Podcast Section

Meet Hunnah: The Secret-Weapon Songwriter Who’s About to Make It Big

Image Source: Instagram user hunnahw


Hunnah makes the kind of music you want to start and end your day with — smooth, jazzy tones that lend themselves to your morning cup of coffee and your evening glass of wine. A Toronto native and daughter of Ethiopian refugees, the 24-year-old’s music is infused with influences of Stevie Wonder and Lauryn Hill, along with Hunnah’s own personal heartbreak and the influence of Ethiopian jazz, making her a unique voice that we can’t stop listening to. Though she only has three songs out, it is clear that she is bringing a rare level of openness to the table; her debut single, “Tell You,” is a bouncy and colorful track that she made with chill trap DJ Pusher, but her latest singles — the buttery-smooth “Think About It” and slow, sultry “Crush” — really give you a feel for who Hunnah is and who she wants to be.

If you ask Hunnah how she got into music, she will make sure to give credit where credit is due. When her father came to Canada as a refugee, he made an unlikely friend, an older woman whom Hunnah now calls Grandma. Grandma is the one who encouraged Hunnah’s father to put her into piano lessons and get involved in music when she was only 9 years old. As a result, much of her childhood was spent singing gospel in the church choir and practicing scales on a piano. Eventually, she studied journalism and human rights at Carleton University. During her studies, she had taken her career path away from music, but she returned to singing as a hobby when she started posting videos of her singing covers on YouTube five years ago.

“I honestly didn’t think I was good enough,” she said, but listeners disagreed, and her videos climbed to over 400,000 views. Soon, publications like Fader and Highsnobiety took notice, and her manager Doris contacted her to come out to Los Angeles and start recording. As she builds up to her debut EP, Hunnah has been gaining a loyal fan base and impressing industry insiders, especially for her collaboration with Cuco, who produced her latest single, “Crush.”

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Press Freedom in Ethiopia Has Blossomed. Will it Last? (The Economist)

(Photo: Reuters)

The Economist

Print edition | Middle East and Africa
Mar 16th 2019 | ADDIS ABABA

Eskinder nega founded his first newspaper, Ethiopis, in 1993. After seven issues it was forced to close, the first paper charged under a muzzling law introduced by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (eprdf), which had shot its way to power two years before. Three more of Eskinder’s newspapers were shut down by the courts. In 2012 he was sentenced to 18 years in prison on charges of terrorism. He was released last year as part of an amnesty for political prisoners.

Ethiopis is back in business, its return symbolising the start of a more hopeful era for press freedom. Hundreds of websites, blogs and satellite-tv channels have been unblocked since Abiy Ahmed took office as prime minister in April last year. For the first time in 13 years there are no journalists in prison; no fewer than 23 publications and six privately owned satellite channels have been given licences by the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority since July.

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U.S. Grounds Boeing 737 MAX Jets

A Chinese man mourns a victim of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash during a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, March 13, 2019. (REUTERS)


Updated: March 13th, 2019

U.S. grounds 737 MAX jets, Boeing shares fall again

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Wednesday said the United States would ground Boeing Co’s 737 MAX jets, following Europe and other nations that have already stopped the planes flying due to safety concerns after an Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday, the second such disaster in less than five months.

It was the second time the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has halted flights of a Boeing plane in six years. It had grounded the 787 Dreamliner due to problems with smoking batteries in 2013.

Shares of the world’s biggest plane maker, which were up earlier in the session, fell 2 percent to $370.48. The shares have fallen about 13 percent since Sunday’s crash, losing about $32 billion of market value.

Shares of Southwest Airlines Co, which has the largest fleet of 737 MAX aircraft, fell 0.4 percent.

“We’re going to be issuing an emergency order of prohibition to ground all flights of the 737 MAX 8 and the 737 MAX 9 and planes associated with that line,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

“The FAA is prepared to make an announcement very shortly regarding the new information and physical evidence that we have received from the site, and from other locations and through a couple of other complaints,” he said.

Boeing said in a statement that it supported the move to temporarily ground 737 MAX operations.

Meanwhile, Germany’s federal agency responsible for investigating air accidents will not analyze the black box from the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed, casting uncertainty over the process of finding out what may have caused the disaster.

“This is a new type of aircraft with a new black box, with new software. We can’t do it,” said Germout Freitag, a spokesman for Germany’s Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU).

The move leaves unclear the destination of the black box, which may yield vital details of what caused the plane to plunge to the ground, killing 157 people.

Canada also grounded 737 MAX jets on Wednesday, saying satellite data suggested similarities to a previous crash involving the same plane model.

Countries around the world had already grounded the 737 MAX jets or banned them from flying over their airspace since the Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed soon after taking off from Addis Ababa.

The still-unexplained crash followed another involving a Boeing 737 MAX in Indonesia five months ago that killed 189 people. Although there is no proof of any link, the twin disasters have spooked passengers.

Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau told a news conference that Ottawa would stop 737 MAX 8 and 9 jets from leaving, arriving or flying over Canada.

He said satellite data suggested similarities between the flight profiles of the Ethiopian jet and that of a Lion Air plane of the same type that crashed in Indonesia last year. Both planes crashed shortly after takeoff.

Air Canada and rival WestJet Airlines operate a total of 37 Boeing 737 MAX jets.

Boeing has said it has full confidence in the 737 MAX – a model that has 371 jets in operation around the world.

Ethiopian Airlines spokesman Asrat Begashaw said it was still unclear what happened on Sunday, but its pilot had reported control issues – as opposed to external factors such as birds.

“The pilot reported flight control problems and requested to turn back. In fact he was allowed to turn back,” he said.

Canada Joins Much of World in Banning Boeing Jet Involved in Ethiopia Crash (AP)

Relatives react at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff on Sunday killing all 157 on board, near Bishoftu, south of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia Wednesday, March 13, 2019. The black box from the Boeing jet that crashed will be sent overseas for analysis but no country has been chosen yet, an Ethiopian Airlines spokesman said Wednesday, as much of the world grounded or barred the plane model and grieving families arrived at the disaster site. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

The Associated Press


Updated: March 13th, 2019

Canada grounds Boeing 737 Max 8s after Ethiopia crash

HEJERE, Ethiopia (AP) — Canada joined much of the world in barring the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet from its airspace on Wednesday, saying satellite tracking data shows possible but unproven similarities between the Ethiopian Airliner crash that killed 157 people and a previous crash involving the model five months ago. The decision left the U.S. as one of the few remaining countries to allow the planes to keep flying.

Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau said a comparison of vertical fluctuations found a “similar profile” to the Lion Air crash that killed 187 people in October.

Garneau emphasized that the data is not conclusive but crossed a threshold that prompted Canada to bar the Max 8. He said the new information indicated that the Ethiopian Airliner jet’s automatic system kicked in to force the nose of the aircraft down after computer software determined it was too high. He said that in the case of the Lion Air crash off Indonesia, the pilot fought against computer software that wanted to drop the nose of the plane.

“So if we look at the profile, there are vertical fluctuations, in the vertical profile of the aircraft and there were similarities in what we saw,” Garneau said. “But I would repeat once again. This is not the proof that is the same root problem. It could be something else.”

Canada lost 18 of its citizens in Sunday’s crash, the second highest number after Kenya. A Canadian family of six were among the dead.

Meanwhile, Ethiopian Airlines said Wednesday that flight recorders from the jet that crashed will be sent abroad for analysis, but it was unclear where. Some aviation experts have warned that finding answers in the crash could take months.

Boeing has said it has no reason to pull the popular aircraft from the skies and does not intend to issue new recommendations about the aircraft to customers. Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg spoke with President Donald Trump and reiterated that the 737 Max 8 is safe, the company said.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has backed the jet’s airworthiness and said it was reviewing all available data.

“Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft,” acting FAA Administrator Daniel K. Elwell said in a statement.

The agency had no response to Canada’s decision, saying it doesn’t comment “on actions that other civil aviation organizations take.”

While aviation experts warn against drawing conclusions until more information emerges from the investigation, more than 40 countries — including the entire European Union — have suspended flights by the Max 8 or barred it from their airspace. China also ordered its airlines to ground the planes — they had 96 Max 8 jets in service, more than one-fourth of the approximately 370 Max jets in circulation.

The list of countries continued to grow Wednesday. Lebanon and Kosovo barred the Boeing 737 Max 8 from their airspace, and Norwegian Air Shuttles said it would seek compensation from Boeing after grounding its fleet. Egypt banned the operation of the aircraft. Thailand ordered budget airline Thai Lion Air to suspend flying the planes for risk assessments. Lion Air confirmed reports it has put on hold the scheduled delivery of four of the jets.

Ethiopian Airlines, widely seen as Africa’s best-managed airline, grounded its remaining four models.

And airline pilots on at least two U.S. flights have reported that an automated system seemed to cause their planes to tilt down suddenly.

Ethiopia was searching for another country to take the black box from Sunday’s plane crash for analysis.

Germout Freitag, a spokesman for Germany’s Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation, said that agency declined a request from Ethiopia to analyze the box because it lacked the software needed.

A spokesman for Ethiopian Airlines, Asrat Begashaw, said the airline has “a range of options” for the data and voice recorders of the flight’s last moments.

“What we can say is we don’t have the capability to probe it here in Ethiopia,” he said, adding that it would be sent to a European country that he did not identify. An airline official has said one of the recorders was partially damaged.

Boeing’s technical team joined U.S., Israeli, Kenyan and other aviation experts in the investigation led by Ethiopian authorities.

An Ethiopian pilot who saw the crash site minutes after the disaster told AP that the plane appeared to have “slid directly into the ground.”

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said their pilots had received special training.

“In addition to the basic trainings given for 737 aircraft types, an additional training was given for the Max version,” Tewolde told state news reporters.

“After the Lion Air crash, questions were raised, so Boeing sent further instructions that it said pilots should know. Those relate to the specific behavior of this specific type of aircraft. As a result, training was given by Boeing, and our pilots have taken it and put it into our manuals,” he said.

Tewolde said he is confident the “investigation will reveal that the crash is not related to Ethiopian Airlines’ safety record.”

Forensic DNA work for identifications of the remains recovered so far has not yet begun, Asrat said. The dead came from 35 countries.

More devastated relatives of victims arrived at the crash site Wednesday, some supported by loved ones and wailing.

Others mourned in private. Dawit Gebremichael sat with a photograph of his only sister, Sara, a flight attendant on the plane. She left three children.

“It is customary for Ethiopians to have a body and a proper burial,” he told the AP. “But we don’t have the body here, and we don’t expect anything now.”


Gillies reported from Toronto. AP writer Yidnek Kirubel contributed from Hejere, Ethiopia.

‘Black Box’ Recovered in Ethiopian Airlines Plane Crash
Ethiopia Mourns Crash Victims as Investigators Seek Answers (AP UPDATE)
Ethiopia grounds Boeing aircraft involved in devastating crash that killed all aboard (Washington Post)
Passengers Who Missed Doomed Ethiopia Flight ‘lucky’ to be Alive (The New York Post)
No Survivors in Ethiopian Airlines Crash En Route to Kenya (AP)

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Ethiopian Community Asking Questions After Police Shooting in Philadelphia

The victim 25-year-old Kelab Belay moved to Philadelphia from Ethiopia to attend Temple University last summer. (KYW)

KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Members of Philadelphia’s Ethiopian and Eritrean communities are asking questions after one of their own was shot by police on Wednesday night. Police say the victim was wielding a knife, but his supporters believe there’s more to the story.

“The information that is relayed on TV and early release from police is very disturbing to me,” Saba Tedla told KYW Newsradio Thursday afternoon. She runs Bookers Restaurant at 49th Street and Baltimore Avenue and is guardian to Kelab Belay.

She says she hired the family friend to work as a busboy at the restaurant last August after he moved to Philadelphia from Ethiopia to attend Temple University. She says the 25-year-old was quickly promoted to bookkeeper and payroll. So when she heard he was shot multiple times by police, she was shocked.

“He’s very laid back, very introvert, super nerdy and very smart,” she said, “so I don’t know how he could be an aggressor.”

p Police say officers responded to a 911 call of a stabbing near the corner of 49th Street and Hazel Avenue just before 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Capt. Sekou Kinebrew says a man carrying a knife came out of a home on the block, approaching the officers.

“Both officers initially retreated while both giving him warnings to drop the knife. The male did not comply and continued to advance toward the officers,” he said.

That’s when a 27-year-old officer, a four-year veteran, allegedly shot the man multiple times.

“We searched the scene and the home in search of a stabbing victim. At this point, we have not found anyone that was stabbed,” says Kinebrew.

A kitchen knife was found at the scene. Police have not identified the victim, but Tedla says Belay is the man who was shot.

“How did he end up being shot by police, that’s very puzzling,” said Tedla, “and he had a knife, couldn’t they have used a Taser? Why did they have to use such force, I can’t imagine him being that much of a threat.”

She says the Ethiopian community is already raising money to support Belay and has hired an independent investigator who is already at work.

“We want to shed some light on exactly what triggered this incident,” said Tedla.

Police say the man who was shot is a person of interest. There is no word yet on whether he is under arrest.

Tedla says the Ethiopian community, Belay’s friends and family will gather to come up with next steps.

“We have so many questions,” she said.

Tedla says Belay was a good student at Temple and had just secured a prestigious internship on the Main Line.

City’s Ethiopian community rallies after one of their own is shot by police

Tension Building In Aftermath Of Police Shooting Of Knife-Wielding Man In West Philadelphia (CBS)

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All Female Ethiopian Flight Crew Celebrates International Women’s Day

On Friday, March 8th, 2019 Ethiopian Airlines honors International Women's Day with an all-female flight crew on its Addis Ababa-Oslo route. (Photo: Ethiopian Airlines)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 7th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopian Airlines is celebrating International Women’s Day with an all-female flight crew that will depart Addis Ababa for Oslo, Norway on Friday, March 8th in honor of the United Nations holiday.

In a press release Ethiopian Airlines said the aim is “to show the power of women to the world.”

“The historical flight will be operated by Ethiopian Airlines women professionals from flight deck all the way to the ground including airport operations, flight dispatch, load control, ramp operation, on-board logistics, safety and security, catering as well as air traffic control, which will be carried out entirely by women,” the announcement said.


In a statement the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde GebreMariam, noted: “We are immensely honored that we have women trailblazers in every aspect of our aviation field. Women are an integral part of our success story from the start and with this dedicated flight we honor and celebrate their indispensable contribution to our aviation group and the broader aviation industry, our country and the continent at large. Although women are Africa’s greatest resource, gender inequality still persists in our continent . Therefore, we all need to ensure that women take their right position in all human endeavor by creating the right conditions and through all inclusive engagement models.”

The press release added: “Ethiopian operates five weekly flights to Oslo, Norway via Stockholm with ultra – modern Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It is to be recalled that Ethiopian Airlines has operated four flights to Bankok, Kigali, Lagos, and Buenos Aires, which were operated by women aviation professionals.”

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UK to Return Emperor Tewodros’ Hair

The National Army Museum in England has announced that it will return two locks of hair belonging to Emperor Tewodros II following a formal request from Ethiopia. The announcement also comes after the uproar that was ignited by the Victoria and Albert Museum last year when it displayed historical items looted from the treasury of Emperor Tewodros during the British campaign in Ethiopia in 1868. (Photo: Reuters)

Press release

National Army Museum

National Army Museum Responds to Repatriation Request from Ethiopia


On 17 April 2018, the Minister of Culture and Tourism from the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia made a formal request to the Director of the National Army Museum for the return of hair belonging to Emperor Tewodros II. The hair is considered to be of cultural sensitivity to Ethiopian citizens.


The hair was accessioned into the Museum’s collection in 1959. It was given to the Museum by the family of an artist who had painted the Emperor on his deathbed. Two locks of hair were accessioned at the time, one of which was framed with a letter and the Emperor’s seal. The objects are considered significant to the Museum’s collection for their historical connection to a major and unique campaign fought by the British Army in 1868 and were collected in good faith.


The recommendation to repatriate was prepared by Terri Dendy, Head of Collections Standards and Care at the Museum and agreed upon in principle by the Council of the National Army Museum in November 2018, pending consultation with other stakeholders. Requests for repatriation are treated in accordance with the Museum’s Collections Development Policy and the Museums Association’s Code of Ethics. Claims for repatriation are measured on the basis of the evidence provided to support the claim, balanced alongside the Museum’s obligation to protect and safeguard collections for future generations.

Terri Dendy said: ‘Having spent considerable time researching the provenance and cultural sensitivities around this matter, we believe the Ethiopian government claim to repatriate is reasonable and we are pleased to be able to assist. Our decision to repatriate is very much based on the desire to inter the hair within the tomb alongside the Emperor.’


The Ethiopian government has requested that the hair be returned so that it can be interred with Emperor Tewodros at the Trinity Monastery in the northern part of Ethiopia. The National Army Museum remains in discussions with the Embassy of Ethiopia in London on arrangements for formally returning the items.

The Director of the Museum, Justin Maciejewski DSO MBE, said: ‘We very much look forward to the occasion when we can hand over these symbolic humans remains to the people of Ethiopia.’

The Battle Over Ethiopia’s Meqdela Treasures
Ethiopians Urge Britain to Return Remains of Prince Alemayehu After 150 Years
150 Years After His Death Ethiopia Commemorates Life of Tewodros II
UK Museum Wants to Loan Ethiopia Looted Ethiopian Treasures. Why Not Return It?
A Photo Journal Retracing the Last March of Emperor Tewodros to Meqdela

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In US 2020 Candidates Honor Selma March

US presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey (third from left) pictured with civil rights leader Jesse Jackson during the Bloody Sunday commemoration in Selma, Alabama on Sunday, March 3, 2019. The Associated Press notes "The infamous “Bloody Sunday” on March 7, 1965, galvanized support for the passage of the Voting Rights Act that year." (AP Photo)


On Selma anniversary, Booker calls for new fight for justice

SELMA, Ala. — Thunder rolling above Brown Chapel AME Church, Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker warned Sunday of a looming threat to American democracy and called for protecting the legacy of the civil rights movement with love and action.

“It’s time for us to defend the dream,” Booker said in a keynote speech at Brown Chapel, which two generations ago was the starting point of a peaceful demonstration in support of voting rights that ended in beatings on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The infamous “Bloody Sunday” on March 7, 1965, galvanized support for the passage of the Voting Rights Act that year.

“It’s time that we dare to dream again in America. That is what it takes to make America great. It is up to us to do the work that makes the dream real,” said Booker, a New Jersey senator and one of three White House hopefuls who participated in events commemorating the march.

Saying America faces challenges, Booker said: “People want to make it just about the people in the highest offices of the land. People who traffic in hatred, people in office that defend Nazis or white supremacists, people that point fingers and forget the lessons of King. What we must repent for are not just the vitriolic words and actions of bad people, but the appalling silence and inaction of good people.”

Also visiting Selma on Sunday were Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Joining them was Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee in 2016. Booker and Brown, along with Clinton and civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, marched with dozens of others Sunday afternoon to Edmund Pettus Bridge. Sanders had left for a campaign event in Chicago…

This year’s commemoration came in the early days of a Democratic presidential primary campaign that has focused heavily on issues of race. Several candidates have called President Donald Trump a racist, while others have voiced support for the idea of reparations for the descendants of enslaved black Americans…For the New Jersey senator, much of the day felt personal. In Brown Chapel he sat next to Jackson, for whom he cast his first ballot as an 18-year-old during Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign. He later marched to the bridge alongside Jackson, their arms locked together.

Click here to read the full article »

Addisu Demissie to Manage Cory Booker’s 2020 U.S. Presidential Campaign

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Ethiopians Celebrate 123rd Anniversary of the Battle of Adwa (Reuters)

Men dressed in traditional costumes dance during the 123rd anniversary celebration of the battle of Adwa in Addis Ababa, March 2, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)


By Aaron Maasho

Ethiopians Celebrate Defeat of Colonialists, Call for Unity

ADDIS ABABA – Bedecked in lion mane collars, warriors’ headdresses and military fatigues, thousands of Ethiopians descended on Addis Ababa’s main squares to celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Adwa – one of Ethiopia’s finest hours in the battlefield.

