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UPDATE: Biden Outlines ‘Day One’ Agenda of Executive Actions

President-elect Joe Biden speaks during an event at The Queen theater, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo)

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — In his first hours as president, Joe Biden plans to take executive action to roll back some of the most controversial decisions of his predecessor and to address the raging coronavirus pandemic, his incoming chief of staff said Saturday.

The opening salvo would herald a 10-day blitz of executive actions as Biden seeks to act swiftly to redirect the country in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency without waiting for Congress.

On Wednesday, following his inauguration, Biden will end Trump’s restriction on immigration to the U.S. from some Muslim-majority countries, move to rejoin the Paris climate accord and mandate mask-wearing on federal property and during interstate travel. Those are among roughly a dozen actions Biden will take on his first day in the White House, his incoming chief of staff, Ron Klain, said in a memo to senior staff.

Other actions include extending the pause on student loan payments and actions meant to prevent evictions and foreclosures for those struggling during the pandemic.

“These executive actions will deliver relief to the millions of Americans that are struggling in the face of these crises,” Klain said in the memo. “President-elect Biden will take action — not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration — but also to start moving our country forward.”

“Full achievement” of Biden’s goals will require Congress to act, Klain wrote, including the $1.9 trillion virus relief bill he outlined on Thursday. Klain said that Biden would also propose a comprehensive immigration reform bill to lawmakers on his first day in office.

Providing a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants in the U.S. illegally will be part of Biden’s agenda, according to people briefed on his plans. Ali Noorani, president of the National Immigration Forum and among those briefed, said immigrants would be put on an eight-year path. There would be a faster track for those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields people from deportation who came to the U.S. as children, and for those from strife-torn countries with temporary status.

On Thursday, the new president’s second day in office, Biden would sign orders related to the COVID-19 outbreak aimed at reopening schools and businesses and expanding virus testing, Klain said. The following day, Friday, will see action on providing economic relief to those suffering the economic costs of the pandemic.

In the following week, Klain said, Biden would take additional actions relating to criminal justice reform, climate change and immigration — including a directive to speed the reuniting of families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border under Trump’s policies.

More actions will be added, Klain said, once they clear legal review.

Incoming presidents traditionally move swiftly to sign an array of executive actions when they take office. Trump did the same, but he found many of his orders challenged and even rejected by courts.

Klain maintained that Biden should not suffer similar issues, saying “the legal theory behind them is well-founded and represents a restoration of an appropriate, constitutional role for the President.”

UPDATE: Biden Unveils $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 & Economic Plan


President-elect Joe Biden speaks about the COVID-19 pandemic during an event at The Queen theater, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Wilmington, Del. (AP photo)

The Associated Press

Updated: January 15th, 2021

Biden unveils $1.9 Trillion plan to stem COVID-19 and steady economy

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden has unveiled a $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan to end “a crisis of deep human suffering” by speeding up vaccines and pumping out financial help to those struggling with the pandemic’s prolonged economic fallout.

Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, and advance his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. On a parallel track, it delivers another round of aid to stabilize the economy while the public health effort seeks the upper hand on the pandemic.

“We not only have an economic imperative to act now — I believe we have a moral obligation,” Biden said in a nationwide address Thursday. At the same time, he acknowledged that his plan “does not come cheaply.”

Biden proposed $1,400 checks for most Americans, which on top of $600 provided in the most recent COVID-19 bill would bring the total to the $2,000 that Biden has called for. It would also extend a temporary boost in unemployment benefits and a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through September.

And it shoehorns in long-term Democratic policy aims such as increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, expanding paid leave for workers, and increasing tax credits for families with children. The last item would make it easier for women to go back to work, which in turn would help the economy recover.

The political outlook for the legislation remained unclear. In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer praised Biden for including liberal priorities, saying they would move quickly to pass it after Biden takes office next Wednesday. But Democrats have narrow margins in both chambers of Congress, and Republicans will push back on issues that range from increasing the minimum wage to providing more money for states, while demanding inclusion of their priorities, such as liability protection for businesses.

“Remember that a bipartisan $900 billion #COVID19 relief bill became law just 18 days ago,” tweeted Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. But Biden says that was only a down payment, and he promised more major legislation next month, focused on rebuilding the economy.

“The crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight, and there’s not time to waste,” Biden said. “We have to act and we have to act now.”

Still, he sought to manage expectations. “We’re better equipped to do this than any nation in the world,” he said. “But even with all these small steps, it’s going to take time.”

His relief bill would be paid for with borrowed money, adding to trillions in debt the government has already incurred to confront the pandemic. Aides said Biden will make the case that the additional spending and borrowing is necessary to prevent the economy from sliding into an even deeper hole. Interest rates are low, making debt more manageable.

Biden has long held that economic recovery is inextricably linked with controlling the coronavirus.

That squares with the judgment of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the most powerful business lobbying group and traditionally an adversary of Democrats. “We must defeat COVID before we can restore our economy and that requires turbocharging our vaccination efforts,” the Chamber said in a statement Thursday night that welcomed Biden’s plan but stopped short of endorsing it.

The plan comes as a divided nation is in the grip of the pandemic’s most dangerous wave yet. So far, more than 385,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. And government numbers out Thursday reported a jump in weekly unemployment claims, to 965,000, a sign that rising infections are forcing businesses to cut back and lay off workers.

Under Biden’s multipronged strategy, about $400 billion would go directly to combating the pandemic, while the rest is focused on economic relief and aid to states and localities.

About $20 billion would be allocated for a more disciplined focus on vaccination, on top of some $8 billion already approved by Congress. Biden has called for setting up mass vaccination centers and sending mobile units to hard-to-reach areas.

With the backing of Congress and the expertise of private and government scientists, the Trump administration delivered two highly effective vaccines and more are on the way. Yet a month after the first shots were given, the nation’s vaccination campaign is off to a slow start with about 11 million people getting the first of two shots, although more than 30 million doses have been delivered.

Biden called the vaccine rollout “a dismal failure so far” and said he would provide more details about his vaccination campaign on Friday.

The plan also provides $50 billion to expand testing, which is seen as key to reopening most schools by the end of the new administration’s first 100 days. About $130 billion would be allocated to help schools reopen without risking further contagion.

The plan would fund the hiring of 100,000 public health workers, to focus on encouraging people to get vaccinated and on tracing the contacts of those infected with the coronavirus.

There’s also a proposal to boost investment in genetic sequencing, to help track new virus strains including the more contagious variants identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Throughout the plan, there’s a focus on ensuring that minority communities that have borne the brunt of the pandemic are not shortchanged on vaccines and treatments, aides said.

With the new proposals comes a call to redouble efforts on the basics.

Biden is asking Americans to override their sense of pandemic fatigue and recommit to wearing masks, practicing social distancing and avoiding indoor gatherings, particularly larger ones. It’s still the surest way to slow the COVID-19 wave, with more than 4,400 deaths reported just on Tuesday.

Biden’s biggest challenge will be to “win the hearts and minds of the American people to follow his lead,” said Dr. Leana Wen, a public health expert and emergency physician.

The pace of vaccination in the U.S. is approaching 1 million shots a day, but 1.8 million a day would be needed to reach widespread or “herd” immunity by the summer, according to a recent estimate by the American Hospital Association. Wen says the pace should be even higher — closer to 3 million a day.

Biden believes the key to speeding that up lies not only in delivering more vaccine but also in working closely with states and local communities to get shots into the arms of more people. The Trump administration provided the vaccine to states and set guidelines for who should get priority for shots, but largely left it up to state and local officials to organize their vaccination campaigns.

It’s still unclear how the new administration will address the issue of vaccine hesitancy, the doubts and suspicions that keep many people from getting a shot. Polls show it’s particularly a problem among Black Americans.

“We will have to move heaven and earth to get more people vaccinated,” Biden said.

Next Wednesday, when Biden is sworn in as president, marks the anniversary of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Q&A: Tsedale Lemma on State of Independent Media in Ethiopia

Columbia Journalism Review spoke with Tsedale Lemma, the Addis Standard’s editor in chief and founder, about the Ethiopian press, international coverage of the nation, and Abiy Ahmed. The interview has been edited for clarity and length. (CJR)

Columbia Journalism Review

The landscape for journalists has shifted a lot in recent years—from heavy censorship to liberalization under Ahmed to a reversion. How is Addis Standard navigating that shifting terrain?

Previously our struggle was what we call a “vertical struggle” against a repressive state. But since Ahmed came, that struggle has changed in dynamics. Now it is not only with the government, which is folding on its own promises, but also interest groups. Political parties, civil societies, even religious organizations and private individuals have been empowered. Those interest groups want to influence the media too. So the struggle now is both horizontal and vertical.

What do you make of journalists being arrested again and communications blackouts being imposed?

So little has changed. The government continues to own and operate so many powerful media outlets. They get unfiltered access from the government. The independent media continues to struggle to assert our own editorial independence and get equal access to information. We have to rely on how the government media packages the narrative. We just take it from them, and we have so little room to scrutinize, to investigate.

In 2019, Ahmed was praised on the international stage after winning the Nobel Prize. What did that coverage miss?

There was a lot of hysteria, a lot of enthusiasm and happiness around the Peace Prize. That is how the international media functions. There is little room for historical reading of political events in the country and little room to actually look at where the local media—those who have relatively been or are independent, such as Addis Standard—are.

For example, the peace agreement with Eritrea. We’ve been publishing strong-worded editorials that point out this peace deal wasn’t really what the world wanted to see in it. But the world wants to see what the world wants to see.

Recently, you’ve been featured by Al Jazeera, the New York Times, and the BBC, among other international outlets. Is global news coverage now embracing the voices of local Ethiopian journalists more?

The international media is confronted with a reality that we have been trying to highlight for a while. They’re reporting on the prime minister based on his words and based on his actions now. I think there is this moment of reckoning. People are seeing through him for what he’s doing. The period of infatuation seems to have come to a screeching halt.

And the government, not being used to it, are a bit upset. That’s why you see it creating its own fact-checking social media sites, trying to wrestle the narrative back.

Read the full interview at Columbia Journalism Review »

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

UPDATE: Trump Impeached After Capitol Riot in Historic Second Charge

Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House for a historic second time Wednesday, charged with “incitement of insurrection” over the deadly mob siege of the Capitol in a swift and stunning collapse of his final days in office. (Photo: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi leads the final vote of the impeachment, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021/AP Photo)

The Associated Press

Trump Impeached After Capitol Riot in Historic Second Charge

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House for a historic second time Wednesday, charged with “incitement of insurrection” over the deadly mob siege of the Capitol in a swift and stunning collapse of his final days in office.

With the Capitol secured by armed National Guard troops inside and out, the House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump. The proceedings moved at lightning speed, with lawmakers voting just one week after violent pro-Trump loyalists stormed the U.S. Capitol, urged on by the president’s calls for them to “fight like hell” against the election results.

Ten Republicans fled Trump, joining Democrats who said he needed to be held accountable and warned ominously of a “clear and present danger” if Congress should leave him unchecked before Democrat Joe Biden’s inauguration Jan. 20.

Trump is the only U.S. president to be twice impeached.

The Capitol insurrection stunned and angered lawmakers, who were sent scrambling for safety as the mob descended, and it revealed the fragility of the nation’s history of peaceful transfers of power. The riot also forced a reckoning among some Republicans, who have stood by Trump throughout his presidency and largely allowed him to spread false attacks against the integrity of the 2020 election.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invoked Abraham Lincoln and the Bible, imploring lawmakers to uphold their oath to defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign “and domestic.”

She said of Trump: “He must go, he is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”

Holed up at the White House, watching the proceedings on TV, Trump took no responsibility for the bloody riot seen around the world, but issued a statement urging “NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind” to disrupt Biden’s ascension to the White House.

In the face of the accusations against him and with the FBI warning of more violence, Trump said, “That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers.”

Trump was first impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine, but the Senate voted in 2020 acquit. He is the first to be impeached twice. None has been convicted by the Senate, but Republicans said Wednesday that could change in the rapidly shifting political environment as officeholders, donors, big business and others peel away from the defeated president.

The soonest Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell would start an impeachment trial is next Tuesday, the day before Trump is already set to leave the White House, McConnell’s office said. The legislation is also intended to prevent Trump from ever running again.

McConnell believes Trump committed impeachable offenses and considers the Democrats’ impeachment drive an opportunity to reduce the divisive, chaotic president’s hold on the GOP, a Republican strategist told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

McConnell told major donors over the weekend that he was through with Trump, said the strategist, who demanded anonymity to describe McConnell’s conversations.

In a note to colleagues Wednesday, McConnell said he had “not made a final decision on how I will vote.”

Unlike his first time, Trump faces this impeachment as a weakened leader, having lost his own reelection as well as the Senate Republican majority.

Even Trump ally Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, shifted his position and said Wednesday the president bears responsibility for the horrifying day at the Capitol.

In making a case for the “high crimes and misdemeanors” demanded in the Constitution, the four-page impeachment resolution approved Wednesday relies on Trump’s own incendiary rhetoric and the falsehoods he spread about Biden’s election victory, including at a rally near the White House on the day of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

A Capitol Police officer died from injuries suffered in the riot, and police shot and killed a woman during the siege. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies. The riot delayed the tally of Electoral College votes that was the last step in finalizing Biden’s victory.

Ten Republican lawmakers, including third-ranking House GOP leader Liz Cheney of Wyoming, voted to impeach Trump, cleaving the Republican leadership, and the party itself.

Cheney, whose father is the former Republican vice president, said of Trump’s actions summoning the mob that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a President” of his office.

Trump was said to be livid with perceived disloyalty from McConnell and Cheney.

With the team around Trump hollowed out and his Twitter account silenced by the social media company, the president was deeply frustrated that he could not hit back, according to White House officials and Republicans close to the West Wing who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.

From the White House, Trump leaned on Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to push Republican senators to resist, while chief of staff Mark Meadows called some of his former colleagues on Capitol Hill.

The president’s sturdy popularity with the GOP lawmakers’ constituents still had some sway, and most House Republicans voted not to impeach.

Security was exceptionally tight at the Capitol, with tall fences around the complex. Metal-detector screenings were required for lawmakers entering the House chamber, where a week earlier lawmakers huddled inside as police, guns drawn, barricade the door from rioters.

“We are debating this historic measure at a crime scene,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.

During the debate, some Republicans repeated the falsehoods spread by Trump about the election and argued that the president has been treated unfairly by Democrats from the day he took office.

Other Republicans argued the impeachment was a rushed sham and complained about a double standard applied to his supporters but not to the liberal left. Some simply appealed for the nation to move on.

Rep. Tom McClintock of California said, “Every movement has a lunatic fringe.”

Yet Democratic Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo. and others recounted the harrowing day as rioters pounded on the chamber door trying to break in. Some called it a “coup” attempt.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., contended that Trump was “capable of starting a civil war.”

Conviction and removal of Trump would require a two-thirds vote in the Senate, which will be evenly divided. Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania joined Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska over the weekend in calling for Trump to “go away as soon as possible.”

Fending off concerns that an impeachment trial would bog down his first days in office, Biden is encouraging senators to divide their time between taking taking up his priorities of confirming his nominees and approving COVID-19 relief while also conducting the trial.

The impeachment bill draws from Trump’s own false statements about his election defeat to Biden. Judges across the country, including some nominated by Trump, have repeatedly dismissed cases challenging the election results, and former Attorney General William Barr, a Trump ally, has said there was no sign of widespread fraud.

The House had first tried to persuade Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke their authority under the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Pence declined to do so, but the House passed the resolution anyway.

The impeachment bill also details Trump’s pressure on state officials in Georgia to “find” him more votes.

While some have questioned impeaching the president so close to the end of his term, there is precedent. In 1876, during the Ulysses Grant administration, War Secretary William Belknap was impeached by the House the day he resigned, and the Senate convened a trial months later. He was acquitted.

___

Pictures: The Week That Shook America


Lawmakers evacuate the floor as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo)

CNN

Updated: January 9th, 2021

The day America realized how dangerous Donald Trump is

(CNN) When the history of the 45th presidency is written, Wednesday, January 6, will go down as the day America realized how dangerous President Donald Trump really is.

In the span of hours, the country finally witnessed the price of its five-year experiment turning its election process into a reality show that produced an unhinged megalomanic as commander-in-chief who amassed so much power through his lies and fear-mongering that he was able to engineer an insurrection as a final act that left democracy dangling by a thread.

Wednesday’s siege at the Capitol marked the culmination of Trump’s years-long quest to cultivate a fiercely loyal base that would do anything for him by playing on their fears and resentments as he lured them into believing his incessant lies about the sinister motives of government, election fraud and his own conduct.

The consequences were deadly: five people have died as a result of Wednesday’s riot, including a Capitol Police officer. Some of Trump’s supporters were armed and ready for war: an Alabama man allegedly parked a pickup truck with 11 homemade bombs, an assault rifle and a handgun two blocks from the Capitol hours before authorities discovered it, according to federal prosecutors. Another man allegedly showed up with an assault rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, telling acquaintances he wanted to shoot or run over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pipe bombs were found near the headquarters of the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee as authorities tried to dispel the mob and secure the Capitol.

But three days later, Trump appears no more aware of the consequences of his actions than on the day of the riot when he delighted in the mayhem. Bunkered at the White House with an ever-shrinking circle of aides, he has offered no remorse for inciting the crowd and offered only a forced denunciation of their actions. Aides, weary and disgusted, refuse to come near him. His central line to the outside world, Twitter, was severed Friday night. People who admired him, worked for him and followed him down dark paths before now say he has crossed into a delusional place, entirely detached from reality.

Read more »

AP PHOTOS: Scenes of violence at U.S. Capitol shock world


A violent mob climbing the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo)

The Associated Press

January 7, 2021

A mob invading the U.S. Capitol. Police officers with guns drawn inside the House of Representatives. Lawmakers hiding from intruders seeking to overturn a national election.

These and other scenes from Capitol Hill shocked the world Wednesday as violent protesters loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the nation’s halls of power in a brazen attempt to undercut democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House in two weeks.

The chaos halted Congress’ constitutionally mandated counting of the Electoral College results, which showed Biden defeated Trump, 306-232.

In the morning, Trump rallied his supporters outside the White House and urged them to march to the Capitol. Hours later, after they fought police and breached the building, he told them to “go home in peace.” He described them as “very special people” whose cause he supported.

Biden, speaking from Wilmington, Delaware, called on Trump to go on national television to demand “an end to this siege.”


Police with guns drawn watch as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo)


People shelter in the House gallery as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/)


People shelter in the House gallery as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo)


U.S. Capitol Police with guns drawn stand near a barricaded door as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo)


Lawmakers prepare to evacuate the the House gallery as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo)

See more photos at apnews.com »

WATCH: An Ethiopian Immigrant’s Perspective on Chaos at US Capitol


While most Americans have never seen anything like what happened at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, the scene was sadly familiar for some immigrants and refugees. “What just happened today in the Capitol, just kind of reminds me of what our parents went through… in the 70s,” said Endale Getahun, who immigrated from Ethiopia to the U.S. in the early 1980s, when he was 10 years old [and now] runs an immigrant and refugee-focused community radio station in Aurora, Colorado. (ABC News)

Channel 13, ABC News Now

AURORA, Colo. — Immigrants who came to America fleeing political upheaval and violence in their home countries saw political violence on American soil Wednesday.

For many, it was shocking.

“What just happened today in the Capitol, just kind of reminds me of what our parents went through… in the 70s,” said Endale Getahun, who immigrated from Ethiopia to the U.S. in the early 1980s, when he was 10 years old.

Getahun describes that as a time of political upheaval and conflict in his home country. Conflict continues today, with recent violence between the country’s government and the region of Tigray.

Like so many other immigrants, Getahun’s family came to America looking for peace and stability. Watching images of chaos on Wednesday was unsettling.

“I think it’s very shocking, to happen in this world, in a democratic country, which welcomes everyone to be safe from chaos – not just from Ethiopia but all over the world. The United States is a symbol of democracy, freedom, a dream to achieve,” he said.

Getahun runs an immigrant and refugee-focused community radio station in Aurora, KETO FM. He said Wednesday, the conversation covered the U.S. Capitol takeover.

Getahun can offer an immigrant’s perspective on those developments.

“The other side of the world has experienced this kind of chaotic government takeover and the U.S. was the one that comes back and helps those countries,” he said. “So I think this is a very testing moment for all of us, including the American citizens as well.”

Getahun said it’s up to U.S. leaders, specifically President Donald Trump, to calm the country and ensure people are safe.

“Words matter,” he said.

—-

The Latest:

Updated: January 7th, 2021

  • After chaos, calls for Trump’s removal as top officials resign
  • Congress affirms Biden’s presidential win following riot at U.S. Capitol
  • The grand finale of the Trump show: America watches farce devolve to horror
  • Explainer: How could Trump be removed from office before his term ends on Jan. 20?
  • Social platforms flex their power, lock down Trump accounts

    World Watches US Chaos with Shock, Dismay and Some Mockery

    The Associated Press

    PARIS (AP) — As the world watched American institutions shaken to the core by an angry mob, officials and ordinary citizens wondered: How fragile is democracy, and how much stress could their own political systems withstand?

    “If it can happen in the U.S., it can happen anywhere,” said Gunjan Chhibber, a 39-year-old who works for an American tech company in India, the world’s largest democracy. She stayed up all night, watching and worrying at her home in Delhi as the chaos unfolded many time zones away.

    In Germany, whose modern system of governance was nurtured by successive American administrations, Chancellor Angela Merkel was unusually blunt Thursday, drawing a direct line from President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede his election defeat to the atmosphere that made the storming of the U.S. Capitol by his supporters possible.

    “A fundamental rule of democracy is that, after elections, there are winners and losers. Both have to play their role with decency and responsibility so that democracy itself remains the winner,” Merkel said.

    Eva Sakschewska, a German who followed the news closely, said the events in Washington were almost inconceivable.

    “You can only fear how far this can go when populists come to power and do such things,” she said. “You know that in the U.S., democracy has a long history and that it comes to something like that – yes one is afraid.”

    Even the United Nations offered up the kind of statement usually reserved for fragile democracies, expressing sadness and calling on unidentified political leaders to foster respect for “democratic processes and the rule of law.”

    In Iraq, where the violent U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 led to years of sectarian conflict and a deeply flawed democracy, many watched and marveled at the scenes unfolding in Congress.

    Iraqis have suffered for years under power-sharing arrangements among competing elites divided along sectarian lines. Backroom deals are common to avoid political paralysis, and democratic ideals have been tainted by an entrenched system of patronage through which state jobs are doled out in exchange for support. Political parties also have affiliated militias that wield significant power on the street. From afar, the violence in Washington had a contemptible familiarity.

    “Iraq calls on the U.S. regime to respect the principles of democracy, or it will intervene militarily to bring down the dictator,” said Mustafa Habib, a well-known Iraqi analyst and researcher, in a tweet that mocked Washington’s actions abroad.

    Venezuela, which is under U.S. sanctions, said the events showed that the U.S. “is suffering what it has generated in other countries with its politics of aggression.”

    Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has survived U.S.-backed opposition efforts to oust him despite accusations of human rights abuses, civil unrest and a humanitarian crisis that has forced millions to flee the oil-rich country.

    “We exported so much democracy that we don’t have any left,” American-Palestinian scholar Yousef Monayyer wrote on Twitter, the social network favored by Trump until he was locked out of it late Wednesday.

    His comment joined the growing strain of sarcasm bordering on schadenfreude from those who have long resented the perceived American tendency to chastise other countries for less-than-perfect adherence to democratic ideals.

    This time, however, it was an attempt by Americans to stop a peaceful transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden after a democratic election in a country that many around the world have looked at as a model for democratic governance.

    In China, which has had constant friction with Washington over trade, as well as military and political issues, people were scathing in their criticism of Trump and his supporters, citing both the coronavirus pandemic and the mob action.

    Communist-ruled China has long accused the U.S. of hypocrisy in its efforts to promote democracy and advocate for human rights overseas.

    The Communist Youth League ran a photo montage of the Capitol violence on its Twitter-like Weibo microblog with the caption: “On the sixth, the U.S. Congress, a most beautiful site to behold.” That appeared to mock House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her June 2019 comments in praise of sometimes- violent anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

    “The U.S. is not as safe as China, right? I think Trump is a self-righteous and selfish person,” said financial adviser Yang Ming.

    Iran, which faces routine U.S. criticism over violations of human rights and democratic values, jumped on the chaos as proof of American hypocrisy.

    The semiofficial Fars news agency called the United States a “fragmented democracy,” while Iran’s pro-government Twitter accounts gloated, circulating photos of the mobs with hashtags that included #DownfalloftheUS.

    The events tarnished the American insistence that it is a bastion of democracy for countries that have only in recent decades, in some cases, given up autocratic or military-controlled forms of government.

    “The beauty of democracy?” with a shrug emoji was the reaction tweeted by Bashir Ahmad, a personal assistant to the president of Nigeria, which has seen several coups since independence — including one led decades ago by President Muhammadu Buhari, who was elected to office in 2015.

    Some legislatures in Asia — South Korea and Taiwan, for instance — have at times been marred by brawls and screaming matches, but democracies throughout the region are normally staid versions of European and American lawmaking models.

    “This is shocking. I hope this will serve as chance for the Americans to review their democracy,” said Na HyunPil at the Korean House for International Solidarity, a Seoul-based NGO. “Trump is entirely responsible for this incident. After his four-year rule, the Americans find it difficult to tell other countries that their country is a good model for democracy.”

    Several countries, both U.S. allies and antagonists, issued travel warnings to their citizens, although with coronavirus infections soaring in the United States, arrivals from abroad are down to a trickle.

    Ally after ally expressed shock, followed by affirmations that U.S. democratic institutions would withstand the turmoil.

    “All my life, America has stood for some very important things: an idea of freedom and an idea of democracy,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “Insofar as he encouraged people to storm the Capitol, and insofar as the president has consistently cast doubt on the outcome of a free and fair election, I believe that was completely wrong.”

    But some, like European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, warned that the attempt to halt a peaceful transition in what many consider the world’s oldest democracy showed that no place is immune and that backsliding is reversed only with difficulty.

    “Democracy is never self-evident. It has to be worked on each and every day. It has to be won anew every day. And that applies to all democracies,” she told German news outlets. And that’s why we know that it starts as a very small thing.”

    For others, less friendly, it was portrayed as a last gasp and one that belonged solely to Americans themselves.

    “American democracy is obviously limping on both feet,” said Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament. “I say this without a shadow of gloating. America no longer charts a course and therefore has lost all rights to set it — and even more so to impose it on others.”

    ‘Moment of Shame’: Former US Presidents Condemn The Violent Mob Spectacle in DC


    Obama, Bush, Clinton, Carter all condemn the Trump supporter riots. (Photos: AP and Getty Images)

    Politico

    Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter on Wednesday each condemned the mob of rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol — and lawmakers who sought to delegitimize the presidential election results beforehand.

    “It is a sickening and heartbreaking sight,” Bush said in a statement. “This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic – not our democratic republic.”

    Obama said the insurrection, in which at least one person died, will be remembered as “a moment of great dishonor and shame” and that his successor, President Donald Trump, is culpable. He also faulted the Republican Party and the right-wing media ecosystem for the role they played in casting doubt on the integrity of recent elections.

    “Their fantasy narrative has spiraled further and further from reality, and it builds upon years of sown resentments,” Obama said in a statement. “Now we’re seeing the consequences, whipped up into a violent crescendo.”

    Bush similarly said the rioters who breached the building and remained there for hours were “inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes.”

    “I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement,” the 43rd president said.

    Clinton said the seizure of parts of the Capitol was the disastrous result of “poison politics” and the proliferation of misinformation. But he said it did not shake his fundamental belief in the decency of the American people.

    “If that’s who we really are, we must reject today’s violence, turn the page, and move forward together—honoring our Constitution, remaining committed to a government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” Clinton said.

    Bush also urged people upset about the recent elections to stand down for the sake of American democracy.

    “Our country is more important than the politics of the moment,” Bush said. “Let the officials elected by the people fulfill their duties and represent our voices in peace and safety.”

    Carter denounced the day’s events as a “national tragedy” and “not who we are as a nation.” In a statement released by the Carter Center, the former president said he and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter were troubled by the violence and hoped for Americans to come together to resolve the conflict.

    Carter’s statement notably did not assign blame for the Capitol riots.

    “Having observed elections worldwide, I know that we the people can unite to walk back from this precipice to peacefully uphold the laws of our nation, and we must,” the statement said. “We join our fellow citizens in praying for a peaceful resolution so our nation can heal and complete the transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries.”

    The mass of rioters began to breach the Capitol earlier Wednesday, disrupting the vote certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over Trump and further delaying what was already expected to become a days-long affair after Republican members of Congress challenged Biden’s win in several states. The building was cleared by the evening and Congress has returned to continue its duties.

    However, Bush and Carter did not mention Trump — who has promoted false claims of rampant election fraud and embraced anti-democratic attempts stay in power — or anyone else by name in their dispatch. Bush, the most recent Republican president prior to Trump, has largely been careful not to publicly criticize the party’s present standard-bearer.

    Obama and Clinton, both Democrats, were far more explicit in faulting Trump for his role in instigating the unrest.

    “The match was lit by Donald Trump and his most ardent enablers, including many in Congress, to overturn the results of an election he lost,” Obama said. “The election was free, the count was fair, the result is final. We must complete the peaceful transfer of power our Constitution mandates.”

    Trump has continued to speak favorably of the rioters, calling them “very special” and “great patriots” in several tweets that have since been removed by Twitter.

    “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” Trump wrote on Twitter in one such message. “Remember this day forever!”

    Trump supporters storm U.S. Capitol, with one woman killed and tear gas fired

    The Washington Post

    As President Trump told a sprawling crowd outside the White House that they should never accept defeat, hundreds of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in what amounted to an attempted coup that they hoped would overturn the election he lost. In the chaos, law enforcement officials said, one woman was shot and killed by police.

    The violent scene — much of it incited by the president’s incendiary language — was like no other in modern American history, bringing to a sudden halt the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

    With poles bearing blue Trump flags, a mob that would eventually grow into the thousands bashed through Capitol doors and windows, forcing their way past police officers unprepared for the onslaught. Lawmakers were evacuated shortly before an armed standoff at the House chamber’s entrance. The woman who was shot was rushed to an ambulance, police said, and later died. Canisters of tear gas were fired across the Rotunda’s white marble floor, and on the steps outside the building, rioters flew Confederate flags.

    The Senate stopped its proceedings, and the House doors were closed. In a notification, U.S. Capitol Police said no one would be allowed to come or go from the building as they struggled to regain control. “Stay away from exterior windows, doors. If outside, seek cover,” police warned.

    All 1,100 members of the D.C. National Guard were activated, and Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) imposed a citywide curfew. From 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday, Bowser said, no one other than essential personnel would be allowed outdoors in the city.

    The mob had arrived hours earlier, charging past the metal barricades on the property’s outer edge. Hundreds, then thousands followed them. Some scaled the Capitol’s walls to reach entrances; others climbed over one another.

    On the building’s east side, police initially pushed the pro-Trump demonstrators back but soon gave up and fell back to the foot of the main steps. Within a half-hour, fights broke out again, and police retreated to the top of the stairs as screaming Trump supporters surged closer. After police perimeters were breached, the elated crowd began to sing the national anthem.

    For an hour, they banged on the doors, chanting, “Let us in! Let us in!” Police inside fired pepper balls and smoke bombs into the crowd but failed to turn them away. After each volley, the rioters, who were mostly White men, would cluster around the doors again, yelling, arguing, pledging revolution.

    Sometime after 2:10 p.m., a man used a clear plastic riot shield to break through the windows on a first floor to the south side of the building, then hopped in with a few others. Once inside, police suspect, rioters opened doors to let in more of their compatriots.

    A police officer yelled from a higher stairway at the intruders, ordering them to stop, but when they didn’t, the officer fired at a man coming at him, two law enforcement officials said. Amid shouts and people rushing to get away from the sound of gunfire, rioters saw a woman in their group collapse. Police believe she was unarmed, a law enforcement official said, but the officer who shot her did not know that. Capitol Police had already been warned by D.C. police that many in the crowds were secretly carrying weapons.

    “They shot a girl!” someone yelled as a group of Trump supporters ran out of the southeast entrance.

    A team of paramedics with a gurney soon arrived and a Capitol Police officer stepped aside to let them pass. “White female, shot in the shoulder,” the officer said as they hurried past. They emerged minutes later.

    On the gurney was a woman in jeans, gazing vacantly to one side, her torso and face covered in blood. As the gurney was loaded into the back of the ambulance, pro-Trump rioters swarmed around it, screaming, “Murderers!”

    Capitol Police officers with long guns pushed them back, and the ambulance drove off.

    Inside, where the lawmakers had donned gas masks kept under their chairs, Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) could only think of his family as he and other lawmakers hid from the mob. Reeling from the loss of his 25-year-old son last week, Raskin had taken one of his daughters and his son-in-law to the Capitol to watch the debates unfold over certification of Biden’s election, he said, “because we wanted to be together.” Raskin was helping lead Democrats’ arguments against Republican objectors.

    “I thought I could show them the peaceful transfer of power in the United States of America,” Raskin told C-SPAN earlier. “What was really going through my mind was their safety because they were not with me in the chamber, and I just wanted us all to get back together.”

    Read more »

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  • UPDATE: Assemblyman Alexander Assefa’s Resignation Letter Full Text

    Assemblyman Alexander Assefa during the fifth day of the 32nd Special Session of the Legislature in Carson City, Nevada on Aug. 4, 2020. (Photo: The Nevada Independent)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: January 12th, 2021

    New York (TADIAS) — Below is the full text of Nevada Assemblyman Alexander Assefa’s resignation letter.

    Alexander, who was the first Ethiopian-American elected to a statewide office in the U.S., resigned this week amid questions about his residency and finances.

    Assemblyman Alexander Assefa’s Resignation Letter Full Text

    The Honorable Steve Sisolak
    Governor, State of Nevada
    State Capitol Building
    101 N. Carson Street
    Carson City, NV 89701

    Dear Governor Sisolak:

    It is with deep regret that I tender this resignation as Assemblyman for District 42. Serving as the
    representative for this District, which served as my home for many years, where my mother continues to reside, where my business is located, and which I considered my home, has truly been an honor.

    I ran to represent this District out of a sincere belief that not only was it my place of residence, but that I was in a unique position to understand and address the needs of the constituents of the district, particularly the large Ethiopian community which resides there. Unfortunately, after careful review of the residency requirements detailed in NRS 281.050, I now know I was mistaken. With great regret, and because I believe that lawmakers are bound to uphold the law and act with honesty and integrity, I must admit my mistake and resign my office. I will, of course, make myself available to assist with the transition of this office to my successor.

    I made myself abundantly available to the community and did my absolute best to help. On a daily basis, members of this community reached out to me or came to see me in person on issues ranging from domestic violence, mental health, homelessness and jobs. I created a venue where people could seek help and information. I helped immigrant parents who cried in my office challenged by children with substance abuse issues or family disputes due to cultural differences. If I couldn’t offer immediate help, I steered them in the right direction.

    For the past nine months during the COVID pandemic I have worked to provide my constituents with resources to help them through this difficult time — organizing food banks and assisting with applications for unemployment assistance and funding through the CARES act. My resignation will in no way affect my commitment to this community and, in fact, will allow me to devote more time to helping my neighbors survive the challenges presented by the pandemic. I will therefore be donating all money which remains in my campaign fund to non-profit organizations that serve the community.

    Please convey my regret to my colleagues in the Assembly. I wish them, and you, all the best in the upcoming legislative session.

    Sincerely,

    Alexander Assefa

    Related:

    Nevada Assemblyman Alexander Assefa Resigns

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Nevada Assemblyman Alex Assefa Resigns

    According to the resignation letter sent by Alexander Assefa, he is resigning over a question about his residency. In the letter, Assefa says that when he ran to represent District 42, he believed it was his place of residence. He goes on to say that after he reviewed the requirements detailed in NRS 281.050, he now knows he was mistaken. (Photo: Courtesy ALEX ASSEFA)

    KTNV

    LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Alex Assefa, who was the first Ethiopian-American elected to public office in the United States and represented District 42 in Las Vegas, has resigned.

    Gov. Sisolak’s office sent the following statement to local media on Tuesday morning:

    The Governor’s Office is in receipt of Assemblyman Assefa’s resignation letter. The Governor’s Office will process and submit a declaration of vacancy to the Clark County Commission which will appoint a successor to Assembly District 42, per statute.

    The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that they recently completed an investigation into the assemblyman and the case is now ready for prosecution.

    According to the department, Assefa faces several charges including; residency requirement for a candidate (1 count), unlawful for a candidate to make a false statement (2 counts), perjury (6 counts), burglary (2 counts), offer a false instrument for filing or record (8 counts), theft (4 counts) and false statement to procure a marriage license (1 count).

    Asefa, who is a Democrat, assumed the office on Nov. 7, 2018. He won re-election in November 2020. His term was set to end on Nov. 9 2022.

    Assefa was born in Ethiopia and immigrated to the United States in 2000.

    According to the resignation letter sent by Assefa, he is resigning over a question about his residency.

    In the letter, Assefa says that when he ran to represent District 42, he believed it was his place of residence. He goes on to say that after he reviewed the requirements detailed in NRS 281.050, he now knows he was mistaken.

    Nevada lawmaker resigns amid campaign finance investigation (AP)

    The Associated Press

    January 12th 2021

    CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A Nevada lawmaker resigned amid an investigation involving the use of campaign contributions that prompted law enforcement to raid his home in May.

    Las Vegas Assemblyman Alex Assefa tendered his resignation to Gov. Steve Sisolak on Monday in a letter that did not mention the investigation but addressed questions about whether his primary residence was in the Spring Valley district he represents.

    The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported in October that police in May had raided a North Las Vegas home owned by Assefa’s wife, Zenash Mebratu, and a Spring Valley condominium he listed as his residence in campaign filings.

    Nevada law requires legislators live in the districts they represent. In his resignation letter, which was first reported by the Review-Journal, Assefa maintains that he initially misunderstood the law but later determined his residencfy violated it after deeper review.

    “With great regret, and because I believe that lawmakers are bound to uphold the law and act with honesty and integrity, I must admit my mistake and resign my office,” he wrote in the letter, noting that he ran because of his ties to Spring Valley’s large Ethiopian community.

    The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department did not immediately respond to request for comment and charges have not been filed. Assefa did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Assefa reported raising more than $120,000 in contributions as of September 2020 and spending more than $60,000. Campaign finance filings show he reported contributions from and expenses paid to KIB Transport LLC, a freight and trucking company he lists as an income source. He expensed advertising to the company in 2018 and reported the company contributed $9,000 in office space and labor to his campaign in 2020. The office space was one of two that Assefa reported as donated during the pandemic.

    He won reelection in November by 45 percentage points in his Clark County district, where Democrats enjoy a 20 percentage point voter registration advantage over Republicans, and had been assigned positions on the Assembly’s Government Affairs, Growth & Infrastructure and Natural Resources committees.

    Assefa is the fourth Democratic state lawmaker to resign since 2017. Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson resigned in 2019 and pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges for using campaign contributions to open a Las Vegas nightclub and pay off credit card debt. The Legislature subsequently passed a bill to require more detailed reporting of campaign spending and prohibit candidates from using contributions to pay salaries to themselves.

    “The Assembly Democratic Caucus thanks Assemblyman Assefa for his service, and we look forward to welcoming a new member to our caucus very soon. With so many crucial decisions about Nevada’s future at stake in this upcoming legislative session, we remain focused on the important tasks of protecting Nevada’s public health and economic well-being,” Assembly Democratic Caucus Executive Director Chelsey Wininger said in a statement.

    The Clark County Commission is expected to replace Assefa and state Sen. Yvanna Cancela, who resigned to take a position in the Biden administration, before the Legislature reconvenes in February. Nevada law requires the commission replace lawmakers who resign before the end of their terms with members of the same party who reside in the district.

    Las Vegas Assemblyman Alexander Assefa resigns from state legislature


    Las Vegas Assemblyman Alexander Assefa resigns from state legislature (Courtesy: Nevada Legislature)

    The Associated Press

    January 12th 2021

    CARSON CITY, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) — CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A Nevada lawmaker resigned amid an investigation involving the use of campaign contributions that prompted law enforcement to raid his home in May.

    Las Vegas Assemblyman Alex Assefa tendered his resignation to Gov. Steve Sisolak on Monday in a letter that did not mention the investigation but addressed questions about whether his primary residence was in the Spring Valley district he represents.

    The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported in October that police in May had raided a North Las Vegas home owned by Assefa’s wife, Zenash Mebratu, and a Spring Valley condominium he listed as his residence in campaign filings.

    Nevada law requires legislators live in the districts they represent. In his resignation letter, which was first reported by the Review-Journal, Assefa maintains that he initially misunderstood the law but later determined his residency violated it after deeper review.

    “With great regret, and because I believe that lawmakers are bound to uphold the law and act with honesty and integrity, I must admit my mistake and resign my office,” he wrote in the letter, noting that he ran because of his ties to Spring Valley’s large Ethiopian community.

    The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department did not immediately respond to request for comment and charges have not been filed. Assefa did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Assefa is the fourth Democratic state lawmaker to resign since 2017. Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson resigned in 2019 and pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges for using campaign contributions to open a Las Vegas nightclub and pay off credit card debt. The Legislature subsequently passed a bill to require more detailed reporting of campaign spending and prohibit candidates from using contributions to pay salaries to themselves.

    “The Assembly Democratic Caucus thanks Assemblyman Assefa for his service, and we look forward to welcoming a new member to our caucus very soon. With so many crucial decisions about Nevada’s future at stake in this upcoming legislative session, we remain focused on the important tasks of protecting Nevada’s public health and economic well-being,” Assembly Democratic Caucus Executive Director Chelsey Wininger said in a statement.

    Related:

    UPDATE: Assemblyman Alexander Assefa’s Resignation Letter Full Text

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    ETHIOPIA UPDATE: Ex-FM Seyoum Mesfin Killed — War, Fake News, Refugee Crisis & Crime Against Humanity

    Former foreign minister Seyoum Mesfin was among three prominent TPLF officials who were killed after refusing to surrender, government says. Seyoum was Ethiopia’s foreign minister from 1991 until 2010. The two others killed were former Federal Affairs Minister Abay Tsehaye and ex-parliamentary chief whip Asmelash Woldeselassie. (Photo: Seyoum Mesfin was Ethiopia's foreign minister for nearly two decades/Tiksa Negeri/Reuters)

    Updated: January 17th, 2021

  • Ethiopia denies its military aircraft crossed border into Sudan
  • Tigray: Ethiopian army kills ex-Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin
  • Ethiopian envoy says Sudan border issue must be resolved ‘amicably, urgently’
  • Sudan: 6 killed on Ethiopia border
  • Ethiopian military says it killed 15 Tigray rebels, captured 8 others
  • Sebhat Nega: Founding TPLF member surrenders


    Sebhat Nega (left), a founding member of the TPLF, was among those who were captured last week. AA reports: “Sebhat is considered a magnate within the TPLF and is known for having built a multibillion-dollar business empire in Ethiopia over the 27 years the group was in power. On Thursday, the army said nine other key TPLF officials had been captured, while four others were neutralized in the ongoing law enforcement operation.” (Photo via Twitter)

  • Ethiopia kills 4 core TPLF leaders, arrests 9
  • Report: Hospitals in Tigray struck by artillery
  • Satellite Images Show Carnage
  • UN fears ‘massive’ COVID transmission in Tigray
  • Addis Standard: ‘Gov’t-inter-agencies’ assessment report’ on the situation in Tigray
  • Ethiopian general says Eritrean troops entered Tigray: video clip
  • Ethiopian police release detained Reuters cameraman without charge
  • Tigray crisis: Ethiopia to repair al-Nejashi mosque
  • UNHCR relocates victims of conflict to new site in Sudan
  • IRC scales up emergency response to protect women and children
  • How Did We Get Here? – By Abiy Ahmed


    Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. (Photo: Tadias Magazine)

  • UN Spotlights Refugee Photos: Doctors, Teachers, Artists
  • ‘I Miss Home’: Displaced Children Suffer
  • UN: More Than 2 Million Children in Need of Aid
  • African Union Supports Ethiopia’s ‘legitimate’ actions against TPLF
  • The rise and fall of TPLF as told by its former commander
  • ‘Abandoned’ bomb kills three in Addis Ababa
  • Sudan, Ethiopia to hold border demarcation talks week after clash
  • Sudan’s PM meets Ethiopian leader after cross-border attack
  • PM Abiy confirms he met the Sudanese Prime Minster during IGAD meeting in Djibouti
  • In Pictures: The Conflict in Ethiopia
  • Beyond the Headlines: Forgotten Fragility in Ethiopia
  • For the Diaspora, Finding Reliable Sources of Information is a Struggle


    As VOA reports due to the politically and ethnically polarized nature of the Ethiopian media environment in the Diaspora coupled with the current information blackout, for those of us who live outside the country “the search for verified, accurate news on the conflict” is an ever growing challenge. As a result “Ethiopians from the country’s roughly 3 million diaspora [find] themselves looking to other, often unreliable sources of information found on social media.” VOA adds: “For the [Diaspora] population, the media void struck right at the moment they most wanted news of what was happening in their home country.” (Photo: Reuters)

  • Ethiopia offers reward for intel on fugitive TPLF leaders
  • Foreign Policy Argument: The War in Tigray Is a Fight Over Ethiopia’s Past—and Future
  • PM Abiy says: “The gov’t is closely following the incident on the Ethio-Sudan border
  • Sudan says officers ambushed by Ethiopian ‘forces’ during patrol
  • Analysis-Spillover from conflict adds to pressure on Sudan
  • Ethiopian soldiers decry betrayal by former comrades loyal to TPLF
  • UN announces $35.6 mln aid for civilians


    In Sudan, many of the refugees from Ethiopia are children. (NYT)


    An Ethiopian refugee holds a child inside a courtesy bus in Sudan December 13, 2020. (REUTERS)

  • Born in Flight: The Youngest Victims of Ethiopia’s War
  • ICRC: We can’t wait for the guns to fall silent to start acting
  • EU delays 90 million euros in aid to Ethiopia over crisis, document shows
  • How War in Ethiopia Impacts Red Sea and Horn of Africa Power Politics
  • Ethiopia’s war-scarred Tigray region regains some services
  • Civilians share their stories as power and phone starts to return
  • PM Abiy Visits Mekelle, says “telecom & electricity currently being restored”
  • First NGO aid gets to Tigray, businesses to re-open
  • Red Cross sends medicines, relief supplies to Mekelle to fortify paralyzed health care facilities
  • Protecting Refugees — and Averting the Next Crisis
  • UN ‘frustration’ at lack of access to Tigray
  • A doctor’s account of Mekelle’s plight
  • The Australian on David Steinman vs Dr. Tedros
  • As War Goes On, Ethnic Harassment Is on the Rise …
  • Sudanese PM visits Ethiopia to discuss Tigray fighting
  • United Nations apologizes to Ethiopia for security violations


    “The UN on Saturday (December 12, 2020) apologized to Ethiopia for a widely reported incident where its staffers breached security checkpoints in the Tigray region,” reports Addis Getachew for Anadolu Agency. “The UN Resident Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs Catherine Sozy apologized for the behavior of the UN staffers, the state-owned Ethiopian News Agency reported citing a statement by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Peace.” (AA)

  • Diaspora Hosts Online Conference on ‘Pandemic & Armed Conflict’
  • PM says the project to rebuild and “restore essential services” in Tigray has began
  • Shifts focus from war to economy
  • Unveils 10 year plan for development, “peace building & institutional transformation”
  • Another draft media proclamation governing “print, broadcast and online” news
  • Expert: No Evidence UAE Drones Are Being Used in Ethiopia’s Tigray Conflict
  • U.S. Insists reports of Eritrean troops in Ethiopia are ‘credible’
  • Survivors recount horrific details of Mai Kadra massacre
  • AP: Shadowy Ethiopian massacre could be ‘tip of the iceberg’
  • Amnesty: International humanitarian aid must be allowed into refugee camps amid food shortage warning


    Refugees from Ethiopia ride a bus going to a shelter in Sudan on Dec. 1, 2020. (AP Photo)

  • UN: Humanitarian workers must be allowed to help in Ethiopia without fear of attack
  • No proof of Eritrean troops fighting in Ethiopia: UN chief
  • UN on conflict’s impact on civilians
  • U.S. senators seek possible sanctions over Ethiopia conflict abuses
  • Law Prof: “I Nominated PM Abiy Ahmed for the Nobel Peace Prize.Then, this happened.”
  • Exclusive: U.S. thinks Eritrea has joined Ethiopian war, diplomats say
  • Ethiopia says U.N. team shot at in Tigray after defying checkpoints
  • Ethiopia’s forces shoot at, detain UN staffers in Tigray
  • Abiy Denies ‘insurgency’ emerging
  • ‘Quickly restore the rule of law,’ urges UN chief
  • Facing War, Virus and Locusts, Ethiopia’s Once-Golden Economy Loses Its Luster
  • Ethiopia’s conflict stokes humanitarian and virus crisis
  • UN, Ethiopia sign deal for aid access
  • Ethiopia’s war of words as divisive as fighting on the ground
  • Journalists struggle through information blackout
  • Victory, defeat and confusion
  • ‘How the conflict made my uncle a refugee in Sudan’: A BBC reporter shares personal story
  • Government Says Member of Tigray Executive Surrenders
  • Sudan says it has arrested one of TPLF leaders
  • Analysis: Why Ethiopia’s Tensions Are Boiling Over in Tigray
  • Pompeo Voices ‘grave concern’
  • Urges Ethiopia to allow “free, safe, unhindered humanitarian access
  • Wounded flood hospitals in Tigray
  • UN appeals for $147 million to support Ethiopian refugees in Sudan
  • PM addresses parliament


    Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Saturday, November 28th that military operations in Tigray have been completed, shortly after he announced federal troops had seized full control of Mekelle. (AP Photo)

  • Abiy says has TPLF leaders in his sights
  • ‘Stop the madness,’ TPLF leader begs PM
  • Abiy relishes victory
  • Rejects claims army killed civilians in Tigray
  • Ethiopia Declares Victory, but Rebel Leaders Vow to Fight On
  • UPDATED: Addis Ababa, Juba denies expulsion of S. Sudan diplomats from Ethiopia
  • Understanding the law-enforcement operation in Ethiopia
  • UN agency says it hopes humanitarian access to Tigray will be granted soon


    An Ethiopian refugee in Sudan listens to a radio. (AFP)

  • Red Cross says hospitals in Mekelle low on supplies to treat wounded
  • Sudan needs $150 mln to tackle Ethiopian refugee crisis
  • With military operations over, hunt for TPLF leaders begins
  • TPLF claims to have shot down Ethiopian plane, taken town
  • US reports several explosions heard in Eritrea’s capital
  • Mission accomplished: Mekelle under control, PM declares
  • Ethiopia claims victory as military takes Tigray capital
  • Ethiopian military operation in Tigray is complete, prime minister says
  • First of four UN humanitarian airlifts for Ethiopia refugees lands in Khartoum
  • War Spirals Into Full-Blown Crisis
  • Amid civil conflict, the future of Chinese investment uncertain
  • Ethiopian forces capture town, move toward Tigrayan capital, senior armed forces officer says
  • PM meets African Union Special Envoys
  • Rejects Tigray conflict talks
  • Rise and fall of TPLF – from rebels to rulers and back
  • Refugees set to run out of food: U.N.
  • Q&A: Conflict in Ethiopia and International Law
  • Analysis: How attempts to unify Ethiopia may be deepening its divides, say analysts
  • How Western Media (and others) are STILL failing Ethiopia
  • The Fight for Mekelle Begins
  • This is ‘final phase’ of offensive, PM says
  • Troops ordered to move on Tigray capital
  • Ethiopia to UN: ‘Adherence to the Principle of Non-Intervention’ Tweeted by PM Abiy
  • Biden’s National Security Adviser Warns of ‘War Crimes’ Risk in Ethiopia
  • Things don’t have to fall apart: The Economist
  • Africa’s ‘hidden world war’: Did AU fail Ethiopia?
  • Why Ethiopia’s Tensions Are Boiling Over in Tigray
  • Constitutional question at the heart of fight
  • African envoys head for Ethiopia as ultimatum expires for assault
  • UN Security Council meets as Tigray battle looms
  • PM rejects international ‘interference’ in war


    Refugees who fled the conflict in Tigray arrive on the banks of the Tekeze River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in Hamdayet, eastern Sudan, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (AP Photo)

  • Amnesty to Ethiopia: Protect civilians in Mekelle offensive
  • Tigray Mai Kadra massacre of civilians is a crime of atrocity: Ethiopian Human rights commission
  • I Was a Child Refugee. Another War in Ethiopia Is Forcing More Children Into the Camps.
  • ‘We just ran’: Ethiopians fleeing war find little relief
  • Ethiopia war destabilising east Africa, warns EU
  • The World Needs to Head Off the Worst in Ethiopia
  • With Ethiopia on brink of escalation, diplomacy in doubt
  • Both sides claim gains in war, TPLF accused of massacre
  • Global alarm grows
  • Chinese flee northern Ethiopia as civil conflict hits region
  • Ethiopia piles war risk on shaky economy
  • Ethiopia says ‘large number’ of Tigrayan fighters surrender
  • Ethiopia Commission Says Tigray Youth Group Killed 600 Civilians in Nov 9 Attack
  • Ethiopian Government and TPLF Are Not Morally Equivalent: By HAILEMARIAM DESALEGN
  • Analysis: Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict reflects unresolved ethnic tensions
  • Ready to die’: TPLF leader rejects call to surrender
  • Fight sparks conflicting narratives as battle rages
  • Government says Mekelle encircled
  • TPLF leader denies Mekelle circled
  • TPLF forces accused of destroying Axum airport
  • These refugees fled a massacre in Ethiopia. They join tens of thousands making the journey to Sudan


    Refugees from Ethiopia wait to register at the UNCHR center in Sudan on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. Tens of thousands of people have fled a conflict in Ethiopia for Sudan, sometimes so quickly they had to leave family behind. There is not enough to feed them in the remote area of southern Sudan that they rushed to. (AP)

  • U.S. briefs reporters on the situation in Ethiopia
  • Alert: Potential Relocation of American Citizens from Mekelle
  • PM gives TPLF 72 hours to surrender Mekelle
  • Civilians told ‘no mercy’ in upcoming Mekelle offensive
  • ‘Save yourselves,’ government says
  • ‘No mercy’ ultimatum stokes international concerns as conflict enters third week
  • PM tweets: Safety of civilians is “paramount importance”
  • Says he will meet African Union Chair “one on one”
  • Rejects mediation; calls reports of AU’s offer “fake”
  • Federal troops take the town of Adigrat
  • Axum and Adwa
  • Push toward Mekelle
  • Who is Debretsion Gebremichael, the man at the heart of the conflict?
  • U.N. Fears Purging of Ethnic Tigrayan Officers From Peacekeeping Missions
  • Internal document shows concern they may face torture or execution
  • Police says nearly 800 TPLF suspects arrested over ‘terrorist’ plot
  • She fled Ethiopia’s fighting. Now she warns of ‘catastrophe’
  • Heartbreaking stories from refugees fleeing violence


    Insecurity in Ethiopia is driving people into Sudan. (© UNHCR)

  • Aid agencies scramble to respond as more people flee to Sudan
  • UN prepares for up to 200,000 Ethiopian refugees in Sudan
  • Latest airstrike hits Tigray university
  • TPLF fires rocket into Bahir Dar again
  • Fake News Alert: Fact-checking misleading images
  • EU fears ‘unravelling’ of Ethiopia
  • Several injured in airstrikes on Tigray capital, humanitarian source says
  • TPLF’s War Against Ethiopia Isn’t About Autonomy. It’s About Economic Power.
  • The Ethiopian Civil War and lessons from Yugoslavia
  • Ethiopia crisis: ‘a political mess that makes fathers fight sons
  • After fleeing to Sudan, Ethiopians from Tigray recount brutal killings
  • As Fighting Rages in Ethiopia, Aid Groups Plead for Access to Refugees
  • A full-scale humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Ethiopia, the UN says


    Refugees who fled the conflict in Ethiopia wait to get cooked rice served by Sudanese local volunteers in eastern Sudan, Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. (AP Photo)

  • UN: Over 25,300 fleeing Ethiopia fighting have reached Sudan
  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemns TPLF, urges de-escalation
  • Ethiopia’s multiple crises: War, COVID-19, even locusts
  • Ethiopia seeks arrest of 76 military officers linked to TPLF
  • Both sides claim military gains as fighting rages
  • Who is spreading fake news on social media?
  • AP: Ethiopia claims WHO chief is backing TPLF without evidence
  • Tedros Adhanom denies claims against him
  • Says he desires only peace in the country
  • U.S. distances itself from accusation
  • Military chief calls him a criminal supporting a rebel region
  • Ethiopian army accuses WHO chief of supporting Tigray forces
  • Ethiopian troops push for Mekelle, TPLF promises ‘hell’
  • Ethiopia says troops close to taking over Mekelle
  • PM vows ‘final and crucial’ offensive


    People read newspapers and magazines reporting on the current military confrontation in the country on a street in Addis Ababa, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. (AP Photo)

  • Ethiopians on streets to hail armed forces
  • Ethiopian Air force targets sites near Mekelle
  • ‘Give us time,’ Ethiopia says of Tigray offensive
  • Resists mediation
  • Ethiopians in America Launch online petition
  • U.S. condemns TPLF’s “efforts to internationalize the conflict’
  • As Ethiopia descends into civil war, civilians are caught in the crossfire
  • Ethiopia seizes town in Tigray, says 10000 prisoners missing
  • Number of refugees fleeing Ethiopia to Sudan surpasses 20,000- UN
  • Ethiopian troops ‘liberate’ key town in Tigray, claim officials
  • Behind the scenes Africa and Europe press for Ethiopia mediation, sources say
  • They Once Ruled Ethiopia. Now They Are Fighting Its Government.
  • Fears of regional conflict in Horn of Africa after rocket attacks on Eritrea
  • Rockets fired at Eritrean capital from Ethiopia, diplomats say
  • Two missiles target airports as Tigray conflict widens
  • Pictures: Fleeing war, Ethiopians cross river into Sudan
  • As Ethiopia’s conflict rages, ethnic targeting turns deadly
  • War crimes feared


    Ethiopian Orthodox Christians light candles and pray for peace during a church service at the Medhane Alem Cathedral in the Bole Medhanealem area of Addis Ababa, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020 (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

  • UN rights chief warns of spiralling situation
  • Amnesty International: ‘Civilians massacred’
  • Ethiopia appoints new Tigray leader
  • First witness account emerges of Ethiopians fleeing conflict
  • UN fears refugee emergency
  • Ethiopia conflict tensions spread as 150 ‘operatives’ held
  • ‘We Can’t Be Beaten,’ Says Leader of Rebel Ethiopian Region
  • Ethiopians Donate Blood, Money to Back Incursion in Rebel Region
  • What’s Happening in Ethiopia Is a Tragedy: By Tsedale Lemma
  • Thousands are fleeing into Sudan to escape deadly conflict in Ethiopia
  • Sudan braces for up to 200,000 fleeing Ethiopia fighting
  • Ethiopia’s Conflict spills over border as thousands flee
  • Misinformation spreads online
  • African Union urges ceasefire
  • PM rejects peace talks
  • Are we at a tipping point?


