times, there’s an annual competition in Japan dedicated to remakes. Debo Band entered their Ethiopian-influenced version in the “International Competition of Hiyami Kachi Bushi” earlier this year. It turns out theirs was the first-ever entry from outside the country.

“There are two kinds of affinity we’re expressing here: one is musical, the use of the particular pentatonic scale,” Abe says. “The other is geopolitical/historical; both Okinawa and Ethiopia have gone through extremely challenging events like famine, military occupation, war, and immigration, that have led to the formation of large diaspora[s] throughout the world.”

Songs on “Ere Gobez” also reimagine what Duke Ellington’s music would have sounded like if he’d traveled to Ethiopia, and add Amharic lyrics to a hit from Somalia. The band starts their tour to promote the new album on Thursday night.


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Samuelsson: Restaurant King of Harlem

Born in Ethiopia, adopted in Sweden, star chef in America. Marcus Samuelsson cooked for the Obamas, now he’s coming to London. Plus, his grandmother’s classic meatball recipe. (Photograph: Neil Wilder)

The Guardian

By Jay Rayner

Marcus Samuelsson: The Restaurant King of Harlem

Walk through Harlem at dusk with Marcus Samuelsson is less gentle stroll than royal procession. The chef may be wearing a flat cap, pulled down over his eyes, and a dark jacket, but they all know who he is out here north of Manhattan’s 110th Street. And they want him to know they know. As we barrel from neon-gilded diner to cocktail place, from his own rotisserie chicken joint to the jazz bars he wants me to see, he is constantly greeted with shouts of “Hey chef!” from passersby which he returns with a gentle, “Oh, pur-leeze”, and a shrug as if to say: “I’m just another guy.”

For many people in Harlem, Samuelsson is not just another guy. For a start, the Ethiopian-born chef with the aquiline features, the Swedish surname and the only-in-America story, is a major employer. Through his various ventures, including his flagship restaurant the Red Rooster on Lenox Avenue, he has given jobs to 200 locals. Paul McCartney and the jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis have eaten there, along with former state governors and superstar basketball players. It is liberal New York’s fantasy come to life; a single room in this splintered city where its various social tribes really do seem to break bread together.

The food festival Samuelsson launched, Harlem EatUp, held each year in May, brings big-name chefs from all over America to their doorstep. What’s more, having cooked for Barack Obama at the White House, he even brought the president back to his place in Harlem for a $30,000-a-plate election fundraiser. Making his home neighbourhood the star is, he claims, what really matters. “It’s Harlem first, the Red Rooster second,” he says. “A menu you can learn. But the place? Learning a place is different.”

Right now, he is trying to learn an entirely new place. In the autumn, he opens a second Red Rooster, inside the new Curtain Hotel in London’s Shoreditch. His take on American soul food subtly refracted through the lens of his African heritage is coming to London. “We must get 20 requests a year to open a new Red Rooster,” he says. “I only wanted to do it in a city with a dynamic we could learn from.”

Read more The Guardian »


Related:
Marcus Samuelsson Hosts 2nd Annual Harlem EatUp Food Festival May 19 – 22

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Obama, First President to Visit Hiroshima

President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, this month, becoming the first U.S. leader to go to the city where an American warplane dropped the world's first atomic bomb in 1945 during World War II. (NYT)

The New York Times

President Obama to Be First Sitting President to Visit Hiroshima

By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS and JONATHAN SOBLE

WASHINGTON — President Obama will become the first sitting American president to visit Hiroshima, Japan, the White House announced on Tuesday, making a fraught stop this month at the site where the United States dropped an atomic bomb at the end of World War II.

The visit, hotly debated in the White House for months as the president planned a trip to Vietnam and Japan, carries weighty symbolism for Mr. Obama, who is loath to be seen as apologizing for that chapter in American history.

“He will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb at the end of World War II,” Benjamin J. Rhodes, his deputy national security adviser for strategic communication, said in a blog post on Medium. “Instead, he will offer a forward-looking vision focused on our shared future.”

“In making this visit, the president will shine a spotlight on the tremendous and devastating human toll of war,” Mr. Rhodes added in the blog post.


Image: The Front Page of the The New York Times in 1945: Atomic Bomb Wiped Out 60% of Hiroshima, Japan

Read more at The New York Times »


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Using Courts to Crush Dissent in Ethiopia

Yonatan Tesfaye Regassa, the head of PR for the opposition Semayawi (Blue) Party and Bekele Gerba, deputy chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) are charged under Ethiopia's counterterrorism law. (HRW)

HRW

For the past six months, thousands of people have taken to the streets in Ethiopia’s largest region, Oromia, to protest alleged abuses by their government. The protests, unprecedented in recent years, have seen Ethiopia’s security forces use lethal force against largely peaceful protesters, killing hundreds and arresting tens of thousands more.