It was in the northern town of Adwa 123 years ago that poorly-armed Ethiopians – clad in such attire – routed an Italian force that sought to expand Rome’s fledgling 19th century colonial empire.

The victory that preserved Ethiopia’s independence in 1896 resounded elsewhere in Africa, becoming a rallying point for Africans a generation later as they bid to end colonial rule.

“I call myself independent because my fearless fathers fought the battle from all corners of the country,” said 27-year old Bonsa Kuma, who arrived in the capital on horseback.

“I rode for two days to get here to remember my heroes,” he told Reuters.

The event was also used by some Ethiopians to call for unity at a time of persistent ethnic strife that has left over 2 million people displaced due to violence in the last two years.

“Adwa for me is a sign of freedom and a sign of unity of the country. Today’s generation should learn the importance of unity and abstain from clashing on the basis of ethnicity,” said Tiki Gebreab, a 36-year old Addis Ababa resident who attended the celebrations.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed also joined a chorus of calls to end violence.

“The young generation of today should repeat the victory of Adwa by defeating current challenges and barriers,” Abiy said in remarks published by state-owned media.

The Adwa Legacy Art Exhibition at the Ethiopian Embassy in DC
The Concept Behind Ethiopia’s Adwa Pan-African University: Interview with Dr. Ayele Bekerie
Ethiopia: The Victory of Adwa, An Exemplary Triumph to the Rest of Africa
Adwa: Genesis of Unscrambled Africa
119 Years Anniversary of Ethiopia’s Victory at the Battle of Adwa on March 1st, 1896
Reflection on 118th Anniversary of Ethiopia’s Victory at Adwa
The Significance of the 1896 Battle of Adwa
Call for the Registry of Adwa as UNESCO World Heritage Site

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HRW Visits Ethiopia for 1st Time in 8 Years

A woman walks on bridge to a station of the city's light railway, in Addis Ababa. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)


Ethiopia Lets in Human Rights Watch for First Time in 8 Years

After more than two years of protests, power changed hands in Ethiopia last April. Under the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia is shedding its reputation as a country that tortures detainees and spies on its citizens. The authorities have released thousands of political prisoners and dismissed some abusive security force officers. The decades-long conflict with neighboring Eritrea came to an end. And for the first time in eight years, Human Rights Watch staff who cover Ethiopia were permitted to visit the country. Senior Researcher Felix Horne talks with Amy Braunschweiger about these exciting steps forward, as well as his concerns about rising tensions among ethnic groups in the country’s rural areas.

How has Ethiopia changed since you were last there?

Addis Ababa, the capital, has changed so much. Unlike before, modern asphalt roads are everywhere, there are freeways, tall, modern shiny buildings, lots of new restaurants, and a light rail system. It used to smell of smoke, from people burning wood to prepare food, but that smell is now gone. People seemed to feel much more free to express their opinions. They were speaking very openly about sensitive subjects in public spaces, cafes, and mini buses. That’s not the Addis I knew, where everyone was looking over their shoulder to see who was eavesdropping.

You went specifically for a workshop on rebuilding civil society. What did you learn?

Under the 2009 Charities and Societies Proclamation, civil society groups working on human rights issues in Ethiopia was decimated. Most nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) were closed. Others had their bank accounts frozen. But a new law was passed earlier this month. It eliminates most of the draconian restrictions from previous legislation. The new agency registering NGOs needs to get up and running and that will take time, but we hope NGOs will be able to register soon, which will open up possibilities for funding. Then they can document abuses and advocate for respect for human rights, which is critical ahead of the May 2020 elections.

What was the workshop like?

There was a feeling of newfound optimism there. Still, it was starkly evident the extent to which civil society working on human rights has been decimated since the Charities and Societies Proclamation was passed 10 years ago. It will clearly take time for the sector to recover. At the workshop, international and Ethiopian NGOs, such as the Human Rights Council of Ethiopia and the Consortium of Ethiopian Rights Organizations, discussed advocacy strategies and research gaps, and talked about economic, social, and cultural rights. It was a chance for everyone to get together in person. There were people there who I knew quite well but had never actually met. It was nice to put faces to names.

Did anything surprise you?

Some of the activists organized a press conference at the end of the workshop, and I honestly didn’t expect much media interest. But 60 journalists showed up, and most were from the state media. When I talked about how it was our first visa in eight years, there was applause. They asked questions about what work we planned to do in Ethiopia and if we’d open up an office there.

State media never covered our work in the past, and that has clearly changed. But media is still publishing a pro-government prospective. For example, we spoke about all the great reforms happening, and we also talked about our concerns. But most of the media never reported on the concerns.

I have this memory from the press conference, when, among the microphones was one from ETV, which is the main state broadcaster, and next to it was one from OMN, the Oromia Media Network, which used to be banned in Ethiopia. The former government went to great lengths to jam OMN’s television broadcasts and had unfairly charged it under the counterterrorism law. It was great to see them side-to-side and a powerful image of change in the media landscape.

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US Invests $40m in Ethiopia Health Care

U.S. investing $40 million to support goal of universal health coverage in Ethiopia. (U.S. Embassy Ethiopia)

Press Release

U.S. Embassy Ethiopia

Today the United States launched a new, five-year USD $40 million Health Financing Improvement Program to invest in expanding Ethiopia’s capacity to provide quality affordable healthcare to citizens across the country. Under the new program, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will work with the Ministry of Health to strengthen policy and financing reforms that enable public and private entities to better provide primary health services while reducing out-of-pocket expenses for Ethiopians.

USAID’s Health Financing Improvement Program builds upon the successes of earlier investments like USAID’s community-based health insurance initiative, which currently provides medical coverage to nearly 20 million Ethiopians nationwide. Over the next five years, the new program will focus on mobilizing increased domestic resources and streamlining medical insurance schemes to expand coverage to millions more people. The project will also work with public and private healthcare providers to better utilize resources and revenues to finance their services.

USAID Mission Director Leslie Reed remarked, “We look forward to continuing our joint work to tackle the challenges facing health financing as part of overall efforts to build a truly sustainable and resilient health system in Ethiopia. Together, we can show other developing countries around the world that with the right political will and commitment, it is possible to lay the promising foundation to a self-reliant healthcare system, capable of providing high-quality health services to all citizens in every corner of the country.”

U.S. development programs like the Health Financing Improvement program invest in the capacity of Ethiopian institutions and the Ethiopian people to address their own needs and become stronger partners. The United States is the largest bilateral donor to Ethiopia’s health sector, with approximately USD $150 million per year in funding for HIV/AIDS; malaria; maternal, neonatal and child health; nutrition; tuberculosis; and water, sanitation and hygiene. Overall, the United States has provided over $4 billion in development and humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia over the past five years.

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Q&A with Julie Mehretu – Brooklyn Rail

The following is an interview with Ethiopian American artist Julie Mehretu by The Brooklyn Rail magazine highlighting her current exhibition at Kettle’s Yard gallery in Cambridge, England. (Portrait of Julie Mehretu, pencil on paper by Phong Bui)

The Brooklyn Rail

On the occasion of her current exhibition at Kettle’s Yard, Julie Mehretu spoke with me about her work from the past two decades. The images she has been creating during this time, in the form of paintings and drawings, consider the world we live in today through references to cities, architectural sites, geo-political events, and histories. She shows us an urban landscape that is dynamic and chaotic; constantly in motion. Simultaneously, Mehretu’s fascination with mark-making, and her commitment to drawing as an intuitive force, is vital to how she functions as an artist and to what she makes.

Mehretu was born in Addis Ababa in 1970 to an Ethiopian father and an American mother. She grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, and now lives in New York.

Allie Biswas (Rail): I wanted to start by asking you about the role that drawing initially played in your work.

Julie Mehretu: When I started my MFA, I was making big, abstract oil paintings that looked gestural and expressionistic, even though I wasn’t interested in them looking like that. I would also include what I considered to be cultural indicators—things that might refer to an album or a part of a face, like a mask, for instance. Ultimately, they were super generic; I thought that I was making art, but that wasn’t the case at all. It was more like I was mimicking art, rather than really inventing something. A little later on, I began to think about my mark-making and realised that drawing was something that really generated my work and thinking.

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In Ethiopia AU Inaugurates Majestic New Statue Honoring Emperor Haileselassie

A statue of Emperor Haile Selassie was inaugurated at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. (Photo: Elias Mulugeta Hordofa @eluukoo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 11th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Former Emperor Haile Selassie is finally receiving his due recognition for his role in establishing the African Union (AU) – initially launched as the Organization of African Unity (OAU). On Sunday, February 10th, a majestic new statue in Haile Selassie’s likeness was inaugurated at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital in the presence of heads of state, family members, community leaders and international media.

Among those who attended the event included Ethiopian American social activist Nebyat Aklilu Demessie, who led a grassroots movement for over 6 years to help erect the statue honoring Ethiopia’s last emperor. Nebyat traveled to Ethiopia for the event at the invitation of Haile Selassie’s family.

As we wrote here previously: “On May 25, 1963 [two decades after Ethiopia fought and retained her independence from Italian military occupation] several Heads of State from 32 newly independent African countries gathered in Addis Ababa. The meeting brought together various factions from across the continent that held differing views on how to achieve union among the emerging, decolonized African countries – an issue that also preoccupied the continent’s press and academics at the time. One such promiment group, “The Casablanca bloc,” led by President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, argued for the federation of all African states. A second group of countries called “The “Monrovian bloc”, led by Léopold Senghor of Senegal, preferred a more gradual economic cooperation. Emperor Haile Selassie offered a diplomatic solution and brokered the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now renamed the African Union (AU). The assembly settled its headquarters in Addis Ababa and entrusted Haile Selassie with the very first of its rotating chairmanships. Gamal Abdul Nassar of Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana served as subsequent OAU leaders.”

The Associated press noted “Ethiopians have cheered the statue’s erection, the first on Ethiopian soil since Haile Selassie was mysteriously killed at the age of 83 in 1975 when a military junta called the Derg overthrew the imperial dynasty that existed in Ethiopia for 3,000 years.”

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UN: Ethiopian Chopper Crashes in Sudan

An Ethiopian military helicopter carrying 23 people has crashed inside the compound of the United Nations on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, killing three of its crew members. According to the UN the MI-8 helicopter crashed during a routine operation transporting Ethiopian troops from Kadugli to Abyei on Saturday. Ethiopia has about 4,500 personnel stationed in the region supporting the UN mission. (Photo: UN)

Press Release

United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei

An Ethiopian military helicopter registration Number UNO 379P with 23 passengers on board has crashed today at around 1310H inside the compound of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) killing three of its crew members.

The MI-8 helicopter was on routine operation carrying Ethiopian troops on rotation from Kadugli to Abyei when it crashed. Ten passengers were injured with three in critical condition. The three who are in critical condition have been conveyed to Kadugli en route to Addis Ababa while those not in critical condition are being stabilized at the UNISFA Level II hospital in Abyei.

The immediate cause of the crash is not yet known. UNISFA’s acting Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Gebre Adhana Woldezgu said, “We are investigating the incident.”

“We are deeply saddened by what happened this afternoon. We are extending our condolences to the families of those who died in the crash,” Major General Woldezgu said.

General Gebre Adhana Woldezgu commended UNISFA personnel who responded promptly to the crash by assisting to evacuate passengers from the helicopter, stressing that the casualty figures could have been much higher. “This show of solidarity reflects the spirit of peacekeeping and must be applauded”, General Woldezgu said.

The helicopter flew from Kadugli for the Mission’s regular troop rotation. UNISFA’s sole troop contributing country Ethiopia is currently rotating its soldiers from Kadugli to different sites in the Abyei area.

Ethiopia has around 4,500 personnel on the ground to support UNISFA’s efforts of ensuring peace and security in Abyei.

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This Twitter Thread Clears Up Confusion on The Hague Teff Case (UPDATE)

The following Twitter thread started by legal consultant ልዩ - Leyou @anchihoye in Ethiopia clears up the confusion regarding The Hague Teff Case. (Photo: Preparing injera/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 7th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Below is a great Twitter thread that clears up the confusion on The Hague Teff ruling. In fact the court case was between two companies. The patent holder was suing another company who wanted to use teff products. The second company argued that the patent was invalid to begin with because it failed to show how the patent was itself an innovation. The court then ruled against the patent holder. We can see how Fitsum Arega’s tweet was indicating the invalidation of the patent holder’s claim and how that is in essence a win for Ethiopia in general. But his tweet was also vague and implied that the Ethiopian government directly won an argument in court, which it hasn’t. So we’ll keep an eye on developments. In the meantime here is the Twitter thread started by Legal Consultant and journalist ልዩ – Leyou @anchihoye and a link to a comprehensive summary by the website Quartz Africa as well as The Washington Post.

How Ethiopia got its grain back
Ethiopia’s teff flour is no longer patented as a Dutch invention

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Ethiopia Reforms Mining Industry (Reuters)

A worker extracts salt from the desert in the Danakil Depression, northern Ethiopia. (Reuters Photo)


Ethiopia finalizing mining industry reforms: minister

Ethiopia will finalize reforms for its underdeveloped mining and oil sectors within the next two months as it seeks to encourage more foreign investors, its mines and petroleum minister said on Tuesday.

The country has already cut taxes for mining companies in recent years but the government wants to attract more foreign investment and ease a dollar shortage in the country.

Mines and petroleum minister Samuel Urkato said promoting the mining sector had become a priority and indicated that further tax incentives were on the cards.

“We are reforming all the laws, the national mining policy and the strategy that goes with that policy. These reforms include all fiscal regimes too in order to compete for global mining investments,” Samuel told Reuters on the sidelines of the African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa.

Newmont Mining is among a number of gold companies now prospecting in Ethiopia and Norwegian fertilizer maker Yara International plans to build a potash mine and a fertilizer factory in the country.

Other companies, however, have been put off by poor infrastructure, a shortage of skilled professionals in the sector, as well as a lack of transparency in licensing, industry consultants in Ethiopia say.

Australia’s BHP pulled out in 2012, while Israel Chemicals terminated a potash project in 2016 amid a tax dispute and claims the government had failed to provide infrastructure.

Since coming to office nearly a year ago, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has announced shake-ups across industries, including plans to open up the once closely guarded telecommunications, logistics and power monopolies.

Massive government investment in infrastructure has helped make Ethiopia one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, but exports of garments and other products have struggled to take off, meaning the economy is not generating enough dollars to pay for imports.

Encouraging the mining sector could help. Though still small, it brought in $3.5 billion in foreign direct investment in the past five years, helped by new incentives that included updating the country’s geological data, extending duty-free access to companies engaged in exploration and offering to build infrastructure to accommodate mining sites.

“Take a company working at a remote site. They shouldn’t construct roads. The government should do that. They shouldn’t work on railways. The government will provide that,” Samuel said.

The government reduced the corporate income tax rate for miners to 25 percent two years ago, from 35 percent, and more recently lowered the precious metals royalty rate to 7 percent, from 8 percent.

The current law guarantees the government a 5 percent minimum equity stake in projects – a lower share than many other African countries.

While the government is keen to reap its share of mining revenues, Samuel said it planned more incentives to jump-start the industry.

“We will see later how to improve these royalty and fiscal regimes. We will gradually improve the size of royalties,” he said.

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When Ethiopian Jews Tried to Save European Jews from Holocaust

In 1943 Ethiopian Jews approached Emperor Haile Selassie asking him to give refuge to Jews fleeing Nazism in Europe, the Jerusalem Post reports. The same year "1,500 Greek refugees, among them Greek Jews, had arrived in Ethiopia." (The Jerusalem Post)

The Jerusalem Post

August 1943, at the height of the Holocaust, Ethiopian Jewish leaders approached the Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia with a daring proposal. They asked him to help Jews in Europe flee to Ethiopia and assist Jewish refugees by hosting them in Ethiopian Jewish villages.

Three months after the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and two months after all four of the Auschwitz crematoria were functioning, The Palestine Post, as today’s Jerusalem Post was then called, published an article detailing Jewish immigration to Ethiopia. “Possibilities of Jewish immigration into Abyssinia were discussed by the Ethiopian Minister in London with Mr. Harry Goodman and Dr. Springer of Agudath Israel,” the August 8, 1943 article says. “A leading member of the Falasha (black Jewish) community expressed the desire to assist European Jewry and to welcome them in Falasha towns.” Falasha was the term used to describe Jews in Ethiopia at the time.

Discussions were ongoing in Addis Ababa where the emperor, who had returned to Ethiopia in May 1941 after it was liberated from Italy with British help, was showing support for the plan. 1,500 Greek refugees, among them Greek Jews, had arrived in Ethiopia in 1943, the article says.

Selassie had stayed at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1936 and was familiar with the Jewish minority in his country. He also worked closely with Orde Wingate, the British officer who was a passionate Zionist and who led the Gideon Force, which defeated the Italian fascist army in Ethiopia. Ethiopian leaders and the Ethiopian Jewish community were therefore familiar with the local Jewish community and the plight of Jews worldwide at the time.

While Ethiopian Jews suffered under the Italian occupation, by 1943 they were able to reach out to the emperor to suggest hosting Jews fleeing Europe. By that time it was too late for many of the Jews of Europe ensnared in the Nazi noose.

Read more »

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Looking Ahead to Davos and Addis in 2020

As Ethiopia prepares to convene the 29th World Economic Forum on Africa for a second time next year, here is a timely CNBC article by the CEO of General Atlantic Bill Ford highlighting what everyone will be talking about at the Forum's 2020 Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, which will be held in advance of the Ethiopia conference and may set the agenda for the Africa version of the gathering. (Photo: PM Abiy Ahmed at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, January 23rd/ Office of the Prime Minister @PMEthiopia)


Here’s what everyone will be talking about at Davos in 2020 and beyond

Understanding the state of our world and how we can shape that agenda is the primary purpose of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting at Davos, Switzerland.

The theme for this year’s gathering is Globalization 4.0 – how we’re handling the changes wrought on the world by the increasing interconnectedness of cultures and economies.

We must also reckon with the future. Digitization, Big Data, and the migration of IT services to the cloud are driving change now but we’re also starting to see the opportunities that will lead to Globalization 5.0.

These are the themes we believe will dominate the Davos gatherings of the future:

Read more »

The 2020 World Economic Forum on Africa to be Held in Ethiopia (UPDATED)
Watch: At World Economic Forum PM Abiy Outlines New Investment Opportunities in Ethiopia:

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Al Amoudi Released From Saudi Custody

Ethiopian-born Saudi businessman Mohammed Al Amoudi has been released from detention in Saudi Arabia. (Photo: Mohammed Al Amoudi by photographer Hans Berggren)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: January 27th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-born businessman Mohammed Al Amoudi, who has been in Saudi custody for more than a year, has been freed from detention. “Yes, Al Amoudi has been released and is on his way home to Jeddah. His flight was at 9 or 10 a.m. Saudi time. He called his family; his family told me,” Mesfin Regassa, a friend and close associate of the businessman, told Bloomberg.

According to Reuters “Two Saudi sources confirmed that Al Amoudi had been released on Sunday, nearly 15 months after he was detained with scores of princes, ministers and businessmen in the state-run anti-corruption campaign.”

The news was first reported by Ethiopian TV, which quoted the CEO of Al Amoudi’s MIDROC Group Arega Yirdaw as its source.

On social media PM Abiy Ahmed’s office expressed its best wishes to the billionaire business tycoon noting that Dr. Abiy had brought up Al Amoudi’s case with the authorities in Saudi Arabia during his official travel there last May. “One of the issues included the release of Mohammed Al Amoudi,” the office of the Prime Minister said on Twitter. “Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in his Millenium Hall address later in May 2018 further assured of his return. We wish Mohammed Al Amoudi a safe return to Ethiopia.”

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In US: Another Trump Confidant is Arrested

U.S. federal agents have arrested another longtime associate of President Donald Trump for lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering in connection with the Russia investigation. Roger Stone (pictured above) was arrested in a pre-dawn raid at his Florida home on Friday. (AP photo)

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Roger Stone, a confidant of President Donald Trump, was arrested in the special counsel’s Russia investigation in a pre-dawn raid at his Florida home on Friday and was charged with lying to Congress and obstructing the probe.

The seven-count indictment against Stone, a self-proclaimed “dirty trickster,” is the first criminal case in months from special counsel Robert Mueller.

It provides the most detail to date about how Trump campaign associates in the summer of 2016 were actively seeking to politically benefit from the release of hacked material damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. It alleges that unnamed senior Trump campaign officials contacted Stone to ask when stolen emails relating to Clinton might be disclosed.

The indictment does not charge Stone with conspiring with WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website that published the emails, or with the Russian officers Mueller says hacked them. Instead, it accuses him of witness tampering, obstruction and false statements about his interactions related to WikiLeaks’ release. Some of those false statements were made to the House intelligence committee, according to the indictment.

CNN aired video of the raid at Stone’s Fort Lauderdale home, showing FBI agents in body armor using large weapons and night-vision equipment, running up to the home and banging repeatedly on the door.

“FBI open the door!” one shouts. “FBI, warrant!” Stone could then be seen in the doorway in his sleepwear before he was led away. He is expected to appear in court later Friday.

Stone is the sixth Trump aide charged in Mueller’s investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign and the 34th person overall. The investigation has laid bare multiple contacts between Trump associates and Russia during the campaign and transition period and efforts by several to conceal those communications.

Well-known for his political antics and hard ball tactics, Stone has reveled in being a Washington wheeler-dealer dating back to the Nixon administration. He has also pushed several conspiracy theories and was an early and vocal supporter of Trump’s candidacy.

The case against Stone comes weeks after Trump’s former national security adviser was castigated by a judge in open court and just hours before Paul Manafort, his ex-campaign chairman , was due in court on allegations that he had lied to Mueller’s prosecutors.

Stone was one of Trump’s earliest political advisers, encouraging both his presidential runs. He briefly served on Trump’s 2016 campaign, but was pushed out amid infighting with then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Stone continued communicating with Trump on occasion and stayed plugged into the circle of advisers — both formal and informal — who worked with and around Trump.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s press secretary, told CNN Friday the charges brought against Stone “don’t have anything to do with the president.”

According to the indictment, many of those conversations involved WikiLeaks. The indictment lays out in detail Stone’s conversations about stolen Democratic emails posted by the group in the weeks before Trump, a Republican, beat Clinton. Mueller’s office has said those emails, belonging to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, were hacked by Russian intelligence officers.

The document says that by June and July 2016, Stone had told senior Trump campaign officials that he had information indicating that WikiLeaks had obtained documents that could be damaging to Clinton’s campaign.

After the July 22, 2016, WikiLeaks release of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee, the indictment says a senior Trump campaign “was directed” to contact Stone about additional releases and “what other damaging information” WikiLeaks had “regarding the Clinton campaign.” The indictment does not name the official or say who directed the outreach to Stone.

Another Trump campaign official cited in the indictment is Steve Bannon, who later became Trump’s chief strategist in the White House. Bannon, referred to as a “high-ranking Trump Campaign official,” exchanged emails with Stone in October 2016 about WikiLeaks’ plans for releasing hacked material. The indictment quotes from those emails, which had previously been made public by news outlets.

While the indictment provides some new insight into the Trump campaign, it deals largely with what prosecutors say were Stone’s false statements about his conversations with conservative writer and conspiracy theorist, Jerome Corsi, and New York radio host, Randy Credico. Corsi is referred to as Person 1 in the indictment, and Credico as Person 2.

The indictment accuses Stone of carrying out a “prolonged effort” to keep Credico from contradicting his testimony before the House intelligence committee. During that effort, prosecutors note that Stone repeatedly told Credico to “do a ‘Frank Pentangeli,’” a reference to a character in “The Godfather: Part II” who lies before a congressional committee.

Stone is also accused of threatening Credico. The indictment cites several messages, some of which have already been public, that Stone sent to Credico last year. On April 9, Stone called Credico a “rat” and a “stoolie” and accused him of backstabbing his friends. Stone also threatened to “take that dog away from you,” a reference to Credico’s dog, Bianca.

“I am so ready. Let’s get it on. Prepare to die (expletive),” Stone also wrote to Credico.

The indictment had been expected. Stone has said for months he was prepared to be charged, though he has denied any wrongdoing. A grand jury for months had heard from witnesses connected to Stone. And the intelligence committee last year voted to release a transcript of Stone’s testimony to Mueller as a precursor to an indictment.

Attorney Grant Smith, who represents Stone, did not return a phone message seeking comment Friday.

Stone has publicly denigrated the Mueller investigation and echoed the president’s descriptions of it as a witch hunt. But he has long attracted investigators’ attention, especially in light of a 2016 tweet that appeared to presage knowledge that emails stolen from Podesta would soon be released. Stone has said he had no inside information about the contents of the emails in WikiLeaks’ possession or the timing of when they’d be released.

Stone has said he learned from Credico that WikiLeaks had the emails and planned to disclose them. Stone has also spoken openly about his contacts with Corsi.

Credico hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing. Last year, Mueller’s prosecutors offered a plea agreement to Corsi that would have required him to admit that he intentionally lied to investigators about a discussion with Stone about WikiLeaks. But he rejected the offer and denied that he lied.

In a tweet Friday, Podesta wrote that it was now “Roger’s time in the barrel.” That was a play on Stone’s own words. Stone had tweeted cryptically before the Podesta emails were disclosed that it would soon be Podesta’s “time in the barrel.”

Read the indictment: http://apne.ws/1P23qpR

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Timket: Photos From Ethiopia

Timket celebration at Jan Meda in Addis Ababa. (Photo: BBC)


In pictures: Ethiopians celebrate the festival of Timket

Ethiopian Orthodox Christians have been celebrating the festival of Timket, or Epiphany, which commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan.

In Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, thousands of worshippers marched through the streets on Friday, the eve of the festival, to the Jan Meda sports grounds.

Getty Images

BBC photo

BBC photo

See more photos at BBC.com »

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Ethiopia-Eritrea Border Boom – BBC

The reopening of the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea has dramatically changed the towns near the frontier, BBC reports. (Photo: People come to Adigrat to stock up on all sorts of items. By GIRMAY GERBA)


Ethiopia-Eritrea Border Boom as Peace Takes Hold

The sun had just risen but the market in Adigrat was already coming alive when I went to visit.

Dozens of makeshift stalls lined the street where a group of women traders were sifting chickpeas.

In another place an elderly man was removing chickens from cages and placing them outside his shop.

You can buy almost anything at the market: spices, building materials, fridges and washing machines.

The market in this Ethiopian town, just 38km (24 miles) south of the border, has been transformed since the border opened four months ago after a peace deal ended the “state of war” between the two nations.

Many Eritreans now cross over to see what they can buy.

‘We love peace’

Mebrhit Gebrehans, a middle-aged woman with a big smile, is one of the traders whose business is booming.

She was busy opening a sack full of fresh spices and was calling over potential customers when I met her.

“What we fear is war. We love peace. When the Eritreans come to this market, I welcome them with a smiling face. They buy spices, honey, grains and even biscuits. And we buy different clothes from them,” she said.

“When the border reopened, we were worried there would be shortages of some things, but there hasn’t been. Everything is normal,” she added.

Just down the road, there was a section of shops selling plastic wares, from brightly coloured water tanks to jerry cans to plastic sandals.

Shop owner Haile Bisrat told me cheerfully that treating his Eritrean brothers well was not only about cementing peace. It also made good financial sense.

“We get to make a little more profit than before as the market is in a better state.

Read more »

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The Guardian View on Ethiopia: Editorial

Prime minister Abiy Ahmed. (Getty Images)

The Guardian


The Guardian view on Ethiopia: change is welcome, but must be secured

Ethiopians could be forgiven for their scepticism when their new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, promised sweeping reforms last spring. The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front coalition which appointed him toyed with change in 2005 – only to revert to its usual autocratic form. Now wariness has been replaced by genuine enthusiasm; the transformation is happening at dizzying speed. But the obstacles and perils are also clearer.

Mr Abiy, 42, has followed symbolic shifts with more substantive action. His president, chief justice and half of his ministers are female. He freed thousands of political prisoners and journalists, before arresting senior officials for human rights abuses and corruption. He overturned bans on opposition groups and invited an exiled dissident home to head the election board. The next polls are scheduled for 2020. Last time, not one opposition MP was elected. Mr Abiy’s overtures to Eritrea led to the end of a long-running conflict. He oversaw the meeting of South Sudanese leaders that produced a fragile but desperately needed peace deal. This – along with Eritrea’s ensuing rapprochement with Somalia and Djibouti – led the UN secretary general António Guterres to speak of “a wind of hope blowing in the Horn of Africa”.

Yet Ethiopia has seen an alarming rise in multi-faceted ethnic violence. Over a million citizens were displaced last year. State controls have loosened in a country with entrenched divisions and rivalries: the EPRDF has heavily promoted ethnic identity as the basis for mobilisation, including through the complex system of ethnic federalism it introduced. Some fear the security apparatus does not know how to tackle clashes by any means other than the old, brutal methods. This autumn, following criticism over its handling of unrest, the government detained over a thousand in military camps for “rehabilitation”. There are fears Mr Abiy’s plans for overhauling the economy, including privatising state enterprises, may enrich some but hinder progress on poverty reduction. Any perception some are profiting from the sell-off of state assets could be inflammatory.

Too much rests upon Mr Abiy at present. One concern is that charismatic leadership can slide into unchecked personal power. Another is that any leader seeking change must battle powerful interests. The EPRDF is riven by competition between its four ethnically based parties and institutional and personal rivalries. The chair of the Tigray party recently accused Mr Abiy of “seeking to bring Tigrayan people to their knees”. His premiership has seen a grenade attack on one of his rallies and the arrival of angry soldiers at his office; he says they wanted to kill him. His defusal of that situation hinted at his adroitness; his background in the military has also surely been useful to him. Given that the EPRDF had until last year been Tigray-dominated, his rise as an Oromo (with an Amhara mother), reflects his skills as a politician as well as the Oromo protests which triggered his predecessor’s resignation.

But with only a year until elections are due, there is still no proper political roadmap from the government. Swift progress is needed in reforming repressive laws. Some would like to see a new constitution dismantling ethnic federalism, though most suspect prudence will restrain Mr Abiy from such a wholesale change. His record to date is unquestionably impressive. But the developments he has set in train in Africa’s second most populous nation can only be secured by institutions.

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IN PICTURES | Along the Banks of Ethiopia’s Blue Nile

More than 20 of the world’s oldest monastic churches that date back to the 14th century are located on the peninsulas and islands of Ethiopia's Lake Tana. (Photo: Inside the 14th century Ura Kidane Mehret church/Forbes Africa)


The Blue Nile pours out of Ethiopia’s Lake Tana as a gentle bubbling stream. Around is an ancient land with life-giving waters.

If one needs to be transported to biblical times, the time machine to do so resides on the banks of the Blue Nile in Ethiopia. This ancient land of many cultures and religions has resisted modernity, leaving many of its traditions intact, as I witnessed traveling through the historic Christian circuit of Ethiopia.

The mysterious Nile was long-hidden from Western geographers and explorers. It was not until the expeditions of such great travelers as Bruce, Burton, and Speke in the 18th century that the origins were confirmed: the White Nile originates in East Africa’s Lake Victoria, while the Blue Nile pours out of Ethiopia’s Lake Tana.

Photos: Forbes

It merges with the smaller tributary, the White Nile, at Khartoum, Sudan, to form the mighty Nile River.

The Blue Nile was responsible for the annual floods that contributed to the fertility of the Nile Valley and subsequent rise of the Egyptian civilization. This ended with the construction of the Aswan Dam in the 1960s in Egypt.

For my exploration, I started in Addis Ababa and flew into Bahir Dar, a clean, safe and well-maintained city (by African standards) and the closest approach to the Blue Nile.

It offers access to more than 20 of the world’s oldest monastic churches that date back to the 14th century, located on the peninsulas and islands of Lake Tana. I hired a boat that regularly plies Lake Tana to visit many of its churches and small villages.

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Ethiopia Launches iGuide for Investment

“The investment guide is about making relevant and up-to-date content available to existing and potential investors,” said Fitsum Arega, Ethiopia’s Investment Commissioner, adding that “it should help us bridge the gap between foreign investors and small and medium enterprises.” (Photo: EBC)


The iGuide provides investors with all they need to know to invest in the country. It also highlights areas for reform in the country’s investment environment and helps the government to understand investor needs.

“The investment guide is about making relevant and up-to-date content available to existing and potential investors,” said Fitsum Arega, Ethiopia’s Investment Commissioner, adding that “it should help us bridge the gap between foreign investors and small and medium enterprises.”

The website covers topics such as the rules and procedures for starting a business, taxes, acquisition of land, skills and wage expectations of the local labour force, quality of infrastructure, investor rights and business sectors with exceptionally high investment potential.

Users who wish to obtain more detailed information can consult additional documents that have been uploaded, such as relevant laws and useful contact information. The site also features extensive feedback collected among investors on the ground.

Officials at the Ethiopia Investment Commission developed the content of the guide, with the site designed to make the information easily updateable.

“The guides help countries attract better quality and greener foreign investment, and provide investors with information that is otherwise scattered across many different websites or outright not available,” UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Isabelle Durant said at the launch.

$2.5 trillion

“UNCTAD has estimated that annual private investment flows of $2.5 trillion are required between now and 2030 to meet the sustainable development goals,” Ms. Durant added.

“Productive and responsible investment, particularly in infrastructure, will also underpin regional integration of the type required to reap the benefits from the African Continental Free Trade Area and take the region towards the ambitious targets of Agenda 2063.”

Also present was ECA Executive Secretary Vera Songwe, who said that the online guide was a “demonstration of taking Africa to the digital age”.

To-date UNCTAD has produced 16 investment guides in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, of which seven, including Ethiopia, have been created in partnership with the Economic Commission for Africa. UNCTAD is also working with the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies to develop guides for the Caribbean region.

UNCTAD’s data has shown that countries benefiting from investment guides have a stronger foreign direct investment performance when compared to the benchmark trends for all developing countries.

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Ways to Boost Donor Participation for the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund

Advisory council members of the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund during a press conference at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, DC on Saturday, December 1st, 2018. (Photo by Matt Andrea/Tadias)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: December 17th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) – Under the ideal fundraising projection scenario if the majority of Ethiopians in the Diaspora, estimated to be around 2 million, were to be persuaded to give $1 a day ($365 a year) Ethiopia could easily bring in more than half a billion dollars annually to make a real and lasting impact in the country. Of course fundraising rarely works out according to the perfect predictions and expectations, but as the American author Norman Vincent Peale says it’s best to “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

So far the recently established Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund (EDTF), which officially started accepting donations this past October, has done an excellent job of setting up its basic organizational structure, which includes bylaws, an official website, guidance and information for the formation of local chapters, as well as work towards greater transparency when it comes to fund allocation and the fulfillment of other legally required obligations. In a short period of time, EDTF funds have reached the $500,000 threshold with donations from approximately 3,000 individuals, which is half of EDTF’s stated goal of raising one million by the end of 2018. Although their fundraising numbers are not as high as the initial predictions, there is plenty of room for greater civic engagement that is truly one-of-a-kind among the Ethiopian Diaspora.

We believe that the potential and capacity of the larger Ethiopian Diaspora community is waiting to be tapped and suggest that more grassroots efforts to engage individuals through civic engagement activities would help boost efforts to increase donor participation. There are excellent community-based examples of grassroots events that we can reflect on as EDTF moves forward in achieving its goals. In essence, individuals need to feel involved in more ways than one to feel more connected not just to a cause but to its successful implementation.

Below are a few from both the Ethiopian American Diaspora as well as from well-known global initiatives that may be worth learning from:

Tesfa Ineste Campaign – this grassroots campaign chaired by Ms. Abaynesh Asrat collaborated with the Hamlin Fistula USA Foundation to help raise $300,000 to fully finance the building and opening of a hospital in Harar as well as launch one of Ethiopia’s first program for midwife education to further prevent fistula cases. The Tesfa Ineste committee was instrumental in raising 66% of this funding from individual Ethiopians through a social media campaign and a dinner with committee members recruiting friends and supporters across the United States to participate.

Artists for Charity, which was launched by Ethiopian American Abezash Tamerat and until recently hosted annual art auctions, was an impressive social activism model that engaged artists, health experts, and community volunteers to help launch and run one of Ethiopia’s first home for children who were HIV-positive and orphaned.

On the global front, intimate gatherings with global social media outreach such as “Night of a Thousand Dinners” has helped fund programs from landmine removals to support for refugee education. The program entails hosting an intimate dinner for friends and family who donate funds that are then contributed to a campaign. It may sound like a small and simple concept, but when multiplied across the globe the impact is tremendous. Other human rights-focused non-profits like Amnesty International have always encouraged their donors to not only pay membership dues but likewise to be part of their urgent action network and write for rights campaigns where volunteers go off-line to volunteer their time and effort in initiatives that help them to connect to the individuals they are standing up for.

Providing a space for dialogue, events, mixers and forums is a great way to boost the Ethiopian Diaspora’s sense of ownership in the success of EDTF regardless of political or social affiliations. As Ethiopians in the Diaspora we can all agree that participation in causes that provide more access to clean water, education, and the empowerment of our peers is valuable and meaningful. EDTF has announced that they plan to start providing funds to social causes once they hit the 1 million dollar mark. Let’s increase civic engagement off-line to help us get beyond that number and more closer to the original prediction!

Few Takeaways From EDTF Press Conference at Ethiopian Embassy in DC
Interview: Dr. Lemma Senbet on the Diaspora Trust Fund & Chapter Formation
Interview with Dr. Bisrat Aklilu About the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia (Tadias Editorial/July 10th, 2018)

You can learn more about the fund and contribute at ethiopiatrustfund.org.

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Update on Al Amoudi: He’s Alive and Well

The Ethiopian-born businessman has been in Saudi custody for more than a year with little official information about his status, while as Bloomberg reports "rumors spread among Saudi Arabia’s business elite that he had died. Al Amoudi has been in touch with relatives and is reported to be in good health, according to his spokesman, Tim Pendry. He disputed that Al Amoudi has been officially charged with any wrongdoing and declined further comment." Meanwhile, despite his incarceration Al Amoudi's international business is booming. Bloomberg notes that since his arrest last year "his net worth has climbed by about 6 percent to $8.3 billion." (Photo: Mohammed al Amoudi by photographer Hans Berggren)


More than a year ago, he vanished into the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh, along with dozens of Saudi princes and businessmen.

Before long, rumors swirled: Was the billionaire Mohammed Al Amoudi even alive?

Now, at last, comes the answer. Al Amoudi, is “still alive” and will stand trial at some point for corruption and bribery, according to a Saudi official, who asked not to be identified.

What’s remarkable about his situation is that despite his prolonged detainment, a result of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s crackdown on graft in the Kingdom, the bulk of Al Amoudi’s global business empire has boomed.

Sales at his Sweden-based oil refiner Preem AB have surged more than 30 percent and his Stockholm office properties have risen in value. Since he was seized by security forces in Riyadh last year, his net worth has climbed by about 6 percent to $8.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 richest people.

The situation highlights the contradictions and absurdities of being a wealthy Saudi under the de facto reign of the crown prince, whose embargo of Qatar, war in Yemen and alleged role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi have shocked the world but prompted little apparent change in his agenda.

A Saudi official who asked not to be identified confirmed Thursday that the billionaire is in custody, though no trial date has been set. Al Amoudi has been in touch with relatives and is reported to be in good health, according to his spokesman, Tim Pendry. He disputed that Al Amoudi has been officially charged with any wrongdoing and declined further comment.

Read more »

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21 Killed in Ethnic Violence in Ethiopia

The violence broke out near the town of Moyale...On top of the fatalities, 61 people were injured in the fighting, the state-affiliated Fana radio reported. (Photo: A refugee camp on the Ethiopian-Kenyan border near the town of Moyale, Kenya/Reuters)


At least 21 people have been killed in two days of fighting between ethnic groups in southern Ethiopia, the state-affiliated Fana radio reported on Friday,

The violence broke out near the town of Moyale, on the border with Kenya, in a region claimed by both the Oromo, the largest ethnic group in the country, and the Somali ethnic group.

On top of the fatalities, 61 people were injured in the fighting, Fana reported, citing the Oromia regional state communication office.

Many more were displaced by the fighting in the region which has regularly been the scene of intercommunal violence.

Last year fighting between members of the two ethnic groups left more than a million people displaced.

While Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has received international praise for his reformist agenda, since coming to power in April, a wave of intercommunal violence in several parts of the country – mostly over land issues – has marred the first few months of his rule.

Three Ethiopian students were also killed and 34 others injured after a fight on a campus escalated into deadly ethnic clashes in the west of the Horn of Africa country, the government said on Wednesday.

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Ethiopia Sets 2022 for Nile Dam’s Completion Amid Delays

The dam’s construction managers have concerns about the quality of the electro-mechanical works that were handled by the country’s military-run Metal and Engineering Corporation. Latest official figures indicate the dam is now more than 65 percent complete. - The Associated Press. (Photo via VOA)



ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia’s controversial Nile River dam will not be completed until 2022, more than four years behind schedule, because of possible defects with the hydro-electrical plant’s equipment, an official said Thursday.

The dam’s construction managers have concerns about the quality of the electro-mechanical works that were handled by the country’s military-run Metal and Engineering Corporation.

“We have a plan to generate power from the first two units within the coming two years and then probably the dam will be completed in the year 2022,” the dam’s construction manager, Kifle Hora, told The Associated Press on Thursday. Experts are assessing some electro-mechanical equipment for possible defects, he said. “Based on the assessment, we are going to devise a remedial solution which we may have to take,” he said.

The assessment came after the installation of the electro-mechanical works, described by officials as one of the most sophisticated parts of the dam, were taken away from the military-run Metal and Engineering Corporation and given to other contractors. The company’s former head, Maj. Gen. Kinfe Dagnew, and other senior officials were jailed recently on charges of corruption and embezzlement.

“We first noticed problems with the dam’s electro-mechanical and metal works two years ago but we only started taking detailed measurements in the past few months,” Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity Minister, Sileshi Bekele, said.

“This (military) corporation has no prior experience and I highly doubt if some of the people have ever seen a hydropower plant. The government made a mistake in assigning a local contractor that has no knowledge and experience of such a complex project. In my opinion, it was a grave mistake and we are paying a price for that,” Kifle said, adding that construction of other parts of the dam is continuing.

The dam’s former manager, Semegnew Bekele, was found dead inside his car on July in the center of the capital, Addis Ababa. Police officials later said he committed suicide but some Ethiopians suspect foul play.

The dam’s construction has created controversy in the region as Egypt fears that its agriculture would be badly affected if too much of the Nile’s waters are retained each year by Ethiopia’s dam. Ethiopia maintains that the dam’s construction will not reduce Egypt’s share of the water and that the dam is necessary for Ethiopia’s development, pointing out that 60 percent of it 100 million citizens don’t have access to electricity.

Latest official figures indicate the dam is now more than 65 percent complete. Once completed, it will generate about 6,400 megawatts, more than doubling Ethiopia’s current production of 4,000 megawatts.

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Tackling Hate Speech in Ethiopia (HRW)

Internet café in Lalibela. © 2010 Hemis.fr/AFP Photo


Criminalizing Speech Won’t Solve Problem

Hate and dangerous speech is a serious and growing problem in Ethiopia, both online and offline. It has contributed to the growing ethnic tensions and conflicts across the country that have created more than 1.4 million new internally displaced people in the first half of 2018 alone. The government says it will pass a new law on hate speech to counter this. But around the world, laws criminalizing hate speech have been often and easily abused – and there are other options.

In the past year, speeches by government officials, activists and others in Ethiopia have disseminated quickly through social media and helped trigger or fuel violent conflicts in the country.

It is encouraging that Ethiopia’s government says hate speech must be addressed. But any law that limits freedom of expression by punishing hate speech must be narrowly drawn and enforced with restraint, so that it only targets speech that is likely to incite imminent violence or discrimination that cannot be prevented through other means. Many governments have tried and failed to strike the right balance, and Ethiopia’s own track record offers reason for alarm. In the past, the Ethiopian government has used vague legal definitions including in its anti-terrorism law, to crack down on peaceful expressions of dissent.

What Ethiopia needs is a comprehensive new strategy – one that even a carefully drawn hate speech law should only be one small part of. This could include public education campaigns, programs to improve digital literacy, and efforts to encourage self-regulation within and between communities. The prime minister and other public figures could also speak out regularly and openly about the dangers of hate speech. Donors, eager to support the reform process, could help support such a strategy. And social media companies should do more, including ensuring they have sufficient resources to respond quickly to reports that speech on their platform may lead to violence.

Ethiopians also need new platforms and opportunities to express their grievances and discuss critical issues, beyond social media. The growing list of independent media outlets, as well as universities, civil society organizations, political parties, and others could provide helpful environments for discussion.

Ethiopia is currently rewriting its civil society law and anti-terrorism law – both of which were used in the past to stifle dissent and limit freedom of expression. It should be careful not to undermine those efforts by drafting a new law that could be used for the same kinds of abuse.

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Fact Check: Ethiopia Diaspora “Leaders” Wrong on Obama

It's been almost two years since President Obama has left the White House, but unfortunately our so called "Diaspora leaders" (unelected) are still obsessed with their own spin and propaganda about the former President of the United States (twice-elected), who has always enjoyed and continues to enjoy wide support and respect among the diverse Ethiopian American community. How true is the often repeated claim and suggestion that "Human Rights" was not on Obama's agenda during his landmark visit to the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia three years ago? Or, for that matter, during Obama's meeting with the then Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn? A quick internet search reveals that in fact the topic was high on the list. Below is how USA Today reported the American president's trip to Ethiopia in July of 2015. (Photo: Obama in Ethiopia greeting the catering staff at the National Palace in Addis Ababa, July 2015/by Pete Souza)

USA TODAY | Published July 27, 2015

Obama talks about security and human rights in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — President Obama pressed the government of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on Monday to ease restrictions on free speech, the press and political opposition in the impoverished East African nation.

“When all voices are being heard, when people know they are being included in the political process, that makes a country more successful,” Obama said at a joint news conference with Desalegn.

Later Monday, Obama and representatives from the 54-nation African Union, headquartered here, met to discuss terrorism, human rights and regional security issues.

The White House said most of the discussion focused on neighboring South Sudan, which has been embroiled in a bloody civil war since December 2013. Before the meeting, Obama said that “conditions on the ground (in South Sudan) are getting much, much worse.”

South Sudan, which became a nation in July 2011, has until Aug. 17 to accept a peace and power-sharing agreement between warring government factions. Most of the discussion Monday focused on how to get an agreement next month, and some participants talked about sanctions or military intervention if the warring parties fail to settle their differences, the White House said.

Obama’s visit to Ethiopia is a first by a sitting U.S. president, and the second country on a two-stop tour that began in neighboring Kenya, the nation where his late father was born.

Around this capital city, security was tight, with roadblocks on major thoroughfares and residents — as in Kenya — ordered to stay home and out of the downtown area. Even so, residents came out in force, hoping to take photos of Obama as he drove by.

“I’m heading to town on foot to try my luck if I can see President Obama passing,” said Aluka Kemal, 35, a businessman who lives in the neighborhood of Gulele.

Around a market area at the northern end of Churchill Avenue, hundreds of people lined the streets waving both American and Ethiopian flags. Some held posters of Obama, chanted his name and sang songs.

Ethiopia’s economy has been growing by nearly 10% annually in recent years but remains one of Africa’s poorest nations, with unemployment around 17%. It is the second-most populous country in Africa, after Nigeria, and faces a threat from al-Shabab militants based in neighboring Somalia. Ethiopia has taken part in regional military operations against the group.

President Obama is now the first sitting US President to visit Ethiopia. He arrived at the National Palace to meet with that country’s Prime Minister on Monday. (July 27) AP

Human rights organizations say the government has used its war against terror to clamp down on political opposition groups and basic freedoms. Ethiopia is the world’s second-worst jailer of journalists in Africa, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Ahead of Obama’s arrival, the government released several journalists and bloggers it had been holding since April 2014 on charges of incitement and terrorism. Many others remain in detention.

Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security adviser, said Obama’s visit is not a sign of approval of Ethiopia’s human rights record.

Photos: President Obama Becomes First Sitting U.S. President to Visit Ethiopia

Obama Alumni Return to Washington, This Time as House Freshmen
Alex Assefa, Joe Neguse & lhan Omar: Ethiopian, Eritrean & Somali Make History in 2018 US Election
Democrats Capture U.S. House Majority in Rebuke to Trump

Watch: Historic Record number of women heading to U.S. Congress

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Obama Alumni Return to Washington

Tom Malinowski of New Jersey who served President Barack Obama as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor is one of several former Obama administration officials that were elected to the U.S. Congress in 2018. “This is a group that has really seen it all,” said Eric Lesser, a former Obama White House aide who is now a state senator in Massachusetts. “They’re just not going to be intimidated.” (Photo: NYT)

The New York Times

Obama Alumni Return to Washington, This Time as House Freshmen

WASHINGTON — Their previous jobs have taken them to the Oval Office, the Situation Room and the Senate floor. One met with a Saudi king and plotted strategy to fight the Islamic State. Another cracked down on human rights abuses in North Korea. Their Rolodexes are flush with former cabinet members and current Pentagon officials who are happy to take their calls.

Nearly a dozen members of the House’s incoming class are far from being gawky freshmen, stumbling wide-eyed through the strange corridors of Capitol Hill, but are instead experienced policymakers who have worked in previous presidential administrations — seven of them for former President Barack Obama. Their return to Washington is, in part, a way to undo what they see as the unspooling of the values and legacy of the nation’s 44th president…

“This is a group that has really seen it all,” said Eric Lesser, a former Obama White House aide who is now a state senator in Massachusetts. “They’re just not going to be intimidated.”

A pair of them, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Mr. Malinowski of New Jersey, have previously tussled with Congress. Ms. Slotkin, a former C.I.A. officer who served three tours of duty in Iraq and informed the nation’s strategy against the Islamic State, appeared before the Senate for her confirmation hearing as a nominee for assistant secretary of defense to Mr. Obama. (She also served under George W. Bush.)

Mr. Malinowski, who helped levy sanctions against North Korean officials for human rights abuses, was confirmed as assistant secretary of state after receiving lavish praise from Senator John McCain. Another incoming member, Haley Stevens of Michigan, was once in charge of Mr. Obama’s Senate confirmations and cabinet designations.

Read the full article at NYTimes.com »

Alex Assefa, Joe Neguse & lhan Omar: Ethiopian, Eritrean & Somali Make History in 2018 US Election
Democrats Capture U.S. House Majority in Rebuke to Trump

Watch: Historic Record number of women heading to U.S. Congress

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Facebook Shuts 20 Fake Ethiopia Pages

Fana Broadcasting Corporate’s announcement comes as Ethiopians complain that fake news reports in recent months have contributed to mass violence and deaths in some parts of the country. (Photo: FBC)



Facebook Shuts 20 Pages Claiming to be Ethiopian Broadcaster

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — A major Ethiopian broadcaster says Facebook has shut 20 pages that falsely used its name.

Fana Broadcasting Corporate’s announcement comes as Ethiopians complain that fake news reports in recent months have contributed to mass violence and deaths in some parts of the country.

“Based on our request, Facebook has shut down 13 fake pages in the past week alone. In recent weeks, a total of 20 fake Fana pages that were spreading fake news were shut down,” Mekoya Hailemariam, head editor of Fana’s online publications, told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “The pages were using our official logo and mixing our authentic news items with fake ones to intentionally spread misinformation. Some of these fake pages used to have as high as 45,000 followers.”

Ethiopia has one of the lowest internet penetrations in the world with about 15 percent of its citizens having access to the net, according to Internet World Stats. The number of people using Facebook in Ethiopia, is estimated to be about 4.5 million of its 100 million inhabitants.

“There are only a few independent and free media outlets in Ethiopia,” said Befkadu Hailu, a prominent blogger in Ethiopia. “Hence, people are exposed to rumors, fake news and conspiracy theories. As such, they are exploited in many ways.”

Ethiopia’s reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in April, has relaxed the government’s control of the media, freeing journalists and bloggers who were in jail and unlocking several dozen online media outlets. But Abiy has warned on several occasions that fabricated stories are jeopardizing the public’s peace and security.

“Youths should refrain from taking measures based on misinformation and fake news,” Abiy said in August. “This will only hamper our reform efforts and lead us to failure ultimately.”

The Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Fitsum Arega, also tweeted in August urging the public to “disregard falsehoods” and stay away from “fabricated stories.”

In recent months, Ethiopians were exposed to fake news reports that sometimes led to violent and deadly events. One video that circulated four months ago purported to show ethnic Oromos throwing dead bodies of ethnic Somalis into a grave. The video was blamed for instigating a violent confrontation.

In another example, fake news reports last week accused the country’s running great, Haile Gebrselassie, of renting the ground floor of one of his buildings in the capital Addis Ababa to security agencies that were torturing people inside. He later dismissed it as an “utter lie.”

This East African nation has cut off internet in several occasions to curb the flow of information, notably during its two recent emergency rules.

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Ethiopia Courts Pharmaceuticals Investors

Ethiopians spend $700 million a year on pharmaceuticals, only a fifth of which are produced locally. Spending on medication is expected to grow to more than $900 million by 2020, according to Anteneh Senbeta of the Ethiopian Investment Commission. (Bloomberg)


By Samuel Gebre

Ethiopia Courts Pharmaceuticals Investors as Demand Surge Seen

Ethiopia is offering tax breaks and other incentives to lure foreign drugs manufacturers as the government forecasts demand will increase by almost a third by the end of the decade.

Ethiopians spend $700 million a year on pharmaceuticals, only a fifth of which are produced locally. Spending on medication is expected to grow to more than $900 million by 2020, Anteneh Senbeta, the deputy commissioner for corporate affairs at the Ethiopian Investment Commission, said in an emailed response to queries.

Foreign companies have ploughed $213 million into the industry in the past two years, lured by government offers to facilitate exports and allow companies to repatriate profits, the agency said. The government has promised tax exemptions for factories at an export-processing facility on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa, one of several established across the country.

Two Chinese companies, Humanwell Healthcare Group Co. and Sansheng Holdings Group Co., invested a total $100 million in another industrial park over the past two years, according to Kartik Akileswaran, a governance adviser at the EIC.

The latest investor to announce its entry into Ethiopia is Mumbai-based Kilitch Drugs India Ltd., which plans to build a plant to manufacture medicinal vials by mid-2019. United Arab Emirates drug-maker Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries has a hub in Ethiopia, from where its eyeing east and west African markets.

“There is a strong investment policy focused on pharmaceuticals, with tax exemptions, a one-stop shop for government services and a price preference in public procurement,” Senbeta said.

Read more »

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Ethiopia Corruption Crackdown (UPDATE)

Former Director General of METEC, Major General Kinfe Dagnew, was arrested on corruption charges on November 13th, 2018. (Photo: Fana Broadcasting)


By ELIAS MESERET | Updated November 13, 2018

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia has detained the former head of a large military-run industrial conglomerate, a day after the country’s attorney general disclosed that several hundred million dollars was embezzled from the firm.

The state broadcaster ETV reported that Maj. Gen. Kinfe Dagnew, former head of the Metal and Engineering Corporation, was arrested near the Sudanese border where he was trying to flee.

The arrest is viewed as a direct hit on Ethiopia’s military establishment, the latest of several major changes implemented by reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, 42, since he came to power in April.

Images of the former official in handcuffs arriving by helicopter in the capital, Addis Ababa, have been aired repeatedly by the state broadcaster. The news of Kinfe’s arrest has captured the attention of many in this East African nation as he was one of the most feared figures in the country until a few months ago.

“He was a dictator who was not willing to solve our problems,” Desalegn Kebede, who did business with him, told the Associated Press. “I’m very happy that he is now under custody. We hope that he will get what he deserves.”

Ethiopia’s Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye stated on Monday that 27 suspects were arrested from the military-run company on allegations of corruption. He alleged that an estimated $2 billion worth of procurements were made without an open tender.

In addition, a further 36 individuals were apprehended for alleged human rights violation.

The previous government of Ethiopia, a close security ally of the West, was often accused of rights violations by international groups and activists. Abiy’s new government has carried out several reforms including releasing several thousand political prisoners, permitting opposition groups to return from exile, dropping terror charges against prominent opposition leaders and relaxing restrictions against the media.

But still ethnic-based clashes have broken out in some parts of the country and pose the most serious threat to Abiy’s leadership of Ethiopia’s 100 million people.

Video: Former Director General of METEC, Major General Kinfe Dagnew, who was taken into custody today, arrives in AddisAbaba (Fana Broadcasting)

Ethiopia Arrests 63 Suspected of Rights Abuses, Corruption


By Elias Meseret 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia has arrested 63 intelligence officials, military personnel and businesspeople on allegations of rights violations and corruption, the country’s attorney general announced Monday.

The sweeping high-profile arrests carried out in recent days are a result of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s order for a months-long investigation into misdoings under the previous government.

Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye told the media that some of those arrested are suspected of abuses of prisoners including “beatings, forced confessions, sodomy, rape, electrocution and even killings.”

Some of those arrested are accused of mismanaging a state-owned military corporation, the Metal and Engineering Corporation, that was looted in a multi-billion dollar corruption scheme, he said.

Berhanu also said that Ethiopia’s former spy chief is suspected of involvement in an attempt to assassinate the new prime minster at a rally on June 23. While other officials implicated in the plot have fled the country, the former intelligence chief is now residing in northern Ethiopia and should turn himself in to authorities, he said.

Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye told local journalists on Monday, November 12th the detention comes after five months of investigation. (Photo: Fana Broadcasting)

Yilikal Getnet, an opposition figure, told The Associated Press the public had demanded the arrests of the former officials.

“These have been issues that we in the opposition have long been calling for, too,” he said, adding that Ethiopia needs a truth and reconciliation process to investigate past misdoings. “The ruling party alone can’t bring justice for all these atrocities committed in the past.”

Under the previous government, Ethiopia, a close security ally of the West, used to be accused of rights violations by human rights activists. Since Abiy, 42, came to power in April his new government has released several thousand political prisoners, permitted exiled opposition groups to return home, dropped terror charges against prominent opposition politicians and permitted the media to operate more freely.

Despite the reforms, ethnic-based clashes are continuing in some parts of Ethiopia and pose the most serious threat to Abiy’s leadership of this East African nation of 100 million people.

Amnesty International welcomed the arrests.

“These arrests are an important first step toward ensuring full accountability for the abuses that have dogged the country for several decades,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s East Africa Director. “Many of these officials were at the helm of government agencies infamous for perpetrating gross human rights violations, such as torture and the arbitrary detention of people including in secret facilities. We urge the government of Prime Minister Abiy to take further steps to ensure justice and accountability for all past human rights violations and abuses, while at the same time ensuring all the individuals arrested receive fair trials.”

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In Ethiopia U.S. Ambassador Holds a Round Table With Journalists

Ambassador Mike Raynor & Negussie Mengesha, Voice of America Africa Division Head, led a round table discussion with journalists at U.S. Embassy Addis on October 24, 2018. (@USEmbassyAddis)

Press Release

Michael Raynor
U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia
at a round table with VOA team and journalists
U.S. Embassy, Addis Ababa
October 24, 2018

(As prepared for delivery)

Good afternoon everyone.

I’d like to thank our friends from Voice of America for organizing this roundtable, and especially to thank all of you for your commitment to your profession.

Professional journalism is hard work.

It takes effort, commitment, and in today’s world, courage.

But it’s also incredibly important.

As Ethiopia pursues its unprecedented democratic and economic reforms, thoughtful, impactful, and high-quality journalism is more important than ever before.

Ethiopia needs you.

Ethiopia needs you because having access to credible and unbiased information, and being able to use that information to make wise decisions, is a fundamental requirement of any democracy.

Democracies simply don’t survive if information flows only from the government to the governed; rather, democracies must sustain, and benefit from, conversations in all directions.

And the better-informed those conversation are, the stronger the democracy.

That’s where everyone in this room comes in.

As Ethiopia’s reform efforts continue, both the government and the people will need credible and responsible media outlets.

Journalism must ensure that people are informed about what the government, opposition groups, and civil society are saying and doing.

No less important, journalism must also scrutinize these actors and their actions, provide context, research the facts, and present a range of views to help people understand the options before them and reach well-informed conclusions.

Journalism best meets these needs when it objectively reflects a range of views, provides a platform for discussion that is open to all voices, welcomes constructive dissent, and is as inclusive as possible.

For journalism to play its essential role, certain principles are fundamentally important.

First, the media must trade in facts, not speculation.

Second, the media must avoid bias by creating space for diverse views.

Third, the media must not only present diverse views, but exercise judgement and provide context when reporting on those views.

This is essential in helping people sort opinion from fact to assess the credibility of various voices.

While featuring diverse voices is important, journalists need to track down the facts and help the Ethiopian people sort through the tremendous volume of information, and mis-information, that inundates us all in these complicated times.

And finally, journalists must remember that journalism and activism are not the same things.

Both are important in a democracy, and no democracy can survive without them both, but confusing the two harms the integrity and credibility of the journalist, while doing a disservice to the audience as well.

As I said earlier, professional journalism is hard work.

We at the U.S. Embassy know and appreciate this, and we’re committed to improving your access to the tools, learning opportunities, and space for you to do your jobs.

Back in August, we held our annual dialogue with the Ethiopian government on democracy, human rights, and governance here in Addis.

One of the key outcomes of this dialogue was an agreement to explore ways the United States can help support professional journalism in Ethiopia.

We welcome His Excellency Prime Minister Dr. Abiy’s prioritization of media freedom and reform, and look forward to supporting these positive developments.

But it will take more than changing the law to advance the profession of journalism.

The United States is committed to doing our part.

Our Embassy recently concluded a program that trained over 260 journalists, in every region of Ethiopia, on investigative reporting focused on exploring the impact that development projects have on the country.

We’ve brought Fulbright Scholars and Specialists, and Ambassador’s Distinguished Scholars, to work with journalists and journalism students, as part of our ongoing collaboration with Ethiopian universities to strengthen the next generation of Ethiopian journalists.

Next week, we’ll begin another training program, in partnership with the British Embassy, that will increase transparency and the flow of information between journalists and government officials.

We’re launching a fund to support the sustainability and professionalism of new independent media houses.

And we continue to send Ethiopian government officials on exchange programs to the United States, to share our experience in creating an enabling environment for broadcast media.

Such programs are intended to invest in you, Ethiopia’s professional journalists, and the important work that you do.

All we ask in return is that you do your best.

Do your best to take your stories a step further, to ask the hard questions, to track down additional sources, to question what you think you know, and, most importantly, to be forthright about what you don’t know.

And then to share that information with the public in a way that leaves them well-informed, while leaving it up to them to form their own opinions and conclusions.

As Ethiopia approaches upcoming local and national elections, journalists like you can play a tremendous role in focusing public discourse on the issues that matter to people.

How will various parties and candidates create jobs; support an inclusive political environment; provide security without infringing on rights; and improve education, health care, and other citizens’ services?

By asking such questions, and by providing factual context to the answers, you can help your fellow citizens make informed decisions when they cast their ballots.

But remember that elections are just one part of the democratic process.

In many ways, the real work starts after the results are tallied.

In a democracy, journalists play an essential role in holding elected officials accountable for their promises, and must ensure that the public is informed about what their elected officials are doing.

Democracy, like journalism, takes hard work, and journalism and democracy are inextricably linked.

In the end, neither one can thrive without the other.

As Ethiopia embarks upon a fundamentally new era of democracy, the work you do is more important than ever.

I hope that in your discussion today, you will consider what steps are needed to empower the media in Ethiopia.

And if you identify areas where the United States can help, please let us know.

Thank you again for your commitment to your noble and essential profession, and know that you have the full support of the United States every step of the way.

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Ethiopia’s GOC to Open 100 Cafés in China

Through a deal with Suzhou Reyto trading company, Garden of Coffee (GOC) says it will ship 12 tons of hand-roasted coffee to China in the first year. The company has also launched advertisement and marketing on the multi-purpose messaging and social media app WeChat, will soon place its product on the shopping site Taobao. But it’s big plan is to open over 100 café roasteries across China by 2022. (Quartz)

Quartz Africa

Ethiopia’s Homegrown Coffee Brand GOC to Open 100 Cafés in China

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu has a dream: that everyone should one day taste hand-roasted Ethiopian coffee.

Widely acknowledged as the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia is one of the world’s largest coffee bean producers and Africa’s top grower of the plant. Coffee is also brewed and drank in the Horn of Africa nation in elaborate ceremonies, often using crafting techniques passed down from generations over centuries. As an entrepreneur, Alemu always wanted to replicate this dynamic experience—what she calls “the magical process”—to coffee lovers worldwide.

And so was born in 2016 the idea for Garden of Coffee, a brand that uses artisanal methods to source, process, roast, and package Ethiopia’s legendary beans. Twenty workers at the company’s atelier in Addis Ababa currently oversee this activity, roasting five types of coffee beans only for individual orders and shipping them to over 20 countries including Russia, Sweden, Germany, and the United States.


Alemu is now venturing out of Ethiopia. In August, Garden of Coffee launched in China, a tea-loving market that is increasingly turning towards coffee. Starbucks, Coca-Cola, e-commerce giant Alibaba, hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, and local Chinese start-up Luckin Coffee have in recent years all bet big on China’s nascent coffee scene. Java House, East Africa’s largest chain of coffee shops, also said in August it would capitalize on this increased demand for specialty coffee to supply the Chinese market.

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Diaspora Trust Fund Launches Website

Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund. (Image: YouTube)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 21st, 2018

Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund to Accept Donations Online

New York (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund will start accepting donations through its website, ethiopiatrustfund.org, beginning Monday October 22nd, 2018.

The fund, which is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, allows donors to make tax-deductible contributions.

Below is the official announcement:

Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund

The primary objective of the Ethiopia Diaspora Trust Fund (EDTF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is to finance people-focused social and economic development projects.

Our Mission:

The EDTF aims to finance projects that meet critical needs selected based on their potential to make the highest positive impact on groups and communities in Ethiopia in areas such as:

★ health
★ education
★ water and sanitation facilities
★ habilitation and rehabilitation of persons with disability
★ agricultural development
★ technology
★ small scale entrepreneurship
★ other income and employment generating projects

The EDTF will give priority attention to projects focusing on youth, women, small holder farmers, small enterprises and entrepreneurs who can be agents of inclusive social and economic development.


Responding to Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s call for action and in support of his message of love, forgiveness, reconciliation, unity and peace, the Ethiopian Diaspora has enthusiastically accepted his challenge and is ready to contribute at least 1 US dollar a day to fund vital unmet inclusive economic and social development projects in Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian Diaspora supports the bold peaceful political democratization reform launched by the Prime Minister and his government with the goal of achieving a durable solution to Ethiopia’s socio-political and economic challenges that meets the legitimate aspirations of all of Ethiopians — irrespective of ethnicity, language, religion, and gender — including:

★ A life of dignity, freedom, equality, justice and economic opportunity
★ Equitable and inclusive social and economic development
★ National unity based on peaceful cooperation among Ethiopia’s diverse communities

The EDTF Terms of Reference provides the rationale, guiding principles and operating procedures, including the EDTF’s governance, project approval, implementation, reporting monitoring and evaluation. The EDTF responds to the Prime Minster’s call for action through a funding facility that will enable the Ethiopian Diaspora world-wide to contribute to the improvement of their fellow citizens.

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America’s Iconic Former First Lady Michelle Obama Prepares for Rock Star Book Tour

The iconic former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama is preparing for a rock star book tour next month starting in her hometown of Chicago on November 13th, 2018. Her memoir "Becoming" is set to be translated in 28 languages worldwide. The following is a highlight by publisher Penguin Random House. (Photo: The cover image from the book released by Crown Publishing Group)

Press Release

IN A LIFE filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

The full tour schedule is below:

Nov. 13: Chicago — United Center
Nov. 15: Los Angeles — The Forum
Nov. 17: Washington — Capital One Arena
Nov. 24: Boston — TD Garden
Nov. 29: Philadelphia — Wells Fargo Center
Dec. 1: Brooklyn — Barclays Center
Dec. 11: Detroit — Little Caesars Arena
Dec. 13: Denver — Pepsi Center
Dec. 14: San Jose — SAP Center
Dec. 17: Dallas — American Airlines Center

Learn more and buy tickets at https://becomingmichelleobama.com.

Michelle Obama is claiming her own spotlight. (Video)

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Obama: ‘Let’s Make History’ on Nov. 6th

The following is a message from former U.S. President Barack Obama urging young Americans to vote on Nov. 6 midterm elections. (Photo: @barackobama/Facebook)

Organizing for Action

By Barack Obama

In 19 days, we have the opportunity of a lifetime — the opportunity to help decide this country’s course.

See, the story of America is a story of progress. Sometimes slow, sometimes frustrating, but always forward.

But our progress isn’t inevitable. And it wasn’t achieved by a handful of famous leaders. It was won because of countless quiet acts of heroism and dedication by citizens like you who refused to be bystanders. Instead, they marched and mobilized and voted to make history.

Now I don’t have to tell you that we face extraordinary times. But here’s the good news: In 19 days, we have the chance to restore some sanity to our politics and bend the arc of history toward justice once again.

Because there is only one real guardrail when Washington veers off course, and that’s you. You and your vote. And your friends’ and families’ and neighbors’ votes.

The antidote to government by a powerful few is government by the organized, energized many.

In 19 days, you can make history. In 19 days, you can put America back on track. In 19 days, you can set the stage for all kinds of progress. But it won’t happen by itself. It won’t happen if we decide to be bystanders instead of change-makers.

We’ve got to do the work.

So I’m asking you: If you haven’t already voted, make a plan right now. Make sure everybody you know is doing the same.

Grab a friend and go knock doors or make phone calls for candidates you believe in — because there are only 19 days left. Don’t wake up disappointed on November 7th, thinking, “I could’ve done more.” Let’s give this country all we’ve got.

If you’re ready to take me up on that — ready to play your critical role in shaping our democracy — say you’re in.

Barack Obama Launches Video Urging Young Americans to Vote


Former President Barack Obama is using digital-media to reach millennials — with a new video aimed at getting young Americans to the polls for the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

“Look, a lot of our elected officials are misinformed,” Obama says in the video.

At another point, Obama ribs Republican senators who questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg “like they’d never used the internet before… because they haven’t.”

“Here’s your chance to vote for people who actually know what the internet is,” Obama says. “You wouldn’t let your grandparents pick your playlist. Why would you let them pick your representative who’s going to determine your future?”

The full Obama get-out-the-vote video is available on ATTN:’s Facebook page and its YouTube channel, with a shorter version available on Instagram.

Watch: President Obama Doesn’t Have Time For These 7 Excuses Not To Vote

Michelle Obama’s vacation is over. Now she’s claiming her own spotlight. (Video)

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Spotlight: Helen Show on Professional Women and Motherhood (Video)

Mimi Hailegiorghis, Department Head Systems Performance Engineering at Mitre Corporation, and Tseday Alehegn, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tadias Magazine, on Helen Show. (EBS TV)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 16th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The latest episode of the Helen Show on EBS TV features a timely topic: professional women and motherhood.

The show’s host Helen Mesfin speaks with Mimi Hailegiorghis, who is a Department Head of Systems Performance Engineering at Mitre Corporation, and Tseday Alehegn, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tadias Magazine.


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Michelle Obama’s vacation is over. Now she’s claiming her own spotlight. (Video)

Former first lady Michelle Obama prepares to take the stage during a When We All Vote rally at Chaparral High School in Las Vegas. Obama, the founder and co-chairwoman of the organization, spoke at the September rally with over 2,000 volunteers and eligible voters present. (The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

Twenty-one months after she left the White House, Michelle Obama is returning to public life feeling purposeful and invigorated. She launched, within weeks, high-profile social initiatives on voting and girls education while preparing for a mega-book tour unlike any book tour, well, ever.

Fans already have purchased tens of thousands of tickets to hear Obama share stories from her memoir, “Becoming,” in basketball arenas in 10 cities. Combined with the celebrity-laden rollouts of her latest projects, the former first lady is demonstrating a mix of uncommon star-power and bankability while advancing themes that have long mattered to her.

Obama, 54, feels liberated after a decade in an unrelenting political spotlight where she was tethered to her husband’s career and a White House role marked by both opportunities and constraints alike, say those who know her well. They say she is reveling in the chance to develop meaningful pursuits entirely her own.

“The possibilities are infinite,” said longtime friend and former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, who describes Obama as fired-up and happy. “Now she’s able to lead her best life and to create and own it in her own image.”

Today on a New York television stage, Obama unveiled a project intended to help educate tens of millions of adolescent girls denied the chance to finish high school. The Global Girls Alliance, developed quietly over the past year, scored an hour of coverage on NBC’s “Today Show,” ending with a concert by Jennifer Hudson, Meghan Trainor and Kelly Clarkson.

Read more »

Michelle Obama to young voters: ‘It’s time for us to move out of the way and let you lead’

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Celebrating International Day of the Girl with Girls Gotta Run Foundation

Girls Gotta Run Foundation celebrates International Day of the Girl with Virtual Relay (Photo Courtesy: GGRF)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: October 11th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — October 11th is International Day of the Girl, and Girls Gotta Run Foundation (GGRF), which works in Bekoji and Soddo in Ethiopia, is joining the global celebration with the launch of their Day of the Girl Virtual Relay to raise funds for GGRF athletic scholars set to run an ultra relay in January 2019.

“RUN anywhere you are in the world on October 11th in honor of International Day of the Girl and join runners across the globe by logging your miles on Strava or with Ragnar Relay,” states the event announcement. “CELEBRATE girl changemakers in Ethiopia by sharing your run on social media using #DayoftheGirlRelay, making a donation to GGRF in honor of the inspiring women in your life, or joining us in Ethiopia for the first ever GGRF Bekoji Ultra Relay in January 2019.”

In London, GGRF is co-hosting a panel discussion with the Tate Modern focusing on the power of collaboration among organizations “to empower girls and women around the world.
” Panel speakers include: Daniel Demissie, Filmmaker of Town of Runners documentary; Dora Atim and Jessie Zapotechne, Girl Effect Run Leaders, and Kayla Nolan, Executive Director of Girls Gotta Run Foundation. The London event also features photography and artwork by GGRF athletic scholars.

Since 2007 GGRF has been working at the grassroots level in four key areas to improve the lives of girls, ages 11-18, in Ethiopia by providing athletic scholarships and increasing access to education, while creating opportunities for entrepreneurship and savings for mothers.

The organization’s vision statement notes: “Girls Gotta Run envisions a world that empowers and invests in the exceptional initiative of young women who are working to establish their place in the world as competitive runners and leaders in their communities, who are finding strength, courage and power in their pursuit of excellence, and who are achieving their fullest potential in running and society.”

GGRF programs in Ethiopia have included the provision of athletic scholarships in Sodo and Bekoji, a Running Across Borders project in Addis Ababa, the Simien Girls Runners program and a one year scholarship program for young Ethiopian women runners in collaboration with the YaYa Village in preparation for professional athlete careers.

Click here to register for the virtual relay.

Why Girls Gotta Run: Interview with Patricia Ortman

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Michelle Obama to young voters: ‘It’s time for us to move out of the way and let you lead’

As the 2018 midterm U.S. elections fast approaches on November 6, an all-out national effort is underway to register millennials and young people to vote including by former first lady Michelle Obama, co-chair of the voter registration group When We Vote. (Photo: Michelle Obama rallies young voters at University of Miami last week. | Miami Herald)

USA Today

Michelle Obama to young voters: ‘It’s time for us to move out of the way and let you lead’

Michelle Obama brought her voter registration campaign to the University of Miami on Friday, rallying thousands of students and residents to “have a say in the issues we care about.”

It was the final stop of her Week of Action tour for When We All Vote at the University of Miami’s Watsco Center, before a crowd of about 6,000. The former first lady co-chairs the nonpartisan organization, which aims to encourage voting.

In front of an audience whose shirts read “Register to vote,” “#MSDStrong,” “Andrew Gillum for Governor,” and “I support Planned Parenthood,” Obama stressed that voting is the way to make sure citizens’ voices are heard.

“It’s time for us to move out of the way and let you lead,” Obama told the young people in the audience, many of whom flashed the university’s U hand sign as she addressed them directly. “This is no longer about me, it’s not about Barack, it’s about you.”

Obama stressed she was “not stumping for any one candidate,” and did not mention the names of any elected officials. But she said she is frustrated by the “daily chaos,” “pettiness,” and “meanness” of politics, adding that whenever she feels like shutting it all out, she thinks of her dad, who made sure he voted in every election.

“He went to vote for the same reason he went to work – to provide for his family,” Obama said.

Read more »

As Election Day Approaches, Here’s How to Register to Vote

If you’re at least 18 years old and planning to vote on Nov. 6, listen up: Voter registration deadlines are coming.

Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia require voters to register before casting ballots in local, state or federal elections. Registration deadlines vary, but the majority occur throughout October – and 19 of those deadlines are Tuesday. In many states, residents can register in person, by mail or online.

Here’s what you need to know.

The basics

U.S. citizens ages 18 and older who meet their state’s residency requirements can register to vote by filling out a form. (Find your state’s requirements here.) Most states allow online registration, but you can also register at your local or state board of elections office.

North Dakota is the only state that doesn’t require registration before voting.

Most states also allow voters to cast their ballots before Election Day. Find out if your state does early voting here.

Read more »

Midterms: How can election groups get out the vote when just half of Americans say process is ‘fair and open’?

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Tibor Nagy – Newly-Appointed Top US Diplomat for Africa Praises Ethiopia, Eritrea

The Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy testified before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on recent developments in Ethiopia on Wednesday September 12th, 2018. (C-SPAN)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: September 13th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The newly appointed U.S. Under Secretary of State for African Affairs, Tibor Nagy, praised the reform efforts underway in Ethiopia and the recent peace deal with Eritrea in a series of tweets on Wednesday.

This week Ethiopia and Eritrea achieved a major milestone in normalizing relations between the two neighbors when they reopened their borders for the first time in two decades. “Thousands of people from both countries watched one ceremony in Zalambessa, an Ethiopian border town that was reduced to rubble soon after hostilities between the neighbors broke out in 1998,” Reuters reported. “Soldiers and civilians waving Ethiopian and Eritrean flags lined the road as Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki opened the frontier in a ceremony broadcast live on Ethiopian state TV.”

“We enthusiastically welcomed Dr. Abiy and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki working together to end 20 years of conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea,” Nagy said in one tweet. “We support both sides as they explore possibilities for peace & continue to encourage and support their long-term success.”

The U.S. diplomat, who also testified on Wednesday before the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on recent developments in Ethiopia, complimented PM Abiy Ahmed for his historic socio-political reform initiatives. “In Ethiopia, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has initiated groundbreaking reforms across most every area of Ethiopian society since taking office in April,” Nagy stated on Twitter. “He deserves tremendous credit for his boldness in tackling issues that previous governments have not addressed.”

According to C-SPAN other topics discussed at the hearing included “human rights concerns, regional security, economic development, Ethiopia relations with neighboring countries, and the U.S. influence in the region.”

Nagy, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia from 1999 to 2002, added: “Dr. Abiy has also taken dramatic steps to end the former government’s repression of civil liberties, inviting a diversity of voices – including many who were previously criminalized – to participate in Ethiopia’s future.” He continued: “With Eritrea’s re-emergence onto the regional & global stage, we see strong potential for its contributions to improving regional security. Eritrea can also contribute to regional peace & stability, as evidenced by its role brokering agreements among Ethiopian opposition groups.”

Watch: House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing on Development in Ethiopia

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Ethiopia-Eritrea Reopen Border Roads

PM Abiy and President Isaias at Debay Sima-Burre border point. (Photo: Fana Broadcasting)


By Aaron Maasho

Ethiopia, Eritrea reopen border points for first time in 20 years

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – The leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea re-opened crossing points on their shared border for the first time in 20 years on Tuesday, cementing a stunning reconciliation and giving Addis Ababa a direct route to its former foe’s Red Sea ports.

Thousands of people from both countries watched one ceremony in Zalambessa, an Ethiopian border town that was reduced to rubble soon after hostilities between the neighbors broke out in 1998.

Soldiers and civilians waving Ethiopian and Eritrean flags lined the road as Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki opened the frontier in a ceremony broadcast live on Ethiopian state TV.

“This is the happiest day of my life,” Ruta Haddis, an Eritrean from the town of Senafe just across the frontier, told reporters. “I never thought this would take place in my lifetime.”

The war over their border and other issues killed an estimated 80,000 people before fighting ended in 2000 in a contested peace deal.

Tensions burned on over the position of the frontier – until Abiy offered to end the military standoff this year as part of a package of reforms that have reshaped the political landscape in the Horn of Africa and beyond.

The two leaders also opened another frontier crossing at Bure, Eritrea’s Information Minister Yemane Meskel said in a tweet.

Pics: Ethiopia-Eritrea Reopen Border Roads

Happy New Year! Enkutatash Comes Amid Momentous Change in Ethiopia
Ethiopia Reopens Embassy in Asmara | Ethiopian Ship Docks in Massawa

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Exiled Opposition Leader Berhanu Nega Returns to Ethiopia

Berhanu Nega, the leader of Ginbot 7, returned to Ethiopia on Sunday after 11 years in exile. Berhanu was elected mayor of Addis Ababa in a contentious May 2005 election, however was imprisoned before assuming office. Speaking in Addis Ababa, Berhanu said recent political changes had convinced him to return to the country and conduct a peaceful campaign. (AFP)


Former outlawed opposition leader returns to Ethiopia

The popular leader of a formerly outlawed opposition group returned to Ethiopia on Sunday where he was greeted by a crowd of thousands after 11 years in exile, an AFP reporter witnessed.

Berhanu Nega, the leader of the former armed movement Ginbot 7, returned to Ethiopia on Sunday after 11 years in exile

The popular leader of a formerly outlawed opposition group returned to Ethiopia on Sunday where he was greeted by a crowd of thousands after 11 years in exile, an AFP reporter witnessed.

Berhanu Nega, the leader of the former armed movement Ginbot 7, returned with scores of other senior members of the group, after reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed removed the group from a list of “terrorist” organisations in July.

Speaking at a ceremony in the capital Addis Ababa, Berhanu said he had been forced to wage an armed struggle to fight for Ethiopians’ rights, however recent political changes had convinced him to return to the country and conduct a peaceful campaign.

Read more »

‘We have tied the knot’: PG7′s Andargachew Tsege shares wedding photo with Ethiopians

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Nile Dam Engineer Simegnew Bekele ‘took his own life’: Police

Top Ethiopian engineer Simegnew Bekele, whose death from a bullet wound in July sparked a huge outcry, took his own life, police say. (Getty Images)

BBC News

Mr Simegnew’s body was found in a car in the main square of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

The engineer was in charge of the country’s controversial multi-billion-dollar project to dam the Nile.

Spontaneous demonstrations broke out in the wake of his death as some thought he had been murdered.

At the time, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said he was “saddened and utterly shocked” by the news of Mr Simegnew’s death.

At his funeral, police used tear gas to control the thousands who had gone to pay their respects.

For many the engineer had come to represent the country’s ambitions

After more than a month looking into the engineer’s death, the authorities found “that he used his own gun and killed himself,” police chief Zeinu Jemal told journalists.

Mr Simegnew’s fingerprints had been found on the gun and the doors of the vehicle were all locked from the inside, the police chief added.

He also said that the engineer had left messages for his secretary and child explaining that he might be going away for a while.

Commenting on what could be behind the suicide, Mr Zeinu said preliminary investigations suggested that Mr Simegnew may have been under pressure because of the delays and the increasing cost of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

But, he said, more investigations need to be carried out.

The dam, which has been called the most ambitious infrastructure project ever achieved on the continent, was supposed to have been finished two years ago. Now, seven years into construction, it is only 65% complete, reports the BBC’s Abebe Bayu.

The project is also expected to go over its $4bn (£3.1bn) budget.

Read more »

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UPDATE: Ethiopia Reopens Embassy in Asmara | Ethiopian Ship Docks in Massawa

Leaders from both countries attend ceremony in Asmara as two nations re-establish diplomatic links. Ethiopia and Eritrea have moved swiftly to sweep away two decades of hostility (Mulugeta Ayene/AP Photo)

Al Jazeera


Ethiopia reopens embassy in Eritrea amid thaw in ties

Ethiopia has reopened its embassy in Eritrea after a 20-year hiatus, in a further sign of improving relations between the neighbours who signed a peace accord earlier this year.

A brief reopening ceremony in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, on Thursday was attended by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki and senior officials of both countries, according to state-affiliated Ethiopian Fana Broadcasting.

Redwan Hussein was named the new Ethiopian ambassador.

Since signing an agreement in Asmara to restore ties on July 9, leaders from both countries have moved swiftly to sweep away two decades of hostility that followed the conflict in 1998.

In July, Eritrea reopened its embassy in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, and named an ambassador to represent it.

Air links were also re-established with Ethiopian Airlines commencing direct passenger flights between Addis Ababa and Asmara.

Read more »

Ship docks, road upgrade planned as Eritrea, Ethiopia ties strengthen (Reuters)

(Photo: A general view shows a locked gate of Massawa Port, Eritrea July 22, 2018/by Tiksa Negeri/REUTERS.)



By Aaron Maasho

An Ethiopian ship docked in an Eritrean port for the first time in two decades on Wednesday and Eritrea announced plans to upgrade a road to its neighbor, local media said, in further signs of strengthening ties between the former foes.

The announcements came as Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki in their second face-to-face encounter since a July peace deal ended two decades of enmity.

Abiy and Isaias traveled the entire 70-km (40-mile) road that links Assab’s port along the Red Sea to the town of Bure just across the border in Ethiopia, which had not been used since a two-year war broke out between the neighbors in 1998.

“They were able to confirm that the existing road link was in good state,” state-run EriTV said.

“There are (now) plans to modernize the port in Assab and enlarge the road linking it to Bure to four lanes (from one),” it added.

Read more »

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2018 US Election Heats Up: Obama Joins Battle, Starting in California & Ohio

As the 2018 U.S. midterm elections heat up, the Democrats are enlisting one of their most formidable and popular campaigners, former President Barack Obama, in the closing months. Obama will begin his midterm campaign events in California and Ohio next week. (NYT)

The New York Times

Obama to Join Midterm Battle, Starting in California and Ohio

Former President Barack Obama is poised to plunge into the fray of the midterm campaign, returning to electoral politics with a frontal attack on Republican power in two states that are prime Democratic targets this fall: California and Ohio.

Having largely avoided campaign activities since leaving office, Mr. Obama’s first public event of the midterm election will take place in Orange County, a traditionally conservative-leaning part of California where Republicans are at risk of losing several House seats. And Mr. Obama is expected to be joined by Democratic candidates from all seven of California’s Republican-held districts that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016.

Mr. Obama intends to campaign next Thursday in Cleveland for Richard Cordray, a former bank regulator in his administration who is the Democratic nominee for Ohio governor. Republicans have held total control of the state government since the 2010 election, and Mr. Obama helped encourage Mr. Cordray, also a former state attorney general, to seek the governorship.

The former president’s return to public politicking comes at a momentous point in the 2018 election season, furnishing Democrats again with one of their most formidable and popular campaigners in the closing months. While Mr. Obama has addressed several fund-raising events and issued a list of endorsements, he has otherwise confined his public appearances this year to loftier venues than the campaign trail.

Read more »

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Ethiopia Opens Logistics Sector to Foreign Investment

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has presided over a shake-up of one of the most heavily-regulated economies in Africa since his appointment in April. (Photo: PM Abiy Ahmed in DC, July 2018/by Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)


By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia will open its logistics sector to foreign investors but cap their participation, the state investment body said on Tuesday in the latest reform to loosen the government’s control of the economy.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has presided over a shake-up of one of the most heavily-regulated economies in Africa since his appointment in April.

The latest move by the Ethiopian Investment Board – a body headed by Abiy and comprised of several ministers and the central bank governor – lifted restrictions on foreign investment in packaging, forwarding and shipping agency services.

Those sectors were previously reserved exclusively to Ethiopian nationals. Foreign firms will now be allowed to take stakes of up to 49 percent in logistics businesses.

The Ethiopian Investment Commission, a government body that handles investment issues such as licensing and promotion, said opening up this sector to foreign investors had become necessary.

This will “improve the provision of high-end logistics services while local firms acquire world class knowledge, expertise, management, and systems by working jointly with globally reputed logistics providers,” it said in a statement.

The ruling EPRDF coalition, in power since 1991, has long supported deep state involvement. But it said earlier this year that Ethiopia needed economic reforms to sustain rapid growth and boost exports amid a severe hard currency shortage.

Abiy, 42, was appointed by the EPRDF after his predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn, resigned in February after three years of unrest in which hundreds of people were killed by security forces.

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Ethiopia Ousts State Firm METEC From Nile Dam Project

A general view of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam, as it undergoes construction, is seen during a media tour along the river Nile in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, in Ethiopia, March 31, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)


ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia has ousted state-run Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC) from a $4 billion dam project on the River Nile due to numerous delays in completing the project.

The Grand Renaissance Dam is the centerpiece of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said at the weekend that the government had cancelled the contract of METEC, which is run by Ethiopia’s military, and would award it to another company.

Italian firm Salini Impregilo remains the main contractor building the dam, while METEC was the contractor for the electromechanical and hydraulic steel structure divisions of the project.

The government has touted the 6,000-megawatt dam project, which is 60 percent finished, as a symbol of its economic reforms.

“It is a project that was supposed to be completed within five years, but seven or eight years later not a single turbine is operational,” Abiy said during a news conference in Addis Ababa on Saturday.

“Salini has even demanded compensation because of the delays. We decided to cancel a contract with METEC and offer companies with experience. Otherwise, it will take even longer,” he said.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addresses his country’s diaspora, the largest outside Ethiopia, calling on them to return, invest and support their native land. He spoke in Washington, July 28, 2018.

Abiy has presided over a series of reforms since coming to power in April, releasing political prisoners, relaxing state control of the economy and dramatically improving relations with Ethiopia’s neighbor Eritrea.

The government had previously said the dam would be completed within two years, but recently Abiy said it may face a lengthy delay.

An official at METEC, who did not wish to be named, said the company first heard of the cancellation on Saturday.

“Even now our workers are on the site,” the official said

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AP: Ethiopia’s New PM Vows to Continue Reforms ‘at any cost’

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in his first press conference since taking power vowed Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 to continue with reforms “at any cost” and says the longtime ruling coalition soon will prepare for a “free and fair election” in 2020. (Photo: PM Abiy Ahmed waves to the crowd at a large rally in his support, in Meskel Square in the capital, Addis Ababa, Saturday, June 23, 2018/By Mulugeta Ayene for AP)

The Associated Press


ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia’s prime minister in his first press conference since taking power vowed Saturday to continue with dramatic reforms “at any cost” and said the longtime ruling coalition soon will prepare for a “free and fair election” in 2020.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed also said the World Bank “soon” plans to provide $1 billion in direct budgetary assistance, a sign of confidence after years of unrest in Africa’s second most populous nation. Such assistance stopped after the disputed 2005 elections.

“My dream is that doubts about the ballot box will disappear,” Abiy said, saying the vote won’t be delayed and promising a peaceful transfer of power if he loses.

The 42-year-old Abiy took office in April and shocked the country with a wave of reforms including restoring diplomatic ties with neighboring Eritrea after two decades, pledging to open up state-owned companies to outside investment and releasing thousands of prisoners.

The reforms have been praised by the international community and attracted investors interested in one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies.

Recent ethnic unrest in various parts of Ethiopia, however, has dampened the initial jubilation and posed a major challenge to the new leader.

“There are groups that are working in unison to cause chaos in different parts of the country,” Abiy told reporters. “They are triggering peoples’ emotions to this end.”

Some 2.8 million people have been displaced by the unrest, according to the United Nations. “But this didn’t happen due to the reforms,” the prime minister said.

He said the unrest in the eastern Somali region has calmed but measures will be taken against former officials, including the region’s former President Abdi Mohammed Omar, who is suspected of orchestrating the chaos earlier this month that led to the destruction of government offices, looting of businesses and burning of churches.

Asked about internet cuts in the region following the unrest, an unpopular tactic widely used by the previous government, Abiy appealed for understanding and said it might have saved lives.

“But curbing access to information and cutting the internet is not the way forward,” he added, and urged youth to use it responsibly.

The prime minister also in recent months has welcomed a number of once-exiled opposition figures and groups back to Ethiopia and invited them to join in the political conversation.

But on Saturday he drew the line at former military dictator Col. Mengistu Hailemariam, who overthrew the last Ethiopian emperor, Haileselassie, in 1974 and eventually was sentenced to life for spearheading a “Red Terror” that killed tens of thousands of people. He fled the country in 1991 as rebels, who now make up the ruling coalition, approached the capital.

Some Ethiopians have called on Abiy to offer Mengistu amnesty after a rare photo of him in exile in Zimbabwe went viral early this month.

“Ethiopia’s constitution clearly stipulates the ‘Red Terror’ crimes cannot be covered under an amnesty law,” Abiy said. “So Col. Mengistu will not … return home. But if the law in the future allows, that may change.”

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Reuters: Ethnic Unrest Tarnishes New Ethiopian Leader’s Reforms

A child plays next to a tree painted in Ethiopia's national flag colors within a camp for the internally displaced people in Chelelektu, Ethiopia, August 15th, 2018. (Photo: by TIKSA NEGERI/Reuters)


By Aaron Maasho

CHELELEKTU, Ethiopia – Shiburu Kutuyu, a 45-year-old Ethiopian maize and coffee farmer, was jolted awake by gunshots one night in June. He told his wife and seven children to flee.

They returned to find their mud-walled home had been burned down, but no sign of Shiburu. Eleven days later, fellow farmers found his body hanging from a tree, his severed limbs strewn on the ground…

A surge in ethnic violence, sometimes in the form of mob attacks, has displaced nearly 1 million people in the past four months in southern Ethiopia and is inflaming bad feeling between ethnic groups in other regions.

The violence threatens to undermine Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s calls for unity in one of Africa’s most ethnically diverse countries. It also overshadows the popular liberal measures he has announced since coming to power in April.

On Thursday, Sorri Dinka, spokesman for the Oromiya Police Commission, said authorities are taking action against individuals suspected of ethnically motivated crimes.

He mentioned the so-called “qeerroo”, a term used to describe young Oromo men involved in the protest movement over the past three years that culminated in former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s resignation.

Some people who fled their homes still feel federal government and local authorities are failing to halt violence against them.

Read the full article at Reuters.com »

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US Delegation Visits Ethiopia to Discuss Reforms, Human Rights

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey is leading the U.S. congressional delegation to Ethiopia. (AP photo)

VOA News

A U.S. delegation is heading to Ethiopia on Wednesday to talk about the country’s reform efforts since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April.

Republican Congressman Christopher Smith, who led the congressional delegation, said he “is cautiously optimistic” about the political reforms in the country.

In an interview with VOA’s Horn of Africa, Smith says he will meet Prime Minister Abiy and Foreign Minister Affairs Minister Workineh Gebeyehu and push for continued reforms, as well as reinforcing human rights issues.

“We are going to meet with him [prime minister] and encourage him and try to get our own sense of how well the reform process is moving,” Smith said.

The congressman is the architect of H.R. 128, legislation condemning human rights abuses in Ethiopia and outlining a number of reforms that Ethiopia must take to promote peace and democracy. The resolution was passed in the House of Representatives earlier this year.

A wake of reforms

Since Abiy took office in April, Ethiopia has instituted reforms including releasing political prisoners, diluting state control of the economy, and making peace with northern neighbor Eritrea after two decades of hostility.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks in Washington, July 28, 2018.

A 41-year-old former intelligence officer, Abiy came to power after his predecessor resigned earlier this year amid protests of abuses by security forces and public anger over perceived ethnic marginalization of many groups in the racially diverse country.

Smith said the delegation plans to press for “the release of all political prisoners, freedom of the press, the history of forced disappearances, accountability for past abuses committed against civilians, and an end to torture and all human rights abuses.”

These reforms, the congressman said, will only strengthen the country, “and we stand in solidarity with the Ethiopian people in pushing to promote these rights.”

Besides top officials, the U.S. delegation will also meet with religious and civic leaders, and journalists. Their talks are to focus on human rights and democracy in Ethiopia.

Smith confirmed to VOA’s Horn of Africa service that the government of Ethiopia has begun amending the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation with input from opposition parties.

Critics of the law argue it has criminalized dissent, saying the 2009 law’s broad definitions have been used indiscriminately against anyone who opposes government policy. Among its provisions, anyone convicted of publishing information deemed to encourage terrorism could receive a jail term of up to 20 years.

Border issues

The delegation also will discuss border issues between Somali and Oromia states, where thousands are displaced and hundreds have been killed.

The violence is said to be the biggest domestic challenge facing the country’s reformist prime minister. When he took office, Abiy ended a military stalemate with neighboring Eritrea and extended an olive branch to dissidents overseas. However, violence at the border continues.

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Jawar Mohammed’s Red-carpet Return Signals Ethiopia’s Political Sea Change

Two years ago, the state branded him a terrorist. Now, after years in exile, activist Jawar Mohammed is back – and determined to see democracy in his country. (Photo: Jawar Mohammed addresses a news conference upon arriving in Addis Ababa in August/ By Tiksa Negeri/Reuters)

The Guardian

Jawar Mohammed never travels alone. When the US-based Ethiopian activist returned to his home country on 5 August, he was treated like royalty. A posse of sharply suited young men hovered by him at all times. Jeeps carrying security guards patrolled his hotel in central Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. Supporters from the provinces arrived in droves to pay their respects. Over the course of a two-week visit he held about 25 to 30 meetings a day, according to an exhausted aide.

After meeting with the Guardian in his hotel suite he rushed off to give a lecture at the capital’s main university, entourage in tow.

Nothing demonstrated the breathtaking transformation in Ethiopian politics over the past four months quite like the red-carpeted return of a figure who was once the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (EPRDF) most wanted man.

From a studio in Minneapolis, where he founded the controversial Oromia Media Network, Jawar has spent the past decade agitating over social media for political change back home in Ethiopia, which he left as a scholarship student in 2003. This was his first time in Ethiopia since 2008.

So effective was he as an activist that by late 2016, as anti-government protests billowed across the country compelling the EPRDF to impose a state of emergency, the Oromia Media Network was banned and Mohammed declared a terrorist.

By early 2018 the revolutionary fervour had grown so loud that Hailemariam Desalegn was forced to resign as prime minister, paving the way for his enormously popular successor Abiy Ahmed, a young reformist from Oromia, Jawar’s home and the country’s largest and most populous region.

The Oromia Media Network, along with some smaller outlets and activists, has used social media to devastating effect over the past few years, coordinating boycotts and demonstrations and bringing Ethiopia’s large and often brutal security apparatus close to its knees.

“We used social media and formal media so effectively that the state was completely overwhelmed,” Jawar says. “The only option they had was to face reform or accept full revolution.”…

Few doubt the importance of Jawar in recent Ethiopian history. Perhaps more than any other single individual, he took the once-marginal politics of Oromo nationalism and made it mainstream. Today, Oromos – the country’s largest ethnic group – dominate the highest offices of state, and Jawar enjoys significant personal influence over the country’s new leaders, including Abiy himself.

In a recent interview with local media he claimed – to the dismay of many Ethiopians – that the country now effectively has two governments: one led by Abiy, the other by the Qeerroo. This puts him in a position of extraordinary responsibility, since he is “one of the Qeerroo” and “a significant portion of the country listens to me”, he admits.

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US-based Activist Jawar Mohammad Returns to Ethiopia After 13 Years in Exile

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7 Iconic Aretha Franklin Moments, From Obama’s Inauguration to ‘Blues Brothers

Aretha Franklin, the undisputed “Queen of Soul” and a cultural icon around the globe, died Thursday at age 76 from pancreatic cancer. She died at her home in Detroit. (Photo: Aretha Franklin at a news conference on March 26, 1973/AP)

The Washington Post

Relive 7 iconic Aretha Franklin performances, from Obama’s inauguration to ‘Blues Brothers’

For six decades, the world had countless opportunities to be stunned by the talent and range of the undisputed Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, who died Thursday at age 76 of pancreatic cancer.

Her long recording career was punctuated by iconic performances that could stir a nation, get an ordinary concertgoer out of their seat and dancing and reduce a sitting president to tears.

Here is a look back at just a few of those moments.

The first Obama inauguration (2009)

The Queen had sung already during the inaugurations of two previous presidents (Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton), but she brought extra power and symbolism to the 2009 inauguration of America’s first black president, Barack Obama.

Franklin also sang on numerous occasions in the Obama White House.

Bringing President Obama to tears (2015)

When the annual Kennedy Center Honors selected singer-songwriter Carole King for recognition, it was Franklin who stole the show.

King’s jaw dropped as Franklin, in a floor-length fur coat, sat before a piano and belted out the 1967 hit “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” written by King and songwriting partner Gerry Goffin.

President Obama also sat in the audience, awestruck and wiping away tears. As she neared the end of the song, Franklin stood up, dropped her coat to the ground and belted out the final notes. The roaring audience leapt to its feet.

Franklin told the New Yorker it was “one of the three or four greatest nights of my life.”

Read more and watch the videos at The Washington Post »

Aretha Franklin, music’s ‘Queen of Soul,’ dies at 76

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Hundreds of Newspapers Respond to Anti-Media Rhetoric — AP

This week hundreds of newspapers in the United States are responding to the present state of anti-media rhetoric in a nationwide coordinated editorials. (AP Photo)

The Associated Press

Updated: August 16, 2018

NEW YORK — Newspapers from Maine to Hawaii pushed back against President Donald Trump’s attacks on “fake news” Thursday with a coordinated series of editorials speaking up for a free and vigorous press — and, not surprisingly, Trump didn’t take it silently.

The Boston Globe, which set the campaign in motion by urging the unified voice, had estimated that some 350 newspapers would participate.

They did across the breadth of the country. The Portland (Maine) Press-Herald said a free and independent press is the best defense against tyranny, while the Honolulu Star-Advertiser emphasized democracy’s need for a free press.

“The true enemies of the people — and democracy — are those who try to suffocate truth by vilifying and demonizing the messenger,” wrote the Des Moines Register in Iowa.

In St. Louis, the Post-Dispatch called journalists “the truest of patriots.” The Chicago Sun-Times said it believed most Americans know that Trump is talking nonsense.

The Fayetteville Observer said it hoped Trump would stop, “but we’re not holding our breath.”

“Rather, we hope all the president’s supporters will recognize what he’s doing — manipulating reality to get what he wants,” the North Carolina newspaper said.

On Thursday morning, Trump took to Twitter to denounce the effort, saying the Globe was in collusion with other newspapers.

He wrote: “THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY. It is very bad for our Great Country….BUT WE ARE WINNING!”

The Morning News of Savannah, Georgia, said it was a confidant, not an enemy, to the people.

“Like any true friend, we don’t always tell you what you want to hear,” the Morning News said. “Our news team presents the happenings and issues in this community through the lens of objectivity. And like any true friend, we refuse to mislead you. Our reporters and editors strive for fairness.”

Some newspapers used history lessons to state their case. The Elizabethtown Advocate in Pennsylvania, for instance, compared free press in the United States to such rights promised but not delivered in the former Soviet Union.

The New York Times added a pitch.

“If you haven’t already, please subscribe to your local papers,” said the Times, whose opinion section also summarized other editorials across the country. “Praise them when you think they’ve done a good job and criticize them when you think they could do better. We’re all in this together.”

That last sentiment made some journalists skittish. Some newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote editorials explaining why they weren’t joining the Globe’s effort. The Chronicle wrote that one of its most important values is independence, and going along with the crowd went against that. Both the Chronicle and Baltimore Sun said that it plays into the hands of Trump and his supporters who think the media is out to get him.

Nolan Finley, columnist and editorial page editor of The Detroit News, spoke up for the press but added a scolding. He said too many journalists are slipping opinion into their news reports, adding commentary and calling it context.

“Donald Trump is not responsible for the eroding trust in the media,” Finley wrote. “He lacks the credibility to pull that off. The damage to our standing is self-inflicted.”

The Radio Television Digital News Association, which represents more than 1,200 broadcasters and web sites, is also asking its members to point out that journalists are friends and neighbors doing important work holding government accountable.

“I want to make sure that it is positive,” said Dan Shelley, the group’s executive director. “We’re shooting ourselves in the foot if we make this about attacking the president or attacking his supporters.”

It remains unclear how much sway the effort will have. Newspaper editorial boards overwhelmingly opposed Trump’s election in 2016. Polls show Republicans have grown more negative toward the news media in recent years: Pew Research Center said 85 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said in June 2017 that the news media has a negative effect on the country, up from 68 percent in 2010.

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As Forgiveness Sweeps Ethiopia, Some Wonder About Justice

Ethiopian lawyer Wondimu Ebsa, who represented political prisoners detained during unrest in the country over the past three years, poses for a photograph during a Reuters interview in his office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 25, 2018. REUTERS/Maggie Fick


Ethiopia has released thousands of prisoners as a new prime minister reverses decades of security abuses. No-one knows how many were tortured.

But some of those torture victims are now talking openly – to the media, to their relatives and to their friends – about what happened to them after they were jailed, in many cases for protesting against the government.

Their stories raise a hard question for the government: how will it address the injustices committed by security forces behind prison walls?

Since coming to power in April, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, 41, has made peace with Eritrea, ended a state of emergency, freed political prisoners and announced plans to sell shares in state-owned firms to promote growth and create jobs.

Abiy acknowledges that many prisoners suffered abuses, which he has denounced as acts of “state terrorism”.

He has not, however, announced plans to investigate abuses committed by the security forces or set up a process for victims to seek redress. But he has preached forgiveness.

“I call on us all to forgive each other from our hearts. To close the chapters from yesterday, and to forge ahead to the next bright future through national consensus,” Abiy said in his inaugural address.

Rights groups that have documented the torture – from psychological torment to the use of water and ceiling hooks – say there must now be a greater focus on justice.

“Despite all the reforms, there have yet to be any detailed commitments regarding investigations into abuses or justice for victims,” said Maria Burnett of Human Rights Watch.

Since late 2015, when protests against ethnic marginalization and inequality began, tens of thousands of people were detained, according to Human Rights Watch.

The attorney general’s office and government spokesman Ahmed Shide did not respond to calls and messages requesting comment.


Those who spent years imprisoned and were recently released say they are cautiously hopeful.

Recently released from prison, Ethiopian torture survivor and former political prisoner Keyfalew Tefera, 33, poses during a Reuters interview in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 17, 2018. REUTERS/Maggie Fick

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NYC Medhanialem Church 35th Anniversary Celebration Sept 8th

Traditional Ethiopian Dance (photo courtesy: New York Medhanialem Church)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 9th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — One of New York City’s earliest established Ethiopian orthodox churches, Medhanialem, will be celebrating its 35th year anniversary on September 8th, 2018. The celebration includes traditional dance, fashion show, theatre as well as live entertainment from acclaimed Ethiopian comedian Meskerem Bekele. Organizers state that proceeds of the celebration will go towards the building of a multi-purpose center at their current Bronx location.

Medhanialem Church members purchased their current building five years ago in the Norwood section of the Bronx after having used a rental space in Riverside Church in Uptown Manhattan for the past three decades.

If You Go:
Medhanialem Church Anniversary Celebration
Date: Saturday, September 8th, 2018
Time: 6pm – 12am
Location: South Hall, Riverside Church
490 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10027

Admission (with dinner)
Adults: $50 advance purchase $60 at the door
Students: $25 (with ID at the door)
Children under 12 get free entrance

Click here for ticket purchase
For further information please call 732-766-3895

Video & photos: Inauguration of the Historic NYC Medhanialem Church in the Bronx in 2014

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UN on Women Farming Groups in Ethiopia

Through women’s cooperatives, a joint UN programme provides training in agricultural techniques, improved seeds and time-saving machinery, while also granting loans and encouraging saving. (Photo: Tulule Knife uses the modern grain storage facility known as metallic silo that her village administration awarded her for successfully applying the line sowing approach to her wheat farm. It also keeps her grain safer. Courtesy UN Women/Fikerte Abebe)

UN Women

Women’s cooperatives boost agriculture and savings in rural Ethiopia

In most parts of the Dodola district, 300 km south of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, slow-moving oxen plowing opens stretches of farmland. But in one field, a red tractor is speedily tilling women’s cooperative owned farmland ahead of the rainy season.

For Kamso Bame, a widowed mother of 12 and owner of 2.5 acres of land, the tractor has shaved off days of grueling labour.

Bame is among more than 2,000 smallholder women farmers involved in a joint UN programme to boost sustainable agricultural production and rural women’s economic empowerment, through training and cooperatives.

After Bame joined the women’s cooperative in her village of Wabi Burkitu, she received a 7,000 Birr (259 USD) loan, which she used to start a cart-transport service. Bame uses her daily average income of 400 Birr (15 USD) to support her children, four of whom live independently. Her membership also enables her to cultivate the land using a tractor owned by the cooperative.

“Before the death of my husband, whenever the rainy season came, I remember him spending three to four days ploughing the family’s land with the pair of oxen we owned. Each day, he and the oxen used to come back home exhausted,” she recalls. “Today, it is different, as I am privileged to farm the same land with a tractor and it takes a maximum of three hours.”

Kamso Bame takes care of her sheep by her grass-roofed house. Among her long-term plans are to build a new roof with corrugated iron sheets. (Photo: UN Women/Fikerte Abebe)

Fast facts on women in agriculture

Women comprise an average of 43 per cent of the agricultural labour force in developing countries, varying considerably across regions from 20 per cent or less in Latin America to 50 per cent or more in parts of Asia and Africa. Less than 20 per cent of landholders are women. Gender differences in access to land and credit affect the relative ability of female and male farmers and entrepreneurs to invest, operate to scale, and benefit from new economic opportunities. Learn more

The tractor is used to farm the land owned by the cooperative as a team, as well as each member’s own land. The cooperative also rents it out to other farmers in 26 villages across the district, whose population is more than 240,000. Charging up to 1,500 Birr (56 USD) per hectare, the cooperative currently earns over 6,000 Birr (222 USD) per day, on average.

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In US, Barack Obama Named 2018 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Laureate

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s historic campaign for the White House, and the founding of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. (@RFKHumanRights)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: August 7th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — This week the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization announced that it will be honoring the 44th President of the United States Barack Obama with its 2018 Ripple of Hope award.

“My father believed; ‘Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope,” said Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights President Kerry Kennedy. “On the 50th anniversary of his historic campaign for the White House, we honor laureates who have sent forth countless ripples of hope to millions of people inspired by their example.”

The former U.S. President will share the accolade along with Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, and Humana CEO Bruce D. Broussard.

“Laureates were selected for their exceptional work toward a more just and peaceful world,” the nonprofit said in a press release.

“Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights founder Ethel Kennedy will award the Laureates during the annual Ripple of Hope Gala at the New York Hilton Midtown on Wednesday, December 12, 2018.”

President Obama said: “Bobby Kennedy was one of my heroes. I first got into public service because I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, believing that my own salvation was bound up with the salvation of others. That’s something he expressed far better than I ever could when he talked about the power that comes from acting on our ideals, those ripples of hope that can ‘sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.’ That’s what I’m determined to help inspire and cultivate over the rest of my career – the idea that anybody can be one of the millions of acts of conscience and voices raised against injustice, the idea that anybody can be one of the ‘million different centers of energy and daring’ who, like Bobby Kennedy, have always changed the world for the better.”

The press release added: “2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s historic campaign for the White House, and the founding of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. The Ripple of Hope Gala caps an incredible year of commemoration and activism by celebrating those who work to advance the legacy of Robert F. Kennedy in our challenging modern times.”

Past Ripple of Hope laureates include Hillary Rodham Clinton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bill Clinton, Bono, George Clooney, Robert Smith, Harry Belafonte, Howard Schultz, Joe Biden, Congressman John Lewis, Tim Cook, Tony Bennett, and Robert De Niro.

“Barack Obama served as the 44th President of the United States. Following his roles as a community organizer, constitutional law professor, and U.S. Senator, Obama was elected President in 2008, taking office at a moment of crisis unlike any America had seen in decades. His leadership helped rescue the economy, revitalize the American auto industry, reform the healthcare system to cover another twenty million Americans, and put the country on a firm course to a clean energy future – all while overseeing the longest stretch of job creation in American history. On the world stage, Obama’s belief in America’s indispensable leadership helped wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, decimate al Qaeda and eliminate the world’s most wanted terrorists, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program, open up a new chapter with the people of Cuba, and unite humanity in coordinated action to combat a changing climate. In his post-presidency, President Obama remains committed to lifting up the next generation of leaders through his work with the Obama Foundation.”

Learn more and purchase tickets at rfkhumanrights.org.

Photos: President Obama Becomes First Sitting U.S. President to Visit Ethiopia

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US-based Activist Jawar Mohammad Returns to Ethiopia After 13 Years in Exile

Jawar Mohammad (second from left) pictured with PM Abiy Ahmed and his delegation at Minneapolis International Airport last week has returned to Ethiopia after 13 years in exile. (Photo: Abiyu Tegegn @abiyu_b/Twitter)


ADDIS ABABA: Jawar Mohammad, an online activist and fierce critic of Ethiopia’s one-party government through his outlet Oromia Media Network, returned to the country on Sunday after 13 years in exile.

Jawar is the latest opponent of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to come home since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April and announced sweeping reforms.

“It’s good to be here! It’s good to be not a terrorist anymore!” Jawar told a press conference in the capital Addis Ababa.

Through his media outlet OMN, Jawar has promoted strikes and anti-government protests, particularly among the country’s largest ethnic group the Oromo.

Protests that began in late 2015 among the Oromo and then spread to the second-largest group the Amhara left hundreds dead and prompted the government to twice declare a nationwide state of emergency to halt the unrest.

It also played a role in the resignation last February of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn who struggled to appease the protesters.

Hailemariam’s government banned the OMN and last year levied charges of inciting violence against Jawar, who lived in the United States.

Those charges were dropped after Abiy took office.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Jawar said he planned to stay in Ethiopia for good and would focus on expanding OMN’s operations and re-orienting its editorial policies.

“OMN was an activist media until now. We took clear sides with the Oromo protests,” Jawar said. “From now on, we’re going to move to the center.”

Since taking office, Abiy, himself an Oromo, has encouraged anti-government activists like Jawar to return to Ethiopia.

He has also freed jailed dissidents and removed several armed groups from Ethiopia’s list of terrorist organizations, while signing a peace deal with neighboring Eritrea that ended two decades of hostilities.

Through his work with OMN, Jawar has become a controversial household name in Ethiopia, but he swore off seeking elected office.

“I think I have done my share for this country,” he said. “I want to have an advisory role from now on.”

(Photo: Jawar_Mohammed greeting PM Abiy Ahmed and his delegation at Minneapolis International Airport for the final leg of a three-state diaspora tour, Jul 30th 2018/Mohammed Ademo @OPride on Twitter)

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From Janitor to Nurse: How an Ethiopian immigrant Seized His American Dream

Ethiopian immigrant Hakeem Abdulwahab is a nurse at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare, a non-profit hospital, located in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Star Tribune)

Star Tribune

Growing up in Ethiopia, Hakeem Abdulwahab thought only guys like Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone could live the American dream.

“I’d watch Hollywood action movies and see that it’s clean here, it’s beautiful, everyone has cars,” he said. “But America was like a dream country … impossible to get to.”

With a little luck and a lot of perseverance, Abdulwahab at 36, has achieved his version of the American dream: Once he scrubbed toilets at one of the top children’s hospitals in the country. Now he works there as a nurse.

“If it was cleaning a toilet, cleaning a floor, getting a towel or making a bed, whatever task he was assigned to do at any given moment, he did it with conviction and he did it with heart,” said Tammy Sinkfield-Morey, nursing supervisor at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul.

“Now he’s progressed from one of our lower level positions to one of our most admired positions.”

One of eight children, Abdulwahab grew up in Jimma, Ethiopia, about 220 miles southwest of the capital city of Addis Ababa. Abdulwahab helped his father produce and sell coffee, one of the only ways to make money, he said. Business often was fickle, due to a cholera outbreak and the amount of time — 3 to 5 years — it took for Arabica trees to produce fruit.

“We were so poor then,” he said. “Some days I didn’t eat anything. Basic necessities like food and water were a luxury.”

As a teenager, Abdulwahab’s parents sent him to live with his older sister in Addis Ababa so that he could attend high school.

On his summer breaks, he learned English with the intention of going to college. When that time came, Abdulwahab couldn’t afford college, so he returned home to once again help his family with the coffee business.

“I always hoped to work and send money to my Mom and Dad,” he said. “I will sacrifice my life for them.”

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Hailemariam Desalegn and Mengistu Meet in Zimbabwe Setting Social Media Buzzing

Social media is buzzing about the surprise meeting between Ethiopia's ex-Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Mengistu Hailemariam in Harare, Zimbabwe on Wednesday. (Photo via Twitter)


By Elias Meseret 

Ex-Ethiopian dictator Mengistu meets former leader in Harare

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The former Ethiopian dictator Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam has met with Ethiopia’s former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare on Wednesday.

The surprise meeting between Hailemariam, who was Ethiopia’s Prime Minister until he resigned in April 2018, and Mengistu has stunned many in Ethiopia who had a rare glimpse of Mengistu since he fled the country in 1991 as rebels, who now make up the ruling coalition, approached the capital, Addis Ababa.

A photo of the meeting between Mengistu and Hailemariam, who was in Zimbabwe as head of the African Union’s election observers’ mission, was widely shared on social media and many Ethiopians expressed amusement at the former strongman’s appearance.

“Mengistu has gained weight and looks very old. I’m very surprised to see that photo,” Seyoum Teshome, a prominent blogger in Ethiopia, wrote on Facebook.

Others said Mengistu should still face justice in Ethiopia. “Looks like he’s living comfortably in Zimbabwe when he really should be in an Ethiopian maximum security prison or at The Hague. I certainly wouldn’t have met him, let alone taken a photo,” another Facebook user, Samuel Gebru, wrote.

Mengistu was head of the military junta that overthrew the last Ethiopian emperor, Haileselassie, in 1974. He ruled the country in an iron grip for 17 years during which he implemented a crackdown named “Red Terror” in which tens of thousands of Ethiopians were allegedly killed. Some estimates put the number of killed in hundreds of thousands.

“Mengistu is a man with much blood on his hands,” tweeted Martin Plaut, a specialist on East African politics.

The ex-dictator fled to Zimbabwe after losing power and escaped an assassin’s bullet in 1995 while jogging near his Harare home. Former President Robert Mugabe refused Ethiopian government requests to extradite Mengistu, who supported Mugabe’s guerrilla fighters in the war against white-minority rule in Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was then called.

Mengistu was put on trial in absentia in Ethiopia where he was sentenced in 2007 to life in prison for genocide.

Calls have been made for the current Ethiopian reformist leader, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, to allow Mengistu to return home without having to go to jail following the release of several political prisoners.

(Photo via Twitter)

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Ethiopian Scientists Develop New Sorghum Variety

Ethiopia releases new, perennial sorghum variety. (Photo: Farmer examining heads of Sorghum/Copyright: Panos)


By: Biruktayet Bihon

[ADDIS ABABA] Ethiopian scientists have developed a new sorghum variety that could lead to multiple yields annually.

According to the National Statistics Agency in Ethiopia, the country has almost two million hectares of sorghum fields, and harvests about four million tonnes of sorghum grains every year.

The new sorghum variety is expected to produce yields two to three times a year with continuous water supply and at least once when there is water scarcity, said Gethaun Mekuriya, Ethiopia’s minister of science and technology, during the release of the new variety in Ethiopia last month (28 June).

“The benefit of this new variety is … that once you sow it, you don’t need to till the land for up to five years.” — Talegeta Loul, Re-nature Eternal Life Agro Processing SC

Talegeta Loul, general manager of Ethiopia-based Re-nature Eternal Life Agro Processing SC, said that the national average yield for sorghum is about 2,400 kilograms per hectare, but the new variety could increase yields fivefold.

One of the new variety’s unique characteristic, according to Loul, is that it can produce yields for seven to ten growing years without the need for ploughing.

Loul, who led the research team to produce the new sorghum variety, told SciDev.Net: “We have￿￿ struggled enough to give an output for this country where the majority of the people depend on agriculture for food and livelihoods.”

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Ethiopians From Around America Greet PM Abiy in DC (Washington Post)

Ethiopians from around the country wait to enter the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday to see their homeland’s newly minted prime minister, Abiy Ahmed. (The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

‘He’s a hugger . . . so I want to hug him’: Ethiopian exiles greet new prime minister

Hulgize Kassa, a 52-year-old from Raleigh, N.C., earned his spot at the front of the line.

The father of two camped outside Walter E. Washington Convention Center starting at midnight Friday, watching as Ethiopians from as far as Colorado and Texas arrived with boxes of food, speakers and selfie sticks. By 7  a.m. Saturday, thousands had gathered in the streets spanning Mount Vernon Place to N Street, honking car horns and sharing food. Most wore T-shirts emblazoned with the face of their homeland’s newly minted prime minister, Abiy Ahmed.

In the three months since his rise to power, the 41-year-old politician has introduced sweeping changes to Ethiopia, lifting a state of emergency, brokering peace with neighboring Eritrea and releasing hundreds of political prisoners. These dramatic steps toward liberalization have sparked “Abiy-mania” within the Ethiopian diaspora in the United States, which, for decades, stood among the fiercest critics of the ruling party’s autocratic regime.

Abiy is in the United States to visit and speak to members of the diaspora. The Washington area is home to some 300,000 Ethiopians, making it the largest community outside the African country.

“I want to hug him. He’s a hugger, I know, so I want to hug him,” said Kassa, a researcher at North Carolina State University. When Kassa first came to the United States in 2000, he never thought he would go back to his homeland. But Abiy’s ascension has changed his mind, he said. He plans to visit his home in the Amhara region next year, and bring his children, 12 and 14, with him.

Abede Yimenu, a former major in the Ethiopian army, said he is also thinking of going home after having been away for 17 years.

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In LA, PM Abiy Ahmed to Address Ethiopian Diaspora Conference at USC
Video & Images: PM Abiy Engages Diaspora Business Community & Political Orgs in DC
DC Mayor Proclaims July 28th Ethiopia Day, Will Join PM Abiy at Convention Center
First Photos of PM Abiy Meeting With Ethiopian Diaspora in U.S.
Update on PM Abiy’s Visit to U.S.
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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Why Ethiopia is Grieving ‘Hero’ Dam Engineer Simegnew Bekele

The death of Simegnew Bekele, the project manager of the multi-billion-dollar Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, has been met by an outpouring of grief in Ethiopia. (Getty Images)

BBC News

Condolences flooded social media from journalists, businessmen academics, ambassadors and even flag-carrying Ethiopian Airlines after it was reported that Mr Simegnew’s body was found in a car in the capital, Addis Ababa, on Thursday.

The police are investigating the circumstances of his death. He died as a result of a bullet wound and a hand gun was found in his car, which was parked in Meskel Square in the city centre.

By the afternoon, hundreds had taken to the streets in the capital, as well as Mr Simegnew’s hometown of Gondar, with protesters demanding “justice” for the late engineer.

To understand why a project manager has managed to elicit such shock and widespread mourning – normally seen in other countries after the death of royalty, celebrities or politicians – one has to look at what the Grand Ethiopian Dam has come to represent.

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Ethiopian dam engineer Simegnew Bekele’s funeral draws thousands

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DC Mayor Proclaims July 28th Ethiopia Day, Joins PM Abiy at Convention Center

In recognition of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s visit to Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser has proclaimed July 28, 2018 “Ethiopia Day in DC.” (Photo: Mayor Bowser Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 27th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The Mayor of Washington, DC Muriel Bowser has proclaimed July 28th, 2018 “Ethiopia Day in DC” in celebration of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s visit to the U.S. capital, which is a sister city of Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa.

Mayor Bowser said she will join Prime Minister Abiy at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday. Thousands are expected at the venue as PM Abiy holds his first public address greeting the Ethiopian community in the DC metropolitan area.

“The Ethiopian community is such a valued part of our city, and our Ethiopian neighbors have played a critical role in building the diverse, inclusive, and vibrant Washington, DC that we live in today,” Mayor Bowser said in a statement. “Now, during this new climate of goodwill and unity, we look forward to reaffirming the Sister City relationship between our two capital cities.” The Mayor’s proclamation highlights that “since assuming office in April of 2018, Dr. Abiy has focused on improving human rights, ending the war with Eritrea, pursuing political and economic reforms, and eliminating corruption, that will move Ethiopia toward a more democratic society.”

The Mayor added on Twitter: “We are honored to welcome @PMOEthiopia, Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali to Washington, DC. I look forward to joining thousands of Ethiopians from across the region tomorrow as we proclaim July 28, 2018 as “Ethiopia Day in DC.”

Meanwhile, PM Abiy who is on three city tour of the United States, also met with Vice President Mike Pence at the White House on Friday, July 27th.

Pence tweeted: “Honored to meet with Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia today at the @WhiteHouse. I applaud his historic reform efforts, including improving respect for human rights, reforming the business environment, and making peace with Eritrea.”

First Photos of PM Abiy Meeting With Ethiopian Diaspora in U.S.
Update on PM Abiy’s Visit to U.S.
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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Ethiopian Nile Dam Manager is Found Dead

Investigators inspect the scene, where Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam Project Manager Simegnew Bekele was found dead in his car in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July, 26, 2018. (REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)


By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – The project manager of a $4 billion Ethiopian dam was found shot dead in his vehicle in Addis Ababa on Thursday, police said, prompting scores of people to take to the streets in the capital and his home city calling for justice.

People in the crowds said they believed Simegnew Bekele had been murdered, though there was no immediate confirmation from the authorities, or details of any motive.

“We have confirmed that engineer Simegnew Bekele was shot dead … He had a bullet wound behind his right ear,” the head of Ethiopia’s Federal Police Commission, Zeinu Jemal, told reporters.

Zeinu said a Colt pistol was found in the vehicle in the city’s Meskel Square – a massive road junction and open space usually packed with vehicles and pedestrians during daylight hours.

Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was “saddened and utterly shocked” by the death, his chief of staff said in tweet.

Simegnew was the public face of the Grand Renaissance Dam project on the River Nile – the centerpiece of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.

Ethiopia has been pushing on with the project in the face of opposition from Egypt which fears it will affect the flow of the Nile, its main source of water. In June, the leaders of Ethiopia and Egypt vowed to iron out their differences peacefully.

Crowds in Addis Ababa marched to the state television station’s headquarters chanting “No to killings” and “Justice for Simegnew”.

Hundreds also packed the streets of his birthplace, the northern city of Gondar. “Amongst our requests is the repatriation of his body back to his own city,” said one protester, who only gave his name as Geremew.

A Reuters photographer saw blood stains along an arm rest inside his vehicle – a gold Toyota Land Cruiser – before an ambulance took away the body.

The dam is currently only half complete, but the government says it is designed to churn out 6,000 megawatts (MW) of power on completion.

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Obama Speaks to Cheering Crowd on Mandela’s 100th Birthday in South Africa

Obama’s speech in South Africa is his highest-profile address since leaving office. He is marking the 100th anniversary of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela’s birth and giving an impassioned defense of the values held by the Nobel Peace Prize winner. (Photo: Former U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his speech at the 16th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 17, 2018/AP)


Obama decries ‘utter loss of shame among political leaders’ in high-profile Mandela address

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — In his highest profile speech since leaving office, former U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday denounced the policies of President Donald Trump without mentioning his name, taking aim at the “politics of fear, resentment, retrenchment,” and decrying leaders who are caught lying and “just double down and lie some more.”

Obama was cheered by thousands in Johannesburg’s Wanderers Stadium as he marked the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth by urging respect for human rights, the free press and other values he said were under threat.

He rallied people to keep alive the ideals that the anti-apartheid activist worked for as the first black president of South Africa, including democracy, diversity, gender equality and tolerance.

Obama opened by calling today’s times “strange and uncertain,” adding that “each day’s news cycle is bringing more head-spinning and disturbing headlines.”

“We see much of the world threatening to return to a more dangerous, more brutal, way of doing business,” he said.

A day after Trump met in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Obama criticized “strongman politics.”

The “politics of fear, resentment, retrenchment” are on the move “at a pace unimaginable just a few years ago,” Obama added.

“Those in power seek to undermine every institution … that gives democracy meaning,” he said.

The first African-American president of the United States spoke up for equality in all forms, adding: “I would have thought we had figured that out by now.”

Obama praised the diversity of the World Cup champion French team, and he said that those countries engaging in xenophobia “eventually … find themselves consumed by civil war.”

He noted the “utter loss of shame among political leaders when they’re caught in a lie and they just double down and lie some more,” warning that the denial of facts could be the undoing of democracy.

But Obama reminded the crowd that “we’ve been through darker times. We’ve been through lower valleys.”

He closed with a call to action: “I say if people can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.”

The crowd gave him a standing ovation in the chilly South African winter.

“Just by standing on the stage honoring Nelson Mandela, Obama is delivering an eloquent rebuke to Trump,” said John Stremlau, professor of international relations at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg.

He called the timing of Obama’s speech auspicious — one day after Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin — and said the commitments that defined Mandela’s life are “under assault.”

“Yesterday, we had Trump and Putin standing together; now we are seeing the opposing team: Obama and Mandela.”

This was Obama’s first trip to Africa since leaving office in 2017. Earlier this week, he stopped in Kenya, where he visited the rural birthplace of his late father.

Obama’s speech noted how Mandela, who was imprisoned for 27 years, kept up his campaign against what appeared to be insurmountable odds to end apartheid, South Africa’s harsh system of white minority rule.

Mandela, who was released from prison in 1990 and became president four years later, died in 2013 at the age of 95. He left a powerful legacy of reconciliation and diversity along with a resistance to inequality — economic and otherwise.

Since leaving the White House, Obama has shied away from public comment on the Trump administration, which has reversed or attacked his notable achievements. The U.S. under Trump has withdrawn from the 2015 Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal while trying to undercut the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare.”

Obama’s speech drew on his great admiration for Mandela, a fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner whom America’s first black president saw as a mentor.

When Obama was a U.S. senator, he had his picture taken with Mandela. After Obama became president he sent a copy of the photo to Mandela, who kept it in his office. Obama also made a point of visiting Mandela’s prison cell and gave a moving eulogy at Mandela’s memorial service in 2013, saying the South African had inspired him.

Many South Africans view Obama as a successor to Mandela because of his groundbreaking role and his support for racial equality in the U.S. and around the world.

Stremlau, who attended the speech, called it “a tough, strong condemnation of Trump and all that he stands for.”

“Obama hit out at lying, insecurity and putting down others. Obama said he can’t believe it is necessary to once again speak up for equality and human rights,” Stremlau said. “He pulled it together in a carefully worded, measured speech, which urged all to live up to Mandela’s standards and values.”

Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa

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Ethiopian Shelves Plane Deals, Maps Out Privatization Plan – Bloomberg

(Photo: Ethiopian Airlines Facebook)


Ethiopian Airlines Group has shelved plans to establish a fleet of smaller jetliners as gains in demand suggest that the routes where they’d be deployed would be better served using larger planes.

Africa’s biggest airline had been looking at Bombardier Inc.’s C Series aircraft — since taken over by Airbus SE and renamed the A220 — together with Embraer SA’s E195. An order, which had been mooted as likely at this week’s Farnborough air show, is now off the agenda, Chief Executive Officer Tewolde GebreMariam said in an interview.

“We have decided to suspend the evaluation of the 100-seater regional aircraft acquisition project, since the market size of the selected regional routes is growing faster than we expected,” he said. Boeing Co. 737 jets from the current fleet will instead be used while the airline studies passenger trends.

Tewolde also said there’s no prospect of an order for the Airbus A350-1000 wide-body or Boeing’s rival 777X at the Farnborough expo, with Ethiopian still evaluating the two planes for its latest long-haul requirements. A purchase of more of the U.S. company’s current-generation 777s or the 787 Dreamliner remains an alternative, he said.

The CEO said that privatization plans, sanctioned by Ethiopia’s ruling politburo last month, are more likely to see foreign involvement in various operating units than an outright stake sale, given that Ethiopian Air already makes a significant economic contribution to the nation while being efficient, competitive internationally and able to raise capital for growth.

Of the group’s seven or eight business units, some will be “very attractive” to investors and could also benefit from outside involvement, he said. He cited the airline’s hotel business, airports and aerospace manufacturing division where negotiations are underway with companies including Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier. The carrier’s logistics arm, which has a venture with Deutsche Post AG’s DHL brand, could be transformed into a joint holding giving the German company a 49 percent stake “within weeks.”

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Eritrea’s President Arrives in Ethiopia for First Visit in More Than Two decades

Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki is welcomed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed upon arriving for a three-day visit, at the Bole international airport in Addis Ababa, July 14, 2018. (REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)


By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki said on Saturday history was being made as he started his first visit to Ethiopia in more than two decades, days after the two neighbors declared an end to their “state of war”.

Arriving for three days of meetings, Isaias was greeted warmly at the airport by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and thousands lined Addis Ababa’s main thoroughfare Bole Road, sporting T-shirts emblazoned with the pictures of both leaders.

The visit comes just days after Abiy visited Eritrea and signed a pact with Isaias on resuming ties, a move that ended a near 20-year military standoff after a border war.

“Words cannot express the joy we are feeling now. History is being made as we speak,” Isaias said during a lunch hosted by Abiy.

“Lives have perished but we are lucky to observe today … We are one people – whoever forgets that does not understand our situation.”

Abiy introduced Isaias to guests attending the lunch as an “esteemed and missed guest”.

Eritrea formally seceded from Ethiopia in 1993 after a long battle for independence, but the two went to war in 1998 over a border dispute. Though a peace deal was signed two years later, Ethiopia refused to implement it, saying it wanted more talks.

Reconciliation between Ethiopia and Eritrea could change politics and security in the volatile Horn of Africa region, which hundreds of thousands of young people have fled in search of safety and opportunities in Europe.

During the lunch, Abiy presented Isaias with a gold ring, while a painter handed Isaias a giant portrait of the Eritrean leader.

Ethiopia’s government spokesman said Isaias and his delegation would visit an industrial park in the southern Ethiopian town of Hawassa later on Saturday. Isaias was also due to give a speech in Addis Ababa on Sunday.

Eritrea and Ethiopia have so far agreed to open embassies, develop ports and restart flights.

Eritrea is due to reopen its embassy in Addis Ababa on Monday for the first time since 1998.

Eritrea’s Information Minister Yemane Meskel said on Twitter Isaias was accompanied by several ministers and other senior government officials.

Abiy, who is also trying to bring stability to a country that has been torn by protests since 2015, survived a grenade attack last month.

PM Abiy Ahmed to Meet Ethiopian Community in Washington DC July 28th
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia and Embracing a Culture of Democracy (Editorial)
With Hugs, Leaders of Rivals Ethiopia, Eritrea Finally Meet
PM Abiy Ahmed to Travel to Washington D.C. & Los Angeles on July 28-29
Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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Is This the Ethiopian Spring? An Interview With Eskinder Nega (Washington Post)

Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega was released on February 14, 2018, after serving nearly seven years in prison. (Photo: Befekadu Hailu)

The Washington Post

Just a few months ago, Ethiopia — a vast country of 100 million people — was still mired in dictatorship and war. But dramatic shifts are taking hold and they appear to be moving the country in the right direction: toward freedom.

This week, Ethiopia’s democratically elected prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, signed a peace treaty with Eritrea, its long-standing enemy. The news was one more sign that the change promised by the new government is real.

Ethiopia still has a long way to go. But Eskinder Nega, a leading Ethiopian journalist and former political prisoner, recently told me that he sees democracy as the inevitable destiny of his homeland. Now, he said, it’s “Ethiopia’s turn.”

He doesn’t make such claims lightly. Nega has spent a total of nine years in prison, most recently serving a 6½-year stint on a terrorism conviction for supposedly inciting violence against the government and having ties with the West. In reality, of course, the government targeted him because he was a vocal advocate for democracy, demanding an end to years of one-party rule.

Amid growing protests, he and several other political prisoners were released in April in a bid to “foster national reconciliation,” authorities said at the time.

In the months since, Ethiopia has been undergoing rapid reform, with Ahmed promising greater freedoms. For Nega, though, the only acceptable outcome is a representative democracy respecting the rights of all people.

Read the interview at washingtonpost.com »

Eskinder Nega Makes Surprise Appearance at 2018 PEN America Literary Gala in NYC

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People in Ethiopia Are Calling Strangers in Eritrea as Phone Lines are Opened After 20 Years — CNN

In this grab taken from video provided by ERITV, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is welcomed by Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki as he disembarks the plane in Asmara, Eritrea, Sunday, July 8, 2018. (CNN)


Frehiwot Negash picked up the phone and called a random number.

The Ethiopian finance manager was trying to test if indeed she could now place a call to Eritrea after 20 long years of being cut off from the neighboring country in the aftermath of a bloody border war.

The person on the other line answered. It was a hotel.

Negash, 33, told CNN: “The receptionist