    (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

  • End of conflict coming within reach, says PM
  • Ethiopia to Talk With TPLF Only Once Weapons Destroyed
  • Ethiopia Sets Conditions for Peace Talks With TPLF
  • PM rejects concerns of a brewing civil war
  • Ethiopian military seizes airport as fighting rages in Tigray
  • Ethiopia says its jets are ‘pounding’ targets in Tigray
  • Hundreds dead in escalating Ethiopian conflict, sources say
  • Pope appeals for peace in Ethiopia
  • PM Reshuffles Top Security Officials Amid Escalating Conflict
  • Clashes in Ethiopian Region Put Horn of Africa on Edge
  • UN Rights Chief Urges Halt to Ethiopia Violence, Dialogue to Restore Peace
  • Ethiopia to replace Tigray region leadership as forces clash
  • Ethiopia: a tragedy in the making?
  • Air strikes in Tigray will continue, says PM, as civil war risk grows
  • Ethiopian Air Force Bombs Military Facilities in Northern Region
  • PM: Airstrikes target TPLF military depots in Tigray
  • PM announces airstrikes in Tigray region
  • Ethiopia says forced into ‘aimless war’ as bombings alleged
  • Ethiopia conflict escalates as army sends more troops to Tigray region
  • Prime Minister says Tigray military ops ‘limited’ as Sudan closes border
  • Abiy vows to disarm ‘fugitives from justice’ in Tigray campaign
  • Tigray region alleges bombings in Ethiopia’s ‘unexpected war’
  • Why Did Ethiopia’s Leader Launch a War on the Tigray Region?

    For Ethiopia’s Diaspora, Seeking News Amid Communication Blackout is a Challenge

    VOA News

    By Salem Solomon

    December 18, 2020

    WASHINGTON – When violence erupted in Ethiopia’s Tigray region between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) last month, those living in the global diaspora scrambled for information.

    The Ethiopian army went into Tigray on Nov. 4, after the government accused local forces of attacking a military base there. TPLF leaders called the federal government’s response a war against the people of Tigray.

    The search for verified, accurate news on the conflict was hampered by authorities preventing many international media organizations from accessing the conflict zone and disruptions to phone and internet connections that resulted in an information blackout. And Ethiopians from the country’s roughly 3 million diaspora found themselves looking to other, often unreliable sources of information found on social media.

    For the country’s migrant population, the media void struck right at the moment they most wanted news of what was happening in their home country.

    Most rely on messaging apps including Telegram, WhatsApp and Viber which provide a “lifeline” connecting the diaspora to people at home, Tewodros Workneh, an assistant professor of global communication at Kent State University in Ohio, said.

    “It’s incredibly difficult if you live in this country [in the diaspora] or in other parts of the world when there is a media blackout in the conflict region right now. It’s really frustrating for diaspora communities,” Tewodros added.

    In the information vacuum, people look to other, often unreliable sources of information.

    “When you cannot hear from your relatives and your friends and family members, what you rely on are third parties,” said Tewodros, who studies media development, including in Ethiopia. “And often times this vacuum is filled by different political interest groups on social media platforms who have no knowledge about what’s going on.”

    Misinformation spread widely during the conflict. Images were shared on social media platforms of old airplane crashes alongside claims they had been downed Ethiopian fighter jets. An image showing a 2015 factory explosion in China was passed off as being from a missile strike by Tigrayan forces against neighboring Eritrea.

    Ethiopia has a range of media outlets run from outside the country. But oftentimes these satellite television networks are politically or ethnically aligned, journalists and scholars said.

    Befeqadu Hailu, executive director of the Center for Advancement of Rights and Democracy based in the capital, Addis Ababa, said that outlets abroad can play an important role but that bias sometimes influences the way they report on events.

    “They have a positive contribution especially in times of repression by the government here [in Ethiopia]. They can be the voice of the silenced here,” Befeqadu said. But, he added, they can sometimes “aggravate” the conversation because of their allegiances, or through using sources or information that are less reliable.

    “I think that the diaspora media is usually more divided than the media organizations that are here,” Befeqadu said. “The diaspora is more divided along ethnic lines, along ideological and political ideological lines, and they show their allegiance without fear.”

    Reeyot Alemu, a journalist for the U.S.-based Ethiopian news website Ethio 360 Media, which reports primarily in Amharic, says some journalists do their due diligence and refrain from becoming swayed along ethnic or political lines.

    “There are gaps created as a result of working from abroad but responsible journalists always verify information using all the means available,” Reeyot told VOA in Amharic. “But there is still a big gap when it comes to applying journalism principles not only caused by physical distance, but also taking sides.

    The challenges of reporting from overseas have been exacerbated during the information blackout.

    The government denied responsibility for the latest internet cuts. A tweet by the Ethiopia State of Emergency Fact Check, which says it provides the latest information on the state of emergency, shared a video on Twitter that it says shows unidentified individuals breaking into the northern region’s office of Ethio-Telecom, the country’s sole internet provider and then “intentionally” disconnecting the network.

    Internet blocks during times of conflict or unrest in Ethiopia aren’t new. Data from NetBlocks, which tracks cybersecurity and internet governance, shows other regions in the country were cut off during protests or violence following major events such as the killing of prominent Oromo artist Hachalu Hundessa in June. In that case, internet service was cut off for 23 days, the nonprofit organization said.

    The government said at the time that social media were being used to exacerbate protests, during which at least 86 people were killed.

    Befeqadu, of the Center for Advancement of Rights and Democracy, said journalists find themselves in a precarious position whenever there is conflict. “Since the military confrontation between the federal government and the Tigray region started, about seven journalists are detained and now in jail,” he said. “So, it is always tough when the government is under scrutiny. To be a reporter or a media affiliate in Ethiopia comes always with a risk.”

    Reeyot, who covers her home country from more than 11,000 kilometers away in the United States, said the struggles are felt from afar.

    “It is not just working from abroad, but the lack of access and internet blackout makes it difficult to follow the current situation, even for someone inside the country. Closing all access is problematic,” Reeyot said.

    Reeyot knows firsthand the risks for journalists in Ethiopia. She served just over four years of a 14-year sentence for terrorism because of her critical reporting for the independent weekly Feteh, before her release in 2015.

    In addition to these challenges, journalists working in the diaspora endure regular threats and accusations of bias. Reeyot says the harassment and intimidation comes from all sides but can be strong from the government.

    Ethiopia had shown signs of reversing its poor press freedom record when Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018. The country was hailed for releasing journalists and political dissidents and the new prime minister last year spoke of the need to open up the media space, while cautioning against the spread of hate speech and fake news.

    But during points of conflict or unrest, including the Tigray fighting, Ethiopia has reverted to blocking access to information, detaining critical journalists or pressuring media who report critically on the government or appear more favorable to opposition, media rights groups say.

    On Dec. 12, the deputy director general of the Information Network Security Agency, Kefyalew Tefera, accused the U.S.-based Oromia Media Network and Ethio 360 Media of collaborating with the TPLF.

    Reeyot, who was imprisoned when the TPLF was in power, said that the accusation appears to be “simply because the media is deemed not to have a favorable view of the government.”

    Accusations of supporting or working for the TPLF have led to an increase in the number of journalists jailed in Ethiopia since the fighting. Figures released by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists showed seven journalists jailed in Ethiopia on Dec. 1—nearly all of whom were arrested in November for coverage of the TPLF.

    What’s Happening in Ethiopia Is a Tragedy By Tsedale Lemma

    Tsedale Lemma is the editor in chief of the Addis Standard.

    NYT

    Nov. 11, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The announcement last week that the government was about to launch a military operation into one of the country’s regions came, to put it lightly, as a shock.

    Not only was it very far from the emollient statecraft that won Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed the Nobel Peace Prize last year, it also seemed to shatter the purpose of his premiership. When he rose to power in 2018, Mr. Abiy promised to guide Ethiopia into a new era of peace, prosperity and national reconciliation.

    But on Nov. 4, he dispatched the Army to Tigray, one of the country’s 10 semiautonomous regions and home to roughly 6 percent of the population, accusing its leaders — with whom he has increasingly sparred — of attacking a government defense post and attempting to steal military equipment.

    And in the days since, Mr. Abiy imposed a six-month state of emergency on the Tigray region, declared its legislature void and approved a provisional replacement. As fighting raged, the internet and telephone networks have been shut down. Hundreds are reported to be dead.

    This is a tragedy. Ethiopia stands on the cusp of civil war, bringing devastation to both the country and the wider region. While the situation is volatile and uncertain, this much is clear: Mr. Abiy’s political project, to bring together the nation in a process of democratization, is over. And much of the blame must be laid at his door.

    After years of persistent anti-government protests, economic troubles and widespread unrest, Mr. Abiy took over a country on the brink of collapse. At least one million people were internally displaced in 2017, according to the United Nations, as the country was shaken by protests from Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups, who together make up nearly two-thirds of the population. Presenting himself as a reformer, the avalanche of changes promised by Mr. Abiy, who took over in April 2018, seemed to avert the worst of the country’s problems.

    But Mr. Abiy overreached. His first cardinal mistake was to sideline the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, for decades the most powerful political force in the country, in the peace he brokered between Ethiopia and Eritrea. By pushing the Tigrayan leadership aside as he sealed his signature achievement, Mr. Abiy made clear the limits to his talk of unity.

    That was a taste of what was to come. Last year, Mr. Abiy moved to dismantle the old political order. Going beyond his original remit, he proposed reconfiguring the coalition that had ruled the country for 27 years — the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Front, or E.P.R.D.F., which itself comprised a gamut of regional parties — into a new, single party.

    The T.P.L.F., which founded and dominated the coalition, was not keen on the change — but Mr. Abiy went ahead with it regardless, creating a rift with the Tigrayans and undermining the country’s delicate political settlement. Far from minimizing the fallout, Mr. Abiy exacerbated it, removing all ministers from the T.P.L.F. from his cabinet.

    By the time the new party was announced, in November 2019, the damage was done. The T.P.L.F., angered by the whittling away of its power and concerned that the country’s federal system was under threat, had not joined. They weren’t alone in their disquiet. In Mr. Abiy’s own region, Oromia, many were skeptical of the new order, while southern Ethiopia splintered into disorder, as multiple administrative zones demanded self-rule. After coming to power on the promise of unity, Mr. Abiy had alienated and frustrated key components of his coalition. Suddenly, he looked vulnerable.

    The coronavirus changed the calculus. The all-important national election, scheduled for August, was postponed; the focus became how to mitigate the damage wrought by the pandemic. But the political problems didn’t go away.

    Read more »

    —-

    Ethiopia says forced into ‘aimless war’


    Ethiopian Orthodox Christians light candles and pray for peace during a church service at the Medhane Alem Cathedral in the Bole Medhanealem area of the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

    The Associated Press

    By ELIAS MESERET

    Updated: November 5th, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia’s army said Thursday the country has been forced into an “unexpected and aimless war” with its well-armed Tigray region, while Tigray asserted that fighter jets had bombed areas around its capital — a marked escalation with little sign of the two sides willing to talk to calm the crisis.

    Ethiopia’s army deputy chief said military forces are being sent to the fighting in Tigray from other parts of the country. “The army will not go anywhere,” Birhanu Jula told reporters, amid fears that the conflict would spill into other regions of Africa’s second-most populous nation. “The war will end there.”

    For his part, the Tigray region’s president, Debretsion Gebremichael, told reporters that “we are in position to defend ourselves from enemies that waged war on the Tigray region. … We are ready to be martyrs.”

    Ethiopia’s government has not commented on the bombing allegation, read out Thursday evening on the Tigray regional broadcaster.

    The strong words came a day after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told the nation the military will carry out further operations this week in response to an alleged deadly attack on a military base by the regional government.

    Observers warn that a civil war in Ethiopia involving Tigray could destabilize the already turbulent Horn of Africa. The prime minister, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his sweeping political reforms, now faces his greatest challenge in holding together a country of some 110 million people with multiple ethnic and other grievances.

    Communications remained cut off in the northern Tigray region after services disappeared at just around the time Abiy’s office first announced the attack and military action early Wednesday. The lack of contact has challenged efforts to verify the Ethiopian federal government’s account of events.

    The Tigray capital, Mekele, appeared calm on Thursday morning but skirmishes took place elsewhere, a source told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media about it.

    Ethiopia’s army deputy chief asserted that members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front are “fleeing and joining the army; those injured are receiving medical treatment.” The army was trying to avoid civilian casualties, he said.

    The Tigray leader asserted that the Ethiopian army’s northern command is siding with the Tigray people, and he confirmed that fighting is also taking place in an area bordering the Amhara region, far from where the original clash was reported. “They are surrounding us with their forces,” he said.

    Verifying either side’s claims remained a challenge.

    “Certainly there is fighting, but I don’t think anyone can credibly assert who attacked who first,” former U.S. diplomat Payton Knopf, a senior advisor with the United States Institute of Peace, told the AP on Wednesday night. He wondered why the well-armed Tigray region’s forces would start by raiding a command post: “They’re not lacking for weaponry.”

    Aid organizations and human rights groups are pleading for communications links to be restored and warning of a humanitarian disaster if hundreds of thousands of people flee fighting in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.


    Ethiopian Orthodox Christians light candles and pray for peace during a church service at the Medhane Alem Cathedral in the Bole Medhanealem area of the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. The head of Ethiopia’s new state of emergency committee, Redwan Hussein, has said the federal government’s conflict is with a “small clique of TPLF circles that are keen to destabilize Ethiopia,” and the government must do everything possible to “liberate the Tigrayan people.” (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)


    AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene

    Ethiopia has imposed a six-month state of emergency on the Tigray region, which played a dominant role in the country’s government and military before Abiy took office in 2018. Since then the region, feeling marginalized, has split from the ruling coalition and defied Abiy by holding a regional election in September that the federal government called illegal.

    Tigray borders Eritrea, which fought a bloody border war with Ethiopia before the countries made peace in 2018, shortly after Abiy took power. The Tigray regional government has accused Eritrea of teaming up with Ethiopia’s federal government in this week’s offensive. Eritrea’s information minister did not respond to a request for comment.

    TPLF officials have said airspace over the region is closed, and accused the federal government of deploying troops to “cow the people of Tigray into submission by force.”

    The TPLF also invited other members of the security forces across Ethiopia to join it in “opposing the colonel Abiy’s regime.”

    The head of Ethiopia’s new state of emergency committee, Redwan Hussein, has said the federal government’s conflict is with a “small clique of TPLF circles that are keen to destabilize Ethiopia,” and the government must do everything possible to “liberate the Tigrayan people.”

    “Given the strength of Tigray’s security forces, the conflict could well be protracted,” the International Crisis Group said in a statement Thursday. “Tigray has a large paramilitary force and a well-drilled local militia, thought to number perhaps 250,000 troops combined.”

    It appears unlikely that Ethiopian forces would quickly oust the TPLF leadership, the group said, and even then loyalists could mount “sustained resistance.” The statement called for “immediate, concerted mediation – local, regional and international.”

    The TPLF over the weekend told the AP it’s not interested in negotiating with the federal government. It was not clear if that stance had changed in light of the new events.

    It also was not clear who might step in to mediate.

    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement overnight seemed to support the federal government’s account of events, saying the U.S. was “deeply concerned by reports that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front carried out attacks on Ethiopian National Defense Force bases in Ethiopia’s Tigray region on November 3. We are saddened by the tragic loss of life and urge immediate action to restore the peace and de-escalate tensions.”

    War Looms in Ethiopia As PM Orders Military Against TPLF


    The statement by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office, and the reported attack by the well-armed Tigray People’s Liberation Front, immediately raised concerns that one of Africa’s most populous and powerful countries could plunge back into war. That would send a shock wave through the Horn of Africa and beyond. (AP photo)

    The Associated Press

    By ELIAS MESERET

    Updated: November 4th, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia’s prime minister on Wednesday ordered the military to confront one of the country’s regional governments after he said it carried out a deadly attack on a military base overnight, citing months of “provocation and incitement” and declaring that “the last red line has been crossed.”

    The statement by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office, and the reported attack by the well-armed Tigray People’s Liberation Front, immediately raised concerns that one of Africa’s most populous and powerful countries could plunge back into war. That would send a shock wave through the Horn of Africa and beyond.

    Addressing the nation on TV, Abiy announced “several martyrs” in the attack in Mekele, the northern Tigray region’s capital, and Dansha town. The prime minister said “the end is near” for the regional force, which is based in Ethiopia’s most sensitive region, neighboring Eritrea. The two countries made peace in 2018 after a long border war.

    The TPLF had been the dominant part of Ethiopia’s governing coalition before Abiy took office in 2018 and announced sweeping political reforms that won him the Nobel Peace Prize last year. Those reforms, however, have opened space for old ethnic and other grievances. The TPLF, feeling marginalized, left the coalition last year. It remains a strong military force, observers say.

    There was no immediate word from the TPLF, and all internet and phone lines were cut in the Tigray region following the announcement. Tigray TV reported that airspace has been closed over the region.

    Ethiopia was already stressed by a dispute with Egypt over a massive Ethiopian dam project that has drawn rare attention by President Donald Trump to Africa, and by a multi-layer crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic, deadly ethnic violence and a locust outbreak.

    Now the greatest test of Abiy’s rule has has come.

    Tigray officials have objected to the postponement of Ethiopia’s national election, once set for August, because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the extension of Abiy’s time in office.

    On Sunday, a senior TPLF official, Getachew Reda, told The Associated Press his side will not accept a negotiation with the federal government.

    “What we need now is a national dialogue, not a negotiation,” he said. The TPLF says the release of detained former officials is one precondition to opening talks.

    In September, people in Tigray voted in a local election, defying the federal government and increasing political tensions. Last month the federal government moved to send funding for the region to local administrations instead of the regional government, angering TPLF officials.

    “This war is the worst possible outcome of the tensions that have been brewing,” William Davison, International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Ethiopia, said Wednesday, urging a ceasefire. “Given Tigray’s relatively strong security position, the conflict may well be protracted and disastrous.”

    Abiy’s statement asserted that the TPLF attacked a military base in Tigray early Wednesday and attempted to take artillery and other equipment. The statement accused the TPLF of arming and organizing irregular militias.

    After months of “extreme patience” by the federal government, “a war however cannot be prevented only on the goodwill and decision of one side,” the prime minister’s statement said. “The last red line has been crossed with this morning’s attacks and the federal government is therefore forced into a military confrontation” to save the country.

    Observers have worried for months about the growing tensions and their implications for the long-turbulent Horn of Africa region, where Abiy cast himself as a peacemaker shortly after taking office.

    A report by the United States Institute of Peace said the fragmentation of Ethiopia “would be the largest state collapse in modern history, likely leading to mass interethnic and interreligious conflict … and a humanitarian and security crisis at the crossroads of Africa and the Middle East on a scale that would overshadow the existing conflicts in South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen.”

    The international community needs to rally around the idea of national dialogue in Ethiopia, the International Crisis Group warned a week ago.

    “The alternative, given the country’s multiple and bitter divides, is a potential march to war that would be catastrophic for Africa’s second most populous country and would send shock waves, and refugees, into other Horn of Africa countries as well as across the Mediterranean,” the group wrote.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

  • GERD UPDATE: Talks Deadlocked Again

    Ethiopia’s foreign ministry said Sudan on Sunday rejected a proposal by South African to meet separately with AU experts, insisting on expanding the role of the experts first. (Photo: Demeke Mekonnen, Minister of Foreign Affairs/@mfaethiopia)

    The Associated Press

    Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia say talks on disputed dam deadlocked

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia failed to achieve a breakthrough in the African Union-led talks to revolve their years-long dispute over the controversial dam that Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile, the three countries announced on Sunday.

    Foreign and irrigation ministers of the three nations met online for the second time in a week in efforts to find an agreed approach to resume their talks focused on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam.

    Sunday’s meeting, held over videoconference, failed to find common ground to more forward, “because of differences over how to resume the talks and procedural aspects related to the negotiating process,” Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement.

    Cairo and Addis Ababa rejected the Sudanese proposal, Egypt’s foreign ministry said.

    Ethiopia’s foreign ministry also said Sudan on Sunday rejected a proposal by South African to meet separately with AU experts, insisting on expanding the role of the experts first.

    Sudan’s Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas said his government insists on maximizing the role of AU experts to have them facilitate the negotiations and bridge the gaps between the three countries, according to Sudan’s state-run SUNA news agency.

    In November, Sudan boycotted talks called by South African, the current chairman of the African Union, and argued that the negotiating approach to resolve the dispute proved unfruitful.

    Key questions in the negotiations remain on how much water Ethiopia will release downstream if a multi-year drought occurs and how the three countries would settle any future disputes. Egypt and Sudan call for a legally binding agreement on the dam’s filling and operation, while Ethiopia insists on guidelines.

    Ethiopia is building the dam on the Blue Nile, which joins the White Nile in Sudan to become the Nile River, and about 85% of the river’s flow originates from Ethiopia. Officials hope the dam, now more than three-quarters complete, will reach full power-generating capacity in 2023, helping pull millions of its people out of poverty.

    Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country with over 100 million people, called the dam an existential threat and worries that it would reduce its share of Nile waters. The country relies almost entirely on the Nile to supply water for agriculture and its people.

    Sudan, in the middle between Ethiopia and Egypt, warries that the dam would affect its own dams, though it stands to benefit from access to possible cheap electricity.

    US Treasury Chief Mnuchin Meets Egypt’s Leader, Discusses Ethiopia’s Dam?


    U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin. (AP photo)

    The Associated Press

    Egypt’s leader meets US treasury chief ahead of Sudan visit

    Updated: January 6th, 2021

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s president met Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin in Cairo, ahead of Mnuchin’s first visit to Sudan since the end of Khartoum’s pariah status.

    The office of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi said in a statement the president and Mnuchin discussed mutual and regional issues, including the latest developments in talks with Sudan and Ethiopia over a disputed dam that Ethiopia is building over the Blue Nile River.

    The statement said el-Sissi appreciated U.S. efforts in the dam talks last year that resulted in a U.S.-crafted draft deal to resolve the yearslong dispute over the massive project.

    The three Nile Valley countries met Sunday in the latest push by South Africa, the current chairman of the African Union, which is mediating a deal between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

    Experts from the three nations and the AU were to meet Monday, but Sudan boycotted the meeting and insisted on a greater role for AU experts in the negotiations.

    Egypt initialed the draft deal, crafted by the United States in February, but Ethiopia did not attend the signing ceremony and accused President Donald Trump’s administration of siding with Egypt. Sudan attended the meeting but did not sign.

    The U.S. has suspended some aid to Ethiopia over the “lack of progress” in the talks and U.S. “concern about Ethiopia’s unilateral decision to begin to fill the dam before an agreement and all necessary dam safety measures were in place.”

    Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam has caused severe tensions between the three nations.

    Mnuchin was scheduled to travel to Sudan’s capital Khartoum on Wednesday to meet with the country’s leaders, according to Sudan’s state-run SUNA news agency.

    It would be the first visit by a senior U.S. official since Washington last month approved the removal of Sudan from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

    SUNA’s report said Mnuchin would discuss with Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the ruling sovereign council, and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok possible U.S. economic aid debt relief. It did not give further details.

    Mnuchin said last month he would work with Congress and the transitional government in Khartoum to advance Sudan’s efforts to secure debt relief in 2021.

    Sudan is on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising led the military to overthrow longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

    Related:

    Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan resume talks over disputed dam

    The Associated Press

    January 3, 2021

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan resumed their years-long negotiations Sunday over the controversial dam Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile, officials said.

    The resumption came six weeks after Khartoum boycotted talks in November, urging the African Union to play a greater role in reaching a deal over the disputed Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam.

    The negotiations have centered on the filling and operation of the giant dam. Key questions remain about how much water Ethiopia will release downstream if a multi-year drought occurs and how the three countries will resolve any future disputes. Ethiopia has rejected binding arbitration at the final stage of the project.

    The foreign and irrigation ministers of the three Nile Valley countries met online Sunday, said Ahmed Hafez, the spokesman of Egypt’s Foreign Ministry. Sudan also confirmed the meeting.

    Ethiopia’s Water and Energy Minister Seleshi Bekele said earlier the meeting was called by South Africa, the current head of the African Union, and that U.S. observers and AU experts would attend.

    Sudan’s Irrigation Ministry said the three counties would hold separate talks with the AU experts and observers before a three-party meeting on Jan. 10.

    In November, Sudan did not attend a round of talks called by South Africa, arguing that the current approach to reaching a tripartite agreement on the filling and operation of Ethiopia’s dam had not yielded results.

    Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas said at the time that the AU should do more to “facilitate the negotiation and bridge the gap between the three parties.”

    Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam has caused severe tensions between the three nations.

    Egypt has called it an existential threat and worries that it will reduce the country’s share of Nile waters.

    The Arab’s world most populous country relies almost entirely on the Nile to supply water for agriculture and its more than 100 million people. About 85% of the river’s flow originates from Ethiopia.

    Ethiopia says the $4.6 billion dam will be an engine of development that will pull millions of people out of poverty. Sudan, in the middle, worries about the effects on its own dams, although it stands to benefit from access to cheap electricity.

    Ethiopia to Trump: We Will Not Give In To ‘Aggression’ In Dam Dispute (UPDATE)


    The $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is a source of national pride in Ethiopia. Without naming Trump or the United States, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office issued a blunt statement on Saturday saying Ethiopia would “not cave in to aggressions of any kind.” (Photo: Maxar Technologies via AP)

    NBC News

    Updated: October 24th, 2020

    Ethiopia denounces Trump remark that Egypt could ‘blow up’ Nile dam

    Ethiopia on Saturday denounced “belligerent threats” over the huge hydropower dam it has nearly completed on the Blue Nile river, less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump said Egypt could “blow up” the project.

    Trump made the comment while announcing that Sudan, which sits downstream from the dam, would start to normalize ties with Israel on Friday.

    “They will end up blowing up the dam,” Trump said, referring to Egypt. “And I said it and I say it loud and clear, they’ll blow up that dam. And they have to do something.”

    The $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is a source of national pride in Ethiopia, aimed at pulling millions of people out of poverty, but it has entangled neighboring east African nations Egypt and Sudan, which also rely on the river.

    Without naming Trump or the United States, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office issued a blunt statement on Saturday, which said the east African nation would “not cave in to aggressions of any kind.”

    “These threats and affronts to Ethiopian sovereignty are misguided, unproductive, and clear violations of international law,” the statement said.

    It added: “As a developing nation, Ethiopia may be confronted with poverty but are rich with history, patriotic citizens whose commitment to defend their country’s sovereignty is unparalleled and an ambition and a well-articulated plan for prosperity.”

    Former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn tweeted on Saturday: “The man doesn’t have a clue on what he is talking about,” calling Trump’s remarks “reckless” and “irresponsible.”

    Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Minister Gedu Andargachew later summoned U.S. Ambassador to Addis Ababa Mike Raynor to seek clarifications on the comments.

    “The incitement of war between Ethiopia and Egypt from a sitting U.S. president neither reflects the longstanding partnership and strategic alliance between Ethiopia and the United States nor is acceptable in international law governing interstate relations,” Gedu’s ministry said in a statement.

    Earlier this year, Trump told the State Department to suspend millions of dollars in aid to Ethiopia because of the dispute over the dam. A move that angered Ethiopians.

    “They will never see that money unless they adhere to that agreement,” Trump said Friday.

    Ethiopia says the colossal dam project could help it become a major power exporter and develop its economy. Egypt depends on the Nile to supply its farmers and population of 100 million with fresh water while Sudan contends with frequent droughts.

    The country celebrated the first filling of the dam in August, to the dismay of Egypt.

    There was no comment from the Egyptian government on Trump’s latest remarks.

    Egypt has repeatedly said it wants to settle the dam dispute through diplomatic channels, but has also said it would use “all available means” to defend the interests of its people.

    The Blue Nile joins the White Nile in Sudan to become the Nile, and about 85 percent of the river’s flow originates from Ethiopia. Officials in Ethiopia hope the dam, now more than three-quarters complete, will reach full power-generating capacity by 2023.

    The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

    Ethiopia says it will not cave to ‘aggression’ in dam dispute


    “Occasional statements of belligerent threats to have Ethiopia succumb to unfair terms still abound,” Abiy’s office said. “These threats and affronts to Ethiopian sovereignty are misguided, unproductive, and clear violations of international law.” (Reuters)

    Reuters

    Updated: October 24th, 2020

    Ethiopia says it will not cave to ‘aggression’ in dam dispute

    NAIROBI (Reuters) – Ethiopia said on Saturday that threats of any kind towards resolving a dispute with its neighbours over the filling and operation of a massive hydropower dam were “misguided, unproductive and clear violations of international law”.

    Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office made no mention of any person or any country in a statement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which is at the centre of a dispute over Nile water supplies.

    But his comment came hours after U.S. President Donald Trump held a phone call with the Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok in which they called for an amicable solution between Ethiopia and Egypt.

    In the call, held in front of reporters at the White House, Trump said he had also told Egypt the same thing, saying it was a dangerous situation and that Cairo could end up “blowing up that dam.”

    Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt have been locked in a bitter dispute over the filling and operation of the GERD, which remains unresolved although the reservoir behind the dam began filling in July.

    “Occasional statements of belligerent threats to have Ethiopia succumb to unfair terms still abound,” Abiy’s office said. “These threats and affronts to Ethiopian sovereignty are misguided, unproductive, and clear violations of international law.”

    The first phase of filling the dam completed in August, Abiy’s office said.

    Related:

    Ethiopia blasts Trump remark that Egypt will ‘blow up’ dam (AP)

    The Associated Press

    By ELIAS MESERET

    Updated: October 24th, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia on Saturday denounced “belligerent threats” over the huge dam it has nearly completed on the Blue Nile River, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump said downstream Egypt will “blow up” the project it has called an existential threat.

    Ethiopia’s foreign minister summoned the U.S. ambassador to seek clarification, saying “the incitement of war between Ethiopia and Egypt from a sitting U.S. president neither reflects the longstanding partnership and strategic alliance between Ethiopia and the United States nor is acceptable in international law governing interstate relations,” a statement said.

    Without naming Trump or the U.S., Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office issued a separate critical statement amid an outcry in Ethiopia over Trump’s latest threat over the dam. The $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is a source of national pride, aimed at pulling millions of people from poverty.

    “The man doesn’t have a clue on what he is talking about,” Former Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn tweeted, calling Trump’s remark reckless and irresponsible.

    Trump made the comment while announcing that Sudan would start to normalize ties with Israel. Downstream Sudan is a party to the talks with Ethiopia and Egypt over the disputed dam. “They (Egypt) will end up blowing up the dam,” Trump said. “And I said it and I say it loud and clear … they’ll blow up that dam. And they have to do something.”

    The U.S. president earlier this year told the State Department to suspend millions of dollars in aid to Ethiopia because of the dam dispute, angering Ethiopians who had accused the U.S. of being biased during its earlier efforts to broker a deal on the project among Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan. Ethiopia walked away from those talks.

    “They will never see that money unless they adhere to that agreement,” Trump said Friday.

    “Occasional statements of belligerent threats to have Ethiopia succumb to unfair terms still abound,” the statement by the Ethiopian prime minister’s office said. “These threats and affronts to Ethiopian sovereignty are misguided, unproductive, and clear violations of international law.”

    It added: “Ethiopia will not cave in to aggressions of any kind.”

    There was no comment from the Egyptian government on Trump’s remarks, but pro-government media covered them extensively. Egypt has repeatedly said it wants to settle the dispute through diplomatic means, but it has said it would use “all available means” to defend the interests of its people.

    Ethiopia celebrated the first filling of the dam in August, citing heavy rains, to the dismay of Egypt. Ethiopia later banned flights over the dam amid concerns over possible military action by Egypt.

    Now, with Trump’s new remarks, some Ethiopians are urging Ethiopian Americans to help vote him out of office in next month’s election.

    Worried by the prospect of further friction between two of Africa’s most powerful and populous countries, European Union representative Josep Borrell said in a statement that “now is the time for action and not for increasing tensions,” adding that a deal on the dam is within reach.

    The statement by Abiy’s office said the talks with Egypt and Sudan have shown significant progress since the African Union has stepped in to oversee them. Trump’s statement could undermine that process, said Abel Abate Demissie, an associate fellow at Chatham House, adding that it proves the U.S. wasn’t an honest broker from the start.

    Ethiopia says the colossal dam could help it become a major power exporter. Egypt depends on the Nile to supply its farmers and a booming population of 100 million with fresh water.

    Negotiators have said key questions remain about how much water Ethiopia will release downstream if a multi-year drought occurs and how the countries will resolve any future disputes. Ethiopia rejects binding arbitration at the final stage.

    A military strike on the dam would be disastrous, one water expert warned. The dam already has more than 4.9 billion cubic meters of water in its reservoir,” Abebe Yirga told The Associated Press. “It will affect thousands of people along the way if this huge amount of water gushes out of the dam.”

    The Blue Nile joins the White Nile in Sudan to become the Nile, and about 85% of the river’s flow originates from Ethiopia. Officials hope the dam, now more than three-quarters complete, will reach full power-generating capacity in 2023.

    Watch: Failing Donald Trump’s Crazy Comments About GERD


    Trump told reporters in the White House today (October 23rd, 2020) that Egypt will “end up blowing up” the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. He added: “And I said it and I say it loud and clear — they’ll blow up that dam. And they have to do something.” We sure hope Egypt is not stupid enough to follow the advise of the failing U.S. President, but you can watch his crazy comments below. (Getty images)

    BREAKING! Donald Trump`s Shocking Remarks About Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

    AFP

    Trump suggests Egypt may ‘blow up’ Ethiopia dam

    Updated: October 23rd, 2020

    Washington (AFP)

    US President Donald Trump on Friday voiced anger at Ethiopia over its construction of a huge dam on the Nile River and appeared to suggest that Egypt may destroy it.

    Trump made the remarks as he announced a breakthrough normalization deal between US ally Israel and Sudan, which like Egypt fears that Ethiopia will use up scarce water resources.

    “It’s a very dangerous situation because Egypt is not going to be able to live that way,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office with leaders of Sudan and Israel on speakerphone.

    “They’ll end up blowing up the dam. And I said it and I say it loud and clear — they’ll blow up that dam. And they have to do something,” Trump said.

    “They should have stopped it long before it started,” Trump said, regretting that Egypt was in domestic tumult when the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project began in 2011.

    Trump — a close ally of Egypt’s general turned president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi — had agreed to Cairo’s pleas to mediate over the dam, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin leading talks.

    The State Department in September said it was cutting off aid to Ethiopia due to its decision to begin filling the dam despite not reaching an agreement with the downstream nations.

    “I had a deal done for them and then unfortunately Ethiopia broke the deal, which they should not have done. That was a big mistake,” Trump said.

    “They will never see that money unless they adhere to that agreement,” he said.

    Ethiopia says that the $4 billion project is indispensible for its electrification and development needs and has voiced hope of beginning operations in early 2021.

    Egypt depends on the Nile for about 97 percent of its irrigation and drinking water.

    Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdulla Hamdok, asked by Trump on speakerphone about the dam, voiced appreciation for US diplomacy and said his government wanted an “amicable solution soon” among the three countries.

    Ethiopia Says GERD Dam Will Begin Generating Power in Next 12 Months


    Water flows through Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda. (Reuters)

    Reuters

    Updated: October 5th, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s giant new hydropower dam on the Blue Nile will begin generating power in the next 12 months, the country’s president said on Monday.

    “This year will be a year where the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will start generating power with the two turbines,” Sahle-Work Zewde said in a speech to parliament.

    Ethiopia is locked in a dispute with Egypt and Sudan over its $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Cairo has said could threaten its main supply of water.

    Ethiopia bans flights over dam for security reasons – aviation chief

    Reuters

    Updated: October 5th, 2020

    By Dawit Endeshaw

    ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia has banned all flights over its giant new hydropower dam on the Blue Nile for security reasons, the head of its civil aviation authority said on Monday, as the president pledged the dam would begin generating power in the next 12 months.

    The move could worsen Ethiopia’s dispute with Egypt and Sudan over its $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Cairo has said could threaten its main supply of water.

    “All flights have been banned to secure the dam,” the director-general of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, Wesenyeleh Hunegnaw, told Reuters by phone. He declined to give more details on the reasons.

    Later on Monday in a speech to parliament, Ethiopia’s president Sahle-Work Zewde said: “This year will be a year where the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will start generating power with the two turbines.”

    She also said that work was underway to enable a second filling of the dam within the next 12 months.

    In July, Ethiopia said it had achieved its first year of filling the dam thanks to rainfall in the area.

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told the United Nations last month that the country has “no intention” of harming Sudan and Egypt with the dam, days after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reiterated his concerns over the project.

    Last week, air force chief Major General Yilma Merdasa told local media that Ethiopia was fully prepared to defend the dam from any attack.

    Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan failed to strike a deal on the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam before Ethiopia began filling the reservoir behind the dam in July.

    The dam is at the centre of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.

    The structure is about 15 km (9 miles) from the Ethiopian border with Sudan on the Blue Nile – a tributary of the Nile river, which gives Egypt’s 100 million people about 90% of their fresh water.

    The United States decided last month to cut $100 million in aid to Ethiopia amid the dispute over the dam. A U.S. State Department official who did not want to be identified told Reuters at the time that the decision to pause some funding to Ethiopia was triggered by concern over Ethiopia’s unilateral decision to start filling the dam before an agreement.

    Related:

    UPDATE: Ethiopia-Egypt War Over GERD Has Already Started. It’s in Cyberspace


    Workers move iron girders from a crane at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. (Getty Images)

    Foreign Policy

    SEPTEMBER 22, 2020, 6:41 AM

    The conflict between Ethiopia and Egypt over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has already started. It’s just happening in cyberspace.

    It took only a few weeks to plan the cyberattack—and a few more to abandon the world of ethical hacking for the less noble sort. But they would do anything for the Nile, the four young Egyptians agreed.

    With that, the group calling themselves the Cyber_Horus Group in late June hacked more than a dozen Ethiopian government sites, replacing each page with their own creation: an image of a skeleton pharaoh, clutching a scythe in one hand and a scimitar in the other. “If the river’s level drops, let all the Pharaoh’s soldiers hurry,” warned a message underneath. “Prepare the Ethiopian people for the wrath of the Pharaohs.”

    “There is more power than weapons,” one of the hackers, who asked not to be identified by name, told Foreign Policy. Also, it was a pretty easy job, the hacker added.

    A few weeks later and thousands of miles away, a 21-year-old Ethiopian named Liz applied red lipstick and donned a black T-shirt and jeans. She positioned her phone on her desk and started her own kind of online influence campaign: a TikTok video. She danced to a popular Egyptian song underneath the message, “Distracting the Egyptians while we fill the dam.”

    “There’s no other country that can stop us,” said Liz, who has more than 70,000 followers on the app and whose taunting video was met with praise and threats. “It’s our right.”

    Rarely have young people been so passionate about an infrastructure project. But the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which will be Africa’s largest, is more than just a piece of infrastructure. It has become a nationalistic rallying cry for both Ethiopia and Egypt—two countries scrambling to define their nationhood after years of domestic upheaval. Many Ethiopians and Egyptians are getting involved in the only way they can—online—and fomenting the first African cyberconflict of its kind, one with far-reaching and long-lasting consequences.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Trump Administration Confirms Cutting Aid to Ethiopia Over GERD (UPDATE)


    (Getty Images)

    The Associated Press

    Updated: September 2nd, 2020

    It was an unusual example of Trump’s direct intervention on an issue in Africa, a continent he hasn’t visited as president and rarely mentions publicly.

    On the guidance of President Trump, the State Department said Wednesday that the United States was suspending some aid to Ethiopia over the “lack of progress” in the country’s talks with Egypt and Sudan over a disputed dam project it is completing on the Nile River.

    It was an unusual example of Mr. Trump’s direct intervention on an issue in Africa, a continent he hasn’t visited as president and rarely mentions publicly. The dam dispute centers on two of Africa’s most populous and powerful nations, Ethiopia and Egypt, and some have feared it could lead to military conflict.

    A State Department spokesperson told The Associated Press the decision to “temporarily pause” some aid to a key regional security ally “reflects our concern about Ethiopia’s unilateral decision to begin to fill the dam before an agreement and all necessary dam safety measures were in place.”

    It is not clear how many millions of dollars in aid are being affected, or for how long. The decision was taken by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “based on guidance from the president,” the spokesperson said.

    There was no immediate comment from Ethiopia’s government. Ethiopia’s ambassador to the United States, Fitsum Arega, this week tweeted that his country was determined to complete the dam, saying that “we will pull Ethiopia out of darkness.”

    Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam has caused severe tensions with Egypt, which has called it an existential threat and worries that it will reduce the country’s share of Nile waters. Ethiopia says the $4.6 billion dam will be an engine of development that will pull millions of people out of poverty. Sudan, in the middle, worries about the effects on its own dams though it stands to benefit from access to cheap electricity.

    Years of talks among the countries have failed to come to an agreement. Key remaining issues include how to handle releases of water from the dam during multiyear droughts and how to resolve future disputes.

    The United States earlier this year tried to mediate the discussions, but Ethiopia walked away amid accusations that Washington was siding with Egypt. Now the three countries are reporting any progress to the African Union, which is leading negotiations.

    Ethiopia had said it would fill the dam with or without a deal with Egypt and Sudan. The dam’s 74 billion-cubic-meter reservoir saw its first filling in July, which Ethiopia’s government celebrated and attributed to heavy rains, while a startled Egypt and Sudan hurriedly sought clarification and expressed skepticism.

    A former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia, David Shinn, had warned against an aid cut, writing that “playing political hardball with Ethiopia will not only fail to obtain Washington’s desired result but will probably ensure that the Ethiopian diaspora in the United States rallies against Trump.”

    Related:

    Cutting Aid to Ethiopia Haunts Trump in Election


    David Shinn, a former US envoy to Ethiopia said playing political hardball with Ethiopia will not only fail to obtain the desired result but will probably ensure that the Ethiopian diaspora in the US will rally against Trump and spoil his chances in the close contest. “There are sizeable Ethiopian-American communities in key states such as Georgia, Texas, and Virginia,” he said. (Image: Tulsa World)

    AA

    Addis Getachew | ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

    Updated: September 2nd, 2020

    Ethiopian-Americans against US cutting $130M aid to Ethiopia to enforce Egypt friendly agreement on sharing Nile waters

    The US has now formally stepped in, to support Egypt and punish Ethiopia over the river water sharing dispute between the two African countries.

    Last week, the Trump administration announced blocking a $130 million aid that had been earmarked to support Ethiopia’s defense and anti-terrorism efforts.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed the cut in aid, ostensibly to build pressure on Ethiopia, a rugged landlocked country in the Horn of Africa.

    While it is not clear to what extent the US decision will affect Ethiopia, but it has united everyone in the country and the diaspora.

    “We have officially requested the US administration that they give us an explanation,” said Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Washington Fitsum Arega, while taking to Twitter.

    David Shinn, a former US envoy to Ethiopia said playing political hardball with Ethiopia will not only fail to obtain the desired result but will probably ensure that the Ethiopian diaspora in the US will rally against Trump and spoil his chances in the close contest. “There are sizeable Ethiopian-American communities in key states such as Georgia, Texas, and Virginia,” he said.

    Ethiopian government led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had earlier rejected an agreement brokered by the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in February related to the filling and operation of the $5billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Ethiopia said the US proposal was heavily tilted towards Egypt.

    Relations between Cairo and Addis Ababa have strained over recent times, over the filling and operation of the dam that has come upon the Blue Nile, one of the tributaries of the River Nile.

    Since June, the African Union has been mediating now to evolve a win-win formula between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt.

    The AU has entrusted its Bureau of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government including South Africa, Kenya, Mali, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to prevent any escalation between these countries. The European Union, the World Bank, and the US continue as observers in the group.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Mike Pompeo is the Worst U.S. Secretary of State in History


    Mike Pompeo’s handing of the Trump administration’s foreign policy “has led to some of the worst diplomatic damage the United States has suffered in decades — especially in relations with its closest allies,” writes The Washington Post’s Deputy editorial page editor and columnist Jackson Diehl. (Photo: The Washington Post)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: August 30, 2020

    As secretary of state, Mike Pompeo has presided over the collapse of negotiations with North Korea, the failure of a pressure campaign against Iran and an abortive attempt to oust Venezuela’s authoritarian regime. On his watch, China has carried out genocide in its Xinjiang region and the suppression of Hong Kong’s freedoms without resistance from Washington until it was too late.

    Pompeo has failed to fill dozens of senior positions at the State Department, and hundreds of career diplomats have left or been driven out in political purges. Morale is at a historic low: In staff surveys, there has been a 34 percent increase between 2016 and 2019 in those who say the State Department’s senior leaders “did not maintain high levels of honesty and integrity.” Maybe that’s because Pompeo himself has defied legal mandates from Congress, skirted a law restricting arms sales to Saudi Arabia, tasked staffers with carrying out errands for himself and his wife, and fired the inspector general who was investigating his violations.

    Last week, Pompeo crossed yet another ethical line by speaking before the Republican National Convention, thereby disregarding the State Department’s explicit legal guidance against such appearances. The speech he delivered was weak and littered with false or simply ludicrous claims, such as that the recent diplomatic accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is “a deal that our grandchildren will read about in their history books.” Maybe if they major in Middle Eastern affairs.

    With his ambitions likely fixed on a presidential candidacy in 2024, Pompeo is undoubtedly hoping most of the diplomatic disasters will ultimately be blamed on President Trump, especially if Trump loses the November election. But the former Kansas congressman should not get off so easy. Yes, it’s Trump’s foreign policy. But Pompeo’s steering of it has led to some of the worst diplomatic damage the United States has suffered in decades — especially in relations with its closest allies.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Pompeo approves plans to halt aid to Ethiopia over Nile dam dispute


    Getty Images

    The Hill

    08/28/20

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved plans to halt some U.S. aid to Ethiopia, Foreign Policy reported on Friday.

    The halt in aid comes as the U.S. mediates a dispute over a dam on the Nile River that’s pitted Ethiopia against Egypt and Sudan, according to Foreign Policy. The decision could impact up to $130 million of assistance to programs including security, counter-terrorism and anti-human trafficking.

    “There’s still progress being made, we still see a viable path forward here,” a U.S. official told the magazine. “The U.S. role is to do everything it can to help facilitate an agreement between the three countries that balance their interests. At the end of the day it has to be an agreement that works for these three countries.”

    The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

    Ethiopia and Egypt are at a standstill in negotiations over how the dam on a tributary of the Nile will be managed.

    Egypt and Sudan, which depend on the Nile for much of their fresh water, are opposed to any development they say will impact the flow downstream, including the 6,000-megawatt power plant Ethiopia hopes to develop at the dam.

    Is the Trump Administration Using Aid to Bully Ethiopia Over Nile Dam?


    It’s too bad that the U.S. has decided to take the wrong side in a local African dispute regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. As the following FP article reports the Trump administration is cutting off “some foreign assistance” to Ethiopia over GERD. The scheme may be intended to tip the scale in Egypt’s favor, but if history is any indication this kind of foreign intimidation does not work in Ethiopia. It’s also worth mentioning that the dam, a $4.5 billion hydroelectric project, is being fully funded by the Ethiopian people. (Getty Images)

    Foreign Policy

    U.S. Halts Some Foreign Assistance Funding to Ethiopia Over Dam Dispute with Egypt, Sudan, Some U.S. officials fear the move will harm Washington’s relationship with Addis Ababa.

    Updated: AUGUST 27, 2020

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved a plan to halt U.S. foreign assistance to Ethiopia as the Trump administration attempts to mediate a dispute with Egypt and Sudan over the East African country’s construction of a massive dam on the Nile River.

    The decision, made this week, could affect up to nearly $130 million in U.S. foreign assistance to Ethiopia and fuel new tensions in the relationship between Washington and Addis Ababa as it carries out plans to fill the dam, according to U.S. officials and congressional aides familiar with the matter. Officials cautioned that the details of the cuts are not yet set in stone and the finalized number could amount to less than $130 million.

    Programs that are on the chopping block include security assistance, counterterrorism and military education and training, anti-human trafficking programs, and broader development assistance funding, officials and congressional aides said. The cuts would not impact U.S. funding for emergency humanitarian relief, food assistance, or health programs aimed at addressing COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS, officials said.

    The move is meant to address the standoff between Ethiopia and other countries that rely on the Nile River downstream that have opposed the construction of the massive dam project, called the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Egypt sees the dam’s construction as a core security issue given the country’s heavy reliance on the river for fresh water and agriculture, and in the past Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has hinted his country could use military force to halt the dam’s construction.

    Some Ethiopian officials have said they believe the Trump administration is taking Egypt’s side in the dispute. President Donald Trump has shown a fondness for Sisi, reportedly calling him his “favorite dictator” during a G-7 summit last year. Officials familiar with negotiations said the Trump administration has not approved parallel cuts in foreign assistance to Egypt.

    Administration officials have repeatedly assured all sides that Washington is an impartial mediator in the negotiations, which mark one of the few diplomatic initiatives in Africa that the president has played a personal and active role in. These officials pointed out that Egypt has accused the United States of taking Ethiopia’s side in the dispute as well.

    “There’s still progress being made, we still see a viable path forward here,” said one U.S. official. “The U.S. role is to do everything it can to help facilitate an agreement between the three countries that balance their interests. At the end of the day it has to be an agreement that works for these three countries.”

    But the move is likely to face sharp pushback on Capitol Hill, according to Congressional aides familiar with the matter. State Department officials briefed Congressional staff on the decision on Thursday, the aides said, and during the briefing insisted that the U.S.-Ethiopia relationship would remain strong despite a cutback in aid because the United States can have tough conversations “with friends.”

    “This is a really fucking illogical way to show a ‘friend’ you really care,” one Congressional aide told Foreign Policy in response.

    Read more »

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Economist Obituary of Agitu Gudeta: The Milk of Human Kindness

    Agitu Gudeta was killed on December 29th. The goat-herder and cheesemaker who became a symbol of integration in Italy was 42. (Photo: Alamy)

    The Economist

    In all the world there was nothing as beautiful as a goat. As she sat among them on the steep wooded slopes of the Valle di Felice, watching them tussle and shimmy in the tall weeds, Agitu Gudeta rejoiced in their long shoulders and strong legs, their compactness and the grace of their horns, curving back like swords. When they came close, for they loved crowding round, she fondled their ears and kissed their noses, stroked their fine hair and basked in the sight of their faces gazing down on her against the clear Italian sky.

    These were not just any goats, but Pezzata Mochena, the ancient piebald race of the high Alpine region near the Austrian border. They came in all goat-colours, but mostly streaked and patched with black or warm red-brown. In 2010, when she bought 15, they were almost extinct; within a decade she had 180, and knew the names and characters of every one of them. So she would chide Cinnamon, as she gently cleaned her udder, for sitting in muck again, and rebuke Kay for trying to climb into her car, and as she led them all out to pasture she would shush them like a congregation of children, blithely twirling her stick in her slim black hands.

    Read more »

    UPDATE: Tributes Paid to Agitu Gudeta: The Ethiopian Farm Owner Killed in Italy


    Agitu Ideo Gudeta, who was killed on Wednesday, used abandoned land to start a goat farming project employing migrants and refugees in Italy. She started with just 15 goats, increasing the herd to 180 in just a few years. She produced organic milk and cheese using environmentally friendly methods. Agitu was attacked and killed, allegedly by a former employee, on her farm in Trentino. (Photo: Reuters)

    The Guardian

    Tributes paid to Ethiopian refugee farmer who championed integration in Italy

    Tributes have been paid to a 42-year-old Ethiopian refugee and farmer who became a symbol of integration in Italy, her adopted home.

    Agitu Ideo Gudeta was attacked and killed, allegedly by a former employee, on her farm in Trentino on Wednesday.

    Gudeta had left Addis Ababa in 2010 after angering the authorities by taking part in protests against “land grabbing”. Once in Italy, she tenaciously followed and realised her ambition to move to the mountains and start her own farm. Taking advantage of permits that give farmers access to abandoned public land in depopulated areas, she reclaimed 11 hectares (27 acres) around an old barn in the Mòcheni valley, where she founded her La Capra Felice (The Happy Goat) enterprise.

    Gudeta started with a herd of 15 goats, quickly rising to 180 in a few years, producing organic milk and cheese using environmentally friendly methods and hiring migrants and refugees.

    “I created my space and made myself known, there was no resistance to me,” she told Reuters news agency that year.

    “Agitu brought to Italy the dream she was unable to realise in Ethiopia, in part because of land grabbing,” Gabriella Ghermandi, singer, performer, novelist and friend of Gudeta, told the Guardian. “Her farm was successful because she applied what she had learned from her grandparents in the countryside.

    “In Italy, many people have described her enterprise as a model of integration. But Agitu’s dream was to create an environmentally sustainable farm that was more than just a business; for her it also symbolised struggle against class divisions and the conviction that living in harmony with nature was possible. And above all she carried out her work with love. She had given a name to each one of her goats.”

    In a climate where hostility toward migrants was increasing, led by far-right political leaders, her success story was reported by numerous media outlets as an example of how integration can benefit communities.

    “The most rewarding satisfaction is when people tell me how much they love my cheeses because they’re good and taste different,” she said in an interview with Internazionale in 2017. “It compensates for all the hard work and the prejudices I’ve had to overcome as a woman and an immigrant.”

    Two years ago she received death threats and was the target of racist attacks, which she reported to police, recounting them on her social media posts.

    But police said a man who has confessed to the rape and murder of the farmer was an ex-employee who, they said, allegedly acted for “economic reasons”.

    The UN refugee agency said it was “pained” by Gudeta’s death, and that her entrepreneurial spirit “demonstrated how refugees can contribute to the societies that host them”.

    “Despite her tragic end, the UNHCR hopes that Agitu Ideo Gudeta will be remembered and celebrated as a model of success and integration and inspire refugees that struggle to rebuild their lives,” the agency said.

    “We spoke on the phone last week’’, said Ghermandi. “We spent two hours speaking about Ethiopia. We had plans to get together in the spring. Agitu considered Italy her home. She used to say that she had suffered too much in Ethiopia. Now Agitu is gone, but her work mustn’t die. We will soon begin a fundraising campaign to follow her plan for expanding the business so that her dream will live on.”

    Gudeta would have turned 43 on New Year’s Day.

    The Tragedy of Agitu Gudeta: An Ethiopian Immigrant Killed on Her Farm in Italy


    Agitu Ideo Gudeta, 42, an Ethiopian migrant who became a symbol of integration in Italy, her adopted home, has been killed on her farm where she raised goats for her cheese business, police said on Wednesday. Agitu had made her home in the mountains of Trentino’s Valle dei Mocheni, making goat’s cheese and beauty products in her farm (The Happy Goat), which was built on previously abandoned land. (Reuters)

    Reuters

    Ethiopian migrant who became symbol of integration in Italy killed on her goat farm

    ROME (Reuters) – An Ethiopian migrant who became a symbol of integration in Italy, her adopted home, has been killed on her farm where she raised goats for her cheese business, police said on Wednesday.

    A Ghanaian employee on her farm in the northern Italian region of Trentino has admitted to killing Agitu Ideo Gudeta, 42, with a hammer and raping her, Italian news agency Ansa reported. The report could not immediately be confirmed.

    Gudeta had made her home in the mountains of Trentino’s Valle dei Mocheni, making goat’s cheese and beauty products in her farm La Capra Felice (The Happy Goat), which was built on previously abandoned land.

    Her story was reported by numerous international media, including Reuters , as an example of a migrant success story in Italy at a time of rising hostility towards immigrants, fueled by the right-wing League party.

    Gudeta escaped from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, in 2010 after her participation in protests against ‘land-grabbing’ angered local authorities. Activists accused the authorities of setting aside large swathes of farmland for foreign investors.

    On reaching Italy she was able to use common land in the northern mountains to build her new enterprise, taking advantage of permits that give farmers access to public land to prevent local territory from being reclaimed by wild nature.

    Starting off with 15 goats, she had 180 by 2018 when she became a well-known figure.

    “I created my space and made myself known, there was no resistance to me,” she told Reuters in a story that year.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    ETHIOPIA UPDATE: Top TPLF Leaders Captured — War, Fake News, Refugee Crisis & Crime Against Humanity

    Sebhat Nega (left), a founding member of the TPLF, was among those who were captured this week. AA reports: "Sebhat is considered a magnate within the TPLF and is known for having built a multibillion-dollar business empire in Ethiopia over the 27 years the group was in power. On Thursday, the army said nine other key TPLF officials had been captured, while four others were neutralized in the ongoing law enforcement operation." (Photo via Twitter)

    Updated: January 12th, 2020

  • Sudan: 6 killed on Ethiopia border
  • Ethiopian military says it killed 15 Tigray rebels, captured 8 others
  • Sebhat Nega: Founding TPLF member surrenders
  • Ethiopia kills 4 core TPLF leaders, arrests 9
  • Report: Hospitals in Tigray struck by artillery
  • Satellite Images Show Carnage
  • UN fears ‘massive’ COVID transmission in Tigray
  • Addis Standard: ‘Gov’t-inter-agencies’ assessment report’ on the situation in Tigray
  • Ethiopian general says Eritrean troops entered Tigray: video clip
  • Ethiopian police release detained Reuters cameraman without charge
  • Tigray crisis: Ethiopia to repair al-Nejashi mosque
  • UNHCR relocates victims of conflict to new site in Sudan
  • IRC scales up emergency response to protect women and children
  • How Did We Get Here? – By Abiy Ahmed


    Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. (Photo: Tadias Magazine)

  • UN Spotlights Refugee Photos: Doctors, Teachers, Artists
  • ‘I Miss Home’: Displaced Children Suffer
  • UN: More Than 2 Million Children in Need of Aid
  • African Union Supports Ethiopia’s ‘legitimate’ actions against TPLF
  • The rise and fall of TPLF as told by its former commander
  • ‘Abandoned’ bomb kills three in Addis Ababa
  • Sudan, Ethiopia to hold border demarcation talks week after clash
  • Sudan’s PM meets Ethiopian leader after cross-border attack
  • PM Abiy confirms he met the Sudanese Prime Minster during IGAD meeting in Djibouti
  • In Pictures: The Conflict in Ethiopia
  • Beyond the Headlines: Forgotten Fragility in Ethiopia
  • For the Diaspora, Finding Reliable Sources of Information is a Struggle


    As VOA reports due to the politically and ethnically polarized nature of the Ethiopian media environment in the Diaspora coupled with the current information blackout, for those of us who live outside the country “the search for verified, accurate news on the conflict” is an ever growing challenge. As a result “Ethiopians from the country’s roughly 3 million diaspora [find] themselves looking to other, often unreliable sources of information found on social media.” VOA adds: “For the [Diaspora] population, the media void struck right at the moment they most wanted news of what was happening in their home country.” (Photo: Reuters)

  • Ethiopia offers reward for intel on fugitive TPLF leaders
  • Foreign Policy Argument: The War in Tigray Is a Fight Over Ethiopia’s Past—and Future
  • PM Abiy says: “The gov’t is closely following the incident on the Ethio-Sudan border
  • Sudan says officers ambushed by Ethiopian ‘forces’ during patrol
  • Analysis-Spillover from conflict adds to pressure on Sudan
  • Ethiopian soldiers decry betrayal by former comrades loyal to TPLF
  • UN announces $35.6 mln aid for civilians


    In Sudan, many of the refugees from Ethiopia are children. (NYT)


    An Ethiopian refugee holds a child inside a courtesy bus in Sudan December 13, 2020. (REUTERS)

  • Born in Flight: The Youngest Victims of Ethiopia’s War
  • ICRC: We can’t wait for the guns to fall silent to start acting
  • EU delays 90 million euros in aid to Ethiopia over crisis, document shows
  • How War in Ethiopia Impacts Red Sea and Horn of Africa Power Politics
  • Ethiopia’s war-scarred Tigray region regains some services
  • Civilians share their stories as power and phone starts to return
  • PM Abiy Visits Mekelle, says “telecom & electricity currently being restored”
  • First NGO aid gets to Tigray, businesses to re-open
  • Red Cross sends medicines, relief supplies to Mekelle to fortify paralyzed health care facilities
  • Protecting Refugees — and Averting the Next Crisis
  • UN ‘frustration’ at lack of access to Tigray
  • A doctor’s account of Mekelle’s plight
  • The Australian on David Steinman vs Dr. Tedros
  • As War Goes On, Ethnic Harassment Is on the Rise …
  • Sudanese PM visits Ethiopia to discuss Tigray fighting
  • United Nations apologizes to Ethiopia for security violations


    “The UN on Saturday (December 12, 2020) apologized to Ethiopia for a widely reported incident where its staffers breached security checkpoints in the Tigray region,” reports Addis Getachew for Anadolu Agency. “The UN Resident Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs Catherine Sozy apologized for the behavior of the UN staffers, the state-owned Ethiopian News Agency reported citing a statement by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Peace.” (AA)

  • Diaspora Hosts Online Conference on ‘Pandemic & Armed Conflict’
  • PM says the project to rebuild and “restore essential services” in Tigray has began
  • Shifts focus from war to economy
  • Unveils 10 year plan for development, “peace building & institutional transformation”
  • Another draft media proclamation governing “print, broadcast and online” news
  • Expert: No Evidence UAE Drones Are Being Used in Ethiopia’s Tigray Conflict
  • U.S. Insists reports of Eritrean troops in Ethiopia are ‘credible’
  • Survivors recount horrific details of Mai Kadra massacre
  • AP: Shadowy Ethiopian massacre could be ‘tip of the iceberg’
  • Amnesty: International humanitarian aid must be allowed into refugee camps amid food shortage warning


    Refugees from Ethiopia ride a bus going to a shelter in Sudan on Dec. 1, 2020. (AP Photo)

  • UN: Humanitarian workers must be allowed to help in Ethiopia without fear of attack
  • No proof of Eritrean troops fighting in Ethiopia: UN chief
  • UN on conflict’s impact on civilians
  • U.S. senators seek possible sanctions over Ethiopia conflict abuses
  • Law Prof: “I Nominated PM Abiy Ahmed for the Nobel Peace Prize.Then, this happened.”
  • Exclusive: U.S. thinks Eritrea has joined Ethiopian war, diplomats say
  • Ethiopia says U.N. team shot at in Tigray after defying checkpoints
  • Ethiopia’s forces shoot at, detain UN staffers in Tigray
  • Abiy Denies ‘insurgency’ emerging
  • ‘Quickly restore the rule of law,’ urges UN chief
  • Facing War, Virus and Locusts, Ethiopia’s Once-Golden Economy Loses Its Luster
  • Ethiopia’s conflict stokes humanitarian and virus crisis
  • UN, Ethiopia sign deal for aid access
  • Ethiopia’s war of words as divisive as fighting on the ground
  • Journalists struggle through information blackout
  • Victory, defeat and confusion
  • ‘How the conflict made my uncle a refugee in Sudan’: A BBC reporter shares personal story
  • Government Says Member of Tigray Executive Surrenders
  • Sudan says it has arrested one of TPLF leaders
  • Analysis: Why Ethiopia’s Tensions Are Boiling Over in Tigray
  • Pompeo Voices ‘grave concern’
  • Urges Ethiopia to allow “free, safe, unhindered humanitarian access
  • Wounded flood hospitals in Tigray
  • UN appeals for $147 million to support Ethiopian refugees in Sudan
  • PM addresses parliament


    Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Saturday, November 28th that military operations in Tigray have been completed, shortly after he announced federal troops had seized full control of Mekelle. (AP Photo)

  • Abiy says has TPLF leaders in his sights
  • ‘Stop the madness,’ TPLF leader begs PM
  • Abiy relishes victory
  • Rejects claims army killed civilians in Tigray
  • Ethiopia Declares Victory, but Rebel Leaders Vow to Fight On
  • UPDATED: Addis Ababa, Juba denies expulsion of S. Sudan diplomats from Ethiopia
  • Understanding the law-enforcement operation in Ethiopia
  • UN agency says it hopes humanitarian access to Tigray will be granted soon


    An Ethiopian refugee in Sudan listens to a radio. (AFP)

  • Red Cross says hospitals in Mekelle low on supplies to treat wounded
  • Sudan needs $150 mln to tackle Ethiopian refugee crisis
  • With military operations over, hunt for TPLF leaders begins
  • TPLF claims to have shot down Ethiopian plane, taken town
  • US reports several explosions heard in Eritrea’s capital
  • Mission accomplished: Mekelle under control, PM declares
  • Ethiopia claims victory as military takes Tigray capital
  • Ethiopian military operation in Tigray is complete, prime minister says
  • First of four UN humanitarian airlifts for Ethiopia refugees lands in Khartoum
  • War Spirals Into Full-Blown Crisis
  • Amid civil conflict, the future of Chinese investment uncertain
  • Ethiopian forces capture town, move toward Tigrayan capital, senior armed forces officer says
  • PM meets African Union Special Envoys
  • Rejects Tigray conflict talks
  • Rise and fall of TPLF – from rebels to rulers and back
  • Refugees set to run out of food: U.N.
  • Q&A: Conflict in Ethiopia and International Law
  • Analysis: How attempts to unify Ethiopia may be deepening its divides, say analysts
  • How Western Media (and others) are STILL failing Ethiopia
  • The Fight for Mekelle Begins
  • This is ‘final phase’ of offensive, PM says
  • Troops ordered to move on Tigray capital
  • Ethiopia to UN: ‘Adherence to the Principle of Non-Intervention’ Tweeted by PM Abiy
  • Biden’s National Security Adviser Warns of ‘War Crimes’ Risk in Ethiopia
  • Things don’t have to fall apart: The Economist
  • Africa’s ‘hidden world war’: Did AU fail Ethiopia?
  • Why Ethiopia’s Tensions Are Boiling Over in Tigray
  • Constitutional question at the heart of fight
  • African envoys head for Ethiopia as ultimatum expires for assault
  • UN Security Council meets as Tigray battle looms
  • PM rejects international ‘interference’ in war


    Refugees who fled the conflict in Tigray arrive on the banks of the Tekeze River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in Hamdayet, eastern Sudan, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (AP Photo)

  • Amnesty to Ethiopia: Protect civilians in Mekelle offensive
  • Tigray Mai Kadra massacre of civilians is a crime of atrocity: Ethiopian Human rights commission
  • I Was a Child Refugee. Another War in Ethiopia Is Forcing More Children Into the Camps.
  • ‘We just ran’: Ethiopians fleeing war find little relief
  • Ethiopia war destabilising east Africa, warns EU
  • The World Needs to Head Off the Worst in Ethiopia
  • With Ethiopia on brink of escalation, diplomacy in doubt
  • Both sides claim gains in war, TPLF accused of massacre
  • Global alarm grows
  • Chinese flee northern Ethiopia as civil conflict hits region
  • Ethiopia piles war risk on shaky economy
  • Ethiopia says ‘large number’ of Tigrayan fighters surrender
  • Ethiopia Commission Says Tigray Youth Group Killed 600 Civilians in Nov 9 Attack
  • Ethiopian Government and TPLF Are Not Morally Equivalent: By HAILEMARIAM DESALEGN
  • Analysis: Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict reflects unresolved ethnic tensions
  • Ready to die’: TPLF leader rejects call to surrender
  • Fight sparks conflicting narratives as battle rages
  • Government says Mekelle encircled
  • TPLF leader denies Mekelle circled
  • TPLF forces accused of destroying Axum airport
  • These refugees fled a massacre in Ethiopia. They join tens of thousands making the journey to Sudan


    Refugees from Ethiopia wait to register at the UNCHR center in Sudan on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. Tens of thousands of people have fled a conflict in Ethiopia for Sudan, sometimes so quickly they had to leave family behind. There is not enough to feed them in the remote area of southern Sudan that they rushed to. (AP)

  • U.S. briefs reporters on the situation in Ethiopia
  • Alert: Potential Relocation of American Citizens from Mekelle
  • PM gives TPLF 72 hours to surrender Mekelle
  • Civilians told ‘no mercy’ in upcoming Mekelle offensive
  • ‘Save yourselves,’ government says
  • ‘No mercy’ ultimatum stokes international concerns as conflict enters third week
  • PM tweets: Safety of civilians is “paramount importance”
  • Says he will meet African Union Chair “one on one”
  • Rejects mediation; calls reports of AU’s offer “fake”
  • Federal troops take the town of Adigrat
  • Axum and Adwa
  • Push toward Mekelle
  • Who is Debretsion Gebremichael, the man at the heart of the conflict?
  • U.N. Fears Purging of Ethnic Tigrayan Officers From Peacekeeping Missions
  • Internal document shows concern they may face torture or execution
  • Police says nearly 800 TPLF suspects arrested over ‘terrorist’ plot
  • She fled Ethiopia’s fighting. Now she warns of ‘catastrophe’
  • Heartbreaking stories from refugees fleeing violence


    Insecurity in Ethiopia is driving people into Sudan. (© UNHCR)

  • Aid agencies scramble to respond as more people flee to Sudan
  • UN prepares for up to 200,000 Ethiopian refugees in Sudan
  • Latest airstrike hits Tigray university
  • TPLF fires rocket into Bahir Dar again
  • Fake News Alert: Fact-checking misleading images
  • EU fears ‘unravelling’ of Ethiopia
  • Several injured in airstrikes on Tigray capital, humanitarian source says
  • TPLF’s War Against Ethiopia Isn’t About Autonomy. It’s About Economic Power.
  • The Ethiopian Civil War and lessons from Yugoslavia
  • Ethiopia crisis: ‘a political mess that makes fathers fight sons
  • After fleeing to Sudan, Ethiopians from Tigray recount brutal killings
  • As Fighting Rages in Ethiopia, Aid Groups Plead for Access to Refugees
  • A full-scale humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Ethiopia, the UN says


    Refugees who fled the conflict in Ethiopia wait to get cooked rice served by Sudanese local volunteers in eastern Sudan, Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. (AP Photo)

  • UN: Over 25,300 fleeing Ethiopia fighting have reached Sudan
  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemns TPLF, urges de-escalation
  • Ethiopia’s multiple crises: War, COVID-19, even locusts
  • Ethiopia seeks arrest of 76 military officers linked to TPLF
  • Both sides claim military gains as fighting rages
  • Who is spreading fake news on social media?
  • AP: Ethiopia claims WHO chief is backing TPLF without evidence
  • Tedros Adhanom denies claims against him
  • Says he desires only peace in the country
  • U.S. distances itself from accusation
  • Military chief calls him a criminal supporting a rebel region
  • Ethiopian army accuses WHO chief of supporting Tigray forces
  • Ethiopian troops push for Mekelle, TPLF promises ‘hell’
  • Ethiopia says troops close to taking over Mekelle
  • PM vows ‘final and crucial’ offensive


    People read newspapers and magazines reporting on the current military confrontation in the country on a street in Addis Ababa, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. (AP Photo)

  • Ethiopians on streets to hail armed forces
  • Ethiopian Air force targets sites near Mekelle
  • ‘Give us time,’ Ethiopia says of Tigray offensive
  • Resists mediation
  • Ethiopians in America Launch online petition
  • U.S. condemns TPLF’s “efforts to internationalize the conflict’
  • As Ethiopia descends into civil war, civilians are caught in the crossfire
  • Ethiopia seizes town in Tigray, says 10000 prisoners missing
  • Number of refugees fleeing Ethiopia to Sudan surpasses 20,000- UN
  • Ethiopian troops ‘liberate’ key town in Tigray, claim officials
  • Behind the scenes Africa and Europe press for Ethiopia mediation, sources say
  • They Once Ruled Ethiopia. Now They Are Fighting Its Government.
  • Fears of regional conflict in Horn of Africa after rocket attacks on Eritrea
  • Rockets fired at Eritrean capital from Ethiopia, diplomats say
  • Two missiles target airports as Tigray conflict widens
  • Pictures: Fleeing war, Ethiopians cross river into Sudan
  • As Ethiopia’s conflict rages, ethnic targeting turns deadly
  • War crimes feared


    Ethiopian Orthodox Christians light candles and pray for peace during a church service at the Medhane Alem Cathedral in the Bole Medhanealem area of Addis Ababa, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020 (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

  • UN rights chief warns of spiralling situation
  • Amnesty International: ‘Civilians massacred’
  • Ethiopia appoints new Tigray leader
  • First witness account emerges of Ethiopians fleeing conflict
  • UN fears refugee emergency
  • Ethiopia conflict tensions spread as 150 ‘operatives’ held
  • ‘We Can’t Be Beaten,’ Says Leader of Rebel Ethiopian Region
  • Ethiopians Donate Blood, Money to Back Incursion in Rebel Region
  • What’s Happening in Ethiopia Is a Tragedy: By Tsedale Lemma
  • Thousands are fleeing into Sudan to escape deadly conflict in Ethiopia
  • Sudan braces for up to 200,000 fleeing Ethiopia fighting
  • Ethiopia’s Conflict spills over border as thousands flee
  • Misinformation spreads online
  • African Union urges ceasefire
  • PM rejects peace talks
  • Are we at a tipping point?


    (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

  • End of conflict coming within reach, says PM
  • Ethiopia to Talk With TPLF Only Once Weapons Destroyed
  • Ethiopia Sets Conditions for Peace Talks With TPLF
  • PM rejects concerns of a brewing civil war
  • Ethiopian military seizes airport as fighting rages in Tigray
  • Ethiopia says its jets are ‘pounding’ targets in Tigray
  • Hundreds dead in escalating Ethiopian conflict, sources say
  • Pope appeals for peace in Ethiopia
  • PM Reshuffles Top Security Officials Amid Escalating Conflict
  • Clashes in Ethiopian Region Put Horn of Africa on Edge
  • UN Rights Chief Urges Halt to Ethiopia Violence, Dialogue to Restore Peace
  • Ethiopia to replace Tigray region leadership as forces clash
  • Ethiopia: a tragedy in the making?
  • Air strikes in Tigray will continue, says PM, as civil war risk grows
  • Ethiopian Air Force Bombs Military Facilities in Northern Region
  • PM: Airstrikes target TPLF military depots in Tigray
  • PM announces airstrikes in Tigray region
  • Ethiopia says forced into ‘aimless war’ as bombings alleged
  • Ethiopia conflict escalates as army sends more troops to Tigray region
  • Prime Minister says Tigray military ops ‘limited’ as Sudan closes border
  • Abiy vows to disarm ‘fugitives from justice’ in Tigray campaign
  • Tigray region alleges bombings in Ethiopia’s ‘unexpected war’
  • Why Did Ethiopia’s Leader Launch a War on the Tigray Region?

    For Ethiopia’s Diaspora, Seeking News Amid Communication Blackout is a Challenge

    VOA News

    By Salem Solomon

    December 18, 2020

    WASHINGTON – When violence erupted in Ethiopia’s Tigray region between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) last month, those living in the global diaspora scrambled for information.

    The Ethiopian army went into Tigray on Nov. 4, after the government accused local forces of attacking a military base there. TPLF leaders called the federal government’s response a war against the people of Tigray.

    The search for verified, accurate news on the conflict was hampered by authorities preventing many international media organizations from accessing the conflict zone and disruptions to phone and internet connections that resulted in an information blackout. And Ethiopians from the country’s roughly 3 million diaspora found themselves looking to other, often unreliable sources of information found on social media.

    For the country’s migrant population, the media void struck right at the moment they most wanted news of what was happening in their home country.

    Most rely on messaging apps including Telegram, WhatsApp and Viber which provide a “lifeline” connecting the diaspora to people at home, Tewodros Workneh, an assistant professor of global communication at Kent State University in Ohio, said.

    “It’s incredibly difficult if you live in this country [in the diaspora] or in other parts of the world when there is a media blackout in the conflict region right now. It’s really frustrating for diaspora communities,” Tewodros added.

    In the information vacuum, people look to other, often unreliable sources of information.

    “When you cannot hear from your relatives and your friends and family members, what you rely on are third parties,” said Tewodros, who studies media development, including in Ethiopia. “And often times this vacuum is filled by different political interest groups on social media platforms who have no knowledge about what’s going on.”

    Misinformation spread widely during the conflict. Images were shared on social media platforms of old airplane crashes alongside claims they had been downed Ethiopian fighter jets. An image showing a 2015 factory explosion in China was passed off as being from a missile strike by Tigrayan forces against neighboring Eritrea.

    Ethiopia has a range of media outlets run from outside the country. But oftentimes these satellite television networks are politically or ethnically aligned, journalists and scholars said.

    Befeqadu Hailu, executive director of the Center for Advancement of Rights and Democracy based in the capital, Addis Ababa, said that outlets abroad can play an important role but that bias sometimes influences the way they report on events.

    “They have a positive contribution especially in times of repression by the government here [in Ethiopia]. They can be the voice of the silenced here,” Befeqadu said. But, he added, they can sometimes “aggravate” the conversation because of their allegiances, or through using sources or information that are less reliable.

    “I think that the diaspora media is usually more divided than the media organizations that are here,” Befeqadu said. “The diaspora is more divided along ethnic lines, along ideological and political ideological lines, and they show their allegiance without fear.”

    Reeyot Alemu, a journalist for the U.S.-based Ethiopian news website Ethio 360 Media, which reports primarily in Amharic, says some journalists do their due diligence and refrain from becoming swayed along ethnic or political lines.

    “There are gaps created as a result of working from abroad but responsible journalists always verify information using all the means available,” Reeyot told VOA in Amharic. “But there is still a big gap when it comes to applying journalism principles not only caused by physical distance, but also taking sides.

    The challenges of reporting from overseas have been exacerbated during the information blackout.

    The government denied responsibility for the latest internet cuts. A tweet by the Ethiopia State of Emergency Fact Check, which says it provides the latest information on the state of emergency, shared a video on Twitter that it says shows unidentified individuals breaking into the northern region’s office of Ethio-Telecom, the country’s sole internet provider and then “intentionally” disconnecting the network.

    Internet blocks during times of conflict or unrest in Ethiopia aren’t new. Data from NetBlocks, which tracks cybersecurity and internet governance, shows other regions in the country were cut off during protests or violence following major events such as the killing of prominent Oromo artist Hachalu Hundessa in June. In that case, internet service was cut off for 23 days, the nonprofit organization said.

    The government said at the time that social media were being used to exacerbate protests, during which at least 86 people were killed.

    Befeqadu, of the Center for Advancement of Rights and Democracy, said journalists find themselves in a precarious position whenever there is conflict. “Since the military confrontation between the federal government and the Tigray region started, about seven journalists are detained and now in jail,” he said. “So, it is always tough when the government is under scrutiny. To be a reporter or a media affiliate in Ethiopia comes always with a risk.”

    Reeyot, who covers her home country from more than 11,000 kilometers away in the United States, said the struggles are felt from afar.

    “It is not just working from abroad, but the lack of access and internet blackout makes it difficult to follow the current situation, even for someone inside the country. Closing all access is problematic,” Reeyot said.

    Reeyot knows firsthand the risks for journalists in Ethiopia. She served just over four years of a 14-year sentence for terrorism because of her critical reporting for the independent weekly Feteh, before her release in 2015.

    In addition to these challenges, journalists working in the diaspora endure regular threats and accusations of bias. Reeyot says the harassment and intimidation comes from all sides but can be strong from the government.

    Ethiopia had shown signs of reversing its poor press freedom record when Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018. The country was hailed for releasing journalists and political dissidents and the new prime minister last year spoke of the need to open up the media space, while cautioning against the spread of hate speech and fake news.

    But during points of conflict or unrest, including the Tigray fighting, Ethiopia has reverted to blocking access to information, detaining critical journalists or pressuring media who report critically on the government or appear more favorable to opposition, media rights groups say.

    On Dec. 12, the deputy director general of the Information Network Security Agency, Kefyalew Tefera, accused the U.S.-based Oromia Media Network and Ethio 360 Media of collaborating with the TPLF.

    Reeyot, who was imprisoned when the TPLF was in power, said that the accusation appears to be “simply because the media is deemed not to have a favorable view of the government.”

    Accusations of supporting or working for the TPLF have led to an increase in the number of journalists jailed in Ethiopia since the fighting. Figures released by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists showed seven journalists jailed in Ethiopia on Dec. 1—nearly all of whom were arrested in November for coverage of the TPLF.

    What’s Happening in Ethiopia Is a Tragedy By Tsedale Lemma

    Tsedale Lemma is the editor in chief of the Addis Standard.

    NYT

    Nov. 11, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The announcement last week that the government was about to launch a military operation into one of the country’s regions came, to put it lightly, as a shock.

    Not only was it very far from the emollient statecraft that won Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed the Nobel Peace Prize last year, it also seemed to shatter the purpose of his premiership. When he rose to power in 2018, Mr. Abiy promised to guide Ethiopia into a new era of peace, prosperity and national reconciliation.

    But on Nov. 4, he dispatched the Army to Tigray, one of the country’s 10 semiautonomous regions and home to roughly 6 percent of the population, accusing its leaders — with whom he has increasingly sparred — of attacking a government defense post and attempting to steal military equipment.

    And in the days since, Mr. Abiy imposed a six-month state of emergency on the Tigray region, declared its legislature void and approved a provisional replacement. As fighting raged, the internet and telephone networks have been shut down. Hundreds are reported to be dead.

    This is a tragedy. Ethiopia stands on the cusp of civil war, bringing devastation to both the country and the wider region. While the situation is volatile and uncertain, this much is clear: Mr. Abiy’s political project, to bring together the nation in a process of democratization, is over. And much of the blame must be laid at his door.

    After years of persistent anti-government protests, economic troubles and widespread unrest, Mr. Abiy took over a country on the brink of collapse. At least one million people were internally displaced in 2017, according to the United Nations, as the country was shaken by protests from Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups, who together make up nearly two-thirds of the population. Presenting himself as a reformer, the avalanche of changes promised by Mr. Abiy, who took over in April 2018, seemed to avert the worst of the country’s problems.

    But Mr. Abiy overreached. His first cardinal mistake was to sideline the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, for decades the most powerful political force in the country, in the peace he brokered between Ethiopia and Eritrea. By pushing the Tigrayan leadership aside as he sealed his signature achievement, Mr. Abiy made clear the limits to his talk of unity.

    That was a taste of what was to come. Last year, Mr. Abiy moved to dismantle the old political order. Going beyond his original remit, he proposed reconfiguring the coalition that had ruled the country for 27 years — the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Front, or E.P.R.D.F., which itself comprised a gamut of regional parties — into a new, single party.

    The T.P.L.F., which founded and dominated the coalition, was not keen on the change — but Mr. Abiy went ahead with it regardless, creating a rift with the Tigrayans and undermining the country’s delicate political settlement. Far from minimizing the fallout, Mr. Abiy exacerbated it, removing all ministers from the T.P.L.F. from his cabinet.

    By the time the new party was announced, in November 2019, the damage was done. The T.P.L.F., angered by the whittling away of its power and concerned that the country’s federal system was under threat, had not joined. They weren’t alone in their disquiet. In Mr. Abiy’s own region, Oromia, many were skeptical of the new order, while southern Ethiopia splintered into disorder, as multiple administrative zones demanded self-rule. After coming to power on the promise of unity, Mr. Abiy had alienated and frustrated key components of his coalition. Suddenly, he looked vulnerable.

    The coronavirus changed the calculus. The all-important national election, scheduled for August, was postponed; the focus became how to mitigate the damage wrought by the pandemic. But the political problems didn’t go away.

    Read more »

    —-

    Ethiopia says forced into ‘aimless war’


    Ethiopian Orthodox Christians light candles and pray for peace during a church service at the Medhane Alem Cathedral in the Bole Medhanealem area of the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

    The Associated Press

    By ELIAS MESERET

    Updated: November 5th, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia’s army said Thursday the country has been forced into an “unexpected and aimless war” with its well-armed Tigray region, while Tigray asserted that fighter jets had bombed areas around its capital — a marked escalation with little sign of the two sides willing to talk to calm the crisis.

    Ethiopia’s army deputy chief said military forces are being sent to the fighting in Tigray from other parts of the country. “The army will not go anywhere,” Birhanu Jula told reporters, amid fears that the conflict would spill into other regions of Africa’s second-most populous nation. “The war will end there.”

    For his part, the Tigray region’s president, Debretsion Gebremichael, told reporters that “we are in position to defend ourselves from enemies that waged war on the Tigray region. … We are ready to be martyrs.”

    Ethiopia’s government has not commented on the bombing allegation, read out Thursday evening on the Tigray regional broadcaster.

    The strong words came a day after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told the nation the military will carry out further operations this week in response to an alleged deadly attack on a military base by the regional government.

    Observers warn that a civil war in Ethiopia involving Tigray could destabilize the already turbulent Horn of Africa. The prime minister, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his sweeping political reforms, now faces his greatest challenge in holding together a country of some 110 million people with multiple ethnic and other grievances.

    Communications remained cut off in the northern Tigray region after services disappeared at just around the time Abiy’s office first announced the attack and military action early Wednesday. The lack of contact has challenged efforts to verify the Ethiopian federal government’s account of events.

    The Tigray capital, Mekele, appeared calm on Thursday morning but skirmishes took place elsewhere, a source told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media about it.

    Ethiopia’s army deputy chief asserted that members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front are “fleeing and joining the army; those injured are receiving medical treatment.” The army was trying to avoid civilian casualties, he said.

    The Tigray leader asserted that the Ethiopian army’s northern command is siding with the Tigray people, and he confirmed that fighting is also taking place in an area bordering the Amhara region, far from where the original clash was reported. “They are surrounding us with their forces,” he said.

    Verifying either side’s claims remained a challenge.

    “Certainly there is fighting, but I don’t think anyone can credibly assert who attacked who first,” former U.S. diplomat Payton Knopf, a senior advisor with the United States Institute of Peace, told the AP on Wednesday night. He wondered why the well-armed Tigray region’s forces would start by raiding a command post: “They’re not lacking for weaponry.”

    Aid organizations and human rights groups are pleading for communications links to be restored and warning of a humanitarian disaster if hundreds of thousands of people flee fighting in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.


    Ethiopian Orthodox Christians light candles and pray for peace during a church service at the Medhane Alem Cathedral in the Bole Medhanealem area of the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. The head of Ethiopia’s new state of emergency committee, Redwan Hussein, has said the federal government’s conflict is with a “small clique of TPLF circles that are keen to destabilize Ethiopia,” and the government must do everything possible to “liberate the Tigrayan people.” (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)


    AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene

    Ethiopia has imposed a six-month state of emergency on the Tigray region, which played a dominant role in the country’s government and military before Abiy took office in 2018. Since then the region, feeling marginalized, has split from the ruling coalition and defied Abiy by holding a regional election in September that the federal government called illegal.

    Tigray borders Eritrea, which fought a bloody border war with Ethiopia before the countries made peace in 2018, shortly after Abiy took power. The Tigray regional government has accused Eritrea of teaming up with Ethiopia’s federal government in this week’s offensive. Eritrea’s information minister did not respond to a request for comment.

    TPLF officials have said airspace over the region is closed, and accused the federal government of deploying troops to “cow the people of Tigray into submission by force.”

    The TPLF also invited other members of the security forces across Ethiopia to join it in “opposing the colonel Abiy’s regime.”

    The head of Ethiopia’s new state of emergency committee, Redwan Hussein, has said the federal government’s conflict is with a “small clique of TPLF circles that are keen to destabilize Ethiopia,” and the government must do everything possible to “liberate the Tigrayan people.”

    “Given the strength of Tigray’s security forces, the conflict could well be protracted,” the International Crisis Group said in a statement Thursday. “Tigray has a large paramilitary force and a well-drilled local militia, thought to number perhaps 250,000 troops combined.”

    It appears unlikely that Ethiopian forces would quickly oust the TPLF leadership, the group said, and even then loyalists could mount “sustained resistance.” The statement called for “immediate, concerted mediation – local, regional and international.”

    The TPLF over the weekend told the AP it’s not interested in negotiating with the federal government. It was not clear if that stance had changed in light of the new events.

    It also was not clear who might step in to mediate.

    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement overnight seemed to support the federal government’s account of events, saying the U.S. was “deeply concerned by reports that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front carried out attacks on Ethiopian National Defense Force bases in Ethiopia’s Tigray region on November 3. We are saddened by the tragic loss of life and urge immediate action to restore the peace and de-escalate tensions.”

    War Looms in Ethiopia As PM Orders Military Against TPLF


    The statement by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office, and the reported attack by the well-armed Tigray People’s Liberation Front, immediately raised concerns that one of Africa’s most populous and powerful countries could plunge back into war. That would send a shock wave through the Horn of Africa and beyond. (AP photo)

    The Associated Press

    By ELIAS MESERET

    Updated: November 4th, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia’s prime minister on Wednesday ordered the military to confront one of the country’s regional governments after he said it carried out a deadly attack on a military base overnight, citing months of “provocation and incitement” and declaring that “the last red line has been crossed.”

    The statement by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office, and the reported attack by the well-armed Tigray People’s Liberation Front, immediately raised concerns that one of Africa’s most populous and powerful countries could plunge back into war. That would send a shock wave through the Horn of Africa and beyond.

    Addressing the nation on TV, Abiy announced “several martyrs” in the attack in Mekele, the northern Tigray region’s capital, and Dansha town. The prime minister said “the end is near” for the regional force, which is based in Ethiopia’s most sensitive region, neighboring Eritrea. The two countries made peace in 2018 after a long border war.

    The TPLF had been the dominant part of Ethiopia’s governing coalition before Abiy took office in 2018 and announced sweeping political reforms that won him the Nobel Peace Prize last year. Those reforms, however, have opened space for old ethnic and other grievances. The TPLF, feeling marginalized, left the coalition last year. It remains a strong military force, observers say.

    There was no immediate word from the TPLF, and all internet and phone lines were cut in the Tigray region following the announcement. Tigray TV reported that airspace has been closed over the region.

    Ethiopia was already stressed by a dispute with Egypt over a massive Ethiopian dam project that has drawn rare attention by President Donald Trump to Africa, and by a multi-layer crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic, deadly ethnic violence and a locust outbreak.

    Now the greatest test of Abiy’s rule has has come.

    Tigray officials have objected to the postponement of Ethiopia’s national election, once set for August, because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the extension of Abiy’s time in office.

    On Sunday, a senior TPLF official, Getachew Reda, told The Associated Press his side will not accept a negotiation with the federal government.

    “What we need now is a national dialogue, not a negotiation,” he said. The TPLF says the release of detained former officials is one precondition to opening talks.

    In September, people in Tigray voted in a local election, defying the federal government and increasing political tensions. Last month the federal government moved to send funding for the region to local administrations instead of the regional government, angering TPLF officials.

    “This war is the worst possible outcome of the tensions that have been brewing,” William Davison, International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Ethiopia, said Wednesday, urging a ceasefire. “Given Tigray’s relatively strong security position, the conflict may well be protracted and disastrous.”

    Abiy’s statement asserted that the TPLF attacked a military base in Tigray early Wednesday and attempted to take artillery and other equipment. The statement accused the TPLF of arming and organizing irregular militias.

    After months of “extreme patience” by the federal government, “a war however cannot be prevented only on the goodwill and decision of one side,” the prime minister’s statement said. “The last red line has been crossed with this morning’s attacks and the federal government is therefore forced into a military confrontation” to save the country.

    Observers have worried for months about the growing tensions and their implications for the long-turbulent Horn of Africa region, where Abiy cast himself as a peacemaker shortly after taking office.

    A report by the United States Institute of Peace said the fragmentation of Ethiopia “would be the largest state collapse in modern history, likely leading to mass interethnic and interreligious conflict … and a humanitarian and security crisis at the crossroads of Africa and the Middle East on a scale that would overshadow the existing conflicts in South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen.”

    The international community needs to rally around the idea of national dialogue in Ethiopia, the International Crisis Group warned a week ago.

    “The alternative, given the country’s multiple and bitter divides, is a potential march to war that would be catastrophic for Africa’s second most populous country and would send shock waves, and refugees, into other Horn of Africa countries as well as across the Mediterranean,” the group wrote.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

  • WATCH: An Ethiopian Immigrant’s Perspective on Chaos at US Capitol

    While most Americans have never seen anything like what happened at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, the scene was sadly familiar for some immigrants and refugees. “What just happened today in the Capitol, just kind of reminds me of what our parents went through... in the 70s,” said Endale Getahun, who immigrated from Ethiopia to the U.S. in the early 1980s, when he was 10 years old [and now] runs an immigrant and refugee-focused community radio station in Aurora, Colorado. (ABC News)

    Channel 13, ABC News Now

    AURORA, Colo. — Immigrants who came to America fleeing political upheaval and violence in their home countries saw political violence on American soil Wednesday.

    For many, it was shocking.

    “What just happened today in the Capitol, just kind of reminds me of what our parents went through… in the 70s,” said Endale Getahun, who immigrated from Ethiopia to the U.S. in the early 1980s, when he was 10 years old.

    Getahun describes that as a time of political upheaval and conflict in his home country. Conflict continues today, with recent violence between the country’s government and the region of Tigray.

    Like so many other immigrants, Getahun’s family came to America looking for peace and stability. Watching images of chaos on Wednesday was unsettling.

    “I think it’s very shocking, to happen in this world, in a democratic country, which welcomes everyone to be safe from chaos – not just from Ethiopia but all over the world. The United States is a symbol of democracy, freedom, a dream to achieve,” he said.

    Getahun runs an immigrant and refugee-focused community radio station in Aurora, KETO FM. He said Wednesday, the conversation covered the U.S. Capitol takeover.

    Getahun can offer an immigrant’s perspective on those developments.

    “The other side of the world has experienced this kind of chaotic government takeover and the U.S. was the one that comes back and helps those countries,” he said. “So I think this is a very testing moment for all of us, including the American citizens as well.”

    Getahun said it’s up to U.S. leaders, specifically President Donald Trump, to calm the country and ensure people are safe.

    “Words matter,” he said.

    —-

    The Latest:

    Updated: January 7th, 2021

  • After chaos, calls for Trump’s removal as top officials resign
  • Congress affirms Biden’s presidential win following riot at U.S. Capitol
  • The grand finale of the Trump show: America watches farce devolve to horror
  • Explainer: How could Trump be removed from office before his term ends on Jan. 20?
  • Social platforms flex their power, lock down Trump accounts

    World Watches US Chaos with Shock, Dismay and Some Mockery

    The Associated Press

    PARIS (AP) — As the world watched American institutions shaken to the core by an angry mob, officials and ordinary citizens wondered: How fragile is democracy, and how much stress could their own political systems withstand?

    “If it can happen in the U.S., it can happen anywhere,” said Gunjan Chhibber, a 39-year-old who works for an American tech company in India, the world’s largest democracy. She stayed up all night, watching and worrying at her home in Delhi as the chaos unfolded many time zones away.

    In Germany, whose modern system of governance was nurtured by successive American administrations, Chancellor Angela Merkel was unusually blunt Thursday, drawing a direct line from President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede his election defeat to the atmosphere that made the storming of the U.S. Capitol by his supporters possible.

    “A fundamental rule of democracy is that, after elections, there are winners and losers. Both have to play their role with decency and responsibility so that democracy itself remains the winner,” Merkel said.

    Eva Sakschewska, a German who followed the news closely, said the events in Washington were almost inconceivable.

    “You can only fear how far this can go when populists come to power and do such things,” she said. “You know that in the U.S., democracy has a long history and that it comes to something like that – yes one is afraid.”

    Even the United Nations offered up the kind of statement usually reserved for fragile democracies, expressing sadness and calling on unidentified political leaders to foster respect for “democratic processes and the rule of law.”

    In Iraq, where the violent U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 led to years of sectarian conflict and a deeply flawed democracy, many watched and marveled at the scenes unfolding in Congress.

    Iraqis have suffered for years under power-sharing arrangements among competing elites divided along sectarian lines. Backroom deals are common to avoid political paralysis, and democratic ideals have been tainted by an entrenched system of patronage through which state jobs are doled out in exchange for support. Political parties also have affiliated militias that wield significant power on the street. From afar, the violence in Washington had a contemptible familiarity.

    “Iraq calls on the U.S. regime to respect the principles of democracy, or it will intervene militarily to bring down the dictator,” said Mustafa Habib, a well-known Iraqi analyst and researcher, in a tweet that mocked Washington’s actions abroad.

    Venezuela, which is under U.S. sanctions, said the events showed that the U.S. “is suffering what it has generated in other countries with its politics of aggression.”

    Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has survived U.S.-backed opposition efforts to oust him despite accusations of human rights abuses, civil unrest and a humanitarian crisis that has forced millions to flee the oil-rich country.

    “We exported so much democracy that we don’t have any left,” American-Palestinian scholar Yousef Monayyer wrote on Twitter, the social network favored by Trump until he was locked out of it late Wednesday.

    His comment joined the growing strain of sarcasm bordering on schadenfreude from those who have long resented the perceived American tendency to chastise other countries for less-than-perfect adherence to democratic ideals.

    This time, however, it was an attempt by Americans to stop a peaceful transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden after a democratic election in a country that many around the world have looked at as a model for democratic governance.

    In China, which has had constant friction with Washington over trade, as well as military and political issues, people were scathing in their criticism of Trump and his supporters, citing both the coronavirus pandemic and the mob action.

    Communist-ruled China has long accused the U.S. of hypocrisy in its efforts to promote democracy and advocate for human rights overseas.

    The Communist Youth League ran a photo montage of the Capitol violence on its Twitter-like Weibo microblog with the caption: “On the sixth, the U.S. Congress, a most beautiful site to behold.” That appeared to mock House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her June 2019 comments in praise of sometimes- violent anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

    “The U.S. is not as safe as China, right? I think Trump is a self-righteous and selfish person,” said financial adviser Yang Ming.

    Iran, which faces routine U.S. criticism over violations of human rights and democratic values, jumped on the chaos as proof of American hypocrisy.

    The semiofficial Fars news agency called the United States a “fragmented democracy,” while Iran’s pro-government Twitter accounts gloated, circulating photos of the mobs with hashtags that included #DownfalloftheUS.

    The events tarnished the American insistence that it is a bastion of democracy for countries that have only in recent decades, in some cases, given up autocratic or military-controlled forms of government.

    “The beauty of democracy?” with a shrug emoji was the reaction tweeted by Bashir Ahmad, a personal assistant to the president of Nigeria, which has seen several coups since independence — including one led decades ago by President Muhammadu Buhari, who was elected to office in 2015.

    Some legislatures in Asia — South Korea and Taiwan, for instance — have at times been marred by brawls and screaming matches, but democracies throughout the region are normally staid versions of European and American lawmaking models.

    “This is shocking. I hope this will serve as chance for the Americans to review their democracy,” said Na HyunPil at the Korean House for International Solidarity, a Seoul-based NGO. “Trump is entirely responsible for this incident. After his four-year rule, the Americans find it difficult to tell other countries that their country is a good model for democracy.”

    Several countries, both U.S. allies and antagonists, issued travel warnings to their citizens, although with coronavirus infections soaring in the United States, arrivals from abroad are down to a trickle.

    Ally after ally expressed shock, followed by affirmations that U.S. democratic institutions would withstand the turmoil.

    “All my life, America has stood for some very important things: an idea of freedom and an idea of democracy,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “Insofar as he encouraged people to storm the Capitol, and insofar as the president has consistently cast doubt on the outcome of a free and fair election, I believe that was completely wrong.”

    But some, like European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, warned that the attempt to halt a peaceful transition in what many consider the world’s oldest democracy showed that no place is immune and that backsliding is reversed only with difficulty.

    “Democracy is never self-evident. It has to be worked on each and every day. It has to be won anew every day. And that applies to all democracies,” she told German news outlets. And that’s why we know that it starts as a very small thing.”

    For others, less friendly, it was portrayed as a last gasp and one that belonged solely to Americans themselves.

    “American democracy is obviously limping on both feet,” said Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament. “I say this without a shadow of gloating. America no longer charts a course and therefore has lost all rights to set it — and even more so to impose it on others.”

    ‘Moment of Shame’: Former US Presidents Condemn The Violent Mob Spectacle in DC


    Obama, Bush, Clinton, Carter all condemn the Trump supporter riots. (Photos: AP and Getty Images)

    Politico

    Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter on Wednesday each condemned the mob of rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol — and lawmakers who sought to delegitimize the presidential election results beforehand.

    “It is a sickening and heartbreaking sight,” Bush said in a statement. “This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic – not our democratic republic.”

    Obama said the insurrection, in which at least one person died, will be remembered as “a moment of great dishonor and shame” and that his successor, President Donald Trump, is culpable. He also faulted the Republican Party and the right-wing media ecosystem for the role they played in casting doubt on the integrity of recent elections.

    “Their fantasy narrative has spiraled further and further from reality, and it builds upon years of sown resentments,” Obama said in a statement. “Now we’re seeing the consequences, whipped up into a violent crescendo.”

    Bush similarly said the rioters who breached the building and remained there for hours were “inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes.”

    “I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement,” the 43rd president said.

    Clinton said the seizure of parts of the Capitol was the disastrous result of “poison politics” and the proliferation of misinformation. But he said it did not shake his fundamental belief in the decency of the American people.

    “If that’s who we really are, we must reject today’s violence, turn the page, and move forward together—honoring our Constitution, remaining committed to a government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” Clinton said.

    Bush also urged people upset about the recent elections to stand down for the sake of American democracy.

    “Our country is more important than the politics of the moment,” Bush said. “Let the officials elected by the people fulfill their duties and represent our voices in peace and safety.”

    Carter denounced the day’s events as a “national tragedy” and “not who we are as a nation.” In a statement released by the Carter Center, the former president said he and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter were troubled by the violence and hoped for Americans to come together to resolve the conflict.

    Carter’s statement notably did not assign blame for the Capitol riots.

    “Having observed elections worldwide, I know that we the people can unite to walk back from this precipice to peacefully uphold the laws of our nation, and we must,” the statement said. “We join our fellow citizens in praying for a peaceful resolution so our nation can heal and complete the transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries.”

    The mass of rioters began to breach the Capitol earlier Wednesday, disrupting the vote certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over Trump and further delaying what was already expected to become a days-long affair after Republican members of Congress challenged Biden’s win in several states. The building was cleared by the evening and Congress has returned to continue its duties.

    However, Bush and Carter did not mention Trump — who has promoted false claims of rampant election fraud and embraced anti-democratic attempts stay in power — or anyone else by name in their dispatch. Bush, the most recent Republican president prior to Trump, has largely been careful not to publicly criticize the party’s present standard-bearer.

    Obama and Clinton, both Democrats, were far more explicit in faulting Trump for his role in instigating the unrest.

    “The match was lit by Donald Trump and his most ardent enablers, including many in Congress, to overturn the results of an election he lost,” Obama said. “The election was free, the count was fair, the result is final. We must complete the peaceful transfer of power our Constitution mandates.”

    Trump has continued to speak favorably of the rioters, calling them “very special” and “great patriots” in several tweets that have since been removed by Twitter.

    “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” Trump wrote on Twitter in one such message. “Remember this day forever!”

    Trump supporters storm U.S. Capitol, with one woman killed and tear gas fired

    The Washington Post

    As President Trump told a sprawling crowd outside the White House that they should never accept defeat, hundreds of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in what amounted to an attempted coup that they hoped would overturn the election he lost. In the chaos, law enforcement officials said, one woman was shot and killed by police.

    The violent scene — much of it incited by the president’s incendiary language — was like no other in modern American history, bringing to a sudden halt the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

    With poles bearing blue Trump flags, a mob that would eventually grow into the thousands bashed through Capitol doors and windows, forcing their way past police officers unprepared for the onslaught. Lawmakers were evacuated shortly before an armed standoff at the House chamber’s entrance. The woman who was shot was rushed to an ambulance, police said, and later died. Canisters of tear gas were fired across the Rotunda’s white marble floor, and on the steps outside the building, rioters flew Confederate flags.

    The Senate stopped its proceedings, and the House doors were closed. In a notification, U.S. Capitol Police said no one would be allowed to come or go from the building as they struggled to regain control. “Stay away from exterior windows, doors. If outside, seek cover,” police warned.

    All 1,100 members of the D.C. National Guard were activated, and Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) imposed a citywide curfew. From 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday, Bowser said, no one other than essential personnel would be allowed outdoors in the city.

    The mob had arrived hours earlier, charging past the metal barricades on the property’s outer edge. Hundreds, then thousands followed them. Some scaled the Capitol’s walls to reach entrances; others climbed over one another.

    On the building’s east side, police initially pushed the pro-Trump demonstrators back but soon gave up and fell back to the foot of the main steps. Within a half-hour, fights broke out again, and police retreated to the top of the stairs as screaming Trump supporters surged closer. After police perimeters were breached, the elated crowd began to sing the national anthem.

    For an hour, they banged on the doors, chanting, “Let us in! Let us in!” Police inside fired pepper balls and smoke bombs into the crowd but failed to turn them away. After each volley, the rioters, who were mostly White men, would cluster around the doors again, yelling, arguing, pledging revolution.

    Sometime after 2:10 p.m., a man used a clear plastic riot shield to break through the windows on a first floor to the south side of the building, then hopped in with a few others. Once inside, police suspect, rioters opened doors to let in more of their compatriots.

    A police officer yelled from a higher stairway at the intruders, ordering them to stop, but when they didn’t, the officer fired at a man coming at him, two law enforcement officials said. Amid shouts and people rushing to get away from the sound of gunfire, rioters saw a woman in their group collapse. Police believe she was unarmed, a law enforcement official said, but the officer who shot her did not know that. Capitol Police had already been warned by D.C. police that many in the crowds were secretly carrying weapons.

    “They shot a girl!” someone yelled as a group of Trump supporters ran out of the southeast entrance.

    A team of paramedics with a gurney soon arrived and a Capitol Police officer stepped aside to let them pass. “White female, shot in the shoulder,” the officer said as they hurried past. They emerged minutes later.

    On the gurney was a woman in jeans, gazing vacantly to one side, her torso and face covered in blood. As the gurney was loaded into the back of the ambulance, pro-Trump rioters swarmed around it, screaming, “Murderers!”

    Capitol Police officers with long guns pushed them back, and the ambulance drove off.

    Inside, where the lawmakers had donned gas masks kept under their chairs, Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) could only think of his family as he and other lawmakers hid from the mob. Reeling from the loss of his 25-year-old son last week, Raskin had taken one of his daughters and his son-in-law to the Capitol to watch the debates unfold over certification of Biden’s election, he said, “because we wanted to be together.” Raskin was helping lead Democrats’ arguments against Republican objectors.

    “I thought I could show them the peaceful transfer of power in the United States of America,” Raskin told C-SPAN earlier. “What was really going through my mind was their safety because they were not with me in the chamber, and I just wanted us all to get back together.”

    Read more »

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  • Boeing Reaches $2.5 Billion Settlement in 737 MAX Crashes in Ethiopia & Indonesia

    Ethiopian officials deliver the Black Box for Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 to the headquarters of France's BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget, France on March 14, 2019. As NPR reports the families of the passengers who died in the crash will be compensated from a fund of $500 million. (Reuters photo)

    NPR

    Boeing To Pay $2.5 Billion Over 737 Max Fraud, Faces No Other Charges

    Boeing will pay more than $2.5 billion to settle criminal charges that it repeatedly concealed and lied about the 737 Max’s engineering problems that led to two catastrophic crashes claiming hundreds of lives.

    The company admitted to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States as part of the deferred prosecution agreement announced on Thursday and will face no further charges from the U.S. Department of Justice.

    “Boeing’s employees chose the path of profit over candor by concealing material information from the FAA concerning the operation of its 737 Max airplane and engaging in an effort to cover up their deception,” Acting Assistant Attorney General David Burns of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, wrote in a statement.

    Boeing, which is the country’s second-biggest defense contractor behind Lockheed Martin, will pay the DOJ a criminal penalty of $243.6 million.

    The families and legal beneficiaries of the 346 passenger victims who died in the Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia in October 2018 and the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in Ethiopia five months later will be paid from a fund of $500 million. If split equally among them, that amounts to a little over $1.4 million for each family.

    The vast majority of the settlement is allocated for airline companies that had purchased the faulty 737 Max aircraft and were subsequently forced to ground the planes following the crashes. Together they will receive $1.77 billion in compensation for their financial losses, according to the DOJ.

    “The tragic crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 exposed fraudulent and deceptive conduct by employees of one of the world’s leading commercial airplane manufacturers,” Burns added in the statement.

    In both cases, the crashes were caused by changes to the jet’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System that forced the nose of the 737 Max toward the ground and left pilots unable to control the planes.

    In a note to employees, Boeing President and Chief Executive Officer David Calhoun said, “I firmly believe that entering into this resolution is the right thing for us to do—a step that appropriately acknowledges how we fell short of our values and expectations.”

    He added: “This resolution is a serious reminder to all of us of how critical our obligation of transparency to regulators is, and the consequences that our company can face if any one of us falls short of those expectations.”

    Internal Boeing documents revealed during a U.S.House panel’s inquiry showed that engineers notified the company of the MCAS “egregious” problems as early as 2016.

    Related:

    Ethiopian Report Blames Boeing for 737 MAX Plane Crash

    Boeing to Stop 737 Max Production (AP)

    Internal FAA review saw high risk of 737 MAX crashes

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

    Boeing CEO Apologizes to Victims of Ethiopia, Indonesia Crashes

    Ethiopian Airlines Slams Bloomberg’s Ex-Pilot Story as ‘Baseless & False Allegation’

    Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report

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

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

    Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    UPDATE: Dems Win Control of U.S. Senate After Victories in Georgia

    President-elect Joe Biden campaigns in Atlanta, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, for Senate candidates Raphael Warnock, right, and Jon Ossoff, left. (AP Photo)

    The Associated Press

    Warnock, Ossoff win in Georgia, handing Dems Senate control

    ATLANTA (AP) — Democrats won both Georgia Senate seats — and with them, the U.S. Senate majority — as final votes were counted Wednesday, serving President Donald Trump a stunning defeat in his turbulent final days in office while dramatically improving the fate of President-elect Joe Biden’s progressive agenda.

    Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, Democratic challengers who represented the diversity of their party’s evolving coalition, defeated Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler two months after Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state since 1992.

    Warnock, who served as pastor for the same Atlanta church where civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached, becomes the first African American from Georgia elected to the Senate. And Ossoff becomes the state’s first Jewish senator and, at 33 years old, the Senate’s youngest member.

    This week’s elections were expected to mark the formal finale to the tempestuous 2020 election season, although the Democrats’ resounding success was overshadowed by chaos and violence in Washington, where angry Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s victory.

    Wednesday’s unprecedented siege drew fierce criticism of Trump’s leadership from within his own party, and combined with the bad day in Georgia, marked one of the darkest days of his divisive presidency.

    Still, the Democrats’ twin victories in Georgia represented a striking shift in the state’s politics as the swelling number of diverse, college-educated voters flex their power in the heart of the Deep South. They also cemented the transformation of Georgia, once a solidly Republican state, into one of the nation’s premier battlegrounds for the foreseeable future.

    In an emotional address early Wednesday, Warnock vowed to work for all Georgians whether they voted for him or not, citing his personal experience with the American dream. His mother, he said, used to pick “somebody else’s cotton” as a teenager.

    “The other day, because this is America, the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton picked her youngest son to be a United States senator,” he said. “Tonight, we proved with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible.”

    Loeffler, who remains a senator until the results of Tuesday’s election are finalized, returned to Washington on Wednesday morning to join a small group of senators planning to challenge Congress’ vote to certify Biden’s victory. She didn’t get a chance to vocalize her objection before the violent protesters stormed the Capitol.

    Georgia’s other runoff election pitted Perdue, a 71-year-old former business executive who held his Senate seat until his term expired Sunday, against Ossoff, a former congressional aide and journalist.

    “This campaign has been about health and jobs and justice for the people of this state — for all the people of this state,” Ossoff said in a speech broadcast on social media Wednesday morning. “Whether you were for me, or against me, I’ll be for you in the U.S. Senate. I will serve all the people of the state.”

    Trump’s false claims of voter fraud cast a dark shadow over the runoff elections, which were held only because no candidate hit the 50% threshold in the general election. He raised the prospect of voter fraud as votes were being cast and likened the Republicans who run Georgia’s election system to “chickens with their heads cut off” during a Wednesday rally in Washington.

    Gabriel Sterling, a top official with the Georgia secretary of state’s office and a Republican, said there was “no evidence of any irregularities.”

    “The biggest thing we’ve seen is from the president’s fertile mind of finding fraud where none exists,” he said.

    Both contests tested whether the political coalition that fueled Biden’s November victory was an anti-Trump anomaly or part of a new electoral landscape. To win in Tuesday’s elections — and in the future — Democrats needed strong African American support.

    AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 3,700 voters in Tuesday’s contests, found that Black voters made up roughly 30% of the electorate, and almost all of them — 94% — backed Ossoff and Warnock. The Democrats also relied on the backing of younger voters, people earning less than $50,000 annually and newcomers to the state.

    The Republican coalition backing Loeffler and Perdue was the mirror opposite: white, older, wealthier and longtime Georgia residents.

    The coalition closely resembles the one that narrowly handed Georgia’s Electoral College votes to Biden in November, making him the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state in almost three decades.

    Trump’s claims about voter fraud in the 2020 election, while meritless, resonated with Republican voters in Georgia. About 7 in 10 agreed with his false assertion that Biden was not the legitimately elected president, AP VoteCast found.

    Election officials across the country, including the Republican governors in Arizona and Georgia, as well as Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, have confirmed that there was no widespread fraud in the November election. Nearly all the legal challenges from Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges, including two tossed by the Supreme Court, where three Trump-nominated justices preside.

    Publicly and privately, some Republicans acknowledged that Trump’s monthslong push to undermine the integrity of the nation’s electoral system may have contributed to the GOP’s losses in Georgia.

    “It turns out that telling the voters that the election was rigged is not a great way to turn out your voters,” said Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, a Republican and a frequent Trump critic.

    Even with Trump’s claims, voters in both parties were drawn to the polls because of the high stakes. AP VoteCast found that 6 in 10 Georgia voters say Senate party control was the most important factor in their vote.

    Turnout exceeded both sides’ expectations. Ultimately, more people cast ballots in the runoffs than voted in Georgia’s 2016 presidential election.

    Former President Barack Obama, the nation’s first Black president, issued a statement praising the election of Georgia’s first African American senator and his ability to improve divisions in Washington.

    “Georgia’s first Black senator will make the (Senate) chamber more reflective of our country as a whole and open the door for a Congress that can forego gridlock for gridlock’s sake to focus instead on the many crises facing our nation,” Obama said.

    Related:

    Bethlehem Fleming: Meet the Activist Working to Turn the U.S. Senate Blue


    Ethiopian American activist Bethlehem Fleming is organizing a critical constituency [in Georgia] in the races that will decide the Senate. “Bethlehem is a hero in this get-out-the-vote effort because she is looking for a needle in a haystack, those few thousand Ethiopian and Eritrean voters among 500,000 or so voters,” says Jana Miles, a DeKalb County Democratic Party committee member. “She is a remarkable story.” (Getty Images)

    OZY

    Ethiopian native Bethlehem Fleming is identifying and trying to turn out thousands of voters from her homeland in Georgia’s pivotal Senate runoff elections.

    Bethlehem Fleming, a native of Ethiopia, has carried around for almost three years President Donald Trump’s vulgar denouncement of African nations as “shithole countries.” It enraged her, but not as much as the president’s scornful sequel from the Oval Office on Oct. 23, when Trump said Egypt might just have to bomb Ethiopia’s $4.6 billion Blue Nile Dam to settle a water dispute.

    “I think that galvanized Ethiopians in this country to vote for Joe Biden,” says Fleming, 45, a hospital administrator who lives in DeKalb County, Georgia. “Trump says these things about other countries he has no idea about and makes people mad, and they use their vote against him.”

    Fleming, who has been an American citizen since 2008, settled her score with Trump on Nov. 3. Now she wants a more authoritative rebuke of his presidency. Fleming is aiming the grievance vote at his proxies, Republican candidates David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, in the U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia on Jan. 5. Her community could be crucial to deciding which party controls the Senate, as Democrats would take control if they win both races.

    Fleming will spend the next six weeks trying to make one-on-one contact with 4,000 Ethiopians and Eritreans in DeKalb County, which includes parts of Atlanta, and plead for them to vote for Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in the runoff. Fleming’s work is a specialized version of former gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams’ high-profile efforts to register and turn out voters of color throughout the state in recent years. These efforts are part of the turnout game required in these pivotal runoffs, which will be decided by which side can lure a bigger proportion of its November voters back to the polls.

    Ted Terry, who is on the executive committee of the Georgia Democratic Party, estimates there are 30,000 to 40,000 registered voters who emigrated from Africa, in a state Biden won by just 13,000 votes.

    Fleming has a daunting task over the next six weeks because the Georgia voter registration application, which is how most voter data is generated, has a box to check that simply says “Black.”

    Immigrants from Africa who are registered to vote may have black skin, but they identify as Ethiopians, Kenyans, Sudanese, Somalians and many other nationalities. That makes it hard for Fleming to connect with people from her country.

    The task is finding all those Ethiopian Americans, as well as voters from neighboring Eritrea. Fleming is working with Mike Endale, a Washington-based software developer of Ethiopian descent, who has created a software program to cull the names “most likely Ethiopian” from the half-million voters on the voter rolls in DeKalb. There are efforts underway in neighboring Fulton and Gwinnett counties to do the same.

    “Bethlehem is a hero in this get-out-the-vote effort because she is looking for a needle in a haystack, those few thousand Ethiopian and Eritrean voters among 500,000 or so voters,” says Jana Miles, a DeKalb County Democratic Party committee member. “She is a remarkable story.”

    Once she finds Ethiopians, Fleming’s cultural cachet — she can speak in her native Amharic when she calls — can stir them to vote, not just because of Trump’s put-downs, but on policy issues as well.

    “I can’t see their faces, but I can sense their faces light up by how they start talking to me,” she says. “We make a connection and they are excited, and then we start talking about issues like health care and immigration and how Senate Democrats can help them. A lot of immigrants depend on health care.”

    Fleming has also created election flyers with Ethiopia’s bright colors of red, yellow and green, and native script on one side and English on the other. The flyers are handed out at GOTV events, or pasted to poles in immigrant communities. Fleming appeared regularly on the radio during the general election to encourage her fellow naturalized citizens to get out and vote, and she’s stepped up her efforts considerably for the runoff.

    Read more »

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    GERD: US Treasury Chief Mnuchin Meets Egypt’s Leader, Discusses Ethiopia’s Dam?

    The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. (AP photo)

    The Associated Press

    Egypt’s leader meets US treasury chief ahead of Sudan visit

    Updated: January 6th, 2021

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s president met Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin in Cairo, ahead of Mnuchin’s first visit to Sudan since the end of Khartoum’s pariah status.

    The office of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi said in a statement the president and Mnuchin discussed mutual and regional issues, including the latest developments in talks with Sudan and Ethiopia over a disputed dam that Ethiopia is building over the Blue Nile River.

    The statement said el-Sissi appreciated U.S. efforts in the dam talks last year that resulted in a U.S.-crafted draft deal to resolve the yearslong dispute over the massive project.

    The three Nile Valley countries met Sunday in the latest push by South Africa, the current chairman of the African Union, which is mediating a deal between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

    Experts from the three nations and the AU were to meet Monday, but Sudan boycotted the meeting and insisted on a greater role for AU experts in the negotiations.

    Egypt initialed the draft deal, crafted by the United States in February, but Ethiopia did not attend the signing ceremony and accused President Donald Trump’s administration of siding with Egypt. Sudan attended the meeting but did not sign.

    The U.S. has suspended some aid to Ethiopia over the “lack of progress” in the talks and U.S. “concern about Ethiopia’s unilateral decision to begin to fill the dam before an agreement and all necessary dam safety measures were in place.”

    Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam has caused severe tensions between the three nations.

    Mnuchin was scheduled to travel to Sudan’s capital Khartoum on Wednesday to meet with the country’s leaders, according to Sudan’s state-run SUNA news agency.


    U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin. (AP photo)

    It would be the first visit by a senior U.S. official since Washington last month approved the removal of Sudan from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

    SUNA’s report said Mnuchin would discuss with Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of the ruling sovereign council, and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok possible U.S. economic aid debt relief. It did not give further details.

    Mnuchin said last month he would work with Congress and the transitional government in Khartoum to advance Sudan’s efforts to secure debt relief in 2021.

    Sudan is on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising led the military to overthrow longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

    Related:

    Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan resume talks over disputed dam

    The Associated Press

    January 3, 2021

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan resumed their years-long negotiations Sunday over the controversial dam Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile, officials said.

    The resumption came six weeks after Khartoum boycotted talks in November, urging the African Union to play a greater role in reaching a deal over the disputed Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam.

    The negotiations have centered on the filling and operation of the giant dam. Key questions remain about how much water Ethiopia will release downstream if a multi-year drought occurs and how the three countries will resolve any future disputes. Ethiopia has rejected binding arbitration at the final stage of the project.

    The foreign and irrigation ministers of the three Nile Valley countries met online Sunday, said Ahmed Hafez, the spokesman of Egypt’s Foreign Ministry. Sudan also confirmed the meeting.

    Ethiopia’s Water and Energy Minister Seleshi Bekele said earlier the meeting was called by South Africa, the current head of the African Union, and that U.S. observers and AU experts would attend.

    Sudan’s Irrigation Ministry said the three counties would hold separate talks with the AU experts and observers before a three-party meeting on Jan. 10.

    In November, Sudan did not attend a round of talks called by South Africa, arguing that the current approach to reaching a tripartite agreement on the filling and operation of Ethiopia’s dam had not yielded results.

    Sudanese Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas said at the time that the AU should do more to “facilitate the negotiation and bridge the gap between the three parties.”

    Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam has caused severe tensions between the three nations.

    Egypt has called it an existential threat and worries that it will reduce the country’s share of Nile waters.

    The Arab’s world most populous country relies almost entirely on the Nile to supply water for agriculture and its more than 100 million people. About 85% of the river’s flow originates from Ethiopia.

    Ethiopia says the $4.6 billion dam will be an engine of development that will pull millions of people out of poverty. Sudan, in the middle, worries about the effects on its own dams, although it stands to benefit from access to cheap electricity.

    Ethiopia to Trump: We Will Not Give In To ‘Aggression’ In Dam Dispute (UPDATE)


    The $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is a source of national pride in Ethiopia. Without naming Trump or the United States, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office issued a blunt statement on Saturday saying Ethiopia would “not cave in to aggressions of any kind.” (Photo: Maxar Technologies via AP)

    NBC News

    Updated: October 24th, 2020

    Ethiopia denounces Trump remark that Egypt could ‘blow up’ Nile dam

    Ethiopia on Saturday denounced “belligerent threats” over the huge hydropower dam it has nearly completed on the Blue Nile river, less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump said Egypt could “blow up” the project.

    Trump made the comment while announcing that Sudan, which sits downstream from the dam, would start to normalize ties with Israel on Friday.

    “They will end up blowing up the dam,” Trump said, referring to Egypt. “And I said it and I say it loud and clear, they’ll blow up that dam. And they have to do something.”

    The $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is a source of national pride in Ethiopia, aimed at pulling millions of people out of poverty, but it has entangled neighboring east African nations Egypt and Sudan, which also rely on the river.

    Without naming Trump or the United States, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office issued a blunt statement on Saturday, which said the east African nation would “not cave in to aggressions of any kind.”

    “These threats and affronts to Ethiopian sovereignty are misguided, unproductive, and clear violations of international law,” the statement said.

    It added: “As a developing nation, Ethiopia may be confronted with poverty but are rich with history, patriotic citizens whose commitment to defend their country’s sovereignty is unparalleled and an ambition and a well-articulated plan for prosperity.”

    Former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn tweeted on Saturday: “The man doesn’t have a clue on what he is talking about,” calling Trump’s remarks “reckless” and “irresponsible.”

    Ethiopian Foreign Affairs Minister Gedu Andargachew later summoned U.S. Ambassador to Addis Ababa Mike Raynor to seek clarifications on the comments.

    “The incitement of war between Ethiopia and Egypt from a sitting U.S. president neither reflects the longstanding partnership and strategic alliance between Ethiopia and the United States nor is acceptable in international law governing interstate relations,” Gedu’s ministry said in a statement.

    Earlier this year, Trump told the State Department to suspend millions of dollars in aid to Ethiopia because of the dispute over the dam. A move that angered Ethiopians.

    “They will never see that money unless they adhere to that agreement,” Trump said Friday.

    Ethiopia says the colossal dam project could help it become a major power exporter and develop its economy. Egypt depends on the Nile to supply its farmers and population of 100 million with fresh water while Sudan contends with frequent droughts.

    The country celebrated the first filling of the dam in August, to the dismay of Egypt.

    There was no comment from the Egyptian government on Trump’s latest remarks.

    Egypt has repeatedly said it wants to settle the dam dispute through diplomatic channels, but has also said it would use “all available means” to defend the interests of its people.

    The Blue Nile joins the White Nile in Sudan to become the Nile, and about 85 percent of the river’s flow originates from Ethiopia. Officials in Ethiopia hope the dam, now more than three-quarters complete, will reach full power-generating capacity by 2023.

    The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

    Ethiopia says it will not cave to ‘aggression’ in dam dispute


    “Occasional statements of belligerent threats to have Ethiopia succumb to unfair terms still abound,” Abiy’s office said. “These threats and affronts to Ethiopian sovereignty are misguided, unproductive, and clear violations of international law.” (Reuters)

    Reuters

    Updated: October 24th, 2020

    Ethiopia says it will not cave to ‘aggression’ in dam dispute

    NAIROBI (Reuters) – Ethiopia said on Saturday that threats of any kind towards resolving a dispute with its neighbours over the filling and operation of a massive hydropower dam were “misguided, unproductive and clear violations of international law”.

    Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office made no mention of any person or any country in a statement on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which is at the centre of a dispute over Nile water supplies.

    But his comment came hours after U.S. President Donald Trump held a phone call with the Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok in which they called for an amicable solution between Ethiopia and Egypt.

    In the call, held in front of reporters at the White House, Trump said he had also told Egypt the same thing, saying it was a dangerous situation and that Cairo could end up “blowing up that dam.”

    Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt have been locked in a bitter dispute over the filling and operation of the GERD, which remains unresolved although the reservoir behind the dam began filling in July.

    “Occasional statements of belligerent threats to have Ethiopia succumb to unfair terms still abound,” Abiy’s office said. “These threats and affronts to Ethiopian sovereignty are misguided, unproductive, and clear violations of international law.”

    The first phase of filling the dam completed in August, Abiy’s office said.

    Related:

    Ethiopia blasts Trump remark that Egypt will ‘blow up’ dam (AP)

    The Associated Press

    By ELIAS MESERET

    Updated: October 24th, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia on Saturday denounced “belligerent threats” over the huge dam it has nearly completed on the Blue Nile River, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump said downstream Egypt will “blow up” the project it has called an existential threat.

    Ethiopia’s foreign minister summoned the U.S. ambassador to seek clarification, saying “the incitement of war between Ethiopia and Egypt from a sitting U.S. president neither reflects the longstanding partnership and strategic alliance between Ethiopia and the United States nor is acceptable in international law governing interstate relations,” a statement said.

    Without naming Trump or the U.S., Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office issued a separate critical statement amid an outcry in Ethiopia over Trump’s latest threat over the dam. The $4.6 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is a source of national pride, aimed at pulling millions of people from poverty.

    “The man doesn’t have a clue on what he is talking about,” Former Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn tweeted, calling Trump’s remark reckless and irresponsible.

    Trump made the comment while announcing that Sudan would start to normalize ties with Israel. Downstream Sudan is a party to the talks with Ethiopia and Egypt over the disputed dam. “They (Egypt) will end up blowing up the dam,” Trump said. “And I said it and I say it loud and clear … they’ll blow up that dam. And they have to do something.”

    The U.S. president earlier this year told the State Department to suspend millions of dollars in aid to Ethiopia because of the dam dispute, angering Ethiopians who had accused the U.S. of being biased during its earlier efforts to broker a deal on the project among Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan. Ethiopia walked away from those talks.

    “They will never see that money unless they adhere to that agreement,” Trump said Friday.

    “Occasional statements of belligerent threats to have Ethiopia succumb to unfair terms still abound,” the statement by the Ethiopian prime minister’s office said. “These threats and affronts to Ethiopian sovereignty are misguided, unproductive, and clear violations of international law.”

    It added: “Ethiopia will not cave in to aggressions of any kind.”

    There was no comment from the Egyptian government on Trump’s remarks, but pro-government media covered them extensively. Egypt has repeatedly said it wants to settle the dispute through diplomatic means, but it has said it would use “all available means” to defend the interests of its people.

    Ethiopia celebrated the first filling of the dam in August, citing heavy rains, to the dismay of Egypt. Ethiopia later banned flights over the dam amid concerns over possible military action by Egypt.

    Now, with Trump’s new remarks, some Ethiopians are urging Ethiopian Americans to help vote him out of office in next month’s election.

    Worried by the prospect of further friction between two of Africa’s most powerful and populous countries, European Union representative Josep Borrell said in a statement that “now is the time for action and not for increasing tensions,” adding that a deal on the dam is within reach.

    The statement by Abiy’s office said the talks with Egypt and Sudan have shown significant progress since the African Union has stepped in to oversee them. Trump’s statement could undermine that process, said Abel Abate Demissie, an associate fellow at Chatham House, adding that it proves the U.S. wasn’t an honest broker from the start.

    Ethiopia says the colossal dam could help it become a major power exporter. Egypt depends on the Nile to supply its farmers and a booming population of 100 million with fresh water.

    Negotiators have said key questions remain about how much water Ethiopia will release downstream if a multi-year drought occurs and how the countries will resolve any future disputes. Ethiopia rejects binding arbitration at the final stage.

    A military strike on the dam would be disastrous, one water expert warned. The dam already has more than 4.9 billion cubic meters of water in its reservoir,” Abebe Yirga told The Associated Press. “It will affect thousands of people along the way if this huge amount of water gushes out of the dam.”

    The Blue Nile joins the White Nile in Sudan to become the Nile, and about 85% of the river’s flow originates from Ethiopia. Officials hope the dam, now more than three-quarters complete, will reach full power-generating capacity in 2023.

    Watch: Failing Donald Trump’s Crazy Comments About GERD


    Trump told reporters in the White House today (October 23rd, 2020) that Egypt will “end up blowing up” the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. He added: “And I said it and I say it loud and clear — they’ll blow up that dam. And they have to do something.” We sure hope Egypt is not stupid enough to follow the advise of the failing U.S. President, but you can watch his crazy comments below. (Getty images)

    BREAKING! Donald Trump`s Shocking Remarks About Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

    AFP

    Trump suggests Egypt may ‘blow up’ Ethiopia dam

    Updated: October 23rd, 2020

    Washington (AFP)

    US President Donald Trump on Friday voiced anger at Ethiopia over its construction of a huge dam on the Nile River and appeared to suggest that Egypt may destroy it.

    Trump made the remarks as he announced a breakthrough normalization deal between US ally Israel and Sudan, which like Egypt fears that Ethiopia will use up scarce water resources.

    “It’s a very dangerous situation because Egypt is not going to be able to live that way,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office with leaders of Sudan and Israel on speakerphone.

    “They’ll end up blowing up the dam. And I said it and I say it loud and clear — they’ll blow up that dam. And they have to do something,” Trump said.

    “They should have stopped it long before it started,” Trump said, regretting that Egypt was in domestic tumult when the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project began in 2011.

    Trump — a close ally of Egypt’s general turned president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi — had agreed to Cairo’s pleas to mediate over the dam, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin leading talks.

    The State Department in September said it was cutting off aid to Ethiopia due to its decision to begin filling the dam despite not reaching an agreement with the downstream nations.

    “I had a deal done for them and then unfortunately Ethiopia broke the deal, which they should not have done. That was a big mistake,” Trump said.

    “They will never see that money unless they adhere to that agreement,” he said.

    Ethiopia says that the $4 billion project is indispensible for its electrification and development needs and has voiced hope of beginning operations in early 2021.

    Egypt depends on the Nile for about 97 percent of its irrigation and drinking water.

    Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdulla Hamdok, asked by Trump on speakerphone about the dam, voiced appreciation for US diplomacy and said his government wanted an “amicable solution soon” among the three countries.

    Ethiopia Says GERD Dam Will Begin Generating Power in Next 12 Months


    Water flows through Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam as it undergoes construction work on the river Nile in Guba Woreda. (Reuters)

    Reuters

    Updated: October 5th, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s giant new hydropower dam on the Blue Nile will begin generating power in the next 12 months, the country’s president said on Monday.

    “This year will be a year where the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will start generating power with the two turbines,” Sahle-Work Zewde said in a speech to parliament.

    Ethiopia is locked in a dispute with Egypt and Sudan over its $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Cairo has said could threaten its main supply of water.

    Ethiopia bans flights over dam for security reasons – aviation chief

    Reuters

    Updated: October 5th, 2020

    By Dawit Endeshaw

    ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia has banned all flights over its giant new hydropower dam on the Blue Nile for security reasons, the head of its civil aviation authority said on Monday, as the president pledged the dam would begin generating power in the next 12 months.

    The move could worsen Ethiopia’s dispute with Egypt and Sudan over its $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Cairo has said could threaten its main supply of water.

    “All flights have been banned to secure the dam,” the director-general of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, Wesenyeleh Hunegnaw, told Reuters by phone. He declined to give more details on the reasons.

    Later on Monday in a speech to parliament, Ethiopia’s president Sahle-Work Zewde said: “This year will be a year where the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will start generating power with the two turbines.”

    She also said that work was underway to enable a second filling of the dam within the next 12 months.

    In July, Ethiopia said it had achieved its first year of filling the dam thanks to rainfall in the area.

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told the United Nations last month that the country has “no intention” of harming Sudan and Egypt with the dam, days after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reiterated his concerns over the project.

    Last week, air force chief Major General Yilma Merdasa told local media that Ethiopia was fully prepared to defend the dam from any attack.

    Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan failed to strike a deal on the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam before Ethiopia began filling the reservoir behind the dam in July.

    The dam is at the centre of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.

    The structure is about 15 km (9 miles) from the Ethiopian border with Sudan on the Blue Nile – a tributary of the Nile river, which gives Egypt’s 100 million people about 90% of their fresh water.

    The United States decided last month to cut $100 million in aid to Ethiopia amid the dispute over the dam. A U.S. State Department official who did not want to be identified told Reuters at the time that the decision to pause some funding to Ethiopia was triggered by concern over Ethiopia’s unilateral decision to start filling the dam before an agreement.

    Related:

    UPDATE: Ethiopia-Egypt War Over GERD Has Already Started. It’s in Cyberspace


    Workers move iron girders from a crane at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. (Getty Images)

    Foreign Policy

    SEPTEMBER 22, 2020, 6:41 AM

    The conflict between Ethiopia and Egypt over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has already started. It’s just happening in cyberspace.

    It took only a few weeks to plan the cyberattack—and a few more to abandon the world of ethical hacking for the less noble sort. But they would do anything for the Nile, the four young Egyptians agreed.

    With that, the group calling themselves the Cyber_Horus Group in late June hacked more than a dozen Ethiopian government sites, replacing each page with their own creation: an image of a skeleton pharaoh, clutching a scythe in one hand and a scimitar in the other. “If the river’s level drops, let all the Pharaoh’s soldiers hurry,” warned a message underneath. “Prepare the Ethiopian people for the wrath of the Pharaohs.”

    “There is more power than weapons,” one of the hackers, who asked not to be identified by name, told Foreign Policy. Also, it was a pretty easy job, the hacker added.

    A few weeks later and thousands of miles away, a 21-year-old Ethiopian named Liz applied red lipstick and donned a black T-shirt and jeans. She positioned her phone on her desk and started her own kind of online influence campaign: a TikTok video. She danced to a popular Egyptian song underneath the message, “Distracting the Egyptians while we fill the dam.”

    “There’s no other country that can stop us,” said Liz, who has more than 70,000 followers on the app and whose taunting video was met with praise and threats. “It’s our right.”

    Rarely have young people been so passionate about an infrastructure project. But the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which will be Africa’s largest, is more than just a piece of infrastructure. It has become a nationalistic rallying cry for both Ethiopia and Egypt—two countries scrambling to define their nationhood after years of domestic upheaval. Many Ethiopians and Egyptians are getting involved in the only way they can—online—and fomenting the first African cyberconflict of its kind, one with far-reaching and long-lasting consequences.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Trump Administration Confirms Cutting Aid to Ethiopia Over GERD (UPDATE)


    (Getty Images)

    The Associated Press

    Updated: September 2nd, 2020

    It was an unusual example of Trump’s direct intervention on an issue in Africa, a continent he hasn’t visited as president and rarely mentions publicly.

    On the guidance of President Trump, the State Department said Wednesday that the United States was suspending some aid to Ethiopia over the “lack of progress” in the country’s talks with Egypt and Sudan over a disputed dam project it is completing on the Nile River.

    It was an unusual example of Mr. Trump’s direct intervention on an issue in Africa, a continent he hasn’t visited as president and rarely mentions publicly. The dam dispute centers on two of Africa’s most populous and powerful nations, Ethiopia and Egypt, and some have feared it could lead to military conflict.

    A State Department spokesperson told The Associated Press the decision to “temporarily pause” some aid to a key regional security ally “reflects our concern about Ethiopia’s unilateral decision to begin to fill the dam before an agreement and all necessary dam safety measures were in place.”

    It is not clear how many millions of dollars in aid are being affected, or for how long. The decision was taken by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “based on guidance from the president,” the spokesperson said.

    There was no immediate comment from Ethiopia’s government. Ethiopia’s ambassador to the United States, Fitsum Arega, this week tweeted that his country was determined to complete the dam, saying that “we will pull Ethiopia out of darkness.”

    Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam has caused severe tensions with Egypt, which has called it an existential threat and worries that it will reduce the country’s share of Nile waters. Ethiopia says the $4.6 billion dam will be an engine of development that will pull millions of people out of poverty. Sudan, in the middle, worries about the effects on its own dams though it stands to benefit from access to cheap electricity.

    Years of talks among the countries have failed to come to an agreement. Key remaining issues include how to handle releases of water from the dam during multiyear droughts and how to resolve future disputes.

    The United States earlier this year tried to mediate the discussions, but Ethiopia walked away amid accusations that Washington was siding with Egypt. Now the three countries are reporting any progress to the African Union, which is leading negotiations.

    Ethiopia had said it would fill the dam with or without a deal with Egypt and Sudan. The dam’s 74 billion-cubic-meter reservoir saw its first filling in July, which Ethiopia’s government celebrated and attributed to heavy rains, while a startled Egypt and Sudan hurriedly sought clarification and expressed skepticism.

    A former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia, David Shinn, had warned against an aid cut, writing that “playing political hardball with Ethiopia will not only fail to obtain Washington’s desired result but will probably ensure that the Ethiopian diaspora in the United States rallies against Trump.”

    Related:

    Cutting Aid to Ethiopia Haunts Trump in Election


    David Shinn, a former US envoy to Ethiopia said playing political hardball with Ethiopia will not only fail to obtain the desired result but will probably ensure that the Ethiopian diaspora in the US will rally against Trump and spoil his chances in the close contest. “There are sizeable Ethiopian-American communities in key states such as Georgia, Texas, and Virginia,” he said. (Image: Tulsa World)

    AA

    Addis Getachew | ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

    Updated: September 2nd, 2020

    Ethiopian-Americans against US cutting $130M aid to Ethiopia to enforce Egypt friendly agreement on sharing Nile waters

    The US has now formally stepped in, to support Egypt and punish Ethiopia over the river water sharing dispute between the two African countries.

    Last week, the Trump administration announced blocking a $130 million aid that had been earmarked to support Ethiopia’s defense and anti-terrorism efforts.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed the cut in aid, ostensibly to build pressure on Ethiopia, a rugged landlocked country in the Horn of Africa.

    While it is not clear to what extent the US decision will affect Ethiopia, but it has united everyone in the country and the diaspora.

    “We have officially requested the US administration that they give us an explanation,” said Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Washington Fitsum Arega, while taking to Twitter.

    David Shinn, a former US envoy to Ethiopia said playing political hardball with Ethiopia will not only fail to obtain the desired result but will probably ensure that the Ethiopian diaspora in the US will rally against Trump and spoil his chances in the close contest. “There are sizeable Ethiopian-American communities in key states such as Georgia, Texas, and Virginia,” he said.

    Ethiopian government led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had earlier rejected an agreement brokered by the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in February related to the filling and operation of the $5billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Ethiopia said the US proposal was heavily tilted towards Egypt.

    Relations between Cairo and Addis Ababa have strained over recent times, over the filling and operation of the dam that has come upon the Blue Nile, one of the tributaries of the River Nile.

    Since June, the African Union has been mediating now to evolve a win-win formula between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt.

    The AU has entrusted its Bureau of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government including South Africa, Kenya, Mali, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to prevent any escalation between these countries. The European Union, the World Bank, and the US continue as observers in the group.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Mike Pompeo is the Worst U.S. Secretary of State in History


    Mike Pompeo’s handing of the Trump administration’s foreign policy “has led to some of the worst diplomatic damage the United States has suffered in decades — especially in relations with its closest allies,” writes The Washington Post’s Deputy editorial page editor and columnist Jackson Diehl. (Photo: The Washington Post)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: August 30, 2020

    As secretary of state, Mike Pompeo has presided over the collapse of negotiations with North Korea, the failure of a pressure campaign against Iran and an abortive attempt to oust Venezuela’s authoritarian regime. On his watch, China has carried out genocide in its Xinjiang region and the suppression of Hong Kong’s freedoms without resistance from Washington until it was too late.

    Pompeo has failed to fill dozens of senior positions at the State Department, and hundreds of career diplomats have left or been driven out in political purges. Morale is at a historic low: In staff surveys, there has been a 34 percent increase between 2016 and 2019 in those who say the State Department’s senior leaders “did not maintain high levels of honesty and integrity.” Maybe that’s because Pompeo himself has defied legal mandates from Congress, skirted a law restricting arms sales to Saudi Arabia, tasked staffers with carrying out errands for himself and his wife, and fired the inspector general who was investigating his violations.

    Last week, Pompeo crossed yet another ethical line by speaking before the Republican National Convention, thereby disregarding the State Department’s explicit legal guidance against such appearances. The speech he delivered was weak and littered with false or simply ludicrous claims, such as that the recent diplomatic accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is “a deal that our grandchildren will read about in their history books.” Maybe if they major in Middle Eastern affairs.

    With his ambitions likely fixed on a presidential candidacy in 2024, Pompeo is undoubtedly hoping most of the diplomatic disasters will ultimately be blamed on President Trump, especially if Trump loses the November election. But the former Kansas congressman should not get off so easy. Yes, it’s Trump’s foreign policy. But Pompeo’s steering of it has led to some of the worst diplomatic damage the United States has suffered in decades — especially in relations with its closest allies.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Pompeo approves plans to halt aid to Ethiopia over Nile dam dispute


    Getty Images

    The Hill

    08/28/20

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved plans to halt some U.S. aid to Ethiopia, Foreign Policy reported on Friday.

    The halt in aid comes as the U.S. mediates a dispute over a dam on the Nile River that’s pitted Ethiopia against Egypt and Sudan, according to Foreign Policy. The decision could impact up to $130 million of assistance to programs including security, counter-terrorism and anti-human trafficking.

    “There’s still progress being made, we still see a viable path forward here,” a U.S. official told the magazine. “The U.S. role is to do everything it can to help facilitate an agreement between the three countries that balance their interests. At the end of the day it has to be an agreement that works for these three countries.”

    The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

    Ethiopia and Egypt are at a standstill in negotiations over how the dam on a tributary of the Nile will be managed.

    Egypt and Sudan, which depend on the Nile for much of their fresh water, are opposed to any development they say will impact the flow downstream, including the 6,000-megawatt power plant Ethiopia hopes to develop at the dam.

    Is the Trump Administration Using Aid to Bully Ethiopia Over Nile Dam?


    It’s too bad that the U.S. has decided to take the wrong side in a local African dispute regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. As the following FP article reports the Trump administration is cutting off “some foreign assistance” to Ethiopia over GERD. The scheme may be intended to tip the scale in Egypt’s favor, but if history is any indication this kind of foreign intimidation does not work in Ethiopia. It’s also worth mentioning that the dam, a $4.5 billion hydroelectric project, is being fully funded by the Ethiopian people. (Getty Images)

    Foreign Policy

    U.S. Halts Some Foreign Assistance Funding to Ethiopia Over Dam Dispute with Egypt, Sudan, Some U.S. officials fear the move will harm Washington’s relationship with Addis Ababa.

    Updated: AUGUST 27, 2020

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved a plan to halt U.S. foreign assistance to Ethiopia as the Trump administration attempts to mediate a dispute with Egypt and Sudan over the East African country’s construction of a massive dam on the Nile River.

    The decision, made this week, could affect up to nearly $130 million in U.S. foreign assistance to Ethiopia and fuel new tensions in the relationship between Washington and Addis Ababa as it carries out plans to fill the dam, according to U.S. officials and congressional aides familiar with the matter. Officials cautioned that the details of the cuts are not yet set in stone and the finalized number could amount to less than $130 million.

    Programs that are on the chopping block include security assistance, counterterrorism and military education and training, anti-human trafficking programs, and broader development assistance funding, officials and congressional aides said. The cuts would not impact U.S. funding for emergency humanitarian relief, food assistance, or health programs aimed at addressing COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS, officials said.

    The move is meant to address the standoff between Ethiopia and other countries that rely on the Nile River downstream that have opposed the construction of the massive dam project, called the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Egypt sees the dam’s construction as a core security issue given the country’s heavy reliance on the river for fresh water and agriculture, and in the past Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has hinted his country could use military force to halt the dam’s construction.

    Some Ethiopian officials have said they believe the Trump administration is taking Egypt’s side in the dispute. President Donald Trump has shown a fondness for Sisi, reportedly calling him his “favorite dictator” during a G-7 summit last year. Officials familiar with negotiations said the Trump administration has not approved parallel cuts in foreign assistance to Egypt.

    Administration officials have repeatedly assured all sides that Washington is an impartial mediator in the negotiations, which mark one of the few diplomatic initiatives in Africa that the president has played a personal and active role in. These officials pointed out that Egypt has accused the United States of taking Ethiopia’s side in the dispute as well.

    “There’s still progress being made, we still see a viable path forward here,” said one U.S. official. “The U.S. role is to do everything it can to help facilitate an agreement between the three countries that balance their interests. At the end of the day it has to be an agreement that works for these three countries.”

    But the move is likely to face sharp pushback on Capitol Hill, according to Congressional aides familiar with the matter. State Department officials briefed Congressional staff on the decision on Thursday, the aides said, and during the briefing insisted that the U.S.-Ethiopia relationship would remain strong despite a cutback in aid because the United States can have tough conversations “with friends.”

    “This is a really fucking illogical way to show a ‘friend’ you really care,” one Congressional aide told Foreign Policy in response.

    Read more »

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    The Weeknd: “My Natural Singing Voice Was Inspired, Shaped By Ethiopian Music”

    Ethio-Canadian singer, songwriter, and record producer Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, known professionally as The Weeknd, shares that his “natural singing voice was inspired" and "shaped by Ethiopian Music”. In a recent interview with the music and culture magazine TMRW discussing his upcoming album, the artist added: "The older I got, I was exposed to more music, and my voice became a chameleon going into different characters." (The Weeknd/ Instagram)

    Koimoi

    Singer The Weeknd says his next album will be inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and Covid-19 pandemic.

    In an interview with TMRW, the singer, whose After Hours tour was postponed due to the pandemic, shared what to expect in his new album, reports billboard.com.

    “I have been more inspired and creative during the pandemic than I might normally be while on the road…The pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and the tensions of the election have mostly created a sense of gratitude for what I have and closeness with the people near me,” The Weeknd said.

    “I was laser focused back then and I’m laser focused right now. This has been the story of my 20s. I feel like I spent the last 10 years creating a sound and most of my career, I’ve either been running away from it or duplicating it. After Hours was the perfect piece of art for me to show my tenure in the industry, said The Weeknd.

    Talking about his musical journey, The Weeknd said: “My natural singing voice was inspired and shaped by Ethiopian music. The older I got, I was exposed to more music, and my voice became a chameleon going into different characters with each album. By following my own path and breaking industry norms, it seems to be influencing others.”

    Take a sneak peek at tmrw x the Weeknd: a special edition 100-page zine all about the Canadian superstar.


    Since the Weeknd’s emergence into the ever-changing world of R&B he has pioneered his own sound, defying the restrictions of genre by fusing pop, hip hop and the sultriness of R&B together. (TMRW)

    In 2012, the Scarborough-raised singer Abel Tesfaye, famously known as the Weeknd, released Trilogy. Quickly this debut LP became a platinum-selling record with critics identifying him as being a pivotal artist who changed the landscape of R&B. Fast forward to 2020 – a tumultuous year for music and the rest of the world – and the Weeknd has delivered the globally renowned After Hours featuring arguably the biggest song of the year ‘Blinding Lights’.

    Over the 10 years of creating, the Canadian icon has barely sat still: whether heading off on mega world tours or releasing forty records in under a decade, the Weeknd has transformed himself and the music industry with his unique sound, aesthetic and performances.

    Whenever I try to describe the Weeknd’s sound, the first adjective that comes to mind is ‘cinematic’, whether it is Starboy being the perfect score to a sci-fi heist film or his debut album Trilogy being layered over a fast-paced action romance. The Weeknd has definitely mastered the sound and art of orchestrated suspense. The artist’s vocal range was notably inspired by the music of his heritage and cultural roots, heavily influenced by his immigrant parents coming to Canada from Ethiopia.

    “My natural singing voice was inspired and shaped by Ethiopian music. The older I got, I was exposed to more music, and my voice became a chameleon going into different characters with each album. By following my own path and breaking industry norms, it seems to be influencing others.”

    On the eve of his first mixtape’s tenth anniversary, tmrw has joined forces with the Weeknd on a limited edition zine. Here he opens up to us about how it feels to be a meteoric star, what it means to be creative during a pandemic, and pulls back the curtain on the origin of his distinctive, honey-sweet vocal style. Featuring 100+ pages of interview, images, quotes and more on premium paper, this is not to be missed so get a copy for yourself here now and have a sneak preview below…

    Read more »


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    UPDATE: Tributes Paid to Agitu Gudeta: The Ethiopian Farm Owner Killed in Italy

    Agitu Ideo Gudeta, who was killed on Wednesday, used abandoned land to start a goat farming project employing migrants and refugees in Italy. She started with just 15 goats, increasing the herd to 180 in just a few years. She produced organic milk and cheese using environmentally friendly methods. Agitu was attacked and killed, allegedly by a former employee, on her farm in Trentino. (Photo: Reuters)

    The Guardian

    Tributes paid to Ethiopian refugee farmer who championed integration in Italy

    Tributes have been paid to a 42-year-old Ethiopian refugee and farmer who became a symbol of integration in Italy, her adopted home.

    Agitu Ideo Gudeta was attacked and killed, allegedly by a former employee, on her farm in Trentino on Wednesday.

    Gudeta had left Addis Ababa in 2010 after angering the authorities by taking part in protests against “land grabbing”. Once in Italy, she tenaciously followed and realised her ambition to move to the mountains and start her own farm. Taking advantage of permits that give farmers access to abandoned public land in depopulated areas, she reclaimed 11 hectares (27 acres) around an old barn in the Mòcheni valley, where she founded her La Capra Felice (The Happy Goat) enterprise.

    Gudeta started with a herd of 15 goats, quickly rising to 180 in a few years, producing organic milk and cheese using environmentally friendly methods and hiring migrants and refugees.

    “I created my space and made myself known, there was no resistance to me,” she told Reuters news agency that year.

    “Agitu brought to Italy the dream she was unable to realise in Ethiopia, in part because of land grabbing,” Gabriella Ghermandi, singer, performer, novelist and friend of Gudeta, told the Guardian. “Her farm was successful because she applied what she had learned from her grandparents in the countryside.

    “In Italy, many people have described her enterprise as a model of integration. But Agitu’s dream was to create an environmentally sustainable farm that was more than just a business; for her it also symbolised struggle against class divisions and the conviction that living in harmony with nature was possible. And above all she carried out her work with love. She had given a name to each one of her goats.”

    In a climate where hostility toward migrants was increasing, led by far-right political leaders, her success story was reported by numerous media outlets as an example of how integration can benefit communities.

    “The most rewarding satisfaction is when people tell me how much they love my cheeses because they’re good and taste different,” she said in an interview with Internazionale in 2017. “It compensates for all the hard work and the prejudices I’ve had to overcome as a woman and an immigrant.”

    Two years ago she received death threats and was the target of racist attacks, which she reported to police, recounting them on her social media posts.

    But police said a man who has confessed to the rape and murder of the farmer was an ex-employee who, they said, allegedly acted for “economic reasons”.

    The UN refugee agency said it was “pained” by Gudeta’s death, and that her entrepreneurial spirit “demonstrated how refugees can contribute to the societies that host them”.

    “Despite her tragic end, the UNHCR hopes that Agitu Ideo Gudeta will be remembered and celebrated as a model of success and integration and inspire refugees that struggle to rebuild their lives,” the agency said.

    “We spoke on the phone last week’’, said Ghermandi. “We spent two hours speaking about Ethiopia. We had plans to get together in the spring. Agitu considered Italy her home. She used to say that she had suffered too much in Ethiopia. Now Agitu is gone, but her work mustn’t die. We will soon begin a fundraising campaign to follow her plan for expanding the business so that her dream will live on.”

    Gudeta would have turned 43 on New Year’s Day.

    The Tragedy of Agitu Gudeta: An Ethiopian Immigrant Killed on Her Farm in Italy


    Agitu Ideo Gudeta, 42, an Ethiopian migrant who became a symbol of integration in Italy, her adopted home, has been killed on her farm where she raised goats for her cheese business, police said on Wednesday. Agitu had made her home in the mountains of Trentino’s Valle dei Mocheni, making goat’s cheese and beauty products in her farm (The Happy Goat), which was built on previously abandoned land. (Reuters)

    Reuters

    Ethiopian migrant who became symbol of integration in Italy killed on her goat farm

    ROME (Reuters) – An Ethiopian migrant who became a symbol of integration in Italy, her adopted home, has been killed on her farm where she raised goats for her cheese business, police said on Wednesday.

    A Ghanaian employee on her farm in the northern Italian region of Trentino has admitted to killing Agitu Ideo Gudeta, 42, with a hammer and raping her, Italian news agency Ansa reported. The report could not immediately be confirmed.

    Gudeta had made her home in the mountains of Trentino’s Valle dei Mocheni, making goat’s cheese and beauty products in her farm La Capra Felice (The Happy Goat), which was built on previously abandoned land.

    Her story was reported by numerous international media, including Reuters , as an example of a migrant success story in Italy at a time of rising hostility towards immigrants, fueled by the right-wing League party.

    Gudeta escaped from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, in 2010 after her participation in protests against ‘land-grabbing’ angered local authorities. Activists accused the authorities of setting aside large swathes of farmland for foreign investors.

    On reaching Italy she was able to use common land in the northern mountains to build her new enterprise, taking advantage of permits that give farmers access to public land to prevent local territory from being reclaimed by wild nature.

    Starting off with 15 goats, she had 180 by 2018 when she became a well-known figure.

    “I created my space and made myself known, there was no resistance to me,” she told Reuters in a story that year.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    SPOTLIGHT: D.C. Honors Ethiopian Community With ‘Little Ethiopia’ Resolution

    The ceremonial resolution, which was sponsored by Council member Brandon T. Todd and unanimously approved by the D.C. Council this month, recognizes "the Ethiopian community’s heritage and culture, outstanding leadership and contributions to the District of Columbia’s economy and the 9th and U Street business corridor located in the Shaw neighborhood, and its partnership with the African American community in the fight for social justice and civil rights." (Photo: Facebook)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: December 24th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) – The D.C. Council has approved a ‘Little Ethiopia’ ceremonial resolution to honor the business and cultural contributions of the Ethiopian community in the U.S. capital.

    The resolution, which was sponsored by Council member Brandon T. Todd and unanimously approved by the D.C. Council this month, recognizes “the Ethiopian community’s heritage and culture, outstanding leadership and contributions to the District of Columbia’s economy and the 9th and U Street business corridor located in the Shaw neighborhood, and its partnership with the African American community in the fight for social justice and civil rights.”

    The resolution notes that “more than 300,000 Ethiopian descendants reside in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area, one of the largest populations of Ethiopians in the United States. The region has a multitude of Ethiopian business owners, doctors, professors, entrepreneurs, community leaders, artists, and families.”

    In addition the ceremonial resolution points out that “Ethiopian immigrants initially settled in Adams Morgan, then along 9th Street NW in the historical African American Shaw neighborhood, where the 9th Street corridor between 9th and 11th Streets NW is fondly known as “Little Ethiopia.”

    The resolution adds:

    During the 1990’s, Ethiopian business owners selected the Shaw community as a central location and hub to establish new businesses that led to a vibrant flourishing business enclave that was largely responsible for revitalizing the community following the riots in the mid 1960’s, and returned it to a thriving corridor established by African American business owners prior to the riots;

    Ethiopian entrepreneurs have made significant contributions to the business community and have been outstanding leaders in Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas particularly retail strips where their strategy to establish a concentrated group of businesses has contributed to sustainability, and attracted members of both the Ethiopian community and local residents, ultimately enriching the cultural fabric of our international city and tax revenue.

    The full resolution is posted below.

    A CEREMONIAL RESOLUTION
    ____________

    COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
    ______________

    District of Columbia’s Ethiopian Business and Cultural Community ‘Little Ethiopia’ Ceremonial Recognition Resolution of 2020

    To recognize the Ethiopian community’s heritage and culture, outstanding leadership and contributions to the District of Columbia’s economy and the 9th and U Street business corridor located in the Shaw neighborhood, and its partnership with the African America community in the fight for social justice and civil rights.

    WHEREAS, Ethiopia is an independent African country that has never been colonized and stands as a symbol for all African peoples in their struggle for freedom, dignity and respect;

    WHEREAS, Ethiopia defended itself from Italian invasion on March 1, 1896 at the Battle of ADWA. The Ethiopia’s landmark victory unified the country and marked the first defeat of a European power by an African Country;

    WHEREAS, Ethiopia is widely recognized as a pioneering nation in the decades long struggle against colonialism and an inspiration to people across the Diaspora, and other nations around the world;

    WHEREAS, Ethiopia’s root can be traced to the origins of civilization and is home to the remains of the first human ancestors found in the bones of Ardi dating back to 4.2 million years ago, and Lucy dating back to 3.5 million years ago;

    WHEREAS, Ethiopia is also home to the great Axumite Kingdom that rivals Rome, Persia, and China;

    WHEREAS, Ethiopia is the birthplace of Queen of Sheba and the enduring Solomonic dynasty;

    WHEREAS, there are nine United Nations World Cultural sites in Ethiopia including the eleven 13th century cave churches in Lalibela “New Jerusalem”, and the 16 41 th Century fortress42 city of Fasilades surround by a 900-meter long wall;

    WHEREAS, on December 27, 1903 Ethiopia’s Emperor Menelik II and President Theodore Roosevelt established diplomatic relations with the signing of a Treaty of Amity and Commerce;

    WHEREAS, the Ethiopian community has a long relationship with the African American community anchored by the historical spiritual struggle for liberation reflected in the Abyssinian Christian Churches;

    WHEREAS, a significant milestone in the longstanding relationship with the Ethiopian and African American communities took place in 1808 when Ethiopian seamen and African American parishioners left the First Baptist Church of New York, and founded the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York in protest of segregated seating arrangements;

    WHEREAS, the Abyssinian Baptist Church was inspired by the ancient name of Ethiopia, Abyssinia;

    WHEREAS, the relationship was enhanced through an education exchange that encompassed the training of pilots, teachers, and medical personnel at Howard University; and a cultural exchange of musical and artistic performances that together deepened the ties that connect Ethiopia with the United States;

    WHEREAS, the first African Studies Department in the United States was started at Howard University by Dr. William Leo Hansberry, who with the first Ethiopian medical school graduate Dr. Melaku Beyan, founded the famed Ethiopian Research Council. The department was founded for the unique purpose of disseminating information on the history, culture, civilization, and diplomatic relations of Ethiopia in ancient and modern times;

    WHEREAS, the first African American Rhodes Scholar and Howard Professor Dr. Alain Locke encouraged his students to recognize and incorporate their African Heritage in their work;

    WHEREAS, the great African American poet and District resident Paul Laurence Dunbar in “Ode to Ethiopia” promotes African Americans to look to Ethiopia for pride;

    WHEREAS, District native and jazz musician extraordinaire Duke Ellington traveled and performed in Ethiopia and received Ethiopia’s Medal of Honor in 1973, Ethiopia’s highest prize from Emperor Haile Selassie I;

    WHEREAS, it was Dr. Alain Locke and others at Howard that provided the intellectual inspiration for the Harlem Renaissance and U Street’s portrayal as Black Broadway;

    WHEREAS, Ethiopia inspired Pan African movements that gave hope to those seeking justice in the eyes of God and the world;

    WHEREAS, writers, artists, and activists such as W.E.B. Dubois, Frederick Douglas, Martin Delaney, Langston Hughes, Joseph Harris, Marcus Garvey and Edward Blyden built on these traditions culminating in the US Civil Rights Movement and African Independence Movements;

    WHEREAS, Ethiopians first began migrating to the United States in the 1970’s because of political persecution by the military junta that overthrew Emperor Haile Selassie I;

    WHEREAS, more than 300,000 Ethiopian descendants reside in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area, one of the largest populations of Ethiopians in the United States. The region has a multitude of Ethiopian business owners, doctors, professors, entrepreneurs, community leaders, artists, and families;

    WHEREAS, Ethiopian immigrants initially settled in Adams Morgan, then along 9th Street NW in the historical African American Shaw neighborhood, where the 9th Street corridor between 9th and 11 102 th Streets NW is fondly known as “Little Ethiopia”;

    WHEREAS, during the 1990’s, Ethiopian business owners selected the Shaw community as a central location and hub to establish new businesses that led to a vibrant flourishing business enclave that was largely responsible for revitalizing the community following the riots in the mid 1960’s, and returned it to a thriving corridor established by African American business owners prior to the riots;

    WHEREAS, Ethiopian entrepreneurs have made significant contributions to the business community and have been outstanding leaders in Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas particularly retail strips where their strategy to establish a concentrated group of businesses has contributed to sustainability, and attracted members of both the Ethiopian community and local residents, ultimately enriching the cultural fabric of our international city and tax revenue;

    WHEREAS, in 2019 the District of Columbia under Mayor Muriel Bowser’s leadership, renewed its Sister City Agreement between Addis Ababa and Washington, D.C. to create lasting partnerships and cooperation on economic development, public health, culture, tourism and education;

    WHEREAS, the Sister City agreement confirms that the two cities will promote collaboration, information exchange, and joint ventures, with a special focus on the growth and development of business investment, trade and tourism and public-private partnerships;

    WHEREAS, the Sister City agreement shares best practices in the areas of government operations including public works, transportation, technology, infrastructure and housing; health polices to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of prevention and treatment programs; sustainable environment, including energy conservation and the green economy; and promote the development of programs in the areas of culture, arts and education;

    WHEREAS, the 2019 Sister City Agreement was the culmination of first-hand efforts by a delegation to Addis Ababa of Washington, D.C. leaders, under the auspices, direction, and stewardship of Henok Tesfaye, a prominent and long-standing Washington, D.C. entrepreneur, civic leader, and humanitarian;

    WHEREAS, during the mission, the Mayor of Addis Ababa, Takele Uma Banti, unveiled a newly-named street, “Mayor Muriel Bowser Street,” and announced the renaming of Gazebo Roundabout to “Washington, D.C. Square”, an historic honor, as part of the signing ceremony for the renewal of the Sister City agreement between the District and Addis Ababa;

    WHEREAS, Mayor Muriel Bowser proclaimed July 28, 2018 as “Ethiopia Day in DC” in honor of the visit of Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali to Washington, D.C.;

    WHEREAS, the Ethiopian communities’ contributions to arts, culture, and education in the District encompass four annual events to commemorate the fight for freedom by the resilient and the patriotic people of Ethiopia against Italian invasion and the annual holiday celebration;

    WHEREAS, the four annual events include the victory of Adwa on March 1, 1896, the Addis Ababa Massacre and Yekatit 12 on February 19, 1937; the liberation of Addis Ababa and Miazia 27 on May 5,1941; and Kwanzaa and Early celebration of Genna on December 26, 2004;

    WHEREAS, the Ethiopian community also commemorates Adwa and Miazia by placing a wreath with the colors of the Ethiopian flag in front of the African American Civil War Memorial in March and May of each year;

    WHEREAS, June 4, 2015 Mayor Muriel Bowser declared “Ethiopian International Food Day “where 47,000 students in over 100 schools were served Ethiopian food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The event was held at Walker Jones Education Campus;

    WHEREAS, the program was planned by DC Mayor Bowser’s Office of the Secretary, Executive Office of the Mayor in collaboration with District of Columbia Public Schools, the Little Ethiopia DC organization, and an advisory group of ten Ethiopian chefs and restaurateurs guided food preparations for the event including the prominent Ethiopian Chef “Etete” Tiwaltengus Sheenegelgn; and

    WHEREAS, the Ethiopian community continues to make exceptional contributions to the District of Columbia.

    RESOLVED, BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, that this resolution may be cited as the “District of Columbia’s Ethiopian Business and Cultural Community ‘Little Ethiopia’ Ceremonial Recognition Resolution of 2020”.

    Sec. 2. The Council of the District of Columbia recognizes the long history between the United States and Ethiopia, and congratulates the Ethiopian community for over seventy years of collaborative work in the areas of economic development, entrepreneurship, arts, culture, education, and government collaboration in the District of Columbia.

    Sec. 3. This resolution shall take effect immediately upon the first date of publication in the District of Columbia Register.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    ETHIOPIA UPDATE: PM Abiy Explains How We Got Here — War, Fake News, Refugee Crisis & Crime Against Humanity

    Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. (Photo: Tadias Magazine)

    Updated: December 24th, 2020

  • How Did We Get Here? – By Abiy Ahmed
  • UN Spotlights Refugee Photos: Doctors, Teachers, Artists
  • ‘I Miss Home’: Displaced Children Suffer
  • UN: More Than 2 Million Children in Need of Aid
  • African Union Supports Ethiopia’s ‘legitimate’ actions against TPLF
  • The rise and fall of TPLF as told by its former commander
  • ‘Abandoned’ bomb kills three in Addis Ababa
  • Sudan, Ethiopia to hold border demarcation talks week after clash
  • Sudan’s PM meets Ethiopian leader after cross-border attack
  • PM Abiy confirms he met the Sudanese Prime Minster during IGAD meeting in Djibouti
  • In Pictures: The Conflict in Ethiopia
  • Beyond the Headlines: Forgotten Fragility in Ethiopia
  • For the Diaspora, Finding Reliable Sources of Information is a Struggle


    As VOA reports due to the politically and ethnically polarized nature of the Ethiopian media environment in the Diaspora coupled with the current information blackout, for those of us who live outside the country “the search for verified, accurate news on the conflict” is an ever growing challenge. As a result “Ethiopians from the country’s roughly 3 million diaspora [find] themselves looking to other, often unreliable sources of information found on social media.” VOA adds: “For the [Diaspora] population, the media void struck right at the moment they most wanted news of what was happening in their home country.” (Photo: Reuters)

  • Ethiopia offers reward for intel on fugitive TPLF leaders
  • Foreign Policy Argument: The War in Tigray Is a Fight Over Ethiopia’s Past—and Future
  • PM Abiy says: “The gov’t is closely following the incident on the Ethio-Sudan border
  • Sudan says officers ambushed by Ethiopian ‘forces’ during patrol
  • Analysis-Spillover from conflict adds to pressure on Sudan
  • Ethiopian soldiers decry betrayal by former comrades loyal to TPLF
  • UN announces $35.6 mln aid for civilians


    In Sudan, many of the refugees from Ethiopia are children. (NYT)


    An Ethiopian refugee holds a child inside a courtesy bus in Sudan December 13, 2020. (REUTERS)

  • Born in Flight: The Youngest Victims of Ethiopia’s War
  • ICRC: We can’t wait for the guns to fall silent to start acting
  • EU delays 90 million euros in aid to Ethiopia over crisis, document shows
  • How War in Ethiopia Impacts Red Sea and Horn of Africa Power Politics
  • Ethiopia’s war-scarred Tigray region regains some services
  • Civilians share their stories as power and phone starts to return
  • PM Abiy Visits Mekelle, says “telecom & electricity currently being restored”
  • First NGO aid gets to Tigray, businesses to re-open
  • Red Cross sends medicines, relief supplies to Mekelle to fortify paralyzed health care facilities
  • Protecting Refugees — and Averting the Next Crisis
  • UN ‘frustration’ at lack of access to Tigray
  • A doctor’s account of Mekelle’s plight
  • The Australian on David Steinman vs Dr. Tedros
  • As War Goes On, Ethnic Harassment Is on the Rise …
  • Sudanese PM visits Ethiopia to discuss Tigray fighting
  • United Nations apologizes to Ethiopia for security violations


    “The UN on Saturday (December 12, 2020) apologized to Ethiopia for a widely reported incident where its staffers breached security checkpoints in the Tigray region,” reports Addis Getachew for Anadolu Agency. “The UN Resident Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs Catherine Sozy apologized for the behavior of the UN staffers, the state-owned Ethiopian News Agency reported citing a statement by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Peace.” (AA)

  • Diaspora Hosts Online Conference on ‘Pandemic & Armed Conflict’
  • PM says the project to rebuild and “restore essential services” in Tigray has began
  • Shifts focus from war to economy
  • Unveils 10 year plan for development, “peace building & institutional transformation”
  • Another draft media proclamation governing “print, broadcast and online” news
  • Expert: No Evidence UAE Drones Are Being Used in Ethiopia’s Tigray Conflict
  • U.S. Insists reports of Eritrean troops in Ethiopia are ‘credible’
  • Survivors recount horrific details of Mai Kadra massacre
  • AP: Shadowy Ethiopian massacre could be ‘tip of the iceberg’
  • Amnesty: International humanitarian aid must be allowed into refugee camps amid food shortage warning


    Refugees from Ethiopia ride a bus going to a shelter in Sudan on Dec. 1, 2020. (AP Photo)

  • UN: Humanitarian workers must be allowed to help in Ethiopia without fear of attack
  • No proof of Eritrean troops fighting in Ethiopia: UN chief
  • UN on conflict’s impact on civilians
  • U.S. senators seek possible sanctions over Ethiopia conflict abuses
  • Law Prof: “I Nominated PM Abiy Ahmed for the Nobel Peace Prize.Then, this happened.”
  • Exclusive: U.S. thinks Eritrea has joined Ethiopian war, diplomats say
  • Ethiopia says U.N. team shot at in Tigray after defying checkpoints
  • Ethiopia’s forces shoot at, detain UN staffers in Tigray
  • Abiy Denies ‘insurgency’ emerging
  • ‘Quickly restore the rule of law,’ urges UN chief
  • Facing War, Virus and Locusts, Ethiopia’s Once-Golden Economy Loses Its Luster
  • Ethiopia’s conflict stokes humanitarian and virus crisis
  • UN, Ethiopia sign deal for aid access
  • Ethiopia’s war of words as divisive as fighting on the ground
  • Journalists struggle through information blackout
  • Victory, defeat and confusion
  • ‘How the conflict made my uncle a refugee in Sudan’: A BBC reporter shares personal story
  • Government Says Member of Tigray Executive Surrenders
  • Sudan says it has arrested one of TPLF leaders
  • Analysis: Why Ethiopia’s Tensions Are Boiling Over in Tigray
  • Pompeo Voices ‘grave concern’
  • Urges Ethiopia to allow “free, safe, unhindered humanitarian access
  • Wounded flood hospitals in Tigray
  • UN appeals for $147 million to support Ethiopian refugees in Sudan
  • PM addresses parliament


    Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Saturday, November 28th that military operations in Tigray have been completed, shortly after he announced federal troops had seized full control of Mekelle. (AP Photo)

  • Abiy says has TPLF leaders in his sights
  • ‘Stop the madness,’ TPLF leader begs PM
  • Abiy relishes victory
  • Rejects claims army killed civilians in Tigray
  • Ethiopia Declares Victory, but Rebel Leaders Vow to Fight On
  • UPDATED: Addis Ababa, Juba denies expulsion of S. Sudan diplomats from Ethiopia
  • Understanding the law-enforcement operation in Ethiopia
  • UN agency says it hopes humanitarian access to Tigray will be granted soon


    An Ethiopian refugee in Sudan listens to a radio. (AFP)

  • Red Cross says hospitals in Mekelle low on supplies to treat wounded
  • Sudan needs $150 mln to tackle Ethiopian refugee crisis
  • With military operations over, hunt for TPLF leaders begins
  • TPLF claims to have shot down Ethiopian plane, taken town
  • US reports several explosions heard in Eritrea’s capital
  • Mission accomplished: Mekelle under control, PM declares
  • Ethiopia claims victory as military takes Tigray capital
  • Ethiopian military operation in Tigray is complete, prime minister says
  • First of four UN humanitarian airlifts for Ethiopia refugees lands in Khartoum
  • War Spirals Into Full-Blown Crisis
  • Amid civil conflict, the future of Chinese investment uncertain
  • Ethiopian forces capture town, move toward Tigrayan capital, senior armed forces officer says
  • PM meets African Union Special Envoys
  • Rejects Tigray conflict talks
  • Rise and fall of TPLF – from rebels to rulers and back
  • Refugees set to run out of food: U.N.
  • Q&A: Conflict in Ethiopia and International Law
  • Analysis: How attempts to unify Ethiopia may be deepening its divides, say analysts
  • How Western Media (and others) are STILL failing Ethiopia
  • The Fight for Mekelle Begins
  • This is ‘final phase’ of offensive, PM says
  • Troops ordered to move on Tigray capital
  • Ethiopia to UN: ‘Adherence to the Principle of Non-Intervention’ Tweeted by PM Abiy
  • Biden’s National Security Adviser Warns of ‘War Crimes’ Risk in Ethiopia
  • Things don’t have to fall apart: The Economist
  • Africa’s ‘hidden world war’: Did AU fail Ethiopia?
  • Why Ethiopia’s Tensions Are Boiling Over in Tigray
  • Constitutional question at the heart of fight
  • African envoys head for Ethiopia as ultimatum expires for assault
  • UN Security Council meets as Tigray battle looms
  • PM rejects international ‘interference’ in war


    Refugees who fled the conflict in Tigray arrive on the banks of the Tekeze River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in Hamdayet, eastern Sudan, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (AP Photo)

  • Amnesty to Ethiopia: Protect civilians in Mekelle offensive
  • Tigray Mai Kadra massacre of civilians is a crime of atrocity: Ethiopian Human rights commission
  • I Was a Child Refugee. Another War in Ethiopia Is Forcing More Children Into the Camps.
  • ‘We just ran’: Ethiopians fleeing war find little relief
  • Ethiopia war destabilising east Africa, warns EU
  • The World Needs to Head Off the Worst in Ethiopia
  • With Ethiopia on brink of escalation, diplomacy in doubt
  • Both sides claim gains in war, TPLF accused of massacre
  • Global alarm grows
  • Chinese flee northern Ethiopia as civil conflict hits region
  • Ethiopia piles war risk on shaky economy
  • Ethiopia says ‘large number’ of Tigrayan fighters surrender
  • Ethiopia Commission Says Tigray Youth Group Killed 600 Civilians in Nov 9 Attack
  • Ethiopian Government and TPLF Are Not Morally Equivalent: By HAILEMARIAM DESALEGN
  • Analysis: Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict reflects unresolved ethnic tensions
  • Ready to die’: TPLF leader rejects call to surrender
  • Fight sparks conflicting narratives as battle rages
  • Government says Mekelle encircled
  • TPLF leader denies Mekelle circled
  • TPLF forces accused of destroying Axum airport
  • These refugees fled a massacre in Ethiopia. They join tens of thousands making the journey to Sudan


    Refugees from Ethiopia wait to register at the UNCHR center in Sudan on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. Tens of thousands of people have fled a conflict in Ethiopia for Sudan, sometimes so quickly they had to leave family behind. There is not enough to feed them in the remote area of southern Sudan that they rushed to. (AP)

  • U.S. briefs reporters on the situation in Ethiopia
  • Alert: Potential Relocation of American Citizens from Mekelle
  • PM gives TPLF 72 hours to surrender Mekelle
  • Civilians told ‘no mercy’ in upcoming Mekelle offensive
  • ‘Save yourselves,’ government says
  • ‘No mercy’ ultimatum stokes international concerns as conflict enters third week
  • PM tweets: Safety of civilians is “paramount importance”
  • Says he will meet African Union Chair “one on one”
  • Rejects mediation; calls reports of AU’s offer “fake”
  • Federal troops take the town of Adigrat
  • Axum and Adwa
  • Push toward Mekelle
  • Who is Debretsion Gebremichael, the man at the heart of the conflict?
  • U.N. Fears Purging of Ethnic Tigrayan Officers From Peacekeeping Missions
  • Internal document shows concern they may face torture or execution
  • Police says nearly 800 TPLF suspects arrested over ‘terrorist’ plot
  • She fled Ethiopia’s fighting. Now she warns of ‘catastrophe’
  • Heartbreaking stories from refugees fleeing violence


    Insecurity in Ethiopia is driving people into Sudan. (© UNHCR)

  • Aid agencies scramble to respond as more people flee to Sudan
  • UN prepares for up to 200,000 Ethiopian refugees in Sudan
  • Latest airstrike hits Tigray university
  • TPLF fires rocket into Bahir Dar again
  • Fake News Alert: Fact-checking misleading images
  • EU fears ‘unravelling’ of Ethiopia
  • Several injured in airstrikes on Tigray capital, humanitarian source says
  • TPLF’s War Against Ethiopia Isn’t About Autonomy. It’s About Economic Power.
  • The Ethiopian Civil War and lessons from Yugoslavia
  • Ethiopia crisis: ‘a political mess that makes fathers fight sons
  • After fleeing to Sudan, Ethiopians from Tigray recount brutal killings
  • As Fighting Rages in Ethiopia, Aid Groups Plead for Access to Refugees
  • A full-scale humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Ethiopia, the UN says


    Refugees who fled the conflict in Ethiopia wait to get cooked rice served by Sudanese local volunteers in eastern Sudan, Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. (AP Photo)

  • UN: Over 25,300 fleeing Ethiopia fighting have reached Sudan
  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemns TPLF, urges de-escalation
  • Ethiopia’s multiple crises: War, COVID-19, even locusts
  • Ethiopia seeks arrest of 76 military officers linked to TPLF
  • Both sides claim military gains as fighting rages
  • Who is spreading fake news on social media?
  • AP: Ethiopia claims WHO chief is backing TPLF without evidence
  • Tedros Adhanom denies claims against him
  • Says he desires only peace in the country
  • U.S. distances itself from accusation
  • Military chief calls him a criminal supporting a rebel region
  • Ethiopian army accuses WHO chief of supporting Tigray forces
  • Ethiopian troops push for Mekelle, TPLF promises ‘hell’
  • Ethiopia says troops close to taking over Mekelle
  • PM vows ‘final and crucial’ offensive


    People read newspapers and magazines reporting on the current military confrontation in the country on a street in Addis Ababa, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. (AP Photo)

  • Ethiopians on streets to hail armed forces
  • Ethiopian Air force targets sites near Mekelle
  • ‘Give us time,’ Ethiopia says of Tigray offensive
  • Resists mediation
  • Ethiopians in America Launch online petition
  • U.S. condemns TPLF’s “efforts to internationalize the conflict’
  • As Ethiopia descends into civil war, civilians are caught in the crossfire
  • Ethiopia seizes town in Tigray, says 10000 prisoners missing
  • Number of refugees fleeing Ethiopia to Sudan surpasses 20,000- UN
  • Ethiopian troops ‘liberate’ key town in Tigray, claim officials
  • Behind the scenes Africa and Europe press for Ethiopia mediation, sources say
  • They Once Ruled Ethiopia. Now They Are Fighting Its Government.
  • Fears of regional conflict in Horn of Africa after rocket attacks on Eritrea
  • Rockets fired at Eritrean capital from Ethiopia, diplomats say
  • Two missiles target airports as Tigray conflict widens
  • Pictures: Fleeing war, Ethiopians cross river into Sudan
  • As Ethiopia’s conflict rages, ethnic targeting turns deadly
  • War crimes feared


    Ethiopian Orthodox Christians light candles and pray for peace during a church service at the Medhane Alem Cathedral in the Bole Medhanealem area of Addis Ababa, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020 (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

  • UN rights chief warns of spiralling situation
  • Amnesty International: ‘Civilians massacred’
  • Ethiopia appoints new Tigray leader
  • First witness account emerges of Ethiopians fleeing conflict
  • UN fears refugee emergency
  • Ethiopia conflict tensions spread as 150 ‘operatives’ held
  • ‘We Can’t Be Beaten,’ Says Leader of Rebel Ethiopian Region
  • Ethiopians Donate Blood, Money to Back Incursion in Rebel Region
  • What’s Happening in Ethiopia Is a Tragedy: By Tsedale Lemma
  • Thousands are fleeing into Sudan to escape deadly conflict in Ethiopia
  • Sudan braces for up to 200,000 fleeing Ethiopia fighting
  • Ethiopia’s Conflict spills over border as thousands flee
  • Misinformation spreads online
  • African Union urges ceasefire
  • PM rejects peace talks
  • Are we at a tipping point?


    (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

  • End of conflict coming within reach, says PM
  • Ethiopia to Talk With TPLF Only Once Weapons Destroyed
  • Ethiopia Sets Conditions for Peace Talks With TPLF
  • PM rejects concerns of a brewing civil war
  • Ethiopian military seizes airport as fighting rages in Tigray
  • Ethiopia says its jets are ‘pounding’ targets in Tigray
  • Hundreds dead in escalating Ethiopian conflict, sources say
  • Pope appeals for peace in Ethiopia
  • PM Reshuffles Top Security Officials Amid Escalating Conflict
  • Clashes in Ethiopian Region Put Horn of Africa on Edge
  • UN Rights Chief Urges Halt to Ethiopia Violence, Dialogue to Restore Peace
  • Ethiopia to replace Tigray region leadership as forces clash
  • Ethiopia: a tragedy in the making?
  • Air strikes in Tigray will continue, says PM, as civil war risk grows
  • Ethiopian Air Force Bombs Military Facilities in Northern Region
  • PM: Airstrikes target TPLF military depots in Tigray
  • PM announces airstrikes in Tigray region
  • Ethiopia says forced into ‘aimless war’ as bombings alleged
  • Ethiopia conflict escalates as army sends more troops to Tigray region
  • Prime Minister says Tigray military ops ‘limited’ as Sudan closes border
  • Abiy vows to disarm ‘fugitives from justice’ in Tigray campaign
  • Tigray region alleges bombings in Ethiopia’s ‘unexpected war’
  • Why Did Ethiopia’s Leader Launch a War on the Tigray Region?

    For Ethiopia’s Diaspora, Seeking News Amid Communication Blackout is a Challenge

    VOA News

    By Salem Solomon

    December 18, 2020

    WASHINGTON – When violence erupted in Ethiopia’s Tigray region between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) last month, those living in the global diaspora scrambled for information.

    The Ethiopian army went into Tigray on Nov. 4, after the government accused local forces of attacking a military base there. TPLF leaders called the federal government’s response a war against the people of Tigray.

    The search for verified, accurate news on the conflict was hampered by authorities preventing many international media organizations from accessing the conflict zone and disruptions to phone and internet connections that resulted in an information blackout. And Ethiopians from the country’s roughly 3 million diaspora found themselves looking to other, often unreliable sources of information found on social media.

    For the country’s migrant population, the media void struck right at the moment they most wanted news of what was happening in their home country.

    Most rely on messaging apps including Telegram, WhatsApp and Viber which provide a “lifeline” connecting the diaspora to people at home, Tewodros Workneh, an assistant professor of global communication at Kent State University in Ohio, said.

    “It’s incredibly difficult if you live in this country [in the diaspora] or in other parts of the world when there is a media blackout in the conflict region right now. It’s really frustrating for diaspora communities,” Tewodros added.

    In the information vacuum, people look to other, often unreliable sources of information.

    “When you cannot hear from your relatives and your friends and family members, what you rely on are third parties,” said Tewodros, who studies media development, including in Ethiopia. “And often times this vacuum is filled by different political interest groups on social media platforms who have no knowledge about what’s going on.”

    Misinformation spread widely during the conflict. Images were shared on social media platforms of old airplane crashes alongside claims they had been downed Ethiopian fighter jets. An image showing a 2015 factory explosion in China was passed off as being from a missile strike by Tigrayan forces against neighboring Eritrea.

    Ethiopia has a range of media outlets run from outside the country. But oftentimes these satellite television networks are politically or ethnically aligned, journalists and scholars said.

    Befeqadu Hailu, executive director of the Center for Advancement of Rights and Democracy based in the capital, Addis Ababa, said that outlets abroad can play an important role but that bias sometimes influences the way they report on events.

    “They have a positive contribution especially in times of repression by the government here [in Ethiopia]. They can be the voice of the silenced here,” Befeqadu said. But, he added, they can sometimes “aggravate” the conversation because of their allegiances, or through using sources or information that are less reliable.

    “I think that the diaspora media is usually more divided than the media organizations that are here,” Befeqadu said. “The diaspora is more divided along ethnic lines, along ideological and political ideological lines, and they show their allegiance without fear.”

    Reeyot Alemu, a journalist for the U.S.-based Ethiopian news website Ethio 360 Media, which reports primarily in Amharic, says some journalists do their due diligence and refrain from becoming swayed along ethnic or political lines.

    “There are gaps created as a result of working from abroad but responsible journalists always verify information using all the means available,” Reeyot told VOA in Amharic. “But there is still a big gap when it comes to applying journalism principles not only caused by physical distance, but also taking sides.

    The challenges of reporting from overseas have been exacerbated during the information blackout.

    The government denied responsibility for the latest internet cuts. A tweet by the Ethiopia State of Emergency Fact Check, which says it provides the latest information on the state of emergency, shared a video on Twitter that it says shows unidentified individuals breaking into the northern region’s office of Ethio-Telecom, the country’s sole internet provider and then “intentionally” disconnecting the network.

    Internet blocks during times of conflict or unrest in Ethiopia aren’t new. Data from NetBlocks, which tracks cybersecurity and internet governance, shows other regions in the country were cut off during protests or violence following major events such as the killing of prominent Oromo artist Hachalu Hundessa in June. In that case, internet service was cut off for 23 days, the nonprofit organization said.

    The government said at the time that social media were being used to exacerbate protests, during which at least 86 people were killed.

    Befeqadu, of the Center for Advancement of Rights and Democracy, said journalists find themselves in a precarious position whenever there is conflict. “Since the military confrontation between the federal government and the Tigray region started, about seven journalists are detained and now in jail,” he said. “So, it is always tough when the government is under scrutiny. To be a reporter or a media affiliate in Ethiopia comes always with a risk.”

    Reeyot, who covers her home country from more than 11,000 kilometers away in the United States, said the struggles are felt from afar.

    “It is not just working from abroad, but the lack of access and internet blackout makes it difficult to follow the current situation, even for someone inside the country. Closing all access is problematic,” Reeyot said.

    Reeyot knows firsthand the risks for journalists in Ethiopia. She served just over four years of a 14-year sentence for terrorism because of her critical reporting for the independent weekly Feteh, before her release in 2015.

    In addition to these challenges, journalists working in the diaspora endure regular threats and accusations of bias. Reeyot says the harassment and intimidation comes from all sides but can be strong from the government.

    Ethiopia had shown signs of reversing its poor press freedom record when Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018. The country was hailed for releasing journalists and political dissidents and the new prime minister last year spoke of the need to open up the media space, while cautioning against the spread of hate speech and fake news.

    But during points of conflict or unrest, including the Tigray fighting, Ethiopia has reverted to blocking access to information, detaining critical journalists or pressuring media who report critically on the government or appear more favorable to opposition, media rights groups say.

    On Dec. 12, the deputy director general of the Information Network Security Agency, Kefyalew Tefera, accused the U.S.-based Oromia Media Network and Ethio 360 Media of collaborating with the TPLF.

    Reeyot, who was imprisoned when the TPLF was in power, said that the accusation appears to be “simply because the media is deemed not to have a favorable view of the government.”

    Accusations of supporting or working for the TPLF have led to an increase in the number of journalists jailed in Ethiopia since the fighting. Figures released by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists showed seven journalists jailed in Ethiopia on Dec. 1—nearly all of whom were arrested in November for coverage of the TPLF.

    What’s Happening in Ethiopia Is a Tragedy By Tsedale Lemma

    Tsedale Lemma is the editor in chief of the Addis Standard.

    NYT

    Nov. 11, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The announcement last week that the government was about to launch a military operation into one of the country’s regions came, to put it lightly, as a shock.

    Not only was it very far from the emollient statecraft that won Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed the Nobel Peace Prize last year, it also seemed to shatter the purpose of his premiership. When he rose to power in 2018, Mr. Abiy promised to guide Ethiopia into a new era of peace, prosperity and national reconciliation.

    But on Nov. 4, he dispatched the Army to Tigray, one of the country’s 10 semiautonomous regions and home to roughly 6 percent of the population, accusing its leaders — with whom he has increasingly sparred — of attacking a government defense post and attempting to steal military equipment.

    And in the days since, Mr. Abiy imposed a six-month state of emergency on the Tigray region, declared its legislature void and approved a provisional replacement. As fighting raged, the internet and telephone networks have been shut down. Hundreds are reported to be dead.

    This is a tragedy. Ethiopia stands on the cusp of civil war, bringing devastation to both the country and the wider region. While the situation is volatile and uncertain, this much is clear: Mr. Abiy’s political project, to bring together the nation in a process of democratization, is over. And much of the blame must be laid at his door.

    After years of persistent anti-government protests, economic troubles and widespread unrest, Mr. Abiy took over a country on the brink of collapse. At least one million people were internally displaced in 2017, according to the United Nations, as the country was shaken by protests from Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups, who together make up nearly two-thirds of the population. Presenting himself as a reformer, the avalanche of changes promised by Mr. Abiy, who took over in April 2018, seemed to avert the worst of the country’s problems.

    But Mr. Abiy overreached. His first cardinal mistake was to sideline the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, for decades the most powerful political force in the country, in the peace he brokered between Ethiopia and Eritrea. By pushing the Tigrayan leadership aside as he sealed his signature achievement, Mr. Abiy made clear the limits to his talk of unity.

    That was a taste of what was to come. Last year, Mr. Abiy moved to dismantle the old political order. Going beyond his original remit, he proposed reconfiguring the coalition that had ruled the country for 27 years — the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Front, or E.P.R.D.F., which itself comprised a gamut of regional parties — into a new, single party.

    The T.P.L.F., which founded and dominated the coalition, was not keen on the change — but Mr. Abiy went ahead with it regardless, creating a rift with the Tigrayans and undermining the country’s delicate political settlement. Far from minimizing the fallout, Mr. Abiy exacerbated it, removing all ministers from the T.P.L.F. from his cabinet.

    By the time the new party was announced, in November 2019, the damage was done. The T.P.L.F., angered by the whittling away of its power and concerned that the country’s federal system was under threat, had not joined. They weren’t alone in their disquiet. In Mr. Abiy’s own region, Oromia, many were skeptical of the new order, while southern Ethiopia splintered into disorder, as multiple administrative zones demanded self-rule. After coming to power on the promise of unity, Mr. Abiy had alienated and frustrated key components of his coalition. Suddenly, he looked vulnerable.

    The coronavirus changed the calculus. The all-important national election, scheduled for August, was postponed; the focus became how to mitigate the damage wrought by the pandemic. But the political problems didn’t go away.

    Read more »

    —-

    Ethiopia says forced into ‘aimless war’


    Ethiopian Orthodox Christians light candles and pray for peace during a church service at the Medhane Alem Cathedral in the Bole Medhanealem area of the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

    The Associated Press

    By ELIAS MESERET

    Updated: November 5th, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia’s army said Thursday the country has been forced into an “unexpected and aimless war” with its well-armed Tigray region, while Tigray asserted that fighter jets had bombed areas around its capital — a marked escalation with little sign of the two sides willing to talk to calm the crisis.

    Ethiopia’s army deputy chief said military forces are being sent to the fighting in Tigray from other parts of the country. “The army will not go anywhere,” Birhanu Jula told reporters, amid fears that the conflict would spill into other regions of Africa’s second-most populous nation. “The war will end there.”

    For his part, the Tigray region’s president, Debretsion Gebremichael, told reporters that “we are in position to defend ourselves from enemies that waged war on the Tigray region. … We are ready to be martyrs.”

    Ethiopia’s government has not commented on the bombing allegation, read out Thursday evening on the Tigray regional broadcaster.

    The strong words came a day after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told the nation the military will carry out further operations this week in response to an alleged deadly attack on a military base by the regional government.

    Observers warn that a civil war in Ethiopia involving Tigray could destabilize the already turbulent Horn of Africa. The prime minister, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his sweeping political reforms, now faces his greatest challenge in holding together a country of some 110 million people with multiple ethnic and other grievances.

    Communications remained cut off in the northern Tigray region after services disappeared at just around the time Abiy’s office first announced the attack and military action early Wednesday. The lack of contact has challenged efforts to verify the Ethiopian federal government’s account of events.

    The Tigray capital, Mekele, appeared calm on Thursday morning but skirmishes took place elsewhere, a source told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media about it.

    Ethiopia’s army deputy chief asserted that members of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front are “fleeing and joining the army; those injured are receiving medical treatment.” The army was trying to avoid civilian casualties, he said.

    The Tigray leader asserted that the Ethiopian army’s northern command is siding with the Tigray people, and he confirmed that fighting is also taking place in an area bordering the Amhara region, far from where the original clash was reported. “They are surrounding us with their forces,” he said.

    Verifying either side’s claims remained a challenge.

    “Certainly there is fighting, but I don’t think anyone can credibly assert who attacked who first,” former U.S. diplomat Payton Knopf, a senior advisor with the United States Institute of Peace, told the AP on Wednesday night. He wondered why the well-armed Tigray region’s forces would start by raiding a command post: “They’re not lacking for weaponry.”

    Aid organizations and human rights groups are pleading for communications links to be restored and warning of a humanitarian disaster if hundreds of thousands of people flee fighting in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.


    Ethiopian Orthodox Christians light candles and pray for peace during a church service at the Medhane Alem Cathedral in the Bole Medhanealem area of the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. The head of Ethiopia’s new state of emergency committee, Redwan Hussein, has said the federal government’s conflict is with a “small clique of TPLF circles that are keen to destabilize Ethiopia,” and the government must do everything possible to “liberate the Tigrayan people.” (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)


    AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene

    Ethiopia has imposed a six-month state of emergency on the Tigray region, which played a dominant role in the country’s government and military before Abiy took office in 2018. Since then the region, feeling marginalized, has split from the ruling coalition and defied Abiy by holding a regional election in September that the federal government called illegal.

    Tigray borders Eritrea, which fought a bloody border war with Ethiopia before the countries made peace in 2018, shortly after Abiy took power. The Tigray regional government has accused Eritrea of teaming up with Ethiopia’s federal government in this week’s offensive. Eritrea’s information minister did not respond to a request for comment.

    TPLF officials have said airspace over the region is closed, and accused the federal government of deploying troops to “cow the people of Tigray into submission by force.”

    The TPLF also invited other members of the security forces across Ethiopia to join it in “opposing the colonel Abiy’s regime.”

    The head of Ethiopia’s new state of emergency committee, Redwan Hussein, has said the federal government’s conflict is with a “small clique of TPLF circles that are keen to destabilize Ethiopia,” and the government must do everything possible to “liberate the Tigrayan people.”

    “Given the strength of Tigray’s security forces, the conflict could well be protracted,” the International Crisis Group said in a statement Thursday. “Tigray has a large paramilitary force and a well-drilled local militia, thought to number perhaps 250,000 troops combined.”

    It appears unlikely that Ethiopian forces would quickly oust the TPLF leadership, the group said, and even then loyalists could mount “sustained resistance.” The statement called for “immediate, concerted mediation – local, regional and international.”

    The TPLF over the weekend told the AP it’s not interested in negotiating with the federal government. It was not clear if that stance had changed in light of the new events.

    It also was not clear who might step in to mediate.

    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement overnight seemed to support the federal government’s account of events, saying the U.S. was “deeply concerned by reports that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front carried out attacks on Ethiopian National Defense Force bases in Ethiopia’s Tigray region on November 3. We are saddened by the tragic loss of life and urge immediate action to restore the peace and de-escalate tensions.”

    War Looms in Ethiopia As PM Orders Military Against TPLF


    The statement by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office, and the reported attack by the well-armed Tigray People’s Liberation Front, immediately raised concerns that one of Africa’s most populous and powerful countries could plunge back into war. That would send a shock wave through the Horn of Africa and beyond. (AP photo)

    The Associated Press

    By ELIAS MESERET

    Updated: November 4th, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia’s prime minister on Wednesday ordered the military to confront one of the country’s regional governments after he said it carried out a deadly attack on a military base overnight, citing months of “provocation and incitement” and declaring that “the last red line has been crossed.”

    The statement by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office, and the reported attack by the well-armed Tigray People’s Liberation Front, immediately raised concerns that one of Africa’s most populous and powerful countries could plunge back into war. That would send a shock wave through the Horn of Africa and beyond.

    Addressing the nation on TV, Abiy announced “several martyrs” in the attack in Mekele, the northern Tigray region’s capital, and Dansha town. The prime minister said “the end is near” for the regional force, which is based in Ethiopia’s most sensitive region, neighboring Eritrea. The two countries made peace in 2018 after a long border war.

    The TPLF had been the dominant part of Ethiopia’s governing coalition before Abiy took office in 2018 and announced sweeping political reforms that won him the Nobel Peace Prize last year. Those reforms, however, have opened space for old ethnic and other grievances. The TPLF, feeling marginalized, left the coalition last year. It remains a strong military force, observers say.

    There was no immediate word from the TPLF, and all internet and phone lines were cut in the Tigray region following the announcement. Tigray TV reported that airspace has been closed over the region.

    Ethiopia was already stressed by a dispute with Egypt over a massive Ethiopian dam project that has drawn rare attention by President Donald Trump to Africa, and by a multi-layer crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic, deadly ethnic violence and a locust outbreak.

    Now the greatest test of Abiy’s rule has has come.

    Tigray officials have objected to the postponement of Ethiopia’s national election, once set for August, because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the extension of Abiy’s time in office.

    On Sunday, a senior TPLF official, Getachew Reda, told The Associated Press his side will not accept a negotiation with the federal government.

    “What we need now is a national dialogue, not a negotiation,” he said. The TPLF says the release of detained former officials is one precondition to opening talks.

    In September, people in Tigray voted in a local election, defying the federal government and increasing political tensions. Last month the federal government moved to send funding for the region to local administrations instead of the regional government, angering TPLF officials.

    “This war is the worst possible outcome of the tensions that have been brewing,” William Davison, International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Ethiopia, said Wednesday, urging a ceasefire. “Given Tigray’s relatively strong security position, the conflict may well be protracted and disastrous.”

    Abiy’s statement asserted that the TPLF attacked a military base in Tigray early Wednesday and attempted to take artillery and other equipment. The statement accused the TPLF of arming and organizing irregular militias.

    After months of “extreme patience” by the federal government, “a war however cannot be prevented only on the goodwill and decision of one side,” the prime minister’s statement said. “The last red line has been crossed with this morning’s attacks and the federal government is therefore forced into a military confrontation” to save the country.

    Observers have worried for months about the growing tensions and their implications for the long-turbulent Horn of Africa region, where Abiy cast himself as a peacemaker shortly after taking office.

    A report by the United States Institute of Peace said the fragmentation of Ethiopia “would be the largest state collapse in modern history, likely leading to mass interethnic and interreligious conflict … and a humanitarian and security crisis at the crossroads of Africa and the Middle East on a scale that would overshadow the existing conflicts in South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen.”

    The international community needs to rally around the idea of national dialogue in Ethiopia, the International Crisis Group warned a week ago.

    “The alternative, given the country’s multiple and bitter divides, is a potential march to war that would be catastrophic for Africa’s second most populous country and would send shock waves, and refugees, into other Horn of Africa countries as well as across the Mediterranean,” the group wrote.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

  • COVID-19: Survey Shows Effect of Pandemic on Where Women Give Birth in Ethiopia

    The number of coronavirus cases in Ethiopia has reached 120,989 as of December 23rd, 2020. Meanwhile, a new study recently released by Addis Ababa University and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the U.S. "identifies troubling effect of the pandemic on where women give birth in Ethiopia." The survey indicates that "the proportion of women in urban areas who delivered in lower-level health facilities significantly increased while deliveries in hospitals declined. (Photo: UNICEF Ethiopia)

    COVID-19: Survey Shows Effect of Pandemic on Where Women Give Birth in Ethiopia

    THE LATEST UPDATE:

    Updated: December 23rd, 2020

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    Survey identifies troubling effect of pandemic on where women give birth in Ethiopia

    In urban areas, delivery rates in lower-level health facilities increased and hospital deliveries decreased after social distancing restrictions were put in place

    By Johns Hopkins Magazine

    A new study from the Bloomberg School of Public Health and researchers at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia has found that as of June, the proportion of women in urban areas—where COVID-19 rates were highest—who delivered in lower-level health facilities significantly increased while deliveries in hospitals declined. A pregnant woman’s place of delivery is a key maternal health service component that has a direct impact on pregnancy and newborn outcomes, and researchers have been monitoring how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting women’s delivery patterns. The analysis was conducted using data from the Performance Monitoring for Action Ethiopia survey, led by Linnea Zimmerman, assistant professor in the Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health at the Bloomberg School, and Solomon Shiferaw and Assefa Seme at Addis Ababa University. The project is managed by Johns Hopkins global health affiliate Jhpiego and the Gates Institute. Results from the analysis also showed that at the national level, there was no difference in the proportion of women who delivered in a hospital and home delivery rates remained unchanged. Looking within urban areas, women who delivered during May and June, after COVID-19 restrictions started, were significantly less likely to deliver in a hospital relative to women who delivered prior to the pandemic.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 120,989

    By Ministry of Health

    In Ethiopia, as of December 23rd, 2020, there have been 120,989 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Read more »

    Assessing Ethiopian women’s vulnerability to the COVID-19 pandemic

    By World Bank

    The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has devastating health and economic impacts globally and has disproportionately affected vulnerable groups. As highlighted in a blog published at the onset of the pandemic, the coronavirus is not gender-blind and pre-existing gender gaps may intensify during and after the pandemic due to worsening human capital, economic, and women’s agency outcomes.

    What can high-frequency phone survey data tell us about the gendered effects of the pandemic in Ethiopia?

    The short answer: A lot!

    Read more »

    How Ethiopia prepared its health workforce for the COVID-19 response


    Photo via the World Health Organization

    By The World Health Organization

    In a busy intensive care unit in Eka Kotebe General Hospital, Addis Ababa, Dr Samuel Getnet, 28, a newly-recruited young and energetic physician anxiously monitors the mechanical ventilators, an indispensable form of life support for COVID-19 patients with respiratory distress.

    “I never thought my professional journey would bring me to the place where I’m today—at the center of COVID-19 pandemic management team—treating and caring for the most severely ill patients who critically need my support and care. Despite the challenges and risks, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve my people at this critical time,” he said.

    Dr Getnet is a general practitioner who came on board as part of the surge capacity planning for human resources announced by the Ethiopian Ministry of Health in February 2020. Before starting his duty in the intensive care unit, he received in-person training from the World Health Organization (WHO), with practical sessions taking place in the hospital. The topics he covered include case management, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), infection prevention and control (IPC), and the application and use of mechanical ventilation. He also benefited from online WHO resources such as Open WHO.org.

    Read more »

    ‘Relieved’: US health workers start getting COVID-19 vaccine


    Sandra Lindsay, left, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by Dr. Michelle Chester, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo)

    By The Associated Press

    The biggest vaccination campaign in U.S. history kicked off Monday as health workers rolled up their sleeves for shots to protect them from COVID-19 and start beating back the pandemic — a day of optimism even as the nation’s death toll closed in on 300,000.

    “I feel hopeful today. Relieved,” critical care nurse Sandra Lindsay said after getting a shot in the arm at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York.

    With a countdown of “3-2-1,” workers at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center gave the first injections to applause.

    And in New Orleans, Steven Lee, an intensive care unit pharmacist at Ochsner Medical Center, summed up the moment as he got his own vaccination: “We can finally prevent the disease as opposed to treating it.”

    Other hospitals around the country, from Rhode Island to Texas, unloaded precious frozen vials of vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech, with staggered deliveries set throughout the day and Tuesday. A few other countries have authorized the vaccine, including Britain, which started vaccinating people last week, and Canada, which began doing so on Monday.

    For health care workers, who along with nursing home residents will be first in line for vaccination, hope is tempered by grief and the sheer exhaustion of months spent battling a coronavirus that still is surging in the U.S. and around the world.

    Read more »

    IN PICTURES: On the Frontline Against Covid-19 in Ethiopia – A Photo Essay


    Frontline workers at the Eka Kotebe hospital. (Photo by Yonas Tadesse)

    By Yonas Tadesse

    The first case of Covid-19 in Ethiopia was reported on 13 March, when a team of first responders took in a 48-year-old Japanese man. Having never seen anything like his condition, they did not know what to prepare for, and thus started their new normal of battling the coronavirus in Ethiopia.

    Doctors, nurses, janitors, security guards and drivers donned hats they had never dreamed of wearing as they worked to develop systems and techniques to minimise the damage from the virus – often at the cost of their health, their home lives, their reputations, and sometimes their lives.

    Read more and see the photos at theguardian.com »

    FACTBOX- Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 67.72 million, death toll at 1,548,575

    By Reuters

    More than 67.72 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,548,575​ have died, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

    Read more »

    Africa’s cases of COVID-19 top 1 million

    By Reuters

    Africa’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 have surpassed 1 million, a Reuters tally showed on Thursday, as the disease began to spread rapidly through a continent whose relative isolation has so far spared it the worst of the pandemic. The continent recorded 1,003,056 cases, of which 21,983 have died and 676,395 recovered. South Africa – which is the world’s fifth worst-hit nation and makes up more than half of sub-Saharan Africa’s case load – has recorded 538,184 cases since its first case on March 5, the health ministry said on Thursday. Low levels of testing in several countries, apart from South Africa, mean Africa’s infection rates are likely to be higher than reported, experts say. Read more »

    COVID19 Contact Tracing is a race. But few U.S. states say how fast they’re running

    Someone — let’s call her Person A — catches the coronavirus. It’s a Monday. She goes about life, unaware her body is incubating a killer. By perhaps Thursday, she’s contagious. Only that weekend does she come down with a fever and get tested. What happens next is critical. Public health workers have a small window of time to track down everyone Person A had close contact with over the past few days. Because by the coming Monday or Tuesday, some of those people — though they don’t yet have symptoms — could also be spreading the virus. Welcome to the sprint known as contact tracing, the process of reaching potentially exposed people as fast as possible and persuading them to quarantine. The race is key to controlling the pandemic ahead of a vaccine, experts say. But most places across the United States aren’t making public how fast or well they’re running it, leaving Americans in the dark about how their governments are mitigating the risk. An exception is the District of Columbia, which recently added metrics on contact tracing to its online dashboard. A few weeks ago, the District was still too overwhelmed to try to ask all of those who tested positive about their contacts. Now, after building a staff of several hundred contact tracers, D.C. officials say they’re making that attempt within 24 hours of a positive test report in about 98 percent of cases. For months, every U.S. state has posted daily numbers on coronavirus testing — along with charts of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths. So far, only one state, Oregon, posts similar data about contact tracing. Officials in New York say they plan to begin publishing such metrics in the coming weeks.

    Read more »

    Coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpass 2.5 million

    By The Washington Post

    June 28th, 2020

    Confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 2.5 million on Sunday morning as a devastating new wave of infections continued to bear down throughout the country’s South and West. Florida, Texas and Arizona are fast emerging as the country’s latest epicenters after reporting record numbers of new infections for weeks in a row. Positivity rates and hospitalizations have also spiked. Global cases of covid-19 exceeded 10 million, according to a count maintained by Johns Hopkins University, a measure of the power and spread of a pandemic that has caused vast human suffering, devastated the world’s economy and still threatens vulnerable populations in rich and poor nations alike.
    Read more »

    WHO warns of ‘new and dangerous phase’ as coronavirus accelerates; Americas now hardest hit

    By The Washington Post

    The World Health Organization warned Friday that “the world is in a new and dangerous phase” as the global pandemic accelerates. The world recorded about 150,000 new cases on Thursday, the largest rise yet in a single day, according to the WHO. Nearly half of these infections were in the Americas, as new cases continue to surge in the United States, Brazil and across Latin America. More than 8.5 million coronavirus cases and at least 454,000 deaths have been reported worldwide. As confirmed cases and hospitalizations climb in the U.S., new mask requirements are prompting faceoffs between officials who seek to require face coverings and those, particularly conservatives, who oppose such measures. Several studies this month support wearing masks to curb coronavirus transmission, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend their use as a protective measure. Read more »

    World Bank Provides Additional Support to Help Ethiopia Mitigate Economic Impacts of COVID-19

    JUNE 18, 2020

    The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved $250 million ($125 million grant and $125 million credit) in supplemental financing for the ongoing Second Ethiopia Growth and Competitiveness Programmatic Development Policy Financing. This funding is geared towards helping Ethiopia to revitalize the economy by broadening the role of the private sector and attaining a more sustainable development path.

    “The COVID 19 pandemic is expected to severely impact Ethiopia’s economy. The austerity of the required containment measures, along with disruptions to air travel and the collapse in international demand for goods exported by Ethiopia are already taking a toll on the economy,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and Eritrea. “Additionally, an estimated 1.8 million jobs are at risk, and the incomes and livelihoods of several million informal workers, self-employed individuals and farmers are expected to be affected.”

    The supplemental financing will help to mitigate the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis on the Government’s reform agenda. Specifically, the program is intended to help address some of the unanticipated financing needs the Government of Ethiopia is facing due to the COVID-19 crisis. Additional financing needs are estimated to be approximately $1.5 billion, as revenue collection is expected to weaken, and additional expenditure is needed to mitigate the public health and economic impacts of the crisis.

    Read more »

    Once the coronavirus epicenter in the U.S., New York City begins to reopen


    After three months of a coronavirus crisis followed by protests and unrest, New York City is trying to turn a page when a limited range of industries reopen Monday, June 8, 2020. (AP Photo)

    100 days after the first coronavirus case was confirmed there, the city that was once the epicenter of America’s coronavirus pandemic began to reopen. The number of cases in New York has plunged, but health officials fear that a week of protests on the streets could bring a new wave.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) estimated that between 200,000 to 400,000 workers returned to work throughout the city’s five boroughs.

    “All New Yorkers should be proud you got us to this day,” de Blasio said at a news conference at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a manufacturing hub.

    Read more »

    US Deaths From Coronavirus Surpass 100,000 Milestone

    By The Associated Press

    The U.S. surpassed a jarring milestone Wednesday in the coronavirus pandemic: 100,000 deaths. That number is the best estimate and most assuredly an undercount. But it represents the stark reality that more Americans have died from the virus than from the Vietnam and Korea wars combined. “It’s a striking reminder of how dangerous this virus can be,” said Josh Michaud, associate director of global health policy with the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington. The true death toll from the virus, which emerged in China late last year and was first reported in the U.S. in January, is widely believed to be significantly higher, with experts saying many victims died of COVID-19 without ever being tested for it. Read more »

    Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 5,846

    By Dr. Lia Tadesse, Minister of Health

    Report #111 የኢትዮጵያ የኮሮና ቫይረስ ሁኔታ መግለጫ. Status update on #COVID19Ethiopia. Total confirmed cases [as of June 29th, 2020]: 5,846 Read more »

    New York Times Memorializes Coronavirus Victims as U.S. Death Toll Nears 100,000

    America is fast approaching a grim milestone in the coronavirus outbreak — each figure here represents one of the nearly 100,000 lives lost so far. Read more »

    Spotlight: Ethiopia’s First Private Ambulance System Tebita Adds Services Addressing COVID19

    By Liben Eabisa | TADIAS

    Twelve year ago when Kibret Abebe quit his job as a nurse anesthetist at Black Lion Hospital and sold his house to launch Tebita Ambulance — Ethiopia’s First Private Ambulance System — his friends and family were understandably concerned about his decisions. But today Tebita operates over 20 advanced life support ambulances with approval from the Ministry of Health and stands as the country’s premier Emergency Medical Service (EMS). Tebita has since partnered with East Africa Emergency Services, an Ethiopian and American joint venture that Kibret also owns, with the aim “to establish the first trauma center and air ambulance system in Ethiopia.” This past month Tebita announced their launch of new services in Addis Abeba to address the COVID-19 pandemic and are encouraging Ethiopians residing in the U.S. to utilize Tebita for regular home check-ins on elderly family members as well as vulnerable individuals with pre-existing conditions. The following is an audio of the interview with Kibret Abebe and Laura Davis of Tebita Ambulance and East Africa Emergency Services: Read more »

    WHO reports most coronavirus cases in a day as cases approach five million

    By Reuters

    GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization expressed concern on Wednesday about the rising number of new coronavirus cases in poor countries, even as many rich nations have begun emerging from lockdown. The global health body said 106,000 new cases of infections of the novel coronavirus had been recorded in the past 24 hours, the most in a single day since the outbreak began. “We still have a long way to go in this pandemic,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference. “We are very concerned about rising cases in low and middle income countries.” Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies programme, said: “We will soon reach the tragic milestone of 5 million cases.” Read more »

    WHO head says vaccines, medicines must be fairly shared to beat COVID-19

    By Reuters

    Scientists and researchers are working at “breakneck” speed to find solutions for COVID-19 but the pandemic can only be beaten with equitable distribution of medicines and vaccines, the head of the World Health Organization said on Friday. “Traditional market models will not deliver at the scale needed to cover the entire globe,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing in Geneva.

    Read more »

    Doctors face new urgency to solve children and coronavirus puzzle

    By Axios

    Solving the mystery of how the coronavirus impacts children has gained sudden steam, as doctors try to determine if there’s a link between COVID-19 and kids with a severe inflammatory illness, and researchers try to pin down their contagiousness before schools reopen. New York hospitals have reported 73 suspected cases with two possible deaths from the inflammatory illness as of Friday evening. Read more »

    COVID-19 and Its Impact on African Economies: Q&A with Prof. Lemma Senbet


    Prof. Lemma Senbet. (Photo: @AERCAFRICA/Twitter)

    By Liben Eabisa | TADIAS

    Last week Professor Lemma Senbet, an Ethiopian-American financial economist and the William E. Mayer Chair Professor at University of Maryland, moderated a timely webinar titled ‘COVID-19 and African Economies: Global Implications and Actions.’ The well-attended online conference — hosted by the Center for Financial Policy at University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business on Friday, April 24th — featured guest speakers from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as the World Bank who addressed “the global implications of the COVID-19 economic impact on developing and low-income countries, with Africa as an anchor.” In the following Q&A with Tadias Prof. Lemma, who is also the immediate former Executive Director of the African Economic Research Consortium based in Nairobi, Kenya, explains the worldwide economic fallout of the Coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the African continent, including Ethiopia. Read more »

    US unemployment surges to a Depression-era level of 14.7%

    By The Associated Press

    The coronavirus crisis has sent U.S. unemployment surging to 14.7%, a level last seen when the country was in the throes of the Depression and President Franklin D. Roosevelt was assuring Americans that the only thing to fear was fear itself…The breathtaking collapse is certain to intensify the push-pull across the U.S. over how and when to ease stay-at-home restrictions. And it robs President Donald Trump of the ability to point to a strong economy as he runs for reelection. “The jobs report from hell is here,” said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, “one never seen before and unlikely to be seen again barring another pandemic or meteor hitting the Earth.” Read more »

    Hospitalizations continue to decline in New York, Cuomo says

    By CBS News

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the number of people newly diagnosed and hospitalized with COVID-19 has continued to decrease. “Overall the numbers are coming down,” he said. But he said 335 people died from the virus yesterday. “That’s 335 families,” Cuomo said. “You see this number is basically reducing, but not at a tremendous rate. The only thing that’s tremendous is the number of New Yorkers who’ve still passed away.” Read more »

    Los Angeles offers free testing to all county residents

    By The Washington Post

    All residents of Los Angeles County can access free coronavirus testing at city-run sites, Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) said on Wednesday. Previously, the city had only offered testing to residents with symptoms as well as essential workers and people who lived or worked in nursing homes and other kinds of institutional facilities. In an announcement on Twitter, Garcetti said that priority would still be given to front-line workers and anyone experiencing symptoms, including cough, fever or shortness of breath. But the move, which makes Los Angeles the first major city in the country to offer such widespread testing, allows individuals without symptoms to be tested. Health experts have repeatedly said that mass testing is necessary to determine how many people have contracted the virus — and in particular, those who may not have experienced symptoms — and then begin to reopen the economy. Testing is by appointment only and can be arranged at one of the city’s 35 sites. Read more »

    Researchers Double U.S. COVID-19 Death Forecast

    By Reuters

    A newly revised coronavirus mortality model predicts nearly 135,000 Americans will die from COVID-19 by early August, almost double previous projections, as social-distancing measures for quelling the pandemic are increasingly relaxed, researchers said on Monday. The ominous new forecast from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) reflect “rising mobility in most U.S. states” with an easing of business closures and stay-at-home orders expected in 31 states by May 11, the institute said. Read more »

    Global coronavirus death toll surpasses 200,000, as world leaders commit to finding vaccine

    By NBC News

    The global coronavirus death toll surpassed 200,000 on Saturday, according to John Hopkins University data. The grim total was reached a day after presidents and prime ministers agreed to work together to develop new vaccines, tests and treatments at a virtual meeting with both the World Health Organization (WHO) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We will only halt COVID-19 through solidarity,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Countries, health partners, manufacturers, and the private sector must act together and ensure that the fruits of science and research can benefit everybody. As the U.S. coronavirus death tollpassed 51,000 people, according to an NBC News tally, President Donald Trump took no questions at his White House briefing on Friday, after widespread mockery for floating the idea that light, heat and disinfectants could be used to treat coronavirus patients.”

    Read more »

    Germany to start first coronavirus vaccine trial

    By DW

    German Health Minister Jens Spahn has announced the first clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine. The Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), the regulatory authority which helps develop and authorizes vaccines in Germany, has given the go-ahead for the first clinical trial of BNT162b1, a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It was developed by cancer researcher and immunologist Ugur Sahin and his team at pharmaceutical company BioNTech, and is based on their prior research into cancer immunology. Sahin previously taught at the University of Mainz before becoming the CEO of BioNTech. In a joint conference call on Wednesday with researchers from the Paul Ehrlich Institute, Sahin said BNT162b1 constitutes a so-called RNA vaccine. He explained that innocuous genetic information of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is transferred into human cells with the help of lipid nanoparticles, a non-viral gene delivery system. The cells then transform this genetic information into a protein, which should stimulate the body’s immune reaction to the novel coronavrius.

    Read more »

    Webinar on COVID-19 and Mental Health: Interview with Dr. Seble Frehywot

    By Liben Eabisa | TADIAS

    Dr. Seble Frehywot, an Associate Professor of Global Health & Health Policy at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and her colleague Dr. Yianna Vovides from Georgetown University will host an online forum next week on April 30th focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on mental health. Dr. Seble — who is also the Director of Global Health Equity On-Line Learning at George Washington University – told Tadias that the virtual conference titled “People’s Webinar: Addressing COVID-19 By Addressing Mental Health” is open to the public and available for viewing worldwide. Read more »

    Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with covid-19, are dying from strokes

    By The Washington Post

    Doctors sound alarm about patients in their 30s and 40s left debilitated or dead. Some didn’t even know they were infected. Read more »

    CDC director warns second wave of coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating

    By The Washington Post

    Even as states move ahead with plans to reopen their economies, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Tuesday that a second wave of the novel coronavirus will be far more dire because it is likely to coincide with the start of flu season. “There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in an interview with The Washington Post. “And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean…We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time,” he said. Having two simultaneous respiratory outbreaks would put unimaginable strain on the health-care system, he said. The first wave of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has already killed more than 42,000 people across the country. It has overwhelmed hospitals and revealed gaping shortages in test kits, ventilators and protective equipment for health-care workers.

    Read more »

    Americans at World Health Organization transmitted real-time information about coronavirus to Trump administration

    By The Washington Post

    More than a dozen U.S. researchers, physicians and public health experts, many of them from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were working full time at the Geneva headquarters of the World Health Organization as the novel coronavirus emerged late last year and transmitted real-time information about its discovery and spread in China to the Trump administration, according to U.S. and international officials. A number of CDC staff members are regularly detailed to work at the WHO in Geneva as part of a rotation that has operated for years. Senior Trump-appointed health officials also consulted regularly at the highest levels with the WHO as the crisis unfolded, the officials said. The presence of so many U.S. officials undercuts President Trump’s assertion that the WHO’s failure to communicate the extent of the threat, born of a desire to protect China, is largely responsible for the rapid spread of the virus in the United States. Read more »

    In Ethiopia, Dire Dawa Emerges as Newest Coronavirus Hot Spot

    By Africa News

    The case count as of April 20 had reached 111 according to health minister Lia Tadesse’s update for today. Ethiopia crossed the 100 mark over the weekend. All three cases recorded over the last 24-hours were recorded in the chartered city of Dire Dawa with patients between the ages of 11 – 18. Two of them had travel history from Djibouti. Till date, Ethiopia has 90 patients in treatment centers. The death toll is still at three with 16 recoveries. A patient is in intensive care. Read more »

    COVID-19: Interview with Dr. Tsion Firew, an Ethiopian Doctor on the Frontline in NYC


    Dr. Tsion Firew is Doctor of Emergency Medicine and Assistant Professor at Columbia University. She is also Special Advisor to the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia. (Courtesy photo)

    By Liben Eabisa

    In New York City, which has now become the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, working as a medical professional means literally going to a “war zone,” says physician Tsion Firew, a Doctor of Emergency Medicine and Assistant Professor at Columbia University, who has just recovered from COVID-19 and returned to work a few days ago. Indeed the statistics coming out of New York are simply shocking with the state recording a sharp increase in death toll this months surpassing 10,000 and growing. According to The New York Times: “The numbers brought into clearer focus the staggering toll the virus has already taken on the largest city in the United States, where deserted streets are haunted by the near-constant howl of ambulance sirens. Far more people have died in New York City, on a per-capita basis, than in Italy — the hardest-hit country in Europe.” At the heart of the solution both in the U.S. and around the world is more testing and adhering to social distancing rules until such time as a proper treatment and vaccine is discovered, says Dr. Tsion, who is also a Special Advisor to the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia. Dr. Tsion adds that at this moment “we all as humanity have one enemy: the virus. And what’s going to win the fight is solidarity.” Listen to the interview »

    Ethiopia Opens Aid Transport Hub to Fight Covid-19

    By AFP

    Ethiopia and the United Nations on Tuesday opened a humanitarian transport hub at Addis Ababa airport to move supplies and aid workers across Africa to fight coronavirus. The arrangement, which relies on cargo services provided by Ethiopian Airlines, could also partially offset heavy losses Africa’s largest carrier is sustaining because of the pandemic. An initial shipment of 3 000 cubic metres of supplies – most of it personal protective equipment for health workers – will be distributed within the next week, said Steven Were Omamo, Ethiopia country director for the World Food Programme (WFP). “This is a really important platform in the response to Covid-19, because what it does is it allows us to move with speed and efficiency to respond to the needs as they are unfolding,” Omamo said, referring to the disease caused by the coronavirus. The Addis gateway is one of eight global humanitarian hubs set up to facilitate movement of aid to fight Covid-19, according to WFP.

    Read more »

    Covid-19: Ethiopia to buy life insurance for health workers

    By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE | AFP

    The Ethiopian government is due to buy life insurance for health professionals in direct contact with Covid-19 patients. Health minister Lia Tadesse said on Tuesday that the government last week reached an agreement with the Ethiopian Insurance Corporation but did not disclose the value of the cover. The two sides are expected to sign an agreement this week to effect the insurance grant. According to the ministry, the life insurance grant is aimed at encouraging health experts who are the most vulnerable to the deadly coronavirus. Members of the Rapid Response Team will also benefit.

    Read more »

    U.N. says Saudi deportations of Ethiopian migrants risks spreading coronavirus

    By Reuters

    The United Nations said on Monday that deportations of illegal migrant workers by Saudi Arabia to Ethiopia risked spreading the coronavirus and it urged Riyadh to suspend the practice for the time being.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia’s capital launches door-to-door Covid-19 screening


    Getty Images

    By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE | AFP

    Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa is due to begin a door-to-door mass Covid-19 screening across the city, Addis Ababa city administration has announced. City deputy Mayor, Takele Uma, on Saturday told local journalists that the mass screening and testing programme will be started Monday (April 13) first in districts which are identified as potentially most vulnerable to the spread of the highly infectious coronavirus. The aggressive city-wide screening measure intends to identify Covid-19 infected patients and thereby to arrest a potential virus spread within communities. He said, the mass screening will eventually be carried out in all 117 districts, locally known as woredas, of the city, which is home to an estimated 7 million inhabitants. According to the Mayor, the door-to-door mass Covid-19 screening will be conducted by more than 1,200 retired health professionals, who responded to government’s call on the retired to join the national fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

    Read more »

    Worldwide deaths from the coronavirus hit 100,000

    By The Associated Press

    The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus has hit 100,000, according to the running tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. The sad milestone comes as Christians around the globe mark a Good Friday unlike any other — in front of computer screens instead of in church pews. Meanwhile, some countries are tiptoeing toward reopening segments of their battered economies. Public health officials are warning people against violating the social distancing rules over Easter and allowing the virus to flare up again. Authorities are using roadblocks and other means to discourage travel.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia COVID-19 Response Team: Interview with Mike Endale

    By Liben Eabisa | TADIAS

    A network of technology professionals from the Ethiopian Diaspora — known as the Ethiopia COVID-19 Response Team – has been assisting the Ethiopian Ministry of Health since the nation’s first Coronavirus case was confirmed on March 13th. The COVID-19 Response Team has since grown into an army of more than a thousand volunteers. Mike Endale, a software developer based in Washington, D.C., is the main person behind the launch of this project. Read more »

    Ethiopia eyes replicating China’s successes in applying traditional medicine to contain COVID-19

    By CGTN Africa

    The Ethiopian government on Thursday expressed its keen interest to replicate China’s positive experience in terms of effectively applying traditional Chinese medicine to successfully contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the East African country.

    This came after high-level officials from the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MoIT) as well as the Ethiopian Ministry of Health (MoH) held a video conference with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners and researchers on ways of applying the TCM therapy towards controlling the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the country, the MoIT disclosed in a statement issued on Thursday.

    “China, in particular, has agreed to provide to Ethiopia the two types of Chinese traditional medicines that the country applied to successfully treat the first two stages of the novel coronavirus,” a statement from the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology read.

    Read more »

    WHO Director Slams ‘Racist’ Comments About COVID-19 Vaccine Testing


    The Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has angrily condemned recent comments made by scientists suggesting that a vaccine for COVID-19 should be tested in Africa as “racist” and a hangover from the “colonial mentality”. (Photo: WHO)

    By BBC

    The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has condemned as “racist” the comments by two French doctors who suggested a vaccine for the coronavirus could be tested in Africa.

    “Africa can’t and won’t be a testing ground for any vaccine,” said Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

    The doctors’ remarks during a TV debate sparked outrage, and they were accused of treating Africans like “human guinea pigs”.

    One of them later issued an apology.

    When asked about the doctors’ suggestion during the WHO’s coronavirus briefing, Dr Tedros became visibly angry, calling it a hangover from the “colonial mentality”.

    “It was a disgrace, appalling, to hear during the 21st Century, to hear from scientists, that kind of remark. We condemn this in the strongest terms possible, and we assure you that this will not happen,” he said.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia declares state of emergency to curb spread of COVID-19

    By Reuters

    Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in the country to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus, his office said on Twitter. “Considering the gravity of the #COVID19, the government of Ethiopia has enacted a State of Emergency,” Abiy’s office said.

    Ethiopia virus cases hit 52, 9-month-old baby infected

    By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE | AFP

    Ethiopia on Tuesday reported eight new Covid-19 cases, the highest number recorded so far in one day since the country confirmed its first virus case on March 12. Among the new patients that tested positive for the virus were a 9-month-old infant and his mother who had travelled to Dubai recently. “During the past 24 hours, we have done laboratory tests for a total of 264 people and eight out of them have been diagnosed with coronavirus, raising the total confirmed number of Covid-19 patients in Ethiopia to 52,” said Health Minister Dr Lia Tadese. According to the Minister, seven of the newly confirmed patients had travel histories to various countries. They have been under forced-quarantine in different designated hotels in the capital, Addis Ababa. “Five of the new patients including the 9-month-old baby and the mother came from Dubai while the two others came from Thailand and the United Kingdom,” she said

    Read more »

    The coronavirus is infecting and killing black Americans at an alarmingly high rate

    By The Washington Post

    As the novel coronavirus sweeps across the United States, it appears to be infecting and killing black Americans at a disproportionately high rate, according to a Washington Post analysis of early data from jurisdictions across the country. The emerging stark racial disparity led the surgeon general Tuesday to acknowledge in personal terms the increased risk for African Americans amid growing demands that public-health officials release more data on the race of those who are sick, hospitalized and dying of a contagion that has killed more than 12,000 people in the United States. A Post analysis of what data is available and census demographics shows that counties that are majority-black have three times the rate of infections and almost six times the rate of deaths as counties where white residents are in the majority.

    Read more »

    In China, Wuhan’s lockdown officially ends after 11 weeks

    After 11 weeks — or 76 days — Wuhan’s lockdown is officially over. On Wednesday, Chinese authorities allowed residents to travel in and out of the besieged city where the coronavirus outbreak was first reported in December. Many remnants of the months-long lockdown, however, remain. Wuhan’s 11 million residents will be able to leave only after receiving official authorization that they are healthy and haven’t recently been in contact with a coronavirus patient. To do so, the Chinese government is making use of its mandatory smartphone application that, along with other government surveillance, tracks the movement and health status of every person.

    Read more »

    U.S. hospitals facing ‘severe shortages’ of equipment and staff, watchdog says

    By The Washington Post

    As the official U.S. death toll approached 10,000, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams warned that this will be “the hardest and saddest week of most Americans’ lives.”

    Read more »

    Ethio-American Tech Company PhantomALERT Offers Free App to Track & Map COVID-19 Outbreak

    By Tadias Staff

    PhantomALERT, a Washington D.C.-based technology company announced, that it’s offering a free application service to track, report and map COVID-19 outbreak hotspots in real time. In a recent letter to the DC government as well as the Ethiopian Embassy in the U.S. the Ethiopian-American owned business, which was launched in 2007, explained that over the past few days, they have redesigned their application to be “a dedicated coronavirus mapping, reporting and tracking application.” The letter to the Ethiopian Embassy, shared with Tadias, noted that PhantomALERT’s technology “will enable the Ethiopian government (and all other countries across the world) to locate symptomatic patients, provide medical assistance and alert communities of hotspots for the purpose of slowing down the spread of the Coronavirus.”

    Read more »

    2nd COVID-19 death confirmed in Ethiopia

    By Dr. Lia Tadesse (Minister, Ministry of Health, Ethiopia)

    It is with great sadness that I announce the second death of a patient from #COVID19 in Ethiopia. The patient was admitted on April 2nd and was under strict medical follow up in the Intensive Care Unit. My sincere condolences to the family and loved ones.

    Read more »

    The Next Coronavirus Test Will Tell You If You Are Now Immune. And It’s Fast.


    People line up in their cars at the COVID-19 testing area at Roseland Community Hospital on April 3, 2020, in Chicago. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune)

    By Chicago Tribune

    A new, different type of coronavirus test is coming that will help significantly in the fight to quell the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors and scientists say. The first so-called serology test, which detects antibodies to the virus rather than the virus itself, was given emergency approval Thursday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. And several more are nearly ready, said Dr. Elizabeth McNally, director of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Center for Genetic Medicine.

    Read more »

    ‘Your Safety is Our Priority’: How Ethiopian Airlines is Navigating the Global Virus Crisis

    By Tadias Staff

    Lately Ethiopian Airlines has been busy delivering much-needed medical supplies across Africa and emerging at the forefront of the continent’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic even as it has suspended most of its international passenger flights.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia races to bolster ventilator stockpile for coronavirus fight

    By AFP

    Ethiopia’s government — like others in Africa — is confronting a stark ventilator shortage that could hobble its COVID-19 response. In a country of more than 100 million people, just 54 ventilators — out of around 450 total — had been set aside for COVID-19 patients as of this week, said Yakob Seman, director general of medical services at the health ministry.

    Read more »

    New York City mayor calls for national enlistment of health-care workers


    New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. (AP photo)

    By The Washington Post

    New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday called for a national enlistment of health-care workers organized by the U.S. military.

    Speaking on CNN’s New Day, he lamented that there has been no effort to mobilize doctors and nurses across the country and bring them to “the front” — first New York City and then other areas that have been hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

    “If there’s not action by the president and the military literally in a matter of days to put in motion this vast mobilization,” de Blasio said, “then you’re going to see first hundreds and later thousands of Americans die who did not need to die.”

    He said he expects his city to be stretched for medical personnel starting Sunday, which he called “D-Day.” Many workers are out sick with the disease, he added, while others are “just stretched to the limit.”

    The mayor said he has told national leaders that they need to get on “wartime footing.”

    “The nation is in a peacetime stance while were actually in the middle of a war,” de Blasio said. “And if they don’t do something different in the next few days, they’re going to lose the window.”

    Read more »

    Over 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in March as economy collapsed

    By The Washington Post

    More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — a new record — as political and public health leaders put the economy in a deep freeze, keeping people at home and trying to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The past two weeks have seen more people file for unemployed claims than during the first six months of the Great Recession, a sign of how rapid, deep and painful the economic shutdown has been on many American families who are struggling to pay rent and health insurance costs in the midst of a pandemic. Job losses have skyrocketed as restaurants, hotel, gyms, and travel have shut down across the nation, but layoffs are also rising in manufacturing, warehousing and transportation, a sign of how widespread the pain of the coronavirus recession is. In March alone, 10.4 million Americans lost their jobs and applied for government aid, according to the latest Labor Department data, which includes claims filed through March 28. Many economists say the real number of people out work is likely even higher, since a lot of newly unemployed Americans haven’t been able to fill out a claim yet.

    Read more »

    U.N. Chief Calls Pandemic Biggest Global Challenge Since World War II

    By The Washington Post

    The coronavirus outbreak sickening hundreds of thousands around the world and devastating the global economy is creating a challenge for the world not seen since World War II, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said late Tuesday. Speaking in a virtual news conference, Guterres said the world needs to show more solidarity and cooperation in fighting not only the medical aspects of the crisis but the economic fallout. The International Monetary Fund is predicting an economic recession worse than in 2008.

    Read more »

    US death toll eclipses China’s as reinforcements head to NYC

    By The Associated Press

    The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus climbed past 3,800 Tuesday, eclipsing China’s official count, as hard-hit New York City rushed to bring in more medical professionals and ambulances and parked refrigerated morgue trucks on the streets to collect the dead.

    Read more »

    Getting Through COVID 19: ECMAA Shares Timely Resources With Ethiopian Community

    By Tadias Staff

    The Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) in the New York tri-state area has shared timely resources including COVID-19 safety information as well as national sources of financial support for families and small business owners.

    Read more »

    2020 Ethiopia Election Canceled Due to COVID-19

    By Tadias Staff

    The highly anticipated 2020 national election in Ethiopia has been canceled for now due to the coronavirus outbreak. The National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced that it has shelved its plans to hold the upcoming nationwide parliamentary polls on August 29th after an internal evaluation of the possible negative effect of the virus pandemic on its official activities.

    Read more »

    Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia on lockdown as coronavirus cases grow

    By The Washington Post

    Maryland, Virginia and the District issued “stay-at-home” orders on Monday, joining a growing list of states and cities mandating broad, enforceable restrictions on where residents can go in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

    Read more »

    U.S. Approves Malaria Drug to Treat Coronavirus Patients

    By The Washington Post

    The Food and Drug Administration has given emergency approval to a Trump administration plan to distribute millions of doses of anti-malarial drugs to hospitals across the country, saying it is worth the risk of trying unproven treatments to slow the progression of the disease in seriously ill coronavirus patients.

    Read more »

    U.S. Deaths Could Reach 200,000

    By Bloomberg News

    A top U.S. infectious disease scientist said U.S. deaths could reach 200,000, but called it a moving target. New York’s fatalities neared 1,000, more than a third of the U.S. total.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia: PM, WHO Director Discuss Coronavirus Response


    @fanatelevision/twitter

    By Tadias Staff

    Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed spoke with Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, over the weekend regarding the Coronavirus response in Ethiopia and Africa in general.

    Read more »

    Virus infections top 600,000 globally with long fight ahead

    By The Associated Press

    The number of confirmed coronavirus infections worldwide topped 600,000 on Saturday as new cases stacked up quickly in Europe and the United States and officials dug in for a long fight against the pandemic. The latest landmark came only two days after the world passed half a million infections, according to a tally by John Hopkins University, showing that much work remains to be done to slow the spread of the virus. It showed more than 607,000 cases and over 28,000 deaths. While the U.S. now leads the world in reported infections — with more than 104,000 cases — five countries exceed its roughly 1,700 deaths: Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France.

    Read more »

    Maryland Issues COVID-19 Fact Sheet in Amharic for Ethiopian Community

    By Tadias Staff

    The state of Maryland Department of Health has issued a COVID-19 Fact Sheet in Amharic for its large Ethiopian community.

    Read more »

    Gouged prices, middlemen and medical supply chaos: Why governors are so upset with Trump

    By The Washington Post

    Masks that used to cost pennies now cost several dollars. Companies outside the traditional supply chain offer wildly varying levels of price and quality. Health authorities say they have few other choices to meet their needs in a ‘dog-eat-dog’ battle.

    Read more »

    Worshippers in Ethiopia Defy Ban on Large Gatherings Despite Coronavirus

    By VOA

    ADDIS ABABA – Health experts in Ethiopia are raising concern, as some religious leaders continue to host large gatherings despite government orders not to do so in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier this week, Ethiopia’s government ordered security forces to enforce a ban on large gatherings aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. Ethiopia has seen only 12 cases and no deaths from the virus, and authorities would like to keep it that way. But enforcing the orders has proven difficult as religious groups continue to meet and, according to religious leaders, fail to treat the risks seriously.

    Read more »

    U.S. deaths from coronavirus top 1,000

    By The Washington Post

    It began as a mysterious disease with frightening potential. Now, just two months after America’s first confirmed case, the country is grappling with a lethal reality: The novel coronavirus has killed more than 1,000 people in the United States, a toll that is increasing at an alarming rate.

    Read more »

    A record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits as the coronavirus slams economy

    By The Washington Post

    A record 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, as restaurants, hotels, barber shops, gyms and more shut down in a nationwide effort to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

    Last week saw the biggest jump in new jobless claims in history, surpassing the record of 695,000 set in 1982. Many economists say this is the beginning of a massive spike in unemployment that could result in over 40 million Americans losing their jobs by April.

    Laid off workers say they waited hours on the phone to apply for help. Websites in several states, including New York and Oregon, crashed because so many people were trying to apply at once.

    “The most terrifying part about this is this is likely just the beginning of the layoffs,” said Martha Gimbel, a labor economist at Schmidt Futures. The nation’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in February, a half-century low, but that has likely risen already to 5.5 percent, according to calculations by Gimbel. The nation hasn’t seen that level of unemployment since 2015.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia: Parents fear for missing students as universities close over Covid-19


    Photo via amnesty.org

    As universities across Ethiopia close to avert spread of the COVID-19 virus, Amnesty International is calling on the Ethiopian authorities to disclose measures they have taken to rescue 17 Amhara students from Dembi Dolo University in Western Oromia, who were abducted by unidentified people in November 2019 and have been missing since.

    The anguish of the students’ families is exacerbated by a phone and internet shutdown implemented in January across the western Oromia region further hampering their efforts to get information about their missing loved ones.

    “The sense of fear and uncertainty spreading across Ethiopia because of COVID-19 is exacerbating the anguish of these students’ families, who are desperate for information on the whereabouts of their loved ones four months after they were abducted,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa.

    “The Ethiopian authorities’ move to close universities in order to protect the lives of university students is commendable, but they must also take similarly concrete actions to locate and rescue the 17 missing students so that they too are reunited with their families.”

    Read more »

    UPDATE: New York City is now reporting 26,697 COVID-19 cases and 450 deaths.

    BY ABC7 NY

    Temporary hospital space in New York City will begin opening on Monday and more supplies are on the way as an already overwhelmed medical community anticipates even more coronavirus patients in the coming days. Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted 20 trucks were on the road delivering protective equipment to hospitals, including surgical masks, N95 masks, and hundreds more ventilators.

    Governor Cuomo added the temporary hospital in the Javits Center will open on Monday the same day that the USNS Comfort will arrive in New York City.

    Read more »

    Related: New York sees some signs of progress against coronavirus as New Orleans hit hard (REUTERS)

    L.A. mayor says residents may have to shelter at home for two months or more

    By Business Insider

    Los Angeles residents will be confined to their homes until May at the earliest, Mayor Eric Garcetti told Insider on Wednesday.

    “I think this is at least two months,” he said. “And be prepared for longer.”

    In an interview with Insider, Garcetti pushed back against “premature optimism” in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying leaders who suggest we are on the verge of business as usual are putting lives at risk.

    “I can’t say that strongly enough,” the mayor said. Optimism, he said, has to be grounded in data. And right now the data is not good.

    “Giving people false hope will crush their spirits and will kill more people,” Garcetti said, adding it would change their actions by instilling a sense of normality at the most abnormal time in a generation.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia pardons more than 4,000 prisoners to help prevent coronavirus spread

    By CNN

    Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde has granted pardon to more than 4,000 prisoners in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus.

    Sahle-Work Zewde announced the order in a tweet on Wednesday and said it would help prevent overcrowding in prisons.

    The directive only covers those given a maximum sentence of three years for minor crimes and those who were about to be released from jail, she said.

    There are 12 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ethiopia, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.
    Authorities in the nation have put in place a raft of measures, including the closure of all borders except to those bringing in essential goods to contain the virus. The government has directed security officials to monitor and enforce a ban on large gatherings and overcrowded public transport to ensure social distancing.

    Read more »


    U.S. House passes $2 trillion coronavirus emergency spending bill


    Watch: Senator Chuck Schumer of New York breaks down massive coronavirus aid package (MSNBC Video)

    By The Washington Post

    The House of Representatives voted Friday [March 27th] to approve a massive $2 trillion stimulus bill that policy makers hope will blunt the economic destruction of the coronavirus pandemic, sending the legislation to President Trump for enactment. The legislation passed in dramatic fashion, approved on an overwhelming voice vote by lawmakers who’d been forced to return to Washington by a GOP colleague who had insisted on a quorum being present. Some lawmakers came from New York and other places where residents are supposed to be sheltering at home.

    Read more »

    In Ethiopia, Abiy seeks $150b for African virus response

    By AFP

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday urged G20 leaders to help Africa cope with the coronavirus crisis by facilitating debt relief and providing $150 billion in emergency funding.
    The pandemic “poses an existential threat to the economies of African countries,” Abiy’s office said in a statement, adding that Ethiopia was “working closely with other African countries” in preparing the aid request.

    The heavy debt burdens of many African countries leave them ill-equipped to respond to pandemic-related economic shocks, as the cost of servicing debt exceeds many countries’ health budgets, the statement said.

    Read more »

    Worried Ethiopians Want Partial Internet Shutdown Ended (AP)


    Ethiopians have their temperature checked for symptoms of the new coronavirus, at the Zewditu Memorial Hospital in the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Wednesday, March 18, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough and the vast majority recover in 2-6 weeks but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health issues, the virus that causes COVID-19 can result in more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

    By Elias Meseret | AP

    March 24, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Rights groups and citizens are calling on Ethiopia’s government to lift the internet shutdown in parts of the country that is leaving millions of people without important updates on the coronavirus.

    The months-long shutdown of internet and phone lines in Western Oromia and parts of the Benishangul Gumuz region is occurring during military operations against rebel forces.

    “Residents of these areas are getting very limited information about the coronavirus,” Jawar Mohammed, an activist-turned-politician, told The Associated Press.

    Ethiopia reported its first coronavirus case on March 13 and now has a dozen. Officials have been releasing updates mostly online. Land borders have closed and national carrier Ethiopian Airlines has stopped flying to some 30 destinations around the world.

    Read more »

    In Global Fight vs. Virus, Over 1.5 Billion Told: Stay Home


    A flier urging customers to remain home hangs at a turnstile as an MTA employee sanitizes surfaces at a subway station with bleach solutions due to COVID-19 concerns, Friday, March 20, 2020, in New York. (AP)

    The Associated Press

    NEW YORK (AP) — With masks, ventilators and political goodwill in desperately short supply, more than one-fifth of the world’s population was ordered or urged to stay in their homes Monday at the start of what could be a pivotal week in the battle to contain the coronavirus in the U.S. and Europe.

    Partisan divisions stalled efforts to pass a colossal aid package in Congress, and stocks fell again on Wall Street even after the Federal Reserve said it will lend to small and large businesses and local governments to help them through the crisis.

    Warning that the outbreak is accelerating, the head of the World Health Organization called on countries to take strong, coordinated action.

    “We are not helpless bystanders,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, noting that it took 67 days to reach 100,000 cases worldwide but just four days to go from 200,000 to 300,000. “We can change the trajectory of this pandemic.”

    Read more »

    China’s Coronavirus Donation to Africa Arrives in Ethiopia (Reuters)


    An Ethiopian Airlines worker transports a consignment of medical donation from Chinese billionaire Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundation to Africa for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing, upon arrival at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, March 22, 2020. (REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

    The first batch of protective and medical equipment donated by Chinese billionaire and Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma was flown into the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Sunday, as coronavirus cases in Africa rose above 1,100.

    The virus has spread more slowly in Africa than in Asia or Europe but has a foothold in 41 African nations and two territories. So far it has claimed 37 lives across the continent of 1.3 billion people.

    The shipment is a much-needed boost to African healthcare systems that were already stretched before the coronavirus crisis, but nations will still need to ration supplies at a time of global scarcity.

    Only patients showing symptoms will be tested, the regional Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said on Sunday.

    “The flight carried 5.4 million face masks, kits for 1.08 million detection tests, 40,000 sets of protective clothing and 60,000 sets of protective face shields,” Ma’s foundation said in a statement.

    “The faster we move, the earlier we can help.”

    The shipment had a sign attached with the slogan, “when people are determined they can overcome anything”.

    Read more »


    Related:

    We Need Seismic Change, Right Now: by Marcus Samuelsson

    City Sleeps: A Look At The Empty NYC Streets Amid The Virus – In Pictures

    Ethiopia enforces 14-day quarantine for all travelers

    Diaspora-based Tech Professionals Launch Ethiopia COVID-19 Response Task Force

    Amid COVID-19 Pandemic Hopeful & Inspiring Stories Shared by Obama

    Pleas to Diaspora to Assist Coronavirus First Responders in Ethiopia

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Maaza Mengiste Recommends 6 Books by Writers From Her Native Ethiopia

    Maaza Mengiste is an Ethiopian-American writer and author of the novels Beneath the Lion's Gaze and The Shadow King, the latter of which was shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize. (Courtesy photo)

    The Week Staff

    Maaza Mengiste‘s The Shadow King, a novel set in Ethiopia during Mussolini’s 1935 invasion, was shortlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize. Below, the New York–based author recommends her favorite books by writers from her native country.

    The Wife’s Tale by Aida Edemariam (2018).

    The Wife’s Tale is an impassioned and elegant biography of the author’s grandmother, who was born in the 1920s and lived to be nearly 100. It is an intimate glimpse into how one remarkable woman experienced some of the most significant moments in Ethiopia’s modern history.

    The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu (2007).

    Mengestu’s story of an Ethiopian-born grocer in 1970s Washington, D.C., has become a classic, and it deserves every accolade. Haunting, heartbreaking, and beautifully written, Mengestu’s novel is a testament to what remains, even when we think we have left our past behind.

    Daughters of Silence by Rebecca Fisseha (2019).

    A flight attendant from Canada is stranded in Addis Ababa, her native city, in a novel that becomes an insightful meditation on grief and secrets, and how those two things can bind a family and tear it apart at the same time. Daughters of Silence is an exploration of things that must be spoken and called forth, despite the potential cost.

    Your Body Is War by Mahtem Shiferraw (2019).

    The title poem in this stunning collection by a gifted writer and artist begins, “because you have spent/enough time carving a wound/as big as a star, and when it’s ready/you flesh it out.” And what unfolds as we read each poem is an evocative examination of the power and vulnerability of the female body as it moves through the world.

    Notes From the Hyena’s Belly by Nega Mezlekia (2000).

    This is a riveting, vivid memoir about the author’s childhood in Jijiga, Ethiopia, and the events that led to his forced conscription into a guerrilla army at the age of 18. Vividly detailed and written with deep emotion and urgency, it makes Ethiopia of the 1970s and ’80s come alive.

    Things Are Good Now by Djamila Ibrahim (2018).

    The nine stories in Ibrahim’s poignant debut revolve around women who find themselves at the mercy of history, family, and love. The lives illuminated here offer us new ways to speak of displacements that can be both physical and psychological.

    This article was first published in the latest issue of The Week magazine. If you want to read more like it, you can try six risk-free issues of the magazine here.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    UPDATE: Electoral College Makes it Official: Biden Won, Trump Lost

    President-elect Joe Biden speaks after the Electoral College formally elected him as president, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. (AP photo)

    The Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Electoral College decisively confirmed Joe Biden on Monday as the nation’s next president, ratifying his November victory in an authoritative state-by-state repudiation of President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede he had lost.

    The presidential electors gave Biden a solid majority of 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232, the same margin that Trump bragged was a landslide when he won the White House four years ago.

    Heightened security was in place in some states as electors met to cast paper ballots, with masks, social distancing and other pandemic precautions the order of the day. The results will be sent to Washington and tallied in a Jan. 6 joint session of Congress over which Vice President Mike Pence will preside.

    For all Trump’s unsupported claims of fraud, there was little suspense and no change as every one of the electoral votes allocated to Biden and the president in last month’s popular vote went officially to each man. On Election Day, the Democrat topped the incumbent Republican by more than 7 million in the popular vote nationwide.

    California’s 55 electoral votes put Biden over the top. Vermont, with 3 votes, was the first state to report. Hawaii, with 4 votes, was the last.

    “Once again in America, the rule of law, our Constitution, and the will of the people have prevailed. Our democracy — pushed, tested, threatened — proved to be resilient, true, and strong,” Biden said in an evening speech in which he stressed the size of his win and the record 81 million people who voted for him.

    He renewed his campaign promise to be a president for all Americans, whether they voted for him or not, and said the country has hard work ahead on the virus and economy.

    But there was no concession from the White House, where Trump has continued to make unsupported allegations of fraud.

    Trump remained in the Oval Office long after the sun set in Washington, calling allies and fellow Republicans while keeping track of the running Electoral College tally, according to White House and campaign aides. The president frequently ducked into the private dining room off the Oval Office to watch on TV, complaining that the cable networks were treating it like a mini-Election Night while not giving his challenges any airtime.

    The president had grown increasingly disappointed with the size of “Stop the Steal” rallies across the nation as well as efforts for the GOP to field its own slates of electors in states. A presidential wish for a fierce administration defense led to TV appearances early Monday by Stephen Miller, one of his most ferocious advocates, to try to downplay the importance of the Electoral College vote and suggest that Trump’s legal challenges would continue all the way to Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.

    Late in the day, he took to Twitter to announce that Attorney General William Barr was leaving the administration before Christmas. Barr’s departure comes amid lingering tension over Trump’s unsupported fraud claims, especially after Barr’s statement this month to The Associated Press that the election results were unaffected by any fraud.

    In a Fox News interview taped over the weekend, Trump said that “I worry about the country having an illegitimate president, that’s what I worry about. A president that lost and lost badly.”

    On Monday in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — the six battleground states that Biden won and Trump contested — electors gave Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris their votes in low-key proceedings. Nevada’s electors met via Zoom because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Trump’s efforts to undermine the election results also led to concerns about safety for the electors, virtually unheard of in previous years. In Michigan, lawmakers from both parties reported receiving threats, and legislative offices were closed over threats of violence. Biden won the state by 154,000 votes, or 2.8 percentage points, over Trump.

    Georgia state police were out in force at the state Capitol in Atlanta before Democratic electors pledged to Biden met. There were no protesters seen.

    Even with the Electoral College’s confirmation of Biden’s victory, some Republicans continued to refuse to acknowledge that reality. Yet their opposition to Biden had no practical effect on the electoral process, with the Democrat to be sworn in next month.

    Republicans who would have been Trump electors met anyway in a handful of states Biden won. Pennsylvania Republicans said they cast a “procedural vote” for Trump and Pence in case courts that have repeatedly rejected challenges to Biden’s victory were to somehow still determine that Trump had won.

    In North Carolina, Utah and other states across the country where Trump won, his electors turned out to duly cast their ballots for him. Electors in North Carolina had their temperatures checked before being allowed to enter the Capitol to vote. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes withdrew as a Trump elector and was in quarantine because he was exposed to someone with COVID-19.

    Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom Trump defeated four years ago, were among New York’s 29 electors for Biden and Harris.

    In New Hampshire, before the state’s four electors voted for Biden at the State House in Concord, 13-year-old Brayden Harrington led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. He had delivered a moving speech at the Democratic National Convention in August about the struggle with stuttering he shares with Biden.

    Following weeks of Republican legal challenges that were easily dismissed by judges, Trump and Republican allies tried to persuade the Supreme Court last week to set aside 62 electoral votes for Biden in four states, which might have thrown the outcome into doubt.

    The justices rejected the effort on Friday.

    The Electoral College was the product of compromise during the drafting of the Constitution between those who favored electing the president by popular vote and those who opposed giving the people the power to directly choose their leader.

    Each state gets a number of electors equal to its total number of seats in Congress: two senators plus however many members the state has in the House of Representatives. Washington, D.C., has three votes, under a constitutional amendment that was ratified in 1961. With the exception of Maine and Nebraska, states award all their Electoral College votes to the winner of the popular vote in their state.

    Related:

    Biden Taps Former Obama Official Susan Rice as Top Domestic Policy Adviser


    President-elect Joe Biden is naming Obama’s former national security adviser Susan E. Rice to serve as his top Domestic Policy adviser. As Ethiopian Americans we are as much interested in U.S. domestic policy that directly affects our lives here in America as we are about U.S. foreign policy towards Ethiopia. So it’s encouraging to see that as AP reports in choosing Rice, Biden is “signaling the importance of domestic policy in his early agenda” including immigration, heath care, education and racial justice. (AP photo)

    The Associated Press

    President-elect Joe Biden is naming Susan Rice as director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, giving her broad sway over his administration’s approach to immigration, health care and racial inequality and elevating the prominence of the position in the West Wing.

    The move marks a surprising shift for Rice, a longtime Democratic foreign policy expert who served as President Barack Obama’s national security adviser and U.N. ambassador. She worked closely with then-Vice President Biden in those roles and was on his short list to become his running mate during the 2020 campaign.

    Biden is also nominating Denis McDonough, who was Obama’s White House chief of staff, as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, a sprawling agency that has presented organizational challenges for both parties over the years. But he never served in the armed forces, a fact noted by a leading veterans organization.

    In selecting Rice and McDonough, Biden is continuing to stockpile his administration with prominent members of the Obama administration. He will make the formal announcements Friday, along with his nominations of Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Katherine Tai as U.S. trade representative and Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary. Vilsack filled that same role during Obama’s two terms.

    “The roles they will take on are where the rubber meets the road — where competent and crisis-tested governance can make a meaningful difference in people’s lives, enhancing the dignity, equity, security, and prosperity of the day-to-day lives of Americans,” Biden said in a statement.

    In choosing Rice to oversee the White House council, advisers said Biden is signaling the importance of domestic policy in his early agenda.

    Rice is expected to be more of a force, both inside and outside the White House, and her appointment creates a new power center in the West Wing. She’s discussed replicating some elements of the National Security Council in her new role, including a principals committee of Cabinet secretaries and others that could bring more structure to domestic policymaking, but also pull more power into the West Wing.

    She’s expected to play an active role in the Biden administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Health care, immigration and tackling racial inequality are also expected to be among the top issues for the domestic policy shop next year.

    The 56-year-old Rice will be among the most prominent Black women in Biden’s administration. Rice was also in the running to become Biden’s running mate before he picked California Sen. Kamala Harris.

    Since then, Rice has been discussing other roles with the Biden team and was initially seen as a contender for secretary of state. But as a longtime target of Republicans, her prospects for a Cabinet position faded after the election, given the close makeup of the Senate. A pair of runoffs in Georgia next month will determine which party has control, but either configuration will be exceedingly close.

    Rice’s role overseeing the council does not require Senate confirmation.

    Although Biden has insisted his administration will not simply be a retread of Obama’s presidency, he is bringing back numerous familiar faces. His team has defended the moves as a nod toward experience and the need to hit the ground running in tackling the pressing issues facing the nation across multiple fronts.

    Shirley Anne Warshaw, a professor at Gettysburg College who has studied the presidency and Cabinets, said following Obama as he builds out his team gives Biden an advantage.

    “This is a much better bench than Obama had because these people have the experience of serving in the Obama administration,” Warshaw said. “In that way, Joe Biden is the luckiest man in the world.”

    McDonough, the VA nominee, is an experienced manager who was chief of staff throughout Obama’s second term. McDonough was previously Obama’s deputy national security adviser, including during the Navy SEAL raid in 2011 that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, and was a longtime congressional staffer.

    McDonough was credited with helping Obama try to bridge divides on Capitol Hill, including around one of his most substantial second-term legislative achievements: the Veterans Choice Act. The legislation, for which President Donald Trump tries to take credit, gave former service members more options to seek care and the VA secretary more authority to fire underperforming staffers.

    The bill came about following exposes during the Obama administration into mismanagement at some VA hospitals and mounting complaints by advocacy groups. As chief of staff, McDonough was also deeply involved in an overhaul of VA leadership after the scandals, which led to the ouster of the department’s secretary.

    “We are surprised by this pick. No way to deny that,” said Joe Chenelly, national executive director of AMVETS, or American Veterans. “We were expecting a veteran, maybe a post-9/11 veteran. Maybe a woman veteran. Or maybe a veteran who knows the VA exceptionally well. We are looking forward to hearing from President-Elect Biden on his thinking behind this nomination.”

    McDonough’s wife, Kari, co-founded the nonprofit group Vets’ Community Connections, which helps veterans and their families develop stronger ties to their communities.

    Biden is balancing numerous priorities as he fills out his Cabinet, including making good on his pledge to have a diverse group of top advisers. That’s created some tensions over top jobs, including agriculture secretary.

    Allies of Fudge made no secret of their desire for her to lead the department, given its oversight of food stamps and other programs meant to address food insecurity — one of her longtime priorities. Instead, Biden went with Vilsack, a longtime friend and advocate for Democrats paying more attention to rural America.

    A transition official said Vilsack and Fudge spoke Wednesday to lay the groundwork for cooperation between their two agencies on those and other initiatives.

    Related:

    Biden picks Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense


    President-elect Joe Biden will nominate retired four-star Army general Lloyd J. Austin to be secretary of defense, according to four people familiar with the decision. If confirmed by the Senate, Austin would be the first Black leader of the Pentagon. (AP photo)

    The Associated Press

    President-elect Joe Biden will nominate retired four-star Army general Lloyd J. Austin to be secretary of defense, according to four people familiar with the decision. If confirmed by the Senate, Austin would be the first Black leader of the Pentagon.

    Biden selected Austin over the longtime front-runner candidate, Michele Flournoy, a former senior Pentagon official and Biden supporter who would have been the first woman to serve as defense secretary. Biden also had considered Jeh Johnson, a former Pentagon general counsel and former secretary of homeland defense.

    The impending nomination of Austin was confirmed by four people with knowledge of the pick who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the selection hadn’t been formally announced. Biden offered and Austin accepted the post on Sunday, according to a person familiar with the process.

    As a career military officer, the 67-year-old Austin is likely to face opposition from some in Congress and in the defense establishment who believe in drawing a clear line between civilian and military leadership of the Pentagon. Although many previous defense secretaries have served briefly in the military, only two — George C. Marshall and James Mattis — have been career officers. Marshall also served as secretary of state.

    Like Mattis, Austin would need to obtain a congressional waiver to serve as defense secretary. Congress intended civilian control of the military when it created the position of secretary of defense in 1947 and prohibited a recently retired military officer from holding the position.

    One of the people who confirmed the pick said Austin’s selection was about choosing the best possible person but acknowledged that pressure had built to name a candidate of color and that Austin’s stock had risen in recent days.

    Austin is a 1975 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served 41 years in uniform.

    Biden has known Austin at least since the general’s years leading U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq while Biden was vice president. Austin was commander in Baghdad of the Multinational Corps-Iraq in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected president, and he returned to lead U.S. troops from 2010 through 2011.

    Austin also served in 2012 as the first Black vice chief of staff of the Army, the service’s No. 2-ranking position. A year later he assumed command of U.S. Central Command, where he fashioned and began implementing a U.S. military strategy for rolling back the Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

    Austin retired from the Army in 2016, and he would need a congressional waiver of the legal requirement that a former member of the military be out of uniform at least seven years before serving as secretary of defense. That waiver has been granted only twice — most recently in the case of Mattis, the retired Marine general who served as President Donald Trump’s first Pentagon chief.

    The Mattis period at the Pentagon is now viewed by some as evidence of why a recently retired military officer should serve as defense secretary only in rare exceptions. Although Mattis remains widely respected for his military prowess and intellect, critics say he tended to surround himself with military officers at the expense of a broader civilian perspective. He resigned in December 2018 in protest of Trump’s policies.

    Loren DeJonge Schulman, who spent 10 years in senior staff positions at the Pentagon and the National Security Council, said she understands why Biden would seek out candidates with a deep understanding of the military. However, she worries that appointing a general to a political role could prolong some of the damage caused by Trump’s politicization of the military.

    “But retired generals are not one-for-one substitutes of civilian leaders,” she said. “General officers bring different skills and different perspectives, and great generals do not universally make good appointees.”

    Austin has a reputation for strong leadership, integrity and a sharp intellect. He would not be a prototypical defense secretary, not just because of his 41-year military career but also because he has shied from the public eye. It would be an understatement to say he was a quiet general; although he testified before Congress, he gave few interviews and preferred not to speak publicly about military operations.

    When he did speak, Austin did not mince words. In 2015, in describing how the Islamic State army managed a year earlier to sweep across the Syrian border to grab control of large swaths of northern and western Iraq, Austin said the majority of Iraqi Sunnis simply refused to fight for their government.

    “They allowed — and in some cases facilitated — ISIS’s push through the country,” Austin said.

    He earned the admiration of the Obama administration for his work in Iraq and at Central Command, although he disagreed with Obama’s decision to pull out of Iraq entirely in December 2011.

    Austin was involved in the Iraq War from start to finish. He served as an assistant commander of the 3rd Infantry Division during the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and oversaw the withdrawal in 2011. When Austin retired in 2016, Obama praised his “character and competence,” as well as his judgment and leadership.

    One person familiar with the matter said Biden was drawn to Austin’s oversight of the Iraq pull-out, especially given the military’s upcoming role in supporting the distribution of the coronavirus vaccines.

    Like many retired generals, Austin has served on corporate boards. He is a member of the board of directors of Raytheon Technologies.

    Word of Austin’s selection broke a day before a meeting between Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and civil rights groups, many of whom had pushed the president-elect to pick more Black Cabinet members.

    The Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist, said Monday: “It’s a good choice that I think many in the civil rights community would support. It’s the first time we have seen a person of color in that position. That means something, in a global view, especially after such an antagonistic relationship we had with the previous administration.”

    Sharpton, who is set to be in the meeting with Biden on Tuesday, called the choice “a step in the right direction but not the end of the walk.”

    Biden Nominates Former Obama Official Antony Blinken as U.S. Secretary of State


    Antony Blinken (center) has weighed in publicly on notable foreign policy issues in Egypt and Ethiopia. Blinken, 58, served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration and has close ties with Biden. (Photo: Biden with Tony Blinken, Susan Rice [Blinken's former boss] and John F. Kerry listen as President Barack Obama addresses reporters in November 2013. /Reuters)

    The Associated Press

    Antony Blinken has weighed in publicly on notable foreign policy issues in Egypt and Ethiopia.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate Antony Blinken as secretary of state, according to multiple people familiar with the Biden team’s planning.

    Blinken, 58, served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration and has close ties with Biden. If nominated and confirmed, he would be a leading force in the incoming administration’s bid to reframe the U.S. relationship with the rest of the world after four years in which President Donald Trump questioned longtime alliances.

    In nominating Blinken, Biden would sidestep potentially thorny issues that could have affected Senate confirmation for two other candidates on his short list to be America’s top diplomat: Susan Rice and Sen. Chris Coons.

    Rice would have faced significant GOP opposition and likely rejection in the Senate. She has long been a target of Republicans, including for statements she made after the deadly 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

    Coons’ departure from the Senate would have come as other Democratic senators are being considered for administrative posts and the party is hoping to win back the Senate. Control hangs on the result of two runoff elections in Georgia in January.

    Biden is likely to name his Cabinet picks in tranches, with groups of nominees focused on a specific top area, like the economy, national security or public health, being announced at once. Advisers to the president-elect’s transition have said they’ll make their first Cabinet announcements on Tuesday.

    If Biden focuses on national security that day, Michèle Flournoy, a veteran of Pentagon policy jobs, is a top choice to lead the Defense Department. Jake Sullivan, a longtime adviser to Biden and Hillary Clinton, is also in the mix for a top job, including White House national security adviser.

    For his part, Blinken recently participated in a national security briefing with Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and has weighed in publicly on notable foreign policy issues in Egypt and Ethiopia.

    Biden’s secretary of state would inherit a deeply demoralized and depleted career workforce at the State Department. Trump’s two secretaries of state, Rex Tillerson and Mike Pompeo, offered weak resistance to the administration’s attempts to gut the agency, which were thwarted only by congressional intervention.

    Although the department escaped massive proposed cuts of more than 30% in its budget for three consecutive years, it has seen a significant number of departures from its senior and rising mid-level ranks, from which many diplomats have opted to retire or leave the foreign service given limited prospects for advancements under an administration that they believe does not value their expertise.

    A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School and a longtime Democratic foreign policy presence, Blinken has aligned himself with numerous former senior national security officials who have called for a major reinvestment in American diplomacy and renewed emphasis on global engagement.

    “Democracy is in retreat around the world, and unfortunately it’s also in retreat at home because of the president taking a two-by-four to its institutions, its values and its people every day,” Blinken told The Associated Press in September. “Our friends know that Joe Biden knows who they are. So do our adversaries. That difference would be felt on day one.”

    Blinken served on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration before becoming staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden was chair of the panel. In the early years of the Obama administration, Blinken returned to the NSC and was then-Vice President Biden’s national security adviser before he moved to the State Department to serve as deputy to Secretary of State John Kerry.

    Biden has pledged to build the most diverse government in modern history, and he and his team often speak about their desire for his administration to reflect America. He is being watched to see whether he will make history by nominating the first woman to lead the Pentagon, the Treasury Department or the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the first African American at the top of the Defense Department, the Interior Department or the Treasury Department.

    Ron Klain, Biden’s incoming chief of staff, said Sunday the Trump administration’s refusal to clear the way for Biden’s team to have access to key information about agencies and federal dollars for the transition is taking its toll on planning, including the Cabinet selection process. Trump’s General Services Administration has yet to acknowledge that Biden won the election — a determination that would remove those roadblocks.

    “We’re not in a position to get background checks on Cabinet nominees. And so there are definite impacts. Those impacts escalate every day,” Klain told ABC’s “This Week.”

    Even some Republicans have broken with Trump in recent days and called on him to begin the transition. Joining the growing list were Sens. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Former Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a longtime Trump supporter, told ABC that it was time for the president to stop contesting the outcome and called Trump’s legal team seeking to overturn the election a “national embarrassment.”

    Meanwhile, planning was underway for a pandemic-modified inauguration Jan. 20. Klain said the Biden team was consulting with Democratic leadership in the House and Senate over their plans.

    “They’re going to try to have an inauguration that honors the importance and the symbolic meaning of the moment, but also does not result in the spread of the disease. That’s our goal,” Klain said.

    Related:

    Ethiopia Congratulates President-elect Joe Biden & VP-elect Kamala Harris


    In a Twitter post Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed joined other world leaders in expressing his good wishes for the newly elected leadership in the United States. (Photo: Courtesy of the Biden Campaign)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: November 9th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia has congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their landmark U.S. election victory.

    In a Twitter post on Saturday Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed joined other world leaders in expressing his good wishes for the newly elected leadership in the United States.

    “My congratulations to US President-elect Joe Biden and and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris on your historic election win,” PM Abiy wrote. “Ethiopia looks forward to working closely with you.”

    Ethiopia’s ambassador to U.S. Fitsum Arega added: “Congratulations US for being a shining example of democracy in action to the world. We should all learn in Africa that in genuine democracy every vote counts, every voice must be heard!”

    As USA Today noted: “International messages of congratulation started rolling in Saturday for U.S. President-elect Joe Biden after he was projected the winner of the presidential election over President Donald Trump. International allies contemplated a new White House that has raised the prospect of resuming a form of business as usual: a more fact-driven, multilateralist American presidency that wants to build bridges, not burn them.”

    Related: ‘Welcome back, America’: World congratulates Joe Biden »

    Watch: President-elect Joe Biden’s full acceptance speech

    Ethio-American Samra Brouk Wins New York’s 55th Senate District


    Samra Brouk, a daughter of Ethiopian immigrants, defeated Republican Christopher Missick becoming the first Black woman to win the seat that’s currently held by New York State Senator Rich Funke, who announced last year that he wouldn’t run for another term. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: November 8th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Democrat Samra Brouk has won the race for the New York State Senate’s 55th district, one of 63 districts in the New York State Senate.

    Samra, a daughter of Ethiopian immigrants, defeated Republican Christopher Missick becoming the first Black woman to win the seat that’s currently held by New York State Senator Rich Funke, who announced last year that he wouldn’t run for another term.

    The nonprofit organization New American Leaders, which recruits people of immigrant heritage to run for elected office in the United States, highlighted Samra in a social media post noting that “With Kamala Harris’ victory and the wins of hundreds of down-ballot New American candidates like Samra Brouk in New York, Marvin Lim in Georgia and Nida Allam in North Carolina, people like us have broken the mold of what it looks like to run, win, and lead.”

    Samra who was born and raised in Rochester New York credits her parents — a public school teacher and a civil engineer — for her decision to go into public service. “My father fled his home country of Ethiopia during the civil war, overcoming major cultural and financial barriers to earn his degrees in math and engineering here in Western New York,” Samra states on her campaign website. “From my parents, I learned the importance of education, hard work, and the need to be resourceful when faced with obstacles.”

    She adds:

    As a high school student, I spoke out against unfair testing practices. While at Williams College, where I worked three jobs to pay my tuition, I organized a group volunteer trip to Biloxi, Mississippi. We did everything from removing mold from homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina to helping community clinics navigate FEMA in order to rebuild.

    After graduating from Williams College with a Bachelors in Psychology and a minor in Spanish, I joined the U.S. Peace Corps where I volunteered in rural Guatemala as a health education specialist for two years. Upon returning home, like many of our young people, I was faced with limited job prospects. I was given an opportunity to help the Town of Brookhaven adopt a recycling education program for their population of nearly 500,000 people. I spent the following four years partnering with mayors and municipal leaders across the Northeast to adopt recycling education programs.

    Following that, I joined the largest global member organization for young people, DoSomething.org, to mobilize millions of young people as social change advocates. Later, I helped start Umbrella, a start-up that used technology to keep seniors safe in their homes by connecting them with affordable and community-driven home care. Most recently, I drove fundraising efforts for Chalkbeat, the fastest growing grassroots journalism organization, supporting their work reporting on inequities in the public school system.

    I currently live in Rochester, NY with my husband, Brian, who works with court-involved young people.

    New York’s 55th Senate District is a sprawling geography–starting down in the Finger Lakes, up through Rush, Mendon, Pittsford, Perinton, Fairport, Penfield, East Rochester, Irondequoit, and the East Side of the City of Rochester.

    My experiences around the state and the country have given me a broad perspective on what’s possible for our region. Now it’s time to bring all that I’ve learned and the relationships I’ve built to the community I love and call home.

    Together we can create a more just, sustainable and inclusive community. Western New York is my forever home. It deserves real leadership.

    Let’s do this!

    Congratulations to Samra Brouk!

    Oballa Oballa: Ethiopian Refugee Wins City Council Election in Austin, Minnesota


    Soon after moving to Austin, Minnesota, Oballa Oballa [whose family fled Gambella, Ethiopia, in 2003] walked into the mayor’s office and asked if there was anything he could do for the city. He just became Austin’s first Black city council member. (Photo: Courtesy of Oballa Oballa)

    Sahan Journal

    Oballa Oballa, a refugee from Ethiopia, wins historic city council election in Austin; becomes city’s first Black elected official.

    Oballa Oballa, a former refugee from Ethiopia who became a naturalized citizen less than one year ago, made history this election by winning a city council seat in the southeast Minnesota city of Austin.

    As of Wednesday afternoon, Oballa, 27, held a 14 percent lead over candidate Helen Jahr and declared victory. Oballa, who had been campaigning for the seat since the beginning of the year, said he is the first person of color to win elected office in Austin.

    On the campaign trail and in interviews, Oballa described a dramatic personal history. His family fled Gambella, Ethiopia, in 2003, following what he describes as a genocidal attack on his community. They spent the next 10 years living in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp. In 2013, the family moved to the U.S., and by 2015, Oballa had settled in Austin.

    Oballa is just one example of how immigrant communities are shaping Minnesota politics well beyond the Twin Cities, and are now starting to win seats for public office. Oballa said his record of civic engagement earned him voters’ support.

    “This makes me feel great, it makes me feel really happy and proud,” he said. “My work, I think, will still give hope to refugees who think the American dream is dead.”

    He added, “Just seven years ago, [I] was living in a refugee camp and now am officially elected. I think that will give them hope that one day, when they come to America here, they will accomplish whatever they put their mind to.”

    Read more »

    —-

    BIDEN DEFEATS TRUMP! USA CELEBRATES

    The Washington Post

    Joe Biden triumphs over Trump, prompting celebration across the U.S. and congratulations from abroad

    Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was elected the nation’s 46th president Saturday in a repudiation of President Trump powered by legions of women and minority voters who rejected his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his divisive, bullying conduct in office.

    Biden’s victory, the culmination of four years of struggle for Democrats, came after a hotly contested election in which it took four days for a winner to be declared after the former vice president was projected to win a series of battleground states, the latest of which was the state where he was born, Pennsylvania.

    Voters also made history in electing as vice president Kamala Devi Harris, 56, a senator from California and daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants who will become the country’s first woman, first Black person and first Asian American to hold the No. 2 job.


    Joe Biden will become the 46th president of the United States after a victory in the state where he was born (Pennsylvania) put him over the 270 electoral votes needed to win. In New York City, spontaneous block parties broke out. People ran out of their buildings, banging on pots. They danced and high-fived with strangers amid honking horns. (AP photo)

    In a statement released Saturday, Biden said he is “honored and humbled” to be the victor in an election in which “a record number of Americans voted.” He said he and Harris looked forward to working on the nation’s many challenges.

    “With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation,” Biden said in the statement, in which his campaign referred to him as “President-elect Joe Biden” for the first time. “It’s time for America to unite. And to heal. We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together.”

    WATCH LIVE: Biden’s win sparks street celebrations around the country

    Harris, in a tweet sent after the result was announced, said the election was about more than the Democratic team.

    “It’s about the soul of America and our willingness to fight for it,” she said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us. Let’s get started.”

    Read more »

    Related:

    Video: Tadias Panel Discussion on Civic Engagement and Voter Mobilization


    On Sunday, October 25th, Tadias Magazine hosted a timely virtual panel discussion on civic engagement and voter mobilization featuring a new generation of Ethiopian American leaders from various professions. You can watch the video below. (Photos: Tadias Magazine)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: October 28th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — The U.S. presidential election is only one week away and Tadias hosted a timely and lively discussion on building political power through civic engagement and voter mobilization on Sunday, October 25th featuring a new generation of Ethiopian American leaders from various professions. You can watch the video below.

    Panelists included Henock Dory, who currently serves as Special Assistant to former President Barack Obama; Tefere Gebre, Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO; Selam Mulugeta Washington, a former Field Organizer with Obama for America, Helen Mesfin from the Helen Show DC, Dr. Menna Demessie, Vice President of Policy Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; Helen Amelga, President of the Ethiopian Democratic Club of Los Angeles (moderator) as well as Bemnet Meshesha and Helen Eshete of the Habeshas Vote initiative. The event opened with poetry reading by Bitaniya Giday, the 2020-2021 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate.

    Ethiopian Americans are as diverse as mainstream America when it comes to our perspectives on various social and political issues, but despite our differences we are all united when it comes to the need to
    empower ourselves and participate in the democratic process through our citizenship rights to vote and run for office.

    So vote on November 3rd.

    Related:

    ‘Habeshas Vote’ Phone Banking Event This Week Aims Outreach to Ethio-Americans


    (Photo courtesy of Habesha Networks)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Published: October 19th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — We are now almost two weeks away from the November 3rd U.S. presidential election. This week the ‘Habeshas Vote’ initiative and the non-profit organization Habesha Networks in partnership with Tadias Magazine and Abbay Media will host their first virtual phone banking event to reach out to the Ethiopian American community.

    The online event, which is set to take place on Thursday, October 22nd from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EDT, will feature various panel discussions, public service announcements and cultural engagements.

    Organizers note that there will be a brief training on phone banking as well as “some amazing prizes” for those that call and text the most voters.

    If You Attend:

    Click here to lean more and RSVP.

    —-

    Related:

    Ethiopian-Americans for Biden-Harris Hosts Virtual Conversation


    Ethiopian-Americans for Biden-Harris is a volunteer-led group that supports the candidacy of Former Vice-President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: October 19th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — As the highly anticipated 2020 U.S. presidential election fast approaches on November 3rd, various Ethiopian American associations are organizing voter turnout and education events across the country.

    The latest to announce such an event is the newly formed, volunteer-led group, Ethiopian-Americans for Biden-Harris, which supports the candidacy of Former Vice-President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris and will be hosting an online conversation next week Friday, October 23 at 6:00 PM EDT/3:00 PM PDT.

    “As one of the largest African Diaspora groups in the United States, the community has historically supported causes championed by the Democratic Party, including but not limited to, immigration reform, healthcare reform, promotion of democracy, human rights and improved trade and investment between the United States and Ethiopia,” the group states in its press release. “Ethiopian-Americans believe that a Biden-Harris Administration will champion equitable access and opportunity for all Americans, restore mutually beneficial relationships with Ethiopia and improve America’s standing among the community of nations.”


    (Courtesy photo)

    The virtual event, which will be moderated by Dr. Menna Demessie, Senior Vice President of Policy Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, features Congresswoman Karen Bass, who has represented California’s 37th congressional district since 2013; Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas; Gayle Smith, president and CEO of the One Campaign and the former administrator of the United States Agency for International Development; and Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a Senior Vice President at Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG) leading the firm’s Africa practice. Thomas-Greenfield was also the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the United States Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs from 2013 to 2017.

    Ethiopian American speakers include Assemblyman Alexander Assefa, the first Ethiopian-American elected to public office in the United States and the first African immigrant to serve in elected office in the State of Nevada; Addisu Demissie, who served as Senior Advisor to U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, and was responsible for organizing the nominating convention for the Democratic Party this past summer; Marcus Samuelsson, an award-winning chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, philanthropist and food activist; Mimi Alemayehou, a development finance executive who has served as Executive Vice President of the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation and as United States Executive Director of the African Development Bank.

    If You Attend

    Click here to RSVP now staring $25.

    Learn more at www.ethiopiansforbidenharris.com.

    Related:

    Ethiopian Americans: Election is Approaching, Let’s Make Sure our Voices are Heard


    In this OP-ED Helen Amelga, President of the Ethiopian Democratic Club of Los Angeles, urges Ethiopian Americans to participate in the upcoming U.S. election that will directly impact our lives for many years to come, and shares resources to help our community to get involved in the democratic process. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Helen Amelga

    Updated: October 16th, 2020

    Los Angeles (TADIAS) — How many people of Ethiopian descent live in the United States? 300,000? 400,000? 500,000? We don’t really know for sure. But with the 2020 census, we will for the first time have the opportunity to get a truly accurate count. If you haven’t done so already, go to 2020cencus.gov and complete your census today.

    While the exact numbers are yet to be determined, it is clear that there is a significant Ethiopian-American population in the United States. Why is it then that we do not have a strong political presence?

    We know our community can organize. We have Iqub (እቁብ), mahbers (ማህበር), business associations, and our faith based groups are extremely organized. We need to use those same skills to mobilize politically.

    We must equip ourselves with the knowledge of political systems, major policies and voter rights, not only to serve as advocates for our community, but so that we ourselves can occupy positions of power and authority to be the decision makers who shape the society and world we want to live in.

    We know it’s possible because we already have trailblazers such as Assemblyman Alexander Assefa, the first Ethiopian American to be elected into office in the Nevada Legislature and the first Ethiopian American ever elected in the U.S. to a state-wide governing body as well as Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson of Florida, who is the first Ethiopian-American judge in the United States who was re-elected to a third term his year.

    We cannot afford to give our vote away to candidates who are not serving our needs. We are ready to spring into action when there is a problem in our community, but it is not enough to go to our elected officials once we have a problem and try to convince them to help us. We need to be proactive.

    We must purposefully engage to get the right people elected in the first place. We must identify candidates who align with and will fight for our values. Then, we must do everything we can to make sure those candidates are elected.

    Here are a few steps you can take to get involved:

    1. Register to vote

    2. Request a vote by mail ballot today

    3. Reach out to 5 friends and make sure they’re registered to vote

    4. Research your candidates & ballot measures

    5. Volunteers to phone bank for a campaign

    6. Sign up to be a poll worker on election day

    The November 3rd general election is fast approaching. Let’s make sure our voices are heard.

    Related:

    Interview: Helen Amelga, Founder of Ethiopian Democratic Club of LA

    Interview With Addisu Demissie: Senior Adviser to Joe Biden

    Biden Selects Yohannes Abraham as Member of Transition Team


    Related:

    Election 2020 – The Youth Vote Event In Seattle


    Bitaniya Giday, age 17, is the 2020-2021 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate. She is a first-generation Ethiopian American residing in Seattle. Bitaniya is one of the young interviewers in a timely upcoming Zoom event on October 14th titled “The Youth Vote: A conversation about leadership, ethics and values and how they factor into choosing a candidate.” (KNKX PUBLIC RADIO)

    KNKX PUBLIC RADIO

    Young people make up a projected 37% of the 2020 electorate, yet historically they vote less than other age groups. Will it be different this time? The pandemic crisis and the call for racial justice and institutional changes are top concerns as we move closer to this high stakes election. Ethics and values also underpin our decisions. This virtual event aims to bring together first-time and new voters with older adults with a track record of civic leadership to discuss a number of issues through the lens of beliefs and values, touching on things like:

    What does it mean to be a leader?
    In thorny situations, how do you speak for a community?
    If there are three important issues facing your community and you only have enough resources to address one, how would you choose?

    Because this is leading up to the general election, we want to frame this conversation around the power to change systems for the greater good and how that ties in with being an informed voter.

    The six young interviewers will ask the four speakers questions relating to the themes of conflict/failure, challenges, accountability, transparency, priorities and representation, with the speakers drawing on their personal and professional experiences; and offering examples of how they have faced challenging situations and how that speaks to leadership and community building.

    Young Interviewers

    Bitaniya Giday, age 17, is the 2020-2021 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate. She is a first-generation Ethiopian American residing in Seattle. Her writing explores the nuances of womanhood and blackness, as she reflects upon her family’s path of immigration across the world. She hopes to restore and safeguard the past, present, and future histories of her people through traditional storytelling and poetry.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Ethiopian Americans Hold Virtual Town Hall Ahead of November Election


    The nationwide town hall event, which will be held on Thursday, September 24th, 2020 plans to emphasize the importance of exercising our citizenship right to vote and to participate in the U.S. democratic process. The gathering will feature panel discussions, PSAs, and cultural engagements. (Courtesy photos)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: September 23rd, 2020

    Los Angeles (TADIAS) — Ethiopian Americans are holding a virtual town hall this week ahead of the November 3rd U.S. election.

    The nationwide event, which will be held on Thursday, September 24th, will emphasize the importance of exercising our citizenship right to vote and to participate in the U.S. democratic process.

    According to organizers the town hall — put together by the ‘Habeshas Vote’ initiative and the non-profit organization Habesha Networks — will feature various panel discussions, public service announcements and cultural engagements.

    “We intend on discussing various subject matters related to civic engagement issues affecting our community at the moment,” the announcement notes, highlighting that by the end of the conference “participants will be able to understand the importance of taking ownership of our local communities, learn more about the voting process and gain a better [appreciation] of why we should all care about voting.”

    Speakers include Helen Amelga, President of the Ethiopian Democratic Club of Los Angeles; Dr. Menna Demissie, Senior Vice President of Policy Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; Assemblyman Alexander Assefa, the first Ethiopian American to be elected into office in the Nevada Legislature and the first Ethiopian American ever elected in the U.S. to a state-wide governing body; Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson of Florida, who is the first Ethiopian-American judge in the United States who was re-elected to a third term this year; and Girmay Zahilay, Councilman in King County, Washington.


    (Courtesy photos)

    Additional presenters include: Andom Ghebreghiorgis. former Congressional candidate from New York; Samuel Gebru, former candidate for City Council in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and current managing director of Black Lion Strategies; as well as Hannah Joy Gebresilassie, journalist and community advocate; and Debbie Almraw, writer and poet.

    Entertainment will be provided by Elias Aragaw, the artist behind @TheFunkIsReal, and DJ Sammy Sam.

    The announcement notes that “voting is a core principle of being American, but to exercise this basic right we must be registered to vote! That’s why Habesha Networks and Habeshas Vote are proud partners of When We All Vote and supporters of National Voter Registration Day.”

    Watch: Students Interview Kamala Harris (U.S. ELECTION UPDATE)


    Fana R. Haileselassie, a student at Spelman College in Atlanta, asks Sen. Kamala Harris a question during a virtual Q&A hosted by BET featuring the Democratic nominee for Vice President and students discussing the interests of millennial voters. (Photo: BETNetworks)

    BET News Special

    HBCU Students Interview Kamala Harris

    A virtual Q&A hosted by Terrence J featuring Democratic nominee for Vice President Sen. Kamala Harris and HBCU students discussing the interests of millennial voters.

    Watch: Sen. Kamala Harris Answers HBCU Students’ Questions About Voting, Student Loan Debt & More

    Related:

    Virginia’s Era as a Swing State Appears to be Over


    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama wave after a campaign event in May 2012 in Richmond. (Getty Images)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: September 18th, 2020

    No TV ads, no presidential visits: Virginia’s era as a swing state appears to be over

    Barack Obama held the very last rally of his 2008 campaign in Virginia, the longtime Republican stronghold he flipped on his way to the White House.

    Four years later, Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney made more visits and aired more television ads here than nearly anywhere else. And in 2016, Donald Trump staged rally after rally in the Old Dominion while Hillary Clinton picked a Virginian as her running mate.

    But Virginia isn’t getting the swing-state treatment this time around. As in-person early voting got underway Friday, President Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden were dark on broadcast television. Super PACs were clogging somebody else’s airwaves. Even as Trump and Biden have resumed limited travel amid the coronavirus pandemic, neither has stumped in the Old Dominion.

    There’s really no discussion about the state being in play,” said Amy Walter, national editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. “If you’re Ohio or New Hampshire, or Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, you’ve always been in that spotlight. Virginia got it for such a short period of time.”

    The last time presidential candidates stayed out of Virginia and off its airwaves was 2004. The state was reliably red then, having backed Republicans for the White House every year since 1968. Now Virginia seems to be getting the cold shoulder because it’s considered solidly blue.

    “Virginia was the belle of the ball in 2008, and again in 2012, and still once more in 2016, but in 2020, the commonwealth is a wall flower,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a University of Mary Washington political scientist.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Virginians come out in force to cast ballots on the first day of early voting

    Mike Bloomberg to spend at least $100 million in Florida to benefit Joe Biden


    Former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg plans to spend at least $100 million to help elect Joe Biden, a massive late-stage infusion of cash that could reshape the presidential contest. (Getty Images)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: September 13th, 2020

    Former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg plans to spend at least $100 million in Florida to help elect Democrat Joe Biden, a massive late-stage infusion of cash that could reshape the presidential contest in a costly toss-up state central to President Trump’s reelection hopes.

    Bloomberg made the decision to focus his final election spending on Florida last week, after news reports that Trump had considered spending as much as $100 million of his own money in the final weeks of the campaign, Bloomberg’s advisers said. Presented with several options on how to make good on an earlier promise to help elect Biden, Bloomberg decided that a narrow focus on Florida was the best use of his money.

    The president’s campaign has long treated the state, which Trump now calls home, as a top priority, and his advisers remain confident in his chances given strong turnout in 2016 and 2018 that gave Republicans narrow winning margins in statewide contests.

    Watch: Former 2020 presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg slammed Trump during his Democratic National Convention speech on Aug. 20.

    Bloomberg’s aim is to prompt enough early voting that a pro-Biden result would be evident soon after the polls close.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Biden Leads by 9 Percentage Points in Pennsylvania (ELECTION UPDATE)


    In the survey, Biden, who was born in the state, draws the support of 53 percent of likely voters, compared to 44 percent who back Trump. (Reuters photo)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: September 9, 2020

    Biden Leads by 9 Percentage Points in Pennsylvania, Poll Finds

    Joe Biden leads President Trump by nine percentage points among likely voters in Pennsylvania, a key battleground state that Trump narrowly won four years ago, according to a new NBC News-Marist poll.

    In the survey, Biden, who was born in the state, draws the support of 53 percent of likely voters, compared to 44 percent who back Trump.

    In 2016, Trump carried Pennsylvania by less than one percentage point over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

    The NBC-Marist poll shows Biden getting a boost from suburban voters, who side with him by nearly 20 percentage points, 58 percent to 39 percent. In 2016, Trump won suburban voters in Pennsylvania by about eight points, according to exit polls.


    Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden stand outside the AFL-CIO headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa., on Monday. (Getty Images)

    The poll also finds the candidates are tied at 49 percent among white voters in Pennsylvania, a group that Trump won by double digits in 2016. Biden leads Trump among nonwhite voters, 75 percent to 19 percent.

    Pennsylvania has been a frequent destination for both campaigns in recent weeks. Vice President Pence has events scheduled there on Wednesday.

    Kamala D. Harris Goes Viral — for Her Shoe Choice


    Sporting Chuck Taylor sneakers, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) greets supporters Monday in Milwaukee. (AP photo)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: September 8, 2020

    It took roughly eight seconds of on-the-ground campaigning for the first Black woman to be nominated on a major party’s ticket to go viral.

    At first glance, little seemed noteworthy as Sen. Kamala D. Harris deplaned in Milwaukee on Monday. She was wearing a mask. She didn’t trip. Instead, what sent video pinging around the Internet was what was on her feet: her black, low-rise Chuck Taylor All-Stars, the classic Converse shoe that has long been associated more closely with cultural cool than carefully managed high-profile candidacies.

    By Tuesday morning, videos by two reporters witnessing her arrival had been viewed nearly 8 million times on Twitter — for comparison’s sake, more than four times the attention the campaign’s biggest planned video event, a conversation between Joe Biden and Barack Obama, had received on both Twitter and YouTube combined.

    Harris’s sister, Maya, tweeted Monday that Chuck Taylors are, indeed, her sister’s “go-to.” A few hours later, Harris’s official campaign account tweeted the video with the caption “laced up and ready to win.”

    Read more »

    81 American Nobel Laureates Endorse Biden for Next U.S. President


    The Nobel laureates in physics, chemistry and medicine “wholeheartedly” endorsed the Democratic nominee in an open letter released Wednesday. “At no time in our nation’s history has there been a greater need for our leaders to appreciate the value of science in formulating public policy,” they said. (Courtesy photo)

    Press Release

    Nobel Laureates endorse Joe Biden

    81 American Nobel Laureates in Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine have signed this letter to express their support for former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 election for President of the United States.

    At no time in our nation’s history has there been a greater need for our leaders to appreciate the value of science in formulating public policy. During his long record of public service, Joe Biden has consistently demonstrated his willingness to listen to experts, his understanding of the value of international collaboration in research, and his respect for the contribution that immigrants make to the intellectual life of our country.

    As American citizens and as scientists, we wholeheartedly endorse Joe Biden for President.

    Name, Category, Prize Year:

    Peter Agre Chemistry 2003
    Sidney Altman Chemistry 1989
    Frances H. Arnold Chemistry 2018
    Paul Berg Chemistry 1980
    Thomas R. Cech Chemistry 1989
    Martin Chalfie Chemistry 2008
    Elias James Corey Chemistry 1990
    Joachim Frank Chemistry 2017
    Walter Gilbert Chemistry 1980
    John B. Goodenough Chemistry 2019
    Alan Heeger Chemistry 2000
    Dudley R. Herschbach Chemistry 1986
    Roald Hoffmann Chemistry 1981
    Brian K. Kobilka Chemistry 2012
    Roger D. Kornberg Chemistry 2006
    Robert J. Lefkowitz Chemistry 2012
    Roderick MacKinnon Chemistry 2003
    Paul L. Modrich Chemistry 2015
    William E. Moerner Chemistry 2014
    Mario J. Molina Chemistry 1995
    Richard R. Schrock Chemistry 2005
    K. Barry Sharpless Chemistry 2001
    Sir James Fraser Stoddart Chemistry 2016
    M. Stanley Whittingham Chemistry 2019
    James P. Allison Medicine 2018
    Richard Axel Medicine 2004
    David Baltimore Medicine 1975
    J. Michael Bishop Medicine 1989
    Elizabeth H. Blackburn Medicine 2009
    Michael S. Brown Medicine 1985
    Linda B. Buck Medicine 2004
    Mario R. Capecchi Medicine 2007
    Edmond H. Fischer Medicine 1992
    Joseph L. Goldstein Medicine 1985
    Carol W. Greider Medicine 2009
    Jeffrey Connor Hall Medicine 2017
    Leland H. Hartwell Medicine 2001
    H. Robert Horvitz Medicine 2002
    Louis J. Ignarro Medicine 1998
    William G. Kaelin Jr. Medicine 2019
    Eric R. Kandel Medicine 2000
    Craig C. Mello Medicine 2006
    John O’Keefe Medicine 2014
    Michael Rosbash Medicine 2017
    James E. Rothman Medicine 2013
    Randy W. Schekman Medicine 2013
    Gregg L. Semenza Medicine 2019
    Hamilton O. Smith Medicine 1978
    Thomas C. Sudhof Medicine 2013
    Jack W. Szostak Medicine 2009
    Susumu Tonegawa Medicine 1987
    Harold E. Varmus Medicine 1989
    Eric F. Wieschaus Medicine 1995
    Torsten N. Wiesel Medicine 1981
    Michael W. Young Medicine 2017
    Barry Clark Barish Physics 2017
    Steven Chu Physics 1997
    Jerome I. Friedman Physics 1990
    Sheldon Glashow Physics 1979
    David J. Gross Physics 2004
    John L. Hall Physics 2005
    Wolfgang Ketterle Physics 2001
    J. Michael Kosterlitz Physics 2016
    Herbert Kroemer Physics 2000
    Robert B. Laughlin Physics 1998
    Anthony J. Leggett Physics 2003
    John C. Mather Physics 2006
    Shuji Nakamura Physics 2014
    Douglas D. Osheroff Physics 1996
    James Peebles Physics 2019
    Arno Penzias Physics 1978
    Saul Perlmutter Physics 2011
    H. David Politzer Physics 2004
    Brian P. Schmidt Physics 2011
    Joseph H. Taylor Jr. Physics 1993
    Kip Stephen Thorne Physics 2017
    Daniel C. Tsui Physics 1998
    Rainer Weiss Physics 2017
    Frank Wilczek Physics 2004
    Robert Woodrow Wilson Physics 1978
    David J. Wineland Physics 2012

    Related

    Biden Calls Trump ‘a Toxic Presence’ Who is Encouraging Violence in America


    “Donald Trump has been a toxic presence in our nation for four years,” Biden said. “Will we rid ourselves of this toxin? (Photo: Joe Biden speaks Monday in Pittsburgh/Reuters)

    The Washington Post

    Joe Biden excoriated President Trump on Monday as a threat to the safety of all Americans, saying he has encouraged violence in the nation’s streets even as he has faltered in handling the coronavirus pandemic.

    For his most extensive remarks since violent protests have escalated across the country in recent days, Biden traveled to Pittsburgh and struck a centrist note, condemning both the destruction in the streets and Trump for creating a culture that he said has exacerbated it.

    “I want to be very clear about all of this: Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting,” Biden said. “It’s lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted.”

    The former vice president also rejected the caricature that Trump and his allies have painted of him as someone who holds extremist views and has helped fuel the anger in urban centers across the country.

    “You know me. You know my heart. You know my story, my family’s story,” Biden said. “Ask yourself: Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?”

    While the speech was delivered amid heightened tensions over race and police conduct, Biden did not outline new policies, instead focusing on making a broader condemnation of Trump.

    He called the president a danger to those suffering from the coronavirus, to anyone in search of a job or struggling to pay rent, to voters worried about Russian interference in the upcoming election and to those worried about their own safety amid unrest.

    “Donald Trump wants to ask the question: Who will keep you safer as president? Let’s answer that question,” Biden said. “When I was vice president, violent crime fell 15 percent in this country. We did it without chaos and disorder.”

    Pointing to a nationwide homicide rate rising 26 percent this year, Biden asked, “Do you really feel safer under Donald Trump?”

    “If I were president today, the country would be safer,” Biden said. “And we’d be seeing a lot less violence.”

    It was a marked shift for Biden from his convention speech less than two weeks ago, in which he never named Trump in his remarks. During his speech Monday, he mentioned Trump’s name 32 times.

    “Donald Trump has been a toxic presence in our nation for four years,” Biden said. “Will we rid ourselves of this toxin? Or will we make it a permanent part of our nation’s character?”

    Read more »

    Spotlight: The Unravelling of the Social Fabric in Ethiopia and the U.S.


    As Ethiopian Americans we are increasingly concerned about the decline of civil discourse and the unravelling of the social fabric not only in Ethiopia, but also here in the United States where in the era of Trump and the COVID-19 pandemic politics has also become more and more violent. Below are excerpts and links to two recent articles from The Intercept and The Guardian focusing on the timely topic. (AP photo)

    The Intercept

    August, 29th, 2020

    The Social Fabric of the U.S. Is Fraying Severely, if Not Unravelling: Why, in the world’s richest country, is every metric of mental health pathology rapidly worsening?

    THE YEAR 2020 has been one of the most tumultuous in modern American history. To find events remotely as destabilizing and transformative, one has to go back to the 2008 financial crisis and the 9/11 and anthrax attacks of 2001, though those systemic shocks, profound as they were, were isolated (one a national security crisis, the other a financial crisis) and thus more limited in scope than the multicrisis instability now shaping U.S. politics and culture.

    Since the end of World War II, the only close competitor to the current moment is the multipronged unrest of the 1960s and early 1970s: serial assassinations of political leaders, mass civil rights and anti-war protests, sustained riots, fury over a heinous war in Indochina, and the resignation of a corruption-plagued president.

    But those events unfolded and built upon one another over the course of a decade. By crucial contrast, the current confluence of crises, each of historic significance in their own right — a global pandemic, an economic and social shutdown, mass unemployment, an enduring protest movement provoking increasing levels of violence and volatility, and a presidential election centrally focused on one of the most divisive political figures the U.S. has known who happens to be the incumbent president — are happening simultaneously, having exploded one on top of the other in a matter of a few months.

    Lurking beneath the headlines justifiably devoted to these major stories of 2020 are very troubling data that reflect intensifying pathologies in the U.S. population — not moral or allegorical sicknesses but mental, emotional, psychological and scientifically proven sickness. Many people fortunate enough to have survived this pandemic with their physical health intact know anecdotally — from observing others and themselves — that these political and social crises have spawned emotional difficulties and psychological challenges…

    Much attention is devoted to lamenting the toxicity of our discourse, the hate-driven polarization of our politics, and the fragmentation of our culture. But it is difficult to imagine any other outcome in a society that is breeding so much psychological and emotional pathology by denying to its members the things they most need to live fulfilling lives.

    Read the full article at theintercept.com »

    Ethiopia falls into violence a year after leader’s Nobel peace prize win


    Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, centre, arrives at an African Union summit in Addis Ababa in July. Photograph: AP

    By Jason Burke and Zecharias Zelalem in Addis Ababa

    Sat 29 Aug 2020

    Abiy Ahmed came to power promising radical reform, but 180 people have died amid ethnic unrest in Oromia state

    Ethiopia faces a dangerous cycle of intensifying internal political dissent, ethnic unrest and security crackdowns, observers have warned, after a series of protests in recent weeks highlighted growing discontent with the government of Abiy Ahmed, a Nobel peace prize winner.

    Many western powers welcomed the new approach of Abiy, who took power in 2018 and promised a programme of radical reform after decades of repressive one-party rule, hoping for swift changes in an emerging economic power that plays a key strategic role in a region increasingly contested by Middle Eastern powers and China. He won the peace prize in 2019 for ending a conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.

    The most vocal unrest was in the state of Oromia, where there have been waves of protests since the killing last month of a popular Oromo artist and activist, Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, in Addis Ababa, the capital. An estimated 180 people have died in the violence, some murdered by mobs, others shot by security forces. Houses, factories, businesses, hotels, cars and government offices were set alight or damaged and several thousand people, including opposition leaders, were arrested.

    Further protests last week prompted a new wave of repression and left at least 11 dead. “Oromia is still reeling from the grim weight of tragic killings this year. These grave patterns of abuse should never be allowed to continue,” said Aaron Maasho, a spokesperson for the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.

    Read more »

    Related:

    ‘How Dare We Not Vote?’ Black Voters Organize After DC March


    People rally at Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, Friday Aug. 28, 2020, on the 57th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Speakers implored attendees to “vote as if our lives depend on it.” (AP Photos)

    The Associated Press

    Updated: August 29th, 2020

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Tears streamed down Brooke Moreland’s face as she watched tens of thousands gather on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to decry systemic racism and demand racial justice in the wake of several police killings of Black Americans.

    But for the Indianapolis mother of three, the fiery speeches delivered Friday at the commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom also gave way to one central message: Vote and demand change at the ballot box in November.

    “As Black people, a lot of the people who look like us died for us to be able to sit in public, to vote, to go to school and to be able to walk around freely and live our lives,” the 31-year-old Moreland said. “Every election is an opportunity, so how dare we not vote after our ancestors fought for us to be here?”

    That determination could prove critical in a presidential election where race is emerging as a flashpoint. President Donald Trump, at this past week’s Republican National Convention, emphasized a “law and order” message aimed at his largely white base of supporters. His Democratic rival, Joe Biden, has expressed empathy with Black victims of police brutality and is counting on strong turnout from African Americans to win critical states such as North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

    “If we do not vote in numbers that we’ve never ever seen before and allow this administration to continue what it is doing, we are headed on a course for serious destruction,” Martin Luther King III, told The Associated Press before his rousing remarks, delivered 57 years after his father’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. “I’m going to do all that I can to encourage, promote, to mobilize and what’s at stake is the future of our nation, our planet. What’s at stake is the future of our children.”

    As the campaign enters its latter stages, there’s an intensifying effort among African Americans to transform frustration over police brutality, systemic racism and the disproportionate toll of the coronavirus into political power. Organizers and participants said Friday’s march delivered a much needed rallying cry to mobilize.

    As speakers implored attendees to “vote as if our lives depend on it,” the march came on the heels of yet another shooting by a white police officer of a Black man – 29-year-old Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last Sunday — sparking demonstrations and violence that left two dead.

    “We need a new conversation … you act like it’s no trouble to shoot us in the back,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said. “Our vote is dipped in blood. We’re going to vote for a nation that stops the George Floyds, that stops the Breonna Taylors.”

    Navy veteran Alonzo Jones- Goss, who traveled to Washington from Boston, said he plans to vote for Biden because the nation has seen far too many tragic events that have claimed the lives of Black Americans and other people of color.

    “I supported and defended the Constitution and I support the members that continue to do it today, but the injustice and the people that are losing their lives, that needs to end,” Jones-Goss, 28, said. “It’s been 57 years since Dr. King stood over there and delivered his speech. But what is unfortunate is what was happening 57 years ago is still happening today.”

    Drawing comparisons to the original 1963 march, where participants then were protesting many of the same issues that have endured, National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial said it’s clear why this year’s election will be pivotal for Black Americans.

    “We are about reminding people and educating people on how important it is to translate the power of protest into the power of politics and public policy change,” said Morial, who spoke Friday. “So we want to be deliberate about making the connection between protesting and voting.”

    Nadia Brown, a Purdue University political science professor, agreed there are similarities between the situation in 1963 and the issues that resonate among Black Americans today. She said the political pressure that was applied then led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other powerful pieces of legislation that transformed the lives of African Americans. She’s hopeful this could happen again in November and beyond.

    “There’s already a host of organizations that are mobilizing in the face of daunting things,” Brown said. “Bur these same groups that are most marginalized are saying it’s not enough to just vote, it’s not enough for the Democratic Party or the Republican Party to ask me for my vote. I’m going to hold these elected officials that are in office now accountable and I’m going to vote in November and hold those same people accountable. And for me, that is the most uplifting and rewarding part — to see those kind of similarities.”

    But Brown noted that while Friday’s march resonated with many, it’s unclear whether it will translate into action among younger voters, whose lack of enthusiasm could become a vulnerability for Biden.

    “I think there is already a momentum among younger folks who are saying not in my America, that this is not the place where they want to live, but will this turn into electoral gains? That I’m less clear on because a lot of the polling numbers show that pretty overwhelmingly, younger people, millennials and Gen Z’s are more progressive and that they are reluctantly turning to this pragmatic side of politics,” Brown said.

    That was clear as the Movement for Black Lives also marked its own historic event Friday — a virtual Black National Convention that featured several speakers discussing pressing issues such as climate change, economic empowerment and the need for electoral justice.

    “I don’t necessarily see elections as achieving justice per se because I view the existing system itself as being fundamentally unjust in many ways and it is the existing system that we are trying to fundamentally transform,” said Bree Newsome Bass, an activist and civil rights organizer, during the convention’s panel about electoral justice. “I do think voting and recognizing what an election should be is a way to kind of exercise that muscle.”


    Biden, Harris Prepare to Travel More as Campaign Heats Up (Election Update)


    Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris. (AP Photos)

    The Associated Press

    August 28th, 2020

    WASHINGTON (AP) — After spending a pandemic spring and summer tethered almost entirely to his Delaware home, Joe Biden plans to take his presidential campaign to battleground states after Labor Day in his bid to unseat President Donald Trump.

    No itinerary is set, according to the Democratic nominee’s campaign, but the former vice president and his allies say his plan is to highlight contrasts with Trump, from policy arguments tailored to specific audiences to the strict public health guidelines the Biden campaign says its events will follow amid COVID-19.

    That’s a notable difference from a president who on Thursday delivered his nomination acceptance on the White House lawn to more than 1,000 people seated side-by-side, most of them without masks, even as the U.S. death toll surpassed 180,000.

    “He will go wherever he needs to go,” said Biden’s campaign co-chairman Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana congressman. “And we will do it in a way the health experts would be happy” with and “not the absolutely irresponsible manner you saw at the White House.”

    Richmond said it was “always the plan” for Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris to travel more extensively after Labor Day, the traditional mark of the campaign’s home stretch when more casual voters begin to pay close attention.


    Biden supporters hold banners near the White House on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention, Thursday evening, Aug. 27, 2020, in Washington, while Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech from the nearby White House South Lawn.(AP Photo)

    Biden has conducted online fundraisers, campaign events and television interviews from his home, but traveled only sparingly for speeches and roundtables with a smattering of media or supporters. His only confirmed plane travel was to Houston, where he met with the family of George Floyd, the Black man who was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer on May 25, sparking nationwide protests. Even some Democrats worried quietly that Biden was ceding too much of the spotlight to Trump. But Biden aides have defended their approach. “We will never make any choices that put our staff or voters in harm’s way,” campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said in May.

    Throughout his unusual home-based campaign, Biden blasted Trump as incompetent and irresponsible for downplaying the pandemic and publicly disputing the government’s infectious disease experts. Richmond said that won’t change as Biden ramps up travel.

    “We won’t beat this pandemic, which means we can’t restore the economy and get people’s lives back home, unless we exercise some discipline and lead by example,” Richmond said, adding that Trump is “incapable of doing it.”

    As exhibited by his acceptance speech Thursday, Trump is insistent on as much normalcy as possible, even as he’s pulled back from his signature indoor rallies after drawing a disappointing crowd in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20. Trump casts Biden as wanting to “shut down” the economy to combat the virus. “Joe Biden’s plan is not a solution to the virus, but rather a surrender,” Trump declared on the White House lawn. Biden, in fact, has not proposed shutting down the economy. He’s said only that he would be willing to make such a move as president if public health experts advise it. The Democrat also has called for a national mask mandate, calling it a necessary move for Americans to protect each other. Harris on Friday talked about the idea in slightly different terms than Biden, acknowledging that a mandate would be difficult to enforce.

    “It’s really a standard. I mean, nobody’s gonna be punished. Come on,” the California senator said, laughing off a question about how to enforce such a rule during an interview that aired Friday on “Today.” “Nobody likes to wear a mask. This is a universal feeling. Right? So that’s not the point, ’Hey, let’s enjoy wearing masks.′ No.”


    Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020. (AP Photo)

    Harris suggested that, instead, the rule would be about “what we — as responsible people who love our neighbor — we have to just do that right now.”

    “God willing, it won’t be forever,” she added.

    Biden and Harris have worn protective face masks in public and stayed socially distanced from each other when appearing together at campaign events. Both have said for weeks that a rule requiring all Americans to wear them could save 40,000 lives in just a three-month period. While such an order may be difficult to impose at the federal level, Biden has called on every governor in the country to order mask-wearing in their states, which would likely achieve the same goal.

    Trump has urged Americans to wear masks but opposes a national requirement and personally declined to do so for months. He has worn a mask occasionally more recently, but not at any point Thursday at the Republican National Convention’s closing event, which violated the District of Columbia’s guidelines prohibiting large gatherings.

    Related:

    Joe Biden Claims the Democratic Presidential Nomination


    Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden accepted the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday evening during the last day of the historic Democratic National Convention, August 20, 2020. (AP photo)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: August 21st, 2020

    Biden speaks about ‘battle for the soul of this nation,’ decries Trump’s leadership

    Joe Biden accepted his party’s presidential nomination, delivering a speech that directly criticized the leadership of Trump on matters of the coronavirus pandemic, the economy and racial justice.

    “Here and now, I give you my word: If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I’ll be an ally of the light, not the darkness,” Biden said, calling on Americans to come together to “overcome this season of darkness.”

    The night featured tributes to civil rights activist and congressman John Lewis, who died in July, as well as to Beau Biden, Joe Biden’s son who died in 2015.


    Kamala Harris Accepts Historic Nomination for Vice President of the United States


    Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) accepted her party’s historic nomination to be its vice-presidential candidate in the 2020 U.S. election on Wednesday evening during the third day of the Democratic National Convention. (Reuters photo)

    Reuters

    Updated: August 20th, 2020

    Kamala Harris makes U.S. history, accepts Democrats’ vice presidential nod

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Kamala Harris accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday, imploring the country to elect Joe Biden president and accusing Donald Trump of failed leadership that had cost lives and livelihoods.

    The first Black woman and Asian-American on a major U.S. presidential ticket, Harris summarized her life story as emblematic of the American dream on the third day of the Democratic National Convention.

    “Donald Trump’s failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods,” Harris said.

    Former U.S. President Barack Obama told the convention Trump’s failures as his successor had led to 170,000 people dead from the coronavirus, millions of lost jobs and America’s reputation badly diminished in the world.

    The evening featured a crush of women headliners, moderators and speakers, with Harris pressing the case against Trump, speaking directly to millions of women, young Americans and voters of color, constituencies Democrats need if Biden is to defeat the Republican Trump.

    “The constant chaos leaves us adrift, the incompetence makes us feel afraid, the callousness makes us feel alone. It’s a lot. And here’s the thing: we can do better and deserve so much more,” she said.

    “Right now, we have a president who turns our tragedies into political weapons. Joe will be a president who turns our challenges into purpose,” she said, speaking from an austere hotel ballroom in Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

    Biden leads Trump in opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election, bolstered by a big lead among women voters. Throughout the convention, Democrats have appealed directly to those women voters, highlighting Biden’s co-sponsorship of the landmark Violence Against Woman Act of 1994 and his proposals to bolster childcare and protect family healthcare provisions.

    Obama, whose vice president was Biden from 2009-2017, said he had hoped that Trump would take the job seriously, come to feel the weight of the office, and discover a reverence for American democracy.

    Obama on Trump: ‘Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t’

    “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t. And the consequences of that failure are severe,” Obama said in unusually blunt criticism from an ex-president.

    “Millions of jobs gone. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our democratic institutions threatened like never before,” Obama said.

    The choice of a running mate has added significance for Biden, 77, who would be the oldest person to become president if he is elected. His age has led to speculation he will serve only one term, making Harris a potential top contender for the nomination in 2024.

    Biden named Harris, 55, as his running mate last week to face incumbents Trump, 74, and Vice President Mike Pence, 61.

    Former first lady and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee who lost to Trump, told the convention she constantly hears from voters who regret backing Trump or not voting at all.

    “This can’t be another woulda coulda shoulda election.” Clinton said. “No matter what, vote. Vote like our lives and livelihoods are on the line, because they are.”

    Clinton, who won the popular vote against Trump but lost in the Electoral College, said Biden needs to win overwhelmingly, warning he could win the popular vote but still lose the White House.

    “Joe and Kamala can win by 3 million votes and still lose,” Clinton said. “Take it from me. So we need numbers overwhelming so Trump can’t sneak or steal his way to victory.”


    U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) accepts the Democratic vice presidential nomination during an acceptance speech delivered for 2020 Democratic National Convention from the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., August 19, 2020. (Getty Images)

    Democrats have been alarmed by Trump’s frequent criticism of mail-in voting, and by cost-cutting changes at the U.S. Postal Service instituted by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump supporter, that could delay mail during the election crunch. DeJoy said recently he would delay those changes until after the election.

    Democrats also broadcast videos highlighting Trump’s crackdown on immigration, opposition to gun restrictions and his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord.

    ‘DISRESPECT’ FOR FACTS, FOR WOMEN

    Nancy Pelosi, the first woman Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, told the convention she had seen firsthand Trump’s “disrespect for facts, for working families, and for women in particular – disrespect written into his policies toward our health and our rights, not just his conduct. But we know what he doesn’t: that when women succeed, America succeeds.”

    U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a leading progressive who ran against Biden in the 2020 primary, spoke to the convention from a childcare center in Massachusetts and cited Biden’s proposal to make childcare more affordable as a vital part of his agenda to help working Americans.

    “It’s time to recognize that childcare is part of the basic infrastructure of this nation — it’s infrastructure for families,” she said. “Joe and Kamala will make high-quality childcare affordable for every family, make preschool universal, and raise the wages for every childcare worker.”

    In her speech later, Harris will have an opportunity to outline her background as a child of immigrants from India and Jamaica who as a district attorney, state attorney general, U.S. senator from California and now vice-presidential candidate shattered gender and racial barriers.

    She gained prominence in the Senate for her exacting interrogations of Trump nominees, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Attorney General Bill Barr.

    The Republican National Convention, also largely virtual, takes place next week.

    Democrats Officially Nominate Joe Biden to Become the Next U.S. President


    It’s official: Joe Biden is now formally a candidate to become the next President of the United States. Democrats officially nominated Biden as their 2020 candidate on Tuesday with a roll-call vote of delegates representing all states in the country during the second day of party’s historic virtual convention. (Photo: Courtesy of the Biden campaign)

    The Associated Press

    Updated: August 19th, 2020

    Democrats make it official, nominate Biden to take on Trump

    NEW YORK (AP) — Democrats formally nominated Joe Biden as their 2020 presidential nominee Tuesday night, as party officials and activists from across the nation gave the former vice president their overwhelming support during his party’s all-virtual national convention.

    The moment marked a political high point for Biden, who had sought the presidency twice before and is now cemented as the embodiment of Democrats’ desperate desire to defeat President Donald Trump this fall.

    The roll call of convention delegates formalized what has been clear for months since Biden took the lead in the primary elections’ chase for the nomination. It came as he worked to demonstrate the breadth of his coalition for a second consecutive night, this time blending support from his party’s elders and fresher faces to make the case that he has the experience and energy to repair chaos that Trump has created at home and abroad.

    Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State John Kerry — and former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell — were among the heavy hitters on a schedule that emphasized a simple theme: Leadership matters. Former President Jimmy Carter, now 95 years old, also made an appearance.

    “Donald Trump says we’re leading the world. Well, we are the only major industrial economy to have its unemployment rate triple,” Clinton said. “At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center. Instead, it’s a storm center. There’s only chaos.”


    In this image from video, former Georgia House Democratic leader Stacey Abrams, center, and others, speak during the second night of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Democratic National Convention via AP)

    Biden formally captured his party’s presidential nomination Tuesday night after being nominated by three people, including two Delaware lawmakers and 31-year-old African American security guard who became a viral sensation after blurting out “I love you” to Biden in a New York City elevator.

    Delegates from across the country then pledged their support for Biden in a video montage that featured Democrats in places like Alabama’s Edmund Pettis Bridge, a beach in Hawaii and the headwaters of the Mississippi River.

    In the opening of the convention’s second night, a collection of younger Democrats, including former Georgia lawmaker Stacey Abrams and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, were given a few minutes to shine.

    “In a democracy, we do not elect saviors. We cast our ballots for those who see our struggles and pledge to serve,” said Abrams, 46, who emerged as a national player during her unsuccessful bid for governor in 2018 and was among those considered to be Biden’s running mate.

    She added: “Faced with a president of cowardice, Joe Biden is a man of proven courage.”

    On a night that Biden was formally receiving his party’s presidential nomination, the convention was also introducing his wife, Jill Biden, to the nation as the prospective first lady.


    In this image from video, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, his wife Jill Biden, and members of the Biden family, celebrate after the roll call during the second night of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Democratic National Convention via AP)

    Biden is fighting unprecedented logistical challenges to deliver his message during an all-virtual convention this week as the coronavirus epidemic continues to claim hundreds of American lives each day and wreaks havoc on the economy.

    The former vice president was becoming his party’s nominee as a prerecorded roll call vote from delegates in all 50 states airs, and the four-day convention will culminate on Thursday when he accepts that nomination. His running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, will become the first woman of color to accept a major party’s vice presidential nomination on Wednesday.

    Until then, Biden is presenting what he sees as the best of his sprawling coalition to the American electorate in a format unlike any other in history.

    For a second night, the Democrats featured Republicans.

    Powell, who served as secretary of state under George W. Bush and appeared at multiple Republican conventions in years past, was endorsing the Democratic candidate. In a video released ahead of his speech, he said, “Our country needs a commander in chief who takes care of our troops in the same way he would his own family. For Joe Biden, that doesn’t need teaching.”

    Powell joins the widow of the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, Cindy McCain, who was expected to stop short of a formal endorsement but talk about the mutual respect and friendship her husband and Biden shared.

    While there have been individual members of the opposing party featured at presidential conventions before, a half dozen Republicans, including the former two-term governor of Ohio, have now spoken for Democrat Biden.

    No one on the program Tuesday night has a stronger connection to the Democratic nominee than his wife, Jill Biden, a longtime teacher, was speaking from her former classroom at Brandywine High School near the family home in Wilmington, Delaware.

    “You can hear the anxiety that echoes down empty hallways. There’s no scent of new notebooks or freshly waxed floors,” she said of the school in excerpts of her speech before turning to the nation’s challenges at home. “How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole. With love and understanding—and with small acts of compassion. With bravery. With unwavering faith.”

    The Democrats’ party elders played a prominent role throughout the night.

    Clinton, who turns 74 on Tuesday, hasn’t held office in two decades. Kerry, 76, was the Democratic presidential nominee back in 2004 when the youngest voters this fall were still in diapers. And Carter is 95 years old.

    Clinton, a fixture of Democratic conventions for nearly three decades, addressed voters for roughly five minutes in a speech recorded at his home in Chappaqua, New York.

    In addition to railing against Trump’s leadership, Clinton calls Biden “a go-to-work president.” Biden, Clinton continued, is “a man with a mission: to take responsibility, not shift the blame; concentrate, not distract; unite, not divide.”…

    Kerry said in an excerpt of his remarks, “Joe understands that none of the issues of this world — not nuclear weapons, not the challenge of building back better after COVID, not terrorism and certainly not the climate crisis — none can be resolved without bringing nations together.”

    Democrats Kick Off Convention as Poll Show Biden, Harris With Double-Digit Lead


    Democrats kicked off their historic virtual convention on Monday with the keynote speaker former first lady Michelle Obama assailing the current president as unfit and warning Americans not to reelect him for a second term. Meanwhile new poll show Biden, Harris with double-digit lead over Trump. (Getty Images)

    The Associated Press

    Updated: August 18th, 2020

    Michelle Obama assails Trump as Democrats open convention

    NEW YORK (AP) — Michelle Obama delivered a passionate broadside against President Donald Trump during Monday’s opening night of the Democratic National Convention, assailing the Republican president as unfit for the job and warning that the nation’s mounting crises would only get worse if he’s reelected.

    The former first lady issued an emotional call to the coalition that sent her husband to the White House, declaring that strong feelings must be translated into votes.

    “Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country,” she declared. “He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us.”

    Obama added: “If you think things possibly can’t get worse, trust me, they can and they will if we don’t make a change in this election.”

    The comments came as Joe Biden introduced the breadth of his political coalition to a nation in crisis Monday night at the convention, giving voice to victims of the coronavirus pandemic, the related economic downturn and police violence and featuring both progressive Democrats and Republicans united against Trump’s reelection.


    Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks during the first night of the Democratic National Convention on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. The DNC released excerpts of her speech ahead of the convention start. (Democratic National Convention)

    The ideological range of Biden’s many messengers was demonstrated by former presidential contenders from opposing parties: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who championed a multi-trillion-dollar universal health care plan, and Ohio’s former Republican Gov. John Kasich, an anti-abortion conservative who spent decades fighting to cut government spending.

    The former vice president won’t deliver his formal remarks until Thursday night, but he made his first appearance just half an hour into Monday’s event as he moderated a panel on racial justice, a theme throughout the night, as was concern about the Postal Service. The Democrats accuse Trump of interfering with the nation’s mail in order to throw blocks in front of mail-in voting.

    “My friends, I say to you, and to everyone who supported other candidates in this primary and to those who may have voted for Donald Trump in the last election: The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake,” Sanders declared.

    Kasich said his status as a lifelong Republican “holds second place to my responsibility to my country.”

    “In normal times, something like this would probably never happen, but these are not normal times,” he said of his participation at the Democrats’ convention. He added: “Many of us can’t imagine four more years going down this path.”

    Read more »

    Post-ABC poll shows Biden, Harris hold double-digit lead over Trump, Pence

    The race for the White House tilts toward the Democrats, with former vice president Joe Biden holding a double-digit lead nationally over President Trump amid continuing disapproval of the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

    Democrats [kicked] off their convention on Monday in a mood of cautious optimism, with Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), leading Trump and Vice President Pence by 53 percent to 41 percent among registered voters. The findings are identical among a larger sample of all voting-age adults.

    Biden’s current national margin over Trump among voters is slightly smaller than the 15-point margin in a poll taken last month and slightly larger than a survey in May when he led by 10 points. In late March, as the pandemic was taking hold in the United States, Biden and Trump were separated by just two points, with the former vice president holding a statistically insignificant advantage.

    Today, Biden and Harris lead by 54 percent to 43 percent among those who say they are absolutely certain to vote and who also report voting in 2016. A month ago, Biden’s lead of 15 points overall had narrowed to seven points among similarly committed 2016 voters. Biden now also leads by low double-digits among those who say they are following the election most closely.

    Read more »

    Team Joe Announces Convention Speakers


    Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and his running mate, US Senator Kamala Harris. (Courtesy Photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: August 17th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Joe Biden’s campaign has announced its speaker lineup for the Democratic National Convention that’s set to open on Monday, August 17th in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    Below are the list of speakers that will be featured “across all four nights of the Convention which will air live August 17-20 from 9:00-11:00 PM Eastern each night.”

    Related:

    ‘ሴቷ ኦባማ?’: Kamala Harris Faces Culture of Sexism & Misogyny in Ethiopian Media

    Interview With Addisu Demissie: Senior Adviser to Joe Biden

    Biden Selects Yohannes Abraham as Member of Transition Team

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    COVID-19: Ethiopia Cases & Vaccine News

    The number of coronavirus cases in Ethiopia has reached 117,242 as of December 14th, 2020. Meanwhile, here in the United States where the virus has killed over 300,000 people, the largest vaccination campaign in history started this week with a New York nurse becoming the first in the nation to receive the shot. (Photo: UNICEF Ethiopia)

    THE LATEST UPDATE:

    Updated: December 15th, 2020

  • ‘Relieved’: US health workers start getting COVID-19 vaccine
  • FDA authorizes the first coronavirus vaccine, a rare moment of hope in pandemic
  • US panel endorses widespread use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
  • In U.S. every state has its own COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. Find the one for yours here.
  • Only half in US want shots as vaccine nears
  • US regulators post positive review of Pfizer vaccine data
  • Britain launches the West’s first mass coronavirus vaccination
  • Cases and deaths in the U.S. | Cases and deaths worldwide
  • Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 117,242
  • Ethiopia’s month-long conflict hampers efforts in fighting COVID-19 outbreaks
  • How Ethiopia prepared its health workforce for the COVID-19 response
  • Assessing Ethiopian women’s vulnerability to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Pfizer CEO confident of getting U.S. advisory panel nod for COVID-19 vaccine
  • Demand for COVID-19 tests to outstrip supply for months, says Roche CEO
  • A year into COVID-19, U.N. declares a day of ‘epidemic preparedness’
  • WHO sees limited COVID-19 vaccine doses in early 2021
  • 2nd virus vaccine shows overwhelming success in U.S. tests
  • Pfizer’s Covid Vaccine: 11 Things You Need to Know
  • Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 100,327
  • Virus cases surpass 90K as schools reopen in Ethiopia
  • Refusing to wear a mask in Ethiopia could cost you two years in jail
  • Ethiopia: Schools to Start Regular Face to Face Classes With Covid-19 Precautions
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  • Global coronavirus death toll tops 1 million as U.N. chief warns that ‘misinformation kills’
  • ‘I feel sorry for Americans’: Baffled world watches USA
  • U.S. Covid-19 death toll surpasses 200,000
  • China’s BGI wins 1.5 million coronavirus test kit order from Ethiopia
  • Ethiopia Braces for Election Amid COVID19
  • The pandemic appears to have spared Africa so far. Scientists are struggling to explain why
  • Ethiopia opens facility to make coronavirus test kits
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  • IN PICTURES: On the Frontline Against Covid-19 in Ethiopia – A Photo Essay
  • Oxford vaccine trial on hold because of potential safety issue
  • In Canada, EthioCare Volunteers Help Calgary Church Members After COVID-19 Outbreak
  • How Ethiopian Airlines’ Agility Saw It Through COVID With No Bailout
  • COVID-19: US Retailer Cancels Millions of Dollars of Garment Orders from Ethiopia
  • COVID-19 reveals risky life on the buses for Ethiopia’s child conductors
  • Ethiopians fight pandemic by early morning exercises
  • One of Ethiopia’s main coronavirus centres ‘nearly full’
  • A vision for post-pandemic mobility in African cities
  • COVID-19 Spreads Inside Ethiopian Detention Centers
  • Turkish factory in Ethiopia plans output amid COVID-19
  • Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia resist camp closure amid COVID-19 fears
  • COVID-19 is crushing Ethiopian entertainers, just when we need them the most
  • Chinese first lady donates medical supplies to Ethiopia
  • Over 25500 migrant Ethiopians return home in four months amid COVID-19 pandemic: IOM
  • In Jamaica Ethiopian Consulate Donates 1,000 Care Packages
  • Global coronavirus cases top 20M as Russia approves vaccine
  • In Ethiopia extreme Poverty Rises due to the coronavirus
  • U.S. infections surpass 5 million
  • Africa’s cases of COVID-19 top 1 million
  • Ethiopians struggle to cope with COVID-19 fears
  • 15,000 Ethiopian returnees receive emergency Covid-19 assistance at quarantine sites
  • The United States Provides Ventilators to Ethiopia to Respond to COVID-19
  • In Ethiopia, Health Ministry To Conduct 17 Million COVID-19 Tests Via Month-Long Campaign
  • Ethiopia Starts Covid Test Campaign; Cases Spike After Protests
  • As COVID starts to surge, Ethiopia battles complacency
  • Coronavirus – Ethiopia: COVID-19 Response Overview
  • Ethiopian Workers Are Forced to Return Home, Some With Coronavirus
  • Africa’s confirmed COVID-19 cases exceed 750,000
  • Coronavirus Deaths on the Rise in Almost Every Region of the U.S.
  • Ethiopian farmers slaughter thousands of chicks as COVID hits demand
  • Ethiopia’s COVID-19 Update Affected By Internet Cut
  • Amid Pandemic Ethiopia Launches Policy to Encourage Walking and Cycling
  • African Development Fund approves $165 m grant for Ethiopia’s national COVID-19 emergency response
  • Sponsor network gives lifeline to Ethiopians struggling under pandemic
  • Ethiopia among Forbes’ post-Covid ‘Rising Stars in Travel’
  • COVID19 Contact Tracing is a race. But few U.S. states say how fast they’re running
  • WHO warns of ‘new and dangerous phase’ as coronavirus accelerates; Americas now hardest hit
  • World Bank Provides Additional Support to Help Ethiopia Mitigate Economic Impacts of COVID-19
  • Africa outperforms world economies in coronavirus mayhem
  • As coronavirus cases rise in U.S., public health experts urge caution
  • COVID-19 Cases Pass 10 Million Worldwide
  • U.S. tops 3.2 million reported cases
  • US Deaths From Coronavirus Surpass 134,000 and Growing
  • Once the coronavirus epicenter in the U.S., New York City begins to reopen
  • Winter is coming south of the equator, along with predictions of the coronavirus’s spread
  • NYT honors coronavirus victims with powerful front page
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  • Q&A: How Ethiopia’s Health Minister is Preparing for Coronavirus
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  • Ethiopia: PM Abiy Writes COVID-19 Related Op-Ed on World Economic Forum Blog
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  • COVID-19 and Its Impact on African Economies: Q&A with Prof. Lemma Senbet
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  • In Maryland, Wogene Debele Gave Birth Before Dying of Covid-19. She Never Got to See Her Newborn.
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  • Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health Holds Webinar With Diaspora on COVID-19 Response
  • Webinar on COVID-19 and Mental Health: Interview with Dr. Seble Frehywot
  • CDC director warns second wave of coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating
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  • IMF says COVID-19 pandemic is causing worst global economic downturn since Great Depression
  • U.N. says Saudi deportations of Ethiopian migrants risks spreading coronavirus
  • Ethiopia’s capital launches door-to-door Covid-19 screening
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    ‘Relieved’: US health workers start getting COVID-19 vaccine


    Sandra Lindsay, left, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by Dr. Michelle Chester, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo)

    By The Associated Press

    The biggest vaccination campaign in U.S. history kicked off Monday as health workers rolled up their sleeves for shots to protect them from COVID-19 and start beating back the pandemic — a day of optimism even as the nation’s death toll closed in on 300,000.

    “I feel hopeful today. Relieved,” critical care nurse Sandra Lindsay said after getting a shot in the arm at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York.

    With a countdown of “3-2-1,” workers at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center gave the first injections to applause.

    And in New Orleans, Steven Lee, an intensive care unit pharmacist at Ochsner Medical Center, summed up the moment as he got his own vaccination: “We can finally prevent the disease as opposed to treating it.”

    Other hospitals around the country, from Rhode Island to Texas, unloaded precious frozen vials of vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech, with staggered deliveries set throughout the day and Tuesday. A few other countries have authorized the vaccine, including Britain, which started vaccinating people last week, and Canada, which began doing so on Monday.

    For health care workers, who along with nursing home residents will be first in line for vaccination, hope is tempered by grief and the sheer exhaustion of months spent battling a coronavirus that still is surging in the U.S. and around the world.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 117,242

    By Ministry of Health

    In Ethiopia, as of December 14th, 2020, there have been 117,242 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Read more »

    Assessing Ethiopian women’s vulnerability to the COVID-19 pandemic

    By World Bank

    The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has devastating health and economic impacts globally and has disproportionately affected vulnerable groups. As highlighted in a blog published at the onset of the pandemic, the coronavirus is not gender-blind and pre-existing gender gaps may intensify during and after the pandemic due to worsening human capital, economic, and women’s agency outcomes.

    What can high-frequency phone survey data tell us about the gendered effects of the pandemic in Ethiopia?

    The short answer: A lot!

    Read more »

    How Ethiopia prepared its health workforce for the COVID-19 response


    Photo via the World Health Organization

    By The World Health Organization

    In a busy intensive care unit in Eka Kotebe General Hospital, Addis Ababa, Dr Samuel Getnet, 28, a newly-recruited young and energetic physician anxiously monitors the mechanical ventilators, an indispensable form of life support for COVID-19 patients with respiratory distress.

    “I never thought my professional journey would bring me to the place where I’m today—at the center of COVID-19 pandemic management team—treating and caring for the most severely ill patients who critically need my support and care. Despite the challenges and risks, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve my people at this critical time,” he said.

    Dr Getnet is a general practitioner who came on board as part of the surge capacity planning for human resources announced by the Ethiopian Ministry of Health in February 2020. Before starting his duty in the intensive care unit, he received in-person training from the World Health Organization (WHO), with practical sessions taking place in the hospital. The topics he covered include case management, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), infection prevention and control (IPC), and the application and use of mechanical ventilation. He also benefited from online WHO resources such as Open WHO.org.

    Read more »

    IN PICTURES: On the Frontline Against Covid-19 in Ethiopia – A Photo Essay


    Frontline workers at the Eka Kotebe hospital. (Photo by Yonas Tadesse)

    By Yonas Tadesse

    The first case of Covid-19 in Ethiopia was reported on 13 March, when a team of first responders took in a 48-year-old Japanese man. Having never seen anything like his condition, they did not know what to prepare for, and thus started their new normal of battling the coronavirus in Ethiopia.

    Doctors, nurses, janitors, security guards and drivers donned hats they had never dreamed of wearing as they worked to develop systems and techniques to minimise the damage from the virus – often at the cost of their health, their home lives, their reputations, and sometimes their lives.

    Read more and see the photos at theguardian.com »

    FACTBOX- Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 67.72 million, death toll at 1,548,575

    By Reuters

    More than 67.72 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,548,575​ have died, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

    Read more »

    Africa’s cases of COVID-19 top 1 million

    By Reuters

    Africa’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 have surpassed 1 million, a Reuters tally showed on Thursday, as the disease began to spread rapidly through a continent whose relative isolation has so far spared it the worst of the pandemic. The continent recorded 1,003,056 cases, of which 21,983 have died and 676,395 recovered. South Africa – which is the world’s fifth worst-hit nation and makes up more than half of sub-Saharan Africa’s case load – has recorded 538,184 cases since its first case on March 5, the health ministry said on Thursday. Low levels of testing in several countries, apart from South Africa, mean Africa’s infection rates are likely to be higher than reported, experts say. Read more »

    COVID19 Contact Tracing is a race. But few U.S. states say how fast they’re running

    Someone — let’s call her Person A — catches the coronavirus. It’s a Monday. She goes about life, unaware her body is incubating a killer. By perhaps Thursday, she’s contagious. Only that weekend does she come down with a fever and get tested. What happens next is critical. Public health workers have a small window of time to track down everyone Person A had close contact with over the past few days. Because by the coming Monday or Tuesday, some of those people — though they don’t yet have symptoms — could also be spreading the virus. Welcome to the sprint known as contact tracing, the process of reaching potentially exposed people as fast as possible and persuading them to quarantine. The race is key to controlling the pandemic ahead of a vaccine, experts say. But most places across the United States aren’t making public how fast or well they’re running it, leaving Americans in the dark about how their governments are mitigating the risk. An exception is the District of Columbia, which recently added metrics on contact tracing to its online dashboard. A few weeks ago, the District was still too overwhelmed to try to ask all of those who tested positive about their contacts. Now, after building a staff of several hundred contact tracers, D.C. officials say they’re making that attempt within 24 hours of a positive test report in about 98 percent of cases. For months, every U.S. state has posted daily numbers on coronavirus testing — along with charts of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths. So far, only one state, Oregon, posts similar data about contact tracing. Officials in New York say they plan to begin publishing such metrics in the coming weeks.

    Read more »

    Coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpass 2.5 million

    By The Washington Post

    June 28th, 2020

    Confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 2.5 million on Sunday morning as a devastating new wave of infections continued to bear down throughout the country’s South and West. Florida, Texas and Arizona are fast emerging as the country’s latest epicenters after reporting record numbers of new infections for weeks in a row. Positivity rates and hospitalizations have also spiked. Global cases of covid-19 exceeded 10 million, according to a count maintained by Johns Hopkins University, a measure of the power and spread of a pandemic that has caused vast human suffering, devastated the world’s economy and still threatens vulnerable populations in rich and poor nations alike.
    Read more »

    WHO warns of ‘new and dangerous phase’ as coronavirus accelerates; Americas now hardest hit

    By The Washington Post

    The World Health Organization warned Friday that “the world is in a new and dangerous phase” as the global pandemic accelerates. The world recorded about 150,000 new cases on Thursday, the largest rise yet in a single day, according to the WHO. Nearly half of these infections were in the Americas, as new cases continue to surge in the United States, Brazil and across Latin America. More than 8.5 million coronavirus cases and at least 454,000 deaths have been reported worldwide. As confirmed cases and hospitalizations climb in the U.S., new mask requirements are prompting faceoffs between officials who seek to require face coverings and those, particularly conservatives, who oppose such measures. Several studies this month support wearing masks to curb coronavirus transmission, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend their use as a protective measure. Read more »

    World Bank Provides Additional Support to Help Ethiopia Mitigate Economic Impacts of COVID-19

    JUNE 18, 2020

    The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved $250 million ($125 million grant and $125 million credit) in supplemental financing for the ongoing Second Ethiopia Growth and Competitiveness Programmatic Development Policy Financing. This funding is geared towards helping Ethiopia to revitalize the economy by broadening the role of the private sector and attaining a more sustainable development path.

    “The COVID 19 pandemic is expected to severely impact Ethiopia’s economy. The austerity of the required containment measures, along with disruptions to air travel and the collapse in international demand for goods exported by Ethiopia are already taking a toll on the economy,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and Eritrea. “Additionally, an estimated 1.8 million jobs are at risk, and the incomes and livelihoods of several million informal workers, self-employed individuals and farmers are expected to be affected.”

    The supplemental financing will help to mitigate the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis on the Government’s reform agenda. Specifically, the program is intended to help address some of the unanticipated financing needs the Government of Ethiopia is facing due to the COVID-19 crisis. Additional financing needs are estimated to be approximately $1.5 billion, as revenue collection is expected to weaken, and additional expenditure is needed to mitigate the public health and economic impacts of the crisis.

    Read more »

    Once the coronavirus epicenter in the U.S., New York City begins to reopen


    After three months of a coronavirus crisis followed by protests and unrest, New York City is trying to turn a page when a limited range of industries reopen Monday, June 8, 2020. (AP Photo)

    100 days after the first coronavirus case was confirmed there, the city that was once the epicenter of America’s coronavirus pandemic began to reopen. The number of cases in New York has plunged, but health officials fear that a week of protests on the streets could bring a new wave.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) estimated that between 200,000 to 400,000 workers returned to work throughout the city’s five boroughs.

    “All New Yorkers should be proud you got us to this day,” de Blasio said at a news conference at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a manufacturing hub.

    Read more »

    US Deaths From Coronavirus Surpass 100,000 Milestone

    By The Associated Press

    The U.S. surpassed a jarring milestone Wednesday in the coronavirus pandemic: 100,000 deaths. That number is the best estimate and most assuredly an undercount. But it represents the stark reality that more Americans have died from the virus than from the Vietnam and Korea wars combined. “It’s a striking reminder of how dangerous this virus can be,” said Josh Michaud, associate director of global health policy with the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington. The true death toll from the virus, which emerged in China late last year and was first reported in the U.S. in January, is widely believed to be significantly higher, with experts saying many victims died of COVID-19 without ever being tested for it. Read more »

    Ethiopia Coronavirus Cases Reach 5,846

    By Dr. Lia Tadesse, Minister of Health

    Report #111 የኢትዮጵያ የኮሮና ቫይረስ ሁኔታ መግለጫ. Status update on #COVID19Ethiopia. Total confirmed cases [as of June 29th, 2020]: 5,846 Read more »

    New York Times Memorializes Coronavirus Victims as U.S. Death Toll Nears 100,000

    America is fast approaching a grim milestone in the coronavirus outbreak — each figure here represents one of the nearly 100,000 lives lost so far. Read more »

    Spotlight: Ethiopia’s First Private Ambulance System Tebita Adds Services Addressing COVID19

    By Liben Eabisa | TADIAS

    Twelve year ago when Kibret Abebe quit his job as a nurse anesthetist at Black Lion Hospital and sold his house to launch Tebita Ambulance — Ethiopia’s First Private Ambulance System — his friends and family were understandably concerned about his decisions. But today Tebita operates over 20 advanced life support ambulances with approval from the Ministry of Health and stands as the country’s premier Emergency Medical Service (EMS). Tebita has since partnered with East Africa Emergency Services, an Ethiopian and American joint venture that Kibret also owns, with the aim “to establish the first trauma center and air ambulance system in Ethiopia.” This past month Tebita announced their launch of new services in Addis Abeba to address the COVID-19 pandemic and are encouraging Ethiopians residing in the U.S. to utilize Tebita for regular home check-ins on elderly family members as well as vulnerable individuals with pre-existing conditions. The following is an audio of the interview with Kibret Abebe and Laura Davis of Tebita Ambulance and East Africa Emergency Services: Read more »

    WHO reports most coronavirus cases in a day as cases approach five million

    By Reuters

    GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization expressed concern on Wednesday about the rising number of new coronavirus cases in poor countries, even as many rich nations have begun emerging from lockdown. The global health body said 106,000 new cases of infections of the novel coronavirus had been recorded in the past 24 hours, the most in a single day since the outbreak began. “We still have a long way to go in this pandemic,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference. “We are very concerned about rising cases in low and middle income countries.” Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies programme, said: “We will soon reach the tragic milestone of 5 million cases.” Read more »

    WHO head says vaccines, medicines must be fairly shared to beat COVID-19

    By Reuters

    Scientists and researchers are working at “breakneck” speed to find solutions for COVID-19 but the pandemic can only be beaten with equitable distribution of medicines and vaccines, the head of the World Health Organization said on Friday. “Traditional market models will not deliver at the scale needed to cover the entire globe,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing in Geneva.

    Read more »

    Doctors face new urgency to solve children and coronavirus puzzle

    By Axios

    Solving the mystery of how the coronavirus impacts children has gained sudden steam, as doctors try to determine if there’s a link between COVID-19 and kids with a severe inflammatory illness, and researchers try to pin down their contagiousness before schools reopen. New York hospitals have reported 73 suspected cases with two possible deaths from the inflammatory illness as of Friday evening. Read more »

    COVID-19 and Its Impact on African Economies: Q&A with Prof. Lemma Senbet


    Prof. Lemma Senbet. (Photo: @AERCAFRICA/Twitter)

    By Liben Eabisa | TADIAS

    Last week Professor Lemma Senbet, an Ethiopian-American financial economist and the William E. Mayer Chair Professor at University of Maryland, moderated a timely webinar titled ‘COVID-19 and African Economies: Global Implications and Actions.’ The well-attended online conference — hosted by the Center for Financial Policy at University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business on Friday, April 24th — featured guest speakers from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as the World Bank who addressed “the global implications of the COVID-19 economic impact on developing and low-income countries, with Africa as an anchor.” In the following Q&A with Tadias Prof. Lemma, who is also the immediate former Executive Director of the African Economic Research Consortium based in Nairobi, Kenya, explains the worldwide economic fallout of the Coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the African continent, including Ethiopia. Read more »

    US unemployment surges to a Depression-era level of 14.7%

    By The Associated Press

    The coronavirus crisis has sent U.S. unemployment surging to 14.7%, a level last seen when the country was in the throes of the Depression and President Franklin D. Roosevelt was assuring Americans that the only thing to fear was fear itself…The breathtaking collapse is certain to intensify the push-pull across the U.S. over how and when to ease stay-at-home restrictions. And it robs President Donald Trump of the ability to point to a strong economy as he runs for reelection. “The jobs report from hell is here,” said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, “one never seen before and unlikely to be seen again barring another pandemic or meteor hitting the Earth.” Read more »

    Hospitalizations continue to decline in New York, Cuomo says

    By CBS News

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the number of people newly diagnosed and hospitalized with COVID-19 has continued to decrease. “Overall the numbers are coming down,” he said. But he said 335 people died from the virus yesterday. “That’s 335 families,” Cuomo said. “You see this number is basically reducing, but not at a tremendous rate. The only thing that’s tremendous is the number of New Yorkers who’ve still passed away.” Read more »

    Los Angeles offers free testing to all county residents

    By The Washington Post

    All residents of Los Angeles County can access free coronavirus testing at city-run sites, Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) said on Wednesday. Previously, the city had only offered testing to residents with symptoms as well as essential workers and people who lived or worked in nursing homes and other kinds of institutional facilities. In an announcement on Twitter, Garcetti said that priority would still be given to front-line workers and anyone experiencing symptoms, including cough, fever or shortness of breath. But the move, which makes Los Angeles the first major city in the country to offer such widespread testing, allows individuals without symptoms to be tested. Health experts have repeatedly said that mass testing is necessary to determine how many people have contracted the virus — and in particular, those who may not have experienced symptoms — and then begin to reopen the economy. Testing is by appointment only and can be arranged at one of the city’s 35 sites. Read more »

    Researchers Double U.S. COVID-19 Death Forecast

    By Reuters

    A newly revised coronavirus mortality model predicts nearly 135,000 Americans will die from COVID-19 by early August, almost double previous projections, as social-distancing measures for quelling the pandemic are increasingly relaxed, researchers said on Monday. The ominous new forecast from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) reflect “rising mobility in most U.S. states” with an easing of business closures and stay-at-home orders expected in 31 states by May 11, the institute said. Read more »

    Global coronavirus death toll surpasses 200,000, as world leaders commit to finding vaccine

    By NBC News

    The global coronavirus death toll surpassed 200,000 on Saturday, according to John Hopkins University data. The grim total was reached a day after presidents and prime ministers agreed to work together to develop new vaccines, tests and treatments at a virtual meeting with both the World Health Organization (WHO) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We will only halt COVID-19 through solidarity,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Countries, health partners, manufacturers, and the private sector must act together and ensure that the fruits of science and research can benefit everybody. As the U.S. coronavirus death tollpassed 51,000 people, according to an NBC News tally, President Donald Trump took no questions at his White House briefing on Friday, after widespread mockery for floating the idea that light, heat and disinfectants could be used to treat coronavirus patients.”

    Read more »

    Germany to start first coronavirus vaccine trial

    By DW

    German Health Minister Jens Spahn has announced the first clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine. The Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), the regulatory authority which helps develop and authorizes vaccines in Germany, has given the go-ahead for the first clinical trial of BNT162b1, a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It was developed by cancer researcher and immunologist Ugur Sahin and his team at pharmaceutical company BioNTech, and is based on their prior research into cancer immunology. Sahin previously taught at the University of Mainz before becoming the CEO of BioNTech. In a joint conference call on Wednesday with researchers from the Paul Ehrlich Institute, Sahin said BNT162b1 constitutes a so-called RNA vaccine. He explained that innocuous genetic information of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is transferred into human cells with the help of lipid nanoparticles, a non-viral gene delivery system. The cells then transform this genetic information into a protein, which should stimulate the body’s immune reaction to the novel coronavrius.

    Read more »

    Webinar on COVID-19 and Mental Health: Interview with Dr. Seble Frehywot

    By Liben Eabisa | TADIAS

    Dr. Seble Frehywot, an Associate Professor of Global Health & Health Policy at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and her colleague Dr. Yianna Vovides from Georgetown University will host an online forum next week on April 30th focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on mental health. Dr. Seble — who is also the Director of Global Health Equity On-Line Learning at George Washington University – told Tadias that the virtual conference titled “People’s Webinar: Addressing COVID-19 By Addressing Mental Health” is open to the public and available for viewing worldwide. Read more »

    Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with covid-19, are dying from strokes

    By The Washington Post

    Doctors sound alarm about patients in their 30s and 40s left debilitated or dead. Some didn’t even know they were infected. Read more »

    CDC director warns second wave of coronavirus is likely to be even more devastating

    By The Washington Post

    Even as states move ahead with plans to reopen their economies, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Tuesday that a second wave of the novel coronavirus will be far more dire because it is likely to coincide with the start of flu season. “There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in an interview with The Washington Post. “And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean…We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time,” he said. Having two simultaneous respiratory outbreaks would put unimaginable strain on the health-care system, he said. The first wave of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has already killed more than 42,000 people across the country. It has overwhelmed hospitals and revealed gaping shortages in test kits, ventilators and protective equipment for health-care workers.

    Read more »

    Americans at World Health Organization transmitted real-time information about coronavirus to Trump administration

    By The Washington Post

    More than a dozen U.S. researchers, physicians and public health experts, many of them from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were working full time at the Geneva headquarters of the World Health Organization as the novel coronavirus emerged late last year and transmitted real-time information about its discovery and spread in China to the Trump administration, according to U.S. and international officials. A number of CDC staff members are regularly detailed to work at the WHO in Geneva as part of a rotation that has operated for years. Senior Trump-appointed health officials also consulted regularly at the highest levels with the WHO as the crisis unfolded, the officials said. The presence of so many U.S. officials undercuts President Trump’s assertion that the WHO’s failure to communicate the extent of the threat, born of a desire to protect China, is largely responsible for the rapid spread of the virus in the United States. Read more »

    In Ethiopia, Dire Dawa Emerges as Newest Coronavirus Hot Spot

    By Africa News

    The case count as of April 20 had reached 111 according to health minister Lia Tadesse’s update for today. Ethiopia crossed the 100 mark over the weekend. All three cases recorded over the last 24-hours were recorded in the chartered city of Dire Dawa with patients between the ages of 11 – 18. Two of them had travel history from Djibouti. Till date, Ethiopia has 90 patients in treatment centers. The death toll is still at three with 16 recoveries. A patient is in intensive care. Read more »

    COVID-19: Interview with Dr. Tsion Firew, an Ethiopian Doctor on the Frontline in NYC


    Dr. Tsion Firew is Doctor of Emergency Medicine and Assistant Professor at Columbia University. She is also Special Advisor to the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia. (Courtesy photo)

    By Liben Eabisa

    In New York City, which has now become the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, working as a medical professional means literally going to a “war zone,” says physician Tsion Firew, a Doctor of Emergency Medicine and Assistant Professor at Columbia University, who has just recovered from COVID-19 and returned to work a few days ago. Indeed the statistics coming out of New York are simply shocking with the state recording a sharp increase in death toll this months surpassing 10,000 and growing. According to The New York Times: “The numbers brought into clearer focus the staggering toll the virus has already taken on the largest city in the United States, where deserted streets are haunted by the near-constant howl of ambulance sirens. Far more people have died in New York City, on a per-capita basis, than in Italy — the hardest-hit country in Europe.” At the heart of the solution both in the U.S. and around the world is more testing and adhering to social distancing rules until such time as a proper treatment and vaccine is discovered, says Dr. Tsion, who is also a Special Advisor to the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia. Dr. Tsion adds that at this moment “we all as humanity have one enemy: the virus. And what’s going to win the fight is solidarity.” Listen to the interview »

    Ethiopia Opens Aid Transport Hub to Fight Covid-19

    By AFP

    Ethiopia and the United Nations on Tuesday opened a humanitarian transport hub at Addis Ababa airport to move supplies and aid workers across Africa to fight coronavirus. The arrangement, which relies on cargo services provided by Ethiopian Airlines, could also partially offset heavy losses Africa’s largest carrier is sustaining because of the pandemic. An initial shipment of 3 000 cubic metres of supplies – most of it personal protective equipment for health workers – will be distributed within the next week, said Steven Were Omamo, Ethiopia country director for the World Food Programme (WFP). “This is a really important platform in the response to Covid-19, because what it does is it allows us to move with speed and efficiency to respond to the needs as they are unfolding,” Omamo said, referring to the disease caused by the coronavirus. The Addis gateway is one of eight global humanitarian hubs set up to facilitate movement of aid to fight Covid-19, according to WFP.

    Read more »

    Covid-19: Ethiopia to buy life insurance for health workers

    By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE | AFP

    The Ethiopian government is due to buy life insurance for health professionals in direct contact with Covid-19 patients. Health minister Lia Tadesse said on Tuesday that the government last week reached an agreement with the Ethiopian Insurance Corporation but did not disclose the value of the cover. The two sides are expected to sign an agreement this week to effect the insurance grant. According to the ministry, the life insurance grant is aimed at encouraging health experts who are the most vulnerable to the deadly coronavirus. Members of the Rapid Response Team will also benefit.

    Read more »

    U.N. says Saudi deportations of Ethiopian migrants risks spreading coronavirus

    By Reuters

    The United Nations said on Monday that deportations of illegal migrant workers by Saudi Arabia to Ethiopia risked spreading the coronavirus and it urged Riyadh to suspend the practice for the time being.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia’s capital launches door-to-door Covid-19 screening


    Getty Images

    By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE | AFP

    Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa is due to begin a door-to-door mass Covid-19 screening across the city, Addis Ababa city administration has announced. City deputy Mayor, Takele Uma, on Saturday told local journalists that the mass screening and testing programme will be started Monday (April 13) first in districts which are identified as potentially most vulnerable to the spread of the highly infectious coronavirus. The aggressive city-wide screening measure intends to identify Covid-19 infected patients and thereby to arrest a potential virus spread within communities. He said, the mass screening will eventually be carried out in all 117 districts, locally known as woredas, of the city, which is home to an estimated 7 million inhabitants. According to the Mayor, the door-to-door mass Covid-19 screening will be conducted by more than 1,200 retired health professionals, who responded to government’s call on the retired to join the national fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

    Read more »

    Worldwide deaths from the coronavirus hit 100,000

    By The Associated Press

    The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus has hit 100,000, according to the running tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. The sad milestone comes as Christians around the globe mark a Good Friday unlike any other — in front of computer screens instead of in church pews. Meanwhile, some countries are tiptoeing toward reopening segments of their battered economies. Public health officials are warning people against violating the social distancing rules over Easter and allowing the virus to flare up again. Authorities are using roadblocks and other means to discourage travel.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia COVID-19 Response Team: Interview with Mike Endale

    By Liben Eabisa | TADIAS

    A network of technology professionals from the Ethiopian Diaspora — known as the Ethiopia COVID-19 Response Team – has been assisting the Ethiopian Ministry of Health since the nation’s first Coronavirus case was confirmed on March 13th. The COVID-19 Response Team has since grown into an army of more than a thousand volunteers. Mike Endale, a software developer based in Washington, D.C., is the main person behind the launch of this project. Read more »

    Ethiopia eyes replicating China’s successes in applying traditional medicine to contain COVID-19

    By CGTN Africa

    The Ethiopian government on Thursday expressed its keen interest to replicate China’s positive experience in terms of effectively applying traditional Chinese medicine to successfully contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the East African country.

    This came after high-level officials from the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MoIT) as well as the Ethiopian Ministry of Health (MoH) held a video conference with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners and researchers on ways of applying the TCM therapy towards controlling the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the country, the MoIT disclosed in a statement issued on Thursday.

    “China, in particular, has agreed to provide to Ethiopia the two types of Chinese traditional medicines that the country applied to successfully treat the first two stages of the novel coronavirus,” a statement from the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology read.

    Read more »

    WHO Director Slams ‘Racist’ Comments About COVID-19 Vaccine Testing


    The Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has angrily condemned recent comments made by scientists suggesting that a vaccine for COVID-19 should be tested in Africa as “racist” and a hangover from the “colonial mentality”. (Photo: WHO)

    By BBC

    The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has condemned as “racist” the comments by two French doctors who suggested a vaccine for the coronavirus could be tested in Africa.

    “Africa can’t and won’t be a testing ground for any vaccine,” said Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

    The doctors’ remarks during a TV debate sparked outrage, and they were accused of treating Africans like “human guinea pigs”.

    One of them later issued an apology.

    When asked about the doctors’ suggestion during the WHO’s coronavirus briefing, Dr Tedros became visibly angry, calling it a hangover from the “colonial mentality”.

    “It was a disgrace, appalling, to hear during the 21st Century, to hear from scientists, that kind of remark. We condemn this in the strongest terms possible, and we assure you that this will not happen,” he said.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia declares state of emergency to curb spread of COVID-19

    By Reuters

    Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in the country to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus, his office said on Twitter. “Considering the gravity of the #COVID19, the government of Ethiopia has enacted a State of Emergency,” Abiy’s office said.

    Ethiopia virus cases hit 52, 9-month-old baby infected

    By TESFA-ALEM TEKLE | AFP

    Ethiopia on Tuesday reported eight new Covid-19 cases, the highest number recorded so far in one day since the country confirmed its first virus case on March 12. Among the new patients that tested positive for the virus were a 9-month-old infant and his mother who had travelled to Dubai recently. “During the past 24 hours, we have done laboratory tests for a total of 264 people and eight out of them have been diagnosed with coronavirus, raising the total confirmed number of Covid-19 patients in Ethiopia to 52,” said Health Minister Dr Lia Tadese. According to the Minister, seven of the newly confirmed patients had travel histories to various countries. They have been under forced-quarantine in different designated hotels in the capital, Addis Ababa. “Five of the new patients including the 9-month-old baby and the mother came from Dubai while the two others came from Thailand and the United Kingdom,” she said

    Read more »

    The coronavirus is infecting and killing black Americans at an alarmingly high rate

    By The Washington Post

    As the novel coronavirus sweeps across the United States, it appears to be infecting and killing black Americans at a disproportionately high rate, according to a Washington Post analysis of early data from jurisdictions across the country. The emerging stark racial disparity led the surgeon general Tuesday to acknowledge in personal terms the increased risk for African Americans amid growing demands that public-health officials release more data on the race of those who are sick, hospitalized and dying of a contagion that has killed more than 12,000 people in the United States. A Post analysis of what data is available and census demographics shows that counties that are majority-black have three times the rate of infections and almost six times the rate of deaths as counties where white residents are in the majority.

    Read more »

    In China, Wuhan’s lockdown officially ends after 11 weeks

    After 11 weeks — or 76 days — Wuhan’s lockdown is officially over. On Wednesday, Chinese authorities allowed residents to travel in and out of the besieged city where the coronavirus outbreak was first reported in December. Many remnants of the months-long lockdown, however, remain. Wuhan’s 11 million residents will be able to leave only after receiving official authorization that they are healthy and haven’t recently been in contact with a coronavirus patient. To do so, the Chinese government is making use of its mandatory smartphone application that, along with other government surveillance, tracks the movement and health status of every person.

    Read more »

    U.S. hospitals facing ‘severe shortages’ of equipment and staff, watchdog says

    By The Washington Post

    As the official U.S. death toll approached 10,000, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams warned that this will be “the hardest and saddest week of most Americans’ lives.”

    Read more »

    Ethio-American Tech Company PhantomALERT Offers Free App to Track & Map COVID-19 Outbreak

    By Tadias Staff

    PhantomALERT, a Washington D.C.-based technology company announced, that it’s offering a free application service to track, report and map COVID-19 outbreak hotspots in real time. In a recent letter to the DC government as well as the Ethiopian Embassy in the U.S. the Ethiopian-American owned business, which was launched in 2007, explained that over the past few days, they have redesigned their application to be “a dedicated coronavirus mapping, reporting and tracking application.” The letter to the Ethiopian Embassy, shared with Tadias, noted that PhantomALERT’s technology “will enable the Ethiopian government (and all other countries across the world) to locate symptomatic patients, provide medical assistance and alert communities of hotspots for the purpose of slowing down the spread of the Coronavirus.”

    Read more »

    2nd COVID-19 death confirmed in Ethiopia

    By Dr. Lia Tadesse (Minister, Ministry of Health, Ethiopia)

    It is with great sadness that I announce the second death of a patient from #COVID19 in Ethiopia. The patient was admitted on April 2nd and was under strict medical follow up in the Intensive Care Unit. My sincere condolences to the family and loved ones.

    Read more »

    The Next Coronavirus Test Will Tell You If You Are Now Immune. And It’s Fast.


    People line up in their cars at the COVID-19 testing area at Roseland Community Hospital on April 3, 2020, in Chicago. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune)

    By Chicago Tribune

    A new, different type of coronavirus test is coming that will help significantly in the fight to quell the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors and scientists say. The first so-called serology test, which detects antibodies to the virus rather than the virus itself, was given emergency approval Thursday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. And several more are nearly ready, said Dr. Elizabeth McNally, director of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Center for Genetic Medicine.

    Read more »

    ‘Your Safety is Our Priority’: How Ethiopian Airlines is Navigating the Global Virus Crisis

    By Tadias Staff

    Lately Ethiopian Airlines has been busy delivering much-needed medical supplies across Africa and emerging at the forefront of the continent’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic even as it has suspended most of its international passenger flights.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia races to bolster ventilator stockpile for coronavirus fight

    By AFP

    Ethiopia’s government — like others in Africa — is confronting a stark ventilator shortage that could hobble its COVID-19 response. In a country of more than 100 million people, just 54 ventilators — out of around 450 total — had been set aside for COVID-19 patients as of this week, said Yakob Seman, director general of medical services at the health ministry.

    Read more »

    New York City mayor calls for national enlistment of health-care workers


    New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. (AP photo)

    By The Washington Post

    New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday called for a national enlistment of health-care workers organized by the U.S. military.

    Speaking on CNN’s New Day, he lamented that there has been no effort to mobilize doctors and nurses across the country and bring them to “the front” — first New York City and then other areas that have been hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

    “If there’s not action by the president and the military literally in a matter of days to put in motion this vast mobilization,” de Blasio said, “then you’re going to see first hundreds and later thousands of Americans die who did not need to die.”

    He said he expects his city to be stretched for medical personnel starting Sunday, which he called “D-Day.” Many workers are out sick with the disease, he added, while others are “just stretched to the limit.”

    The mayor said he has told national leaders that they need to get on “wartime footing.”

    “The nation is in a peacetime stance while were actually in the middle of a war,” de Blasio said. “And if they don’t do something different in the next few days, they’re going to lose the window.”

    Read more »

    Over 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in March as economy collapsed

    By The Washington Post

    More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — a new record — as political and public health leaders put the economy in a deep freeze, keeping people at home and trying to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The past two weeks have seen more people file for unemployed claims than during the first six months of the Great Recession, a sign of how rapid, deep and painful the economic shutdown has been on many American families who are struggling to pay rent and health insurance costs in the midst of a pandemic. Job losses have skyrocketed as restaurants, hotel, gyms, and travel have shut down across the nation, but layoffs are also rising in manufacturing, warehousing and transportation, a sign of how widespread the pain of the coronavirus recession is. In March alone, 10.4 million Americans lost their jobs and applied for government aid, according to the latest Labor Department data, which includes claims filed through March 28. Many economists say the real number of people out work is likely even higher, since a lot of newly unemployed Americans haven’t been able to fill out a claim yet.

    Read more »

    U.N. Chief Calls Pandemic Biggest Global Challenge Since World War II

    By The Washington Post

    The coronavirus outbreak sickening hundreds of thousands around the world and devastating the global economy is creating a challenge for the world not seen since World War II, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said late Tuesday. Speaking in a virtual news conference, Guterres said the world needs to show more solidarity and cooperation in fighting not only the medical aspects of the crisis but the economic fallout. The International Monetary Fund is predicting an economic recession worse than in 2008.

    Read more »

    US death toll eclipses China’s as reinforcements head to NYC

    By The Associated Press

    The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus climbed past 3,800 Tuesday, eclipsing China’s official count, as hard-hit New York City rushed to bring in more medical professionals and ambulances and parked refrigerated morgue trucks on the streets to collect the dead.

    Read more »

    Getting Through COVID 19: ECMAA Shares Timely Resources With Ethiopian Community

    By Tadias Staff

    The Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) in the New York tri-state area has shared timely resources including COVID-19 safety information as well as national sources of financial support for families and small business owners.

    Read more »

    2020 Ethiopia Election Canceled Due to COVID-19

    By Tadias Staff

    The highly anticipated 2020 national election in Ethiopia has been canceled for now due to the coronavirus outbreak. The National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced that it has shelved its plans to hold the upcoming nationwide parliamentary polls on August 29th after an internal evaluation of the possible negative effect of the virus pandemic on its official activities.

    Read more »

    Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia on lockdown as coronavirus cases grow

    By The Washington Post

    Maryland, Virginia and the District issued “stay-at-home” orders on Monday, joining a growing list of states and cities mandating broad, enforceable restrictions on where residents can go in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

    Read more »

    U.S. Approves Malaria Drug to Treat Coronavirus Patients

    By The Washington Post

    The Food and Drug Administration has given emergency approval to a Trump administration plan to distribute millions of doses of anti-malarial drugs to hospitals across the country, saying it is worth the risk of trying unproven treatments to slow the progression of the disease in seriously ill coronavirus patients.

    Read more »

    U.S. Deaths Could Reach 200,000

    By Bloomberg News

    A top U.S. infectious disease scientist said U.S. deaths could reach 200,000, but called it a moving target. New York’s fatalities neared 1,000, more than a third of the U.S. total.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia: PM, WHO Director Discuss Coronavirus Response


    @fanatelevision/twitter

    By Tadias Staff

    Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed spoke with Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, over the weekend regarding the Coronavirus response in Ethiopia and Africa in general.

    Read more »

    Virus infections top 600,000 globally with long fight ahead

    By The Associated Press

    The number of confirmed coronavirus infections worldwide topped 600,000 on Saturday as new cases stacked up quickly in Europe and the United States and officials dug in for a long fight against the pandemic. The latest landmark came only two days after the world passed half a million infections, according to a tally by John Hopkins University, showing that much work remains to be done to slow the spread of the virus. It showed more than 607,000 cases and over 28,000 deaths. While the U.S. now leads the world in reported infections — with more than 104,000 cases — five countries exceed its roughly 1,700 deaths: Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France.

    Read more »

    Maryland Issues COVID-19 Fact Sheet in Amharic for Ethiopian Community

    By Tadias Staff

    The state of Maryland Department of Health has issued a COVID-19 Fact Sheet in Amharic for its large Ethiopian community.

    Read more »

    Gouged prices, middlemen and medical supply chaos: Why governors are so upset with Trump

    By The Washington Post

    Masks that used to cost pennies now cost several dollars. Companies outside the traditional supply chain offer wildly varying levels of price and quality. Health authorities say they have few other choices to meet their needs in a ‘dog-eat-dog’ battle.

    Read more »

    Worshippers in Ethiopia Defy Ban on Large Gatherings Despite Coronavirus

    By VOA

    ADDIS ABABA – Health experts in Ethiopia are raising concern, as some religious leaders continue to host large gatherings despite government orders not to do so in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier this week, Ethiopia’s government ordered security forces to enforce a ban on large gatherings aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. Ethiopia has seen only 12 cases and no deaths from the virus, and authorities would like to keep it that way. But enforcing the orders has proven difficult as religious groups continue to meet and, according to religious leaders, fail to treat the risks seriously.

    Read more »

    U.S. deaths from coronavirus top 1,000

    By The Washington Post

    It began as a mysterious disease with frightening potential. Now, just two months after America’s first confirmed case, the country is grappling with a lethal reality: The novel coronavirus has killed more than 1,000 people in the United States, a toll that is increasing at an alarming rate.

    Read more »

    A record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits as the coronavirus slams economy

    By The Washington Post

    A record 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, as restaurants, hotels, barber shops, gyms and more shut down in a nationwide effort to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

    Last week saw the biggest jump in new jobless claims in history, surpassing the record of 695,000 set in 1982. Many economists say this is the beginning of a massive spike in unemployment that could result in over 40 million Americans losing their jobs by April.

    Laid off workers say they waited hours on the phone to apply for help. Websites in several states, including New York and Oregon, crashed because so many people were trying to apply at once.

    “The most terrifying part about this is this is likely just the beginning of the layoffs,” said Martha Gimbel, a labor economist at Schmidt Futures. The nation’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in February, a half-century low, but that has likely risen already to 5.5 percent, according to calculations by Gimbel. The nation hasn’t seen that level of unemployment since 2015.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia: Parents fear for missing students as universities close over Covid-19


    Photo via amnesty.org

    As universities across Ethiopia close to avert spread of the COVID-19 virus, Amnesty International is calling on the Ethiopian authorities to disclose measures they have taken to rescue 17 Amhara students from Dembi Dolo University in Western Oromia, who were abducted by unidentified people in November 2019 and have been missing since.

    The anguish of the students’ families is exacerbated by a phone and internet shutdown implemented in January across the western Oromia region further hampering their efforts to get information about their missing loved ones.

    “The sense of fear and uncertainty spreading across Ethiopia because of COVID-19 is exacerbating the anguish of these students’ families, who are desperate for information on the whereabouts of their loved ones four months after they were abducted,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa.

    “The Ethiopian authorities’ move to close universities in order to protect the lives of university students is commendable, but they must also take similarly concrete actions to locate and rescue the 17 missing students so that they too are reunited with their families.”

    Read more »

    UPDATE: New York City is now reporting 26,697 COVID-19 cases and 450 deaths.

    BY ABC7 NY

    Temporary hospital space in New York City will begin opening on Monday and more supplies are on the way as an already overwhelmed medical community anticipates even more coronavirus patients in the coming days. Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted 20 trucks were on the road delivering protective equipment to hospitals, including surgical masks, N95 masks, and hundreds more ventilators.

    Governor Cuomo added the temporary hospital in the Javits Center will open on Monday the same day that the USNS Comfort will arrive in New York City.

    Read more »

    Related: New York sees some signs of progress against coronavirus as New Orleans hit hard (REUTERS)

    L.A. mayor says residents may have to shelter at home for two months or more

    By Business Insider

    Los Angeles residents will be confined to their homes until May at the earliest, Mayor Eric Garcetti told Insider on Wednesday.

    “I think this is at least two months,” he said. “And be prepared for longer.”

    In an interview with Insider, Garcetti pushed back against “premature optimism” in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying leaders who suggest we are on the verge of business as usual are putting lives at risk.

    “I can’t say that strongly enough,” the mayor said. Optimism, he said, has to be grounded in data. And right now the data is not good.

    “Giving people false hope will crush their spirits and will kill more people,” Garcetti said, adding it would change their actions by instilling a sense of normality at the most abnormal time in a generation.

    Read more »

    Ethiopia pardons more than 4,000 prisoners to help prevent coronavirus spread

    By CNN

    Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde has granted pardon to more than 4,000 prisoners in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus.

    Sahle-Work Zewde announced the order in a tweet on Wednesday and said it would help prevent overcrowding in prisons.

    The directive only covers those given a maximum sentence of three years for minor crimes and those who were about to be released from jail, she said.

    There are 12 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ethiopia, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.
    Authorities in the nation have put in place a raft of measures, including the closure of all borders except to those bringing in essential goods to contain the virus. The government has directed security officials to monitor and enforce a ban on large gatherings and overcrowded public transport to ensure social distancing.

    Read more »


    U.S. House passes $2 trillion coronavirus emergency spending bill


    Watch: Senator Chuck Schumer of New York breaks down massive coronavirus aid package (MSNBC Video)

    By The Washington Post

    The House of Representatives voted Friday [March 27th] to approve a massive $2 trillion stimulus bill that policy makers hope will blunt the economic destruction of the coronavirus pandemic, sending the legislation to President Trump for enactment. The legislation passed in dramatic fashion, approved on an overwhelming voice vote by lawmakers who’d been forced to return to Washington by a GOP colleague who had insisted on a quorum being present. Some lawmakers came from New York and other places where residents are supposed to be sheltering at home.

    Read more »

    In Ethiopia, Abiy seeks $150b for African virus response

    By AFP

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday urged G20 leaders to help Africa cope with the coronavirus crisis by facilitating debt relief and providing $150 billion in emergency funding.
    The pandemic “poses an existential threat to the economies of African countries,” Abiy’s office said in a statement, adding that Ethiopia was “working closely with other African countries” in preparing the aid request.

    The heavy debt burdens of many African countries leave them ill-equipped to respond to pandemic-related economic shocks, as the cost of servicing debt exceeds many countries’ health budgets, the statement said.

    Read more »

    Worried Ethiopians Want Partial Internet Shutdown Ended (AP)


    Ethiopians have their temperature checked for symptoms of the new coronavirus, at the Zewditu Memorial Hospital in the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Wednesday, March 18, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough and the vast majority recover in 2-6 weeks but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health issues, the virus that causes COVID-19 can result in more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

    By Elias Meseret | AP

    March 24, 2020

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Rights groups and citizens are calling on Ethiopia’s government to lift the internet shutdown in parts of the country that is leaving millions of people without important updates on the coronavirus.

    The months-long shutdown of internet and phone lines in Western Oromia and parts of the Benishangul Gumuz region is occurring during military operations against rebel forces.

    “Residents of these areas are getting very limited information about the coronavirus,” Jawar Mohammed, an activist-turned-politician, told The Associated Press.

    Ethiopia reported its first coronavirus case on March 13 and now has a dozen. Officials have been releasing updates mostly online. Land borders have closed and national carrier Ethiopian Airlines has stopped flying to some 30 destinations around the world.

    Read more »

    In Global Fight vs. Virus, Over 1.5 Billion Told: Stay Home


    A flier urging customers to remain home hangs at a turnstile as an MTA employee sanitizes surfaces at a subway station with bleach solutions due to COVID-19 concerns, Friday, March 20, 2020, in New York. (AP)

    The Associated Press

    NEW YORK (AP) — With masks, ventilators and political goodwill in desperately short supply, more than one-fifth of the world’s population was ordered or urged to stay in their homes Monday at the start of what could be a pivotal week in the battle to contain the coronavirus in the U.S. and Europe.

    Partisan divisions stalled efforts to pass a colossal aid package in Congress, and stocks fell again on Wall Street even after the Federal Reserve said it will lend to small and large businesses and local governments to help them through the crisis.

    Warning that the outbreak is accelerating, the head of the World Health Organization called on countries to take strong, coordinated action.

    “We are not helpless bystanders,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, noting that it took 67 days to reach 100,000 cases worldwide but just four days to go from 200,000 to 300,000. “We can change the trajectory of this pandemic.”

    Read more »

    China’s Coronavirus Donation to Africa Arrives in Ethiopia (Reuters)


    An Ethiopian Airlines worker transports a consignment of medical donation from Chinese billionaire Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundation to Africa for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing, upon arrival at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, March 22, 2020. (REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

    The first batch of protective and medical equipment donated by Chinese billionaire and Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma was flown into the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Sunday, as coronavirus cases in Africa rose above 1,100.

    The virus has spread more slowly in Africa than in Asia or Europe but has a foothold in 41 African nations and two territories. So far it has claimed 37 lives across the continent of 1.3 billion people.

    The shipment is a much-needed boost to African healthcare systems that were already stretched before the coronavirus crisis, but nations will still need to ration supplies at a time of global scarcity.

    Only patients showing symptoms will be tested, the regional Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said on Sunday.

    “The flight carried 5.4 million face masks, kits for 1.08 million detection tests, 40,000 sets of protective clothing and 60,000 sets of protective face shields,” Ma’s foundation said in a statement.

    “The faster we move, the earlier we can help.”

    The shipment had a sign attached with the slogan, “when people are determined they can overcome anything”.

    Read more »


    Related:

    We Need Seismic Change, Right Now: by Marcus Samuelsson

    City Sleeps: A Look At The Empty NYC Streets Amid The Virus – In Pictures

    Ethiopia enforces 14-day quarantine for all travelers

    Diaspora-based Tech Professionals Launch Ethiopia COVID-19 Response Task Force

    Amid COVID-19 Pandemic Hopeful & Inspiring Stories Shared by Obama

    Pleas to Diaspora to Assist Coronavirus First Responders in Ethiopia

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Bethlehem Fleming: Meet the Activist Working to Turn the U.S. Senate Blue

    Ethiopian American activist Bethlehem Fleming is organizing a critical constituency [in Georgia] in the races that will decide the Senate. “Bethlehem is a hero in this get-out-the-vote effort because she is looking for a needle in a haystack, those few thousand Ethiopian and Eritrean voters among 500,000 or so voters,” says Jana Miles, a DeKalb County Democratic Party committee member. “She is a remarkable story.” (Getty Images)

    OZY

    Ethiopian native Bethlehem Fleming is identifying and trying to turn out thousands of voters from her homeland in Georgia’s pivotal Senate runoff elections.

    Bethlehem Fleming, a native of Ethiopia, has carried around for almost three years President Donald Trump’s vulgar denouncement of African nations as “shithole countries.” It enraged her, but not as much as the president’s scornful sequel from the Oval Office on Oct. 23, when Trump said Egypt might just have to bomb Ethiopia’s $4.6 billion Blue Nile Dam to settle a water dispute.

    “I think that galvanized Ethiopians in this country to vote for Joe Biden,” says Fleming, 45, a hospital administrator who lives in DeKalb County, Georgia. “Trump says these things about other countries he has no idea about and makes people mad, and they use their vote against him.”

    Fleming, who has been an American citizen since 2008, settled her score with Trump on Nov. 3. Now she wants a more authoritative rebuke of his presidency. Fleming is aiming the grievance vote at his proxies, Republican candidates David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, in the U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia on Jan. 5. Her community could be crucial to deciding which party controls the Senate, as Democrats would take control if they win both races.

    Fleming will spend the next six weeks trying to make one-on-one contact with 4,000 Ethiopians and Eritreans in DeKalb County, which includes parts of Atlanta, and plead for them to vote for Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in the runoff. Fleming’s work is a specialized version of former gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams’ high-profile efforts to register and turn out voters of color throughout the state in recent years. These efforts are part of the turnout game required in these pivotal runoffs, which will be decided by which side can lure a bigger proportion of its November voters back to the polls.

    Ted Terry, who is on the executive committee of the Georgia Democratic Party, estimates there are 30,000 to 40,000 registered voters who emigrated from Africa, in a state Biden won by just 13,000 votes.

    Fleming has a daunting task over the next six weeks because the Georgia voter registration application, which is how most voter data is generated, has a box to check that simply says “Black.”

    Immigrants from Africa who are registered to vote may have black skin, but they identify as Ethiopians, Kenyans, Sudanese, Somalians and many other nationalities. That makes it hard for Fleming to connect with people from her country.

    The task is finding all those Ethiopian Americans, as well as voters from neighboring Eritrea. Fleming is working with Mike Endale, a Washington-based software developer of Ethiopian descent, who has created a software program to cull the names “most likely Ethiopian” from the half-million voters on the voter rolls in DeKalb. There are efforts underway in neighboring Fulton and Gwinnett counties to do the same.

    “Bethlehem is a hero in this get-out-the-vote effort because she is looking for a needle in a haystack, those few thousand Ethiopian and Eritrean voters among 500,000 or so voters,” says Jana Miles, a DeKalb County Democratic Party committee member. “She is a remarkable story.”

    Once she finds Ethiopians, Fleming’s cultural cachet — she can speak in her native Amharic when she calls — can stir them to vote, not just because of Trump’s put-downs, but on policy issues as well.

    “I can’t see their faces, but I can sense their faces light up by how they start talking to me,” she says. “We make a connection and they are excited, and then we start talking about issues like health care and immigration and how Senate Democrats can help them. A lot of immigrants depend on health care.”

    Fleming has also created election flyers with Ethiopia’s bright colors of red, yellow and green, and native script on one side and English on the other. The flyers are handed out at GOTV events, or pasted to poles in immigrant communities. Fleming appeared regularly on the radio during the general election to encourage her fellow naturalized citizens to get out and vote, and she’s stepped up her efforts considerably for the runoff.

    Read more »

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    Maryam Tsegaye: 1st Canadian Student to Win International Science Competition

    Maryam Tsegaye, a Grade 12 student at École McTavish Public High School in Alberta, Canada, is the first Canadian to win the international Breakthrough Junior Challenge. Her three-minute video explaining quantum tunnelling won the lucrative prize. (CBC)

    CBC

    Alberta student 1st Canadian to win $500K Cdn international science competition

    Maryam Tsegaye spent two weeks crafting her winning video on quantum tunnelling

    A Fort McMurray, Alta., student is the first Canadian to win the $500,000 Cdn international Breakthrough Junior Challenge, a prize that includes a scholarship and new science lab for her school.

    Maryam Tsegaye, a Grade 12 student at École McTavish Public High School, entered the competition with a three-minute video explaining quantum tunnelling.

    The competition asks students from around the world to create a video that explains a scientific principle to the public.

    The 17-year-old spent two weeks creating her video, comparing quantum tunnelling to rolling dice and playing video games.

    “I just had a lot of time over quarantine and I just decided to enter,” Tsegaye said. “In previous years, I always hesitated from entering because I was really intimidated by all the other competitors.”

    About 5,600 students entered the competition.

    WATCH | Take a look at Maryam Tsegaye’s entry here:

    The prize is a $250,000 US scholarship, $100,000 toward a science lab for her high school and $50,000 cash for the teacher who inspired her. The money amounts to about $500,000 Cdn.

    The big prize came with a big reveal.

    Typically, the student would be surprised at school with the prize announcement, but recent COVID-19 restrictions moved Tsegaye’s classes online.

    So her principal, Scott Barr, got creative.

    “We kind of made up a bit of a ruse for her and a few friends to get into school,” Barr said.

    He asked Tsegaye to come in to help with an educational video. She and her friends were told to sit in a classroom and watch a video on the board.

    Barr told them to look interested and act like they were learning from home.

    “I did a lot of lying leading up to this,” he said. “But it was all for a good reason.”

    School principal planned big reveal

    Then a video of astronaut Scott Kelly and Sal Khan, founder of the Khan Academy — which is one of the partners in the prize — appeared on the screen.

    “She still had no idea,” Barr said. “Even when they started talking about the contest.”

    Read more »

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    P2P Raises Funds to Assist Medical Staff at Gondar Hospital Treating Injured Soldiers

    People to People Inc. (P2P), a U.S.-based network of Ethiopian Diaspora healthcare professionals, announced that its currently raising funds to assist the staff at the University of Gondar Hospital as they provide medical care for injured soldiers and civilians as a result of the recent armed conflict in Northern Ethiopia. (Photo: Front view of the Outpatient Center at Gondar University Hospital/courtesy of U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia)

    Press Release

    Please join People To People, Inc (P2P), a registered non-profit organization based in the USA, in it’s urgent effort to raise funds to assist the medical staff at The University of Gondar Hospital in their heroic effort to provide medical care for injured soldiers and civilians as a result of the recent conflict between the TPLF and the Ethiopian National Defense Forces.

    The University of Gondar is the only regional hospital in this vast area of Northwest Ethiopia. In peace times, in addition to being one of the main teaching hospitals for the country, it provides care for people that come from far away and also from the city of Gondar as well as surrounding villages. As a result, resources are extremely limited in normal circumstances however the conflict with its unfortunate resultant casualties has placed the hospital in dire circumstances where basic supplies and medicines are in short supply.

    Despite the limited resources, the hospital has taken swift action and has set up Rapid Team, Nursing Team and Outreach Team to meet the unexpected additional demand the conflict has resulted in. The staff have also established a working relationship with Mekele University Hospital in Tigray to effectively and decisively address this unprecedented medical care need.

    Unfortunately, the hospital desperately needs financial support to purchase medicines, surgical materials, and supplies such as gloves and masks to continue its services.

    As stated above, People to People (P2P) is a registered non-profit organization based in the USA and hopes you will consider making a tax deductible contribution to help the The University of Gondar Hospital in its hour of need.

    https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-northern-ethiopia-regional-hospital

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    Ethiopia to UN: ‘Adherence to the Principle of Non-Intervention’ Tweeted by PM Abiy

    The following is Ethiopia's statement as tweeted by Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed regarding the recent United Nations Security Council meeting about the situation in Tigray. (Photo: PM Abiy Ahmed speaking at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington D.C. during a private reception in July 2018/Tadias Magazine)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: November 25, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — The following is Ethiopia’s statement as tweeted by Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed regarding the recent United Nations Security Council meeting about the situation in Tigray.

    Adherence to the Principle of Non-Intervention in Internal Affairs

    Ethiopia is a country with a long and proud history of statehood. It is one of the early members of the League of Nations and a founding member of the United Nations. it is also one of the architects of the Organization of African Unity.

    Ethiopia’s commitment to multilateral cooperation and a world order based on the principles and norms of international law is firm, long-standing and unwavering. Ethiopia has always been on the vanguard of a rules-based international system as demonstrated by, for example, its position as a major contributor of troops for various UN and AU peacekeeping missions in various parts of world.

    A fundamental element of the international legal order is the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign states, which is enshrined in Article 2(7) of the Charter of the United Nations. The International Court of Justice has also repeatedly affirmed this principle asserting that “the principle of non-intervention involves the right of every sovereign state to conduct its affairs without outside interference…. international law requires political integrity,… to be respected‘. This principle is also embedded in the legal and normative order of the African Union.

    While we appreciate and understand the interest of the international community to assist in the ongoing law enforcement operations, we would also like to underscore that this must be done in accordance with international law. This, first and foremost, means the international community should stand by until the Government of Ethiopia submits its requests for assistance to the community of nations.

    When the Ethiopian people and government launched a comprehensive package of political and economic reforms in 2018, they were driven by a commitment to realize the twin objectives of peace and prosperity for themselves. As the external dimension of our peace mission started bearing the desired fruits, our internal peace was threatened by hardline members of the old order, and particularly of the TPLF who deployed everything within their hands to subvert the reform process and bring themselves back to power through the use of force.

    For almost three years now, in their efforts to frustrate the democratization process, the TPLF leadership orchestrated a spate of violent attacks by training, arming and financing criminal elements to target ethnic and religious minorities in different parts of the country. In an act of treason, on November 4 2020, the TPLF leadership launched a brazen attack, under cover of darkness, against the Northern Command of the Ethiopian National Defense Force. Using traitors recruited from within the army, not only did the TPLF leadership cause the massacre of unarmed soldiers in the dead of night, they also attempted to take possession, illegally, of the entire military depot of the Northern Command in what they themselves admitted and called a “lightning preemptive attack” on the National Defense Force.

    Such manifestly treasonous acts perpetrated by a political party constitute a brazen attempt to take power by unconstitutional means. It is also a criminal offense per the laws of our land. Adding fuel to fire in TPLF’s criminality, 600 innocent civilians were brutally massacred in the town of Mai Kadra. An initial Amnesty International report on the horrendous crime has further been validated by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, which described the massacre by TPLF as amounting to crimes against humanity and war crimes.

    The rule of law operations carried out by the Government of Ethiopia since the day our National Defense Force were attacked therefore constitute acts intended to defend and preserve the sovereignty and integrity of the state of Ethiopia, to restore law and order throughout its territory, and to bring the perpetrators of the criminal act to justice.

    Maintaining the integrity of our political and constitutional order compels us to take robust law enforcement measures against the clique of renegades within the TPLF. As a sovereign state, Ethiopia has every right to uphold and enforce its laws within its own territory. And that is exactly what we are doing. We believe the measures we are taking against those who have taken up arms against the Federation are in accordance with the spirit and objectives of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance which prohibits unconstitutional change of government and promotes democratic governance.

    While undertaking our rule of law enforcement operations In the northern part of our country, within the framework of a state of emergency, the Government of Ethiopia is operating with due care for the protection of the civilian population and to minimize the humanitarian cost of the crises precipitated by the TPLF.

    Ethiopia appreciates the well-meaning concerns of our friends within the international community. I would, however, like to stress the fact that Ethiopia is very much capable and willing to resolve this situation in accordance with its laws and its international obligations. While we consider the concerns and advice of our friends, we reject any interference in our internal affairs. We therefore respectfully urge the international community to refrain from any unwelcome and unlawful acts of interference and respect the fundamental principles of non-intervention under international law.

    November 25, 2020

    Related:

    ETHIOPIA UPDATE: War, Fake News, Refugee Crisis & Crime Against Humanity

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    Biden’s National Security Adviser Warns of ‘War Crimes’ Risk in Ethiopia (UPDATE)

    President-elect Joe Biden's pick for national security adviser warned Wednesday about the risk of war crimes in Ethiopia. In one of his first tweets after being named, Jake Sullivan warned about "the risk of violence against civilians. (Photo: People read newspapers and magazines reporting on the current military confrontation in Ethiopia on a street in Addis Ababa Nov. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Samuel Habtab)

    NBC News

    In one of his first tweets after being named, Sullivan warned about “the risk of violence against civilians, including potential war crimes.”

    President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for national security adviser warned Wednesday about the risk of war crimes in Ethiopia, where government forces are surrounding a city governed by rebellious regional leaders in what’s threatening to spiral into civil war.

    In one of his first tweets after being named, Jake Sullivan warned about “the risk of violence against civilians, including potential war crimes” in the East African country.

    Though brief, Sullivan’s tweet provided a taste of a new foreign policy tone adopted by the incoming administration. He urged “both sides” to engage with a plan by the African Union, which is deploying three former African leaders as mediating envoys.

    The conflict in Ethiopia started earlier this month when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched an offensive against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, known as the TPLF, which rules the mountainous Tigray region.

    Hundreds, possibly thousands of people have already been killed, while around 40,000 have fled to neighboring Sudan. Aid agencies say they can’t access the region to provide food, water and medicine to civilians caught on the front lines.

    Sullivan’s take contrasted with that of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who last week focused on calling out attacks by the TPLF, while commending the “restraint” shown by government forces. Later in his remarks, Pompeo did go on to ask both sides “to take immediate steps to de-escalate the conflict, restore peace, and protect civilians.”

    Jake Sullivan: Biden has ‘tasked us with reimagining our national security’

    President Donald Trump has often been less measured, causing rancor last month by suggesting Egypt might “blow up” Ethiopia’s $4.6 billion hydroelectric dam on the Nile. In 2018, he referred to African nations as “shithole countries,” a Democratic aide told NBC News at the time.

    International observers are watching Ethiopia with alarm.

    Ahmed, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his deal with neighboring Eritrea, is calling the offensive a “law enforcement operation” in response to the TPLF attacking a military base, which he labeled “treason.” He also alleges the group has attempted to subvert democracy by “training, arming and financing criminal elements” who have carried out attacks.

    The TPLF, in turn, accuses Abiy of persecuting Tigrayans since he took office in 2018. It sees his attempts to centralize federal government power as an attack on their devolved regional rule.

    The government has issued a 72-hour ultimatum, which ends Wednesday, telling fighters to surrender and civilians to leave before it launches an assault on the region’s capital, Mekele, and its 500,000 people.

    “We want to send a message to the public in Mekele to save themselves from any artillery attacks,” military spokesman Col. Dejene Tsegaye said on state television according to The Associated Press. “After that, there will be no mercy.”

    The TPLF regional leader Debretsion Gebremichael told Reuters his fighters were “ready to die in defense of our right to administer our region.”

    Communications to the region have been severed, so it’s unclear whether civilians are aware of the government’s ultimatum.

    Sullivan isn’t the first to warn about possible war crimes. An investigation by the human rights group Amnesty International said that scores, likely hundreds, of laborers were hacked to death in Tigray earlier this month.

    “If confirmed as having been deliberately carried out by a party to the current fighting, these killings of civilians would of course amount to war crimes,” United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a statement, calling for an investigation.

    On Wednesday, Ethiopia’s prime minister rejected these statements from abroad, saying he and his government “respectfully urge the international community to refrain from any unwelcome and unlawful acts of interference.”

    ETHIOPIA UPDATE: War, Fake News, Refugee Crisis & Crime Against Humanity

    Biden Nominates Former Obama Official Antony Blinken as U.S. Secretary of State


    Antony Blinken (center) has weighed in publicly on notable foreign policy issues in Egypt and Ethiopia. Blinken, 58, served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration and has close ties with Biden. (Photo: Biden with Tony Blinken, Susan Rice [Blinken's former boss] and John F. Kerry listen as President Barack Obama addresses reporters in November 2013. /Reuters)

    The Associated Press

    Antony Blinken has weighed in publicly on notable foreign policy issues in Egypt and Ethiopia.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate Antony Blinken as secretary of state, according to multiple people familiar with the Biden team’s planning.

    Blinken, 58, served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration and has close ties with Biden. If nominated and confirmed, he would be a leading force in the incoming administration’s bid to reframe the U.S. relationship with the rest of the world after four years in which President Donald Trump questioned longtime alliances.

    In nominating Blinken, Biden would sidestep potentially thorny issues that could have affected Senate confirmation for two other candidates on his short list to be America’s top diplomat: Susan Rice and Sen. Chris Coons.

    Rice would have faced significant GOP opposition and likely rejection in the Senate. She has long been a target of Republicans, including for statements she made after the deadly 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

    Coons’ departure from the Senate would have come as other Democratic senators are being considered for administrative posts and the party is hoping to win back the Senate. Control hangs on the result of two runoff elections in Georgia in January.

    Biden is likely to name his Cabinet picks in tranches, with groups of nominees focused on a specific top area, like the economy, national security or public health, being announced at once. Advisers to the president-elect’s transition have said they’ll make their first Cabinet announcements on Tuesday.

    If Biden focuses on national security that day, Michèle Flournoy, a veteran of Pentagon policy jobs, is a top choice to lead the Defense Department. Jake Sullivan, a longtime adviser to Biden and Hillary Clinton, is also in the mix for a top job, including White House national security adviser.

    For his part, Blinken recently participated in a national security briefing with Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and has weighed in publicly on notable foreign policy issues in Egypt and Ethiopia.

    Biden’s secretary of state would inherit a deeply demoralized and depleted career workforce at the State Department. Trump’s two secretaries of state, Rex Tillerson and Mike Pompeo, offered weak resistance to the administration’s attempts to gut the agency, which were thwarted only by congressional intervention.

    Although the department escaped massive proposed cuts of more than 30% in its budget for three consecutive years, it has seen a significant number of departures from its senior and rising mid-level ranks, from which many diplomats have opted to retire or leave the foreign service given limited prospects for advancements under an administration that they believe does not value their expertise.

    A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School and a longtime Democratic foreign policy presence, Blinken has aligned himself with numerous former senior national security officials who have called for a major reinvestment in American diplomacy and renewed emphasis on global engagement.

    “Democracy is in retreat around the world, and unfortunately it’s also in retreat at home because of the president taking a two-by-four to its institutions, its values and its people every day,” Blinken told The Associated Press in September. “Our friends know that Joe Biden knows who they are. So do our adversaries. That difference would be felt on day one.”

    Blinken served on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration before becoming staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden was chair of the panel. In the early years of the Obama administration, Blinken returned to the NSC and was then-Vice President Biden’s national security adviser before he moved to the State Department to serve as deputy to Secretary of State John Kerry.

    Biden has pledged to build the most diverse government in modern history, and he and his team often speak about their desire for his administration to reflect America. He is being watched to see whether he will make history by nominating the first woman to lead the Pentagon, the Treasury Department or the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the first African American at the top of the Defense Department, the Interior Department or the Treasury Department.

    Ron Klain, Biden’s incoming chief of staff, said Sunday the Trump administration’s refusal to clear the way for Biden’s team to have access to key information about agencies and federal dollars for the transition is taking its toll on planning, including the Cabinet selection process. Trump’s General Services Administration has yet to acknowledge that Biden won the election — a determination that would remove those roadblocks.

    “We’re not in a position to get background checks on Cabinet nominees. And so there are definite impacts. Those impacts escalate every day,” Klain told ABC’s “This Week.”

    Even some Republicans have broken with Trump in recent days and called on him to begin the transition. Joining the growing list were Sens. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Former Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a longtime Trump supporter, told ABC that it was time for the president to stop contesting the outcome and called Trump’s legal team seeking to overturn the election a “national embarrassment.”

    Meanwhile, planning was underway for a pandemic-modified inauguration Jan. 20. Klain said the Biden team was consulting with Democratic leadership in the House and Senate over their plans.

    “They’re going to try to have an inauguration that honors the importance and the symbolic meaning of the moment, but also does not result in the spread of the disease. That’s our goal,” Klain said.

    Related:

    Ethiopia Congratulates President-elect Joe Biden & VP-elect Kamala Harris


    In a Twitter post Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed joined other world leaders in expressing his good wishes for the newly elected leadership in the United States. (Photo: Courtesy of the Biden Campaign)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: November 9th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia has congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their landmark U.S. election victory.

    In a Twitter post on Saturday Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed joined other world leaders in expressing his good wishes for the newly elected leadership in the United States.

    “My congratulations to US President-elect Joe Biden and and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris on your historic election win,” PM Abiy wrote. “Ethiopia looks forward to working closely with you.”

    Ethiopia’s ambassador to U.S. Fitsum Arega added: “Congratulations US for being a shining example of democracy in action to the world. We should all learn in Africa that in genuine democracy every vote counts, every voice must be heard!”

    As USA Today noted: “International messages of congratulation started rolling in Saturday for U.S. President-elect Joe Biden after he was projected the winner of the presidential election over President Donald Trump. International allies contemplated a new White House that has raised the prospect of resuming a form of business as usual: a more fact-driven, multilateralist American presidency that wants to build bridges, not burn them.”

    Related: ‘Welcome back, America’: World congratulates Joe Biden »

    Watch: President-elect Joe Biden’s full acceptance speech

    Ethio-American Samra Brouk Wins New York’s 55th Senate District


    Samra Brouk, a daughter of Ethiopian immigrants, defeated Republican Christopher Missick becoming the first Black woman to win the seat that’s currently held by New York State Senator Rich Funke, who announced last year that he wouldn’t run for another term. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: November 8th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Democrat Samra Brouk has won the race for the New York State Senate’s 55th district, one of 63 districts in the New York State Senate.

    Samra, a daughter of Ethiopian immigrants, defeated Republican Christopher Missick becoming the first Black woman to win the seat that’s currently held by New York State Senator Rich Funke, who announced last year that he wouldn’t run for another term.

    The nonprofit organization New American Leaders, which recruits people of immigrant heritage to run for elected office in the United States, highlighted Samra in a social media post noting that “With Kamala Harris’ victory and the wins of hundreds of down-ballot New American candidates like Samra Brouk in New York, Marvin Lim in Georgia and Nida Allam in North Carolina, people like us have broken the mold of what it looks like to run, win, and lead.”

    Samra who was born and raised in Rochester New York credits her parents — a public school teacher and a civil engineer — for her decision to go into public service. “My father fled his home country of Ethiopia during the civil war, overcoming major cultural and financial barriers to earn his degrees in math and engineering here in Western New York,” Samra states on her campaign website. “From my parents, I learned the importance of education, hard work, and the need to be resourceful when faced with obstacles.”

    She adds:

    As a high school student, I spoke out against unfair testing practices. While at Williams College, where I worked three jobs to pay my tuition, I organized a group volunteer trip to Biloxi, Mississippi. We did everything from removing mold from homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina to helping community clinics navigate FEMA in order to rebuild.

    After graduating from Williams College with a Bachelors in Psychology and a minor in Spanish, I joined the U.S. Peace Corps where I volunteered in rural Guatemala as a health education specialist for two years. Upon returning home, like many of our young people, I was faced with limited job prospects. I was given an opportunity to help the Town of Brookhaven adopt a recycling education program for their population of nearly 500,000 people. I spent the following four years partnering with mayors and municipal leaders across the Northeast to adopt recycling education programs.

    Following that, I joined the largest global member organization for young people, DoSomething.org, to mobilize millions of young people as social change advocates. Later, I helped start Umbrella, a start-up that used technology to keep seniors safe in their homes by connecting them with affordable and community-driven home care. Most recently, I drove fundraising efforts for Chalkbeat, the fastest growing grassroots journalism organization, supporting their work reporting on inequities in the public school system.

    I currently live in Rochester, NY with my husband, Brian, who works with court-involved young people.

    New York’s 55th Senate District is a sprawling geography–starting down in the Finger Lakes, up through Rush, Mendon, Pittsford, Perinton, Fairport, Penfield, East Rochester, Irondequoit, and the East Side of the City of Rochester.

    My experiences around the state and the country have given me a broad perspective on what’s possible for our region. Now it’s time to bring all that I’ve learned and the relationships I’ve built to the community I love and call home.

    Together we can create a more just, sustainable and inclusive community. Western New York is my forever home. It deserves real leadership.

    Let’s do this!

    Congratulations to Samra Brouk!

    Oballa Oballa: Ethiopian Refugee Wins City Council Election in Austin, Minnesota


    Soon after moving to Austin, Minnesota, Oballa Oballa [whose family fled Gambella, Ethiopia, in 2003] walked into the mayor’s office and asked if there was anything he could do for the city. He just became Austin’s first Black city council member. (Photo: Courtesy of Oballa Oballa)

    Sahan Journal

    Oballa Oballa, a refugee from Ethiopia, wins historic city council election in Austin; becomes city’s first Black elected official.

    Oballa Oballa, a former refugee from Ethiopia who became a naturalized citizen less than one year ago, made history this election by winning a city council seat in the southeast Minnesota city of Austin.

    As of Wednesday afternoon, Oballa, 27, held a 14 percent lead over candidate Helen Jahr and declared victory. Oballa, who had been campaigning for the seat since the beginning of the year, said he is the first person of color to win elected office in Austin.

    On the campaign trail and in interviews, Oballa described a dramatic personal history. His family fled Gambella, Ethiopia, in 2003, following what he describes as a genocidal attack on his community. They spent the next 10 years living in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp. In 2013, the family moved to the U.S., and by 2015, Oballa had settled in Austin.

    Oballa is just one example of how immigrant communities are shaping Minnesota politics well beyond the Twin Cities, and are now starting to win seats for public office. Oballa said his record of civic engagement earned him voters’ support.

    “This makes me feel great, it makes me feel really happy and proud,” he said. “My work, I think, will still give hope to refugees who think the American dream is dead.”

    He added, “Just seven years ago, [I] was living in a refugee camp and now am officially elected. I think that will give them hope that one day, when they come to America here, they will accomplish whatever they put their mind to.”

    Read more »

    —-

    BIDEN DEFEATS TRUMP! USA CELEBRATES

    The Washington Post

    Joe Biden triumphs over Trump, prompting celebration across the U.S. and congratulations from abroad

    Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was elected the nation’s 46th president Saturday in a repudiation of President Trump powered by legions of women and minority voters who rejected his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his divisive, bullying conduct in office.

    Biden’s victory, the culmination of four years of struggle for Democrats, came after a hotly contested election in which it took four days for a winner to be declared after the former vice president was projected to win a series of battleground states, the latest of which was the state where he was born, Pennsylvania.

    Voters also made history in electing as vice president Kamala Devi Harris, 56, a senator from California and daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants who will become the country’s first woman, first Black person and first Asian American to hold the No. 2 job.


    Joe Biden will become the 46th president of the United States after a victory in the state where he was born (Pennsylvania) put him over the 270 electoral votes needed to win. In New York City, spontaneous block parties broke out. People ran out of their buildings, banging on pots. They danced and high-fived with strangers amid honking horns. (AP photo)

    In a statement released Saturday, Biden said he is “honored and humbled” to be the victor in an election in which “a record number of Americans voted.” He said he and Harris looked forward to working on the nation’s many challenges.

    “With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation,” Biden said in the statement, in which his campaign referred to him as “President-elect Joe Biden” for the first time. “It’s time for America to unite. And to heal. We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together.”

    WATCH LIVE: Biden’s win sparks street celebrations around the country

    Harris, in a tweet sent after the result was announced, said the election was about more than the Democratic team.

    “It’s about the soul of America and our willingness to fight for it,” she said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us. Let’s get started.”

    Read more »

    Related:

    Video: Tadias Panel Discussion on Civic Engagement and Voter Mobilization


    On Sunday, October 25th, Tadias Magazine hosted a timely virtual panel discussion on civic engagement and voter mobilization featuring a new generation of Ethiopian American leaders from various professions. You can watch the video below. (Photos: Tadias Magazine)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: October 28th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — The U.S. presidential election is only one week away and Tadias hosted a timely and lively discussion on building political power through civic engagement and voter mobilization on Sunday, October 25th featuring a new generation of Ethiopian American leaders from various professions. You can watch the video below.

    Panelists included Henock Dory, who currently serves as Special Assistant to former President Barack Obama; Tefere Gebre, Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO; Selam Mulugeta Washington, a former Field Organizer with Obama for America, Helen Mesfin from the Helen Show DC, Dr. Menna Demessie, Vice President of Policy Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; Helen Amelga, President of the Ethiopian Democratic Club of Los Angeles (moderator) as well as Bemnet Meshesha and Helen Eshete of the Habeshas Vote initiative. The event opened with poetry reading by Bitaniya Giday, the 2020-2021 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate.

    Ethiopian Americans are as diverse as mainstream America when it comes to our perspectives on various social and political issues, but despite our differences we are all united when it comes to the need to
    empower ourselves and participate in the democratic process through our citizenship rights to vote and run for office.

    So vote on November 3rd.

    Related:

    ‘Habeshas Vote’ Phone Banking Event This Week Aims Outreach to Ethio-Americans


    (Photo courtesy of Habesha Networks)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Published: October 19th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — We are now almost two weeks away from the November 3rd U.S. presidential election. This week the ‘Habeshas Vote’ initiative and the non-profit organization Habesha Networks in partnership with Tadias Magazine and Abbay Media will host their first virtual phone banking event to reach out to the Ethiopian American community.

    The online event, which is set to take place on Thursday, October 22nd from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EDT, will feature various panel discussions, public service announcements and cultural engagements.

    Organizers note that there will be a brief training on phone banking as well as “some amazing prizes” for those that call and text the most voters.

    If You Attend:

    Click here to lean more and RSVP.

    —-

    Related:

    Ethiopian-Americans for Biden-Harris Hosts Virtual Conversation


    Ethiopian-Americans for Biden-Harris is a volunteer-led group that supports the candidacy of Former Vice-President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: October 19th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — As the highly anticipated 2020 U.S. presidential election fast approaches on