The government is inexorably closing off ways for Ethiopians to peacefully express their grievances, not just with bullets but also through the courts. In recent weeks, the Ethiopian authorities have lodged new, politically motivated charges against prominent opposition politicians and others, accusing them of crimes under Ethiopia’s draconian counterterrorism law.

Just last week, Yonatan Tesfaye Regassa, the head of public relations for the opposition Semayawi Party (the Blue Party), was charged with “planning, preparation, conspiracy, incitement and attempt” of a terrorist act. The authorities citied Yonatan’s Facebook posts about the protests as evidence; he faces 15 years to life in prison, if convicted.

In April, Bekele Gerba, deputy chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), Oromia’s largest registered political party, and 21 others, including many senior OFC members, were charged under the counterterrorism law, four months after their arrest on December 23, 2015. Bekele is accused of having links with the banned Oromo Liberation Front, a charge frequently used by the government to target ethnic Oromo dissidents and others. Deeply committed to nonviolence, Bekele has consistently urged the OFC to participate in elections despite the ruling party’s iron grip on the polls. Bekele and the others have described horrible conditions during their detention, including at the notorious Maekalawi prison, where torture and other ill-treatment are routine.

The authorities also charged 20 university students under the criminal code for protesting in front of the United States Embassy in Addis Ababa in March, 2016. The “evidence” against them included a video of their protest and a list of demands, which included the immediate release of opposition leaders and others arrested for peaceful protests, and the establishment of an independent body to investigate and prosecute those who killed and injured peaceful protesters. They face three years in prison if convicted.

The Ethiopian government is sending a clear message when it charges peaceful protesters and opposition politicians like Bekele Gerba with terrorism. The message is that no dissent is tolerated, whether through social media, the electoral system, or peaceful assembly.


Related:
Ethiopia: Activist Charged With Terrorism Over Facebook Post
US Deeply Concerned by Charges of Terrorism Against Professor Bekele Gerba

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Ethiopia: Activist Charged With Terrorism Over Facebook Post

The activist, Yonathan Tesfaye, is a former spokesman for the opposition Semayawi (Blue) Party. (AP)

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

May 6, 2016

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — A court in Ethiopia has charged a social media activist for inciting violence and other terror-related offenses citing Facebook posts as evidence.

Yonathan Tesfaye, a former spokesman for the opposition Blue Party, was charged Wednesday by Ethiopia’s Federal High Court. If convicted, he could face a death sentence.

Yonathan was detained by Ethiopian security forces in December at the height of violent protests in the Oromo community over an alleged plan by the government to grab their land.

Rights groups say the Ethiopian government is using sweeping anti-terror laws to crack down on those critical of the regime.

Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty’s regional chief, said Yonathan spoke against a possible land grab in Oromia, which is not a crime and is certainly not terrorism.


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U.S. Election: Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is joined by his wife Melania (R), as he speaks during a news conference, after rival candidate Senator Ted Cruz dropped out of the race, Tuesday, May 3, 2016. (Reuters)

VOA News

By Katherine Gypson

May 04, 2016

WASHINGTON — The long battle for the Republican presidential nomination has now ended, settling on a new leader of the Republican Party: Donald Trump.

Republicans nationwide reacted with a mix of disbelief, anger and grudging acceptance Wednesday, revealing a party that may have a new leader but whose future will be unclear until after the general election this November.

The first signs the party would not immediately unite behind Trump as the nominee emerged Tuesday night, when Texas Senator Ted Cruz dropped out of the race following a resounding loss to Trump in the Indiana primary.

A number of conservative bloggers and party operatives, including former John McCain aide Mark Salter – many of whom had been a part of the unsuccessful Never Trump movement – took to social media to openly declare they would not support Trump, and some even took the unprecedented step of pledging to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton using the hashtag #ImWithHer.

“The idea of mainstream or even fairly conservative Republicans coming out to support a Clinton for the presidency is kind of mind-blowing,” said John Hudak, a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution.

Clinton – a divisive political figure and a lightning rod for conservative criticism over the past two decades – is a highly unlikely figure to attract any kind of Republican support.

“It really puts into perspective how desperate and how angry and how disgusted many elements of the Republican Party are with Trump,” Hudak said.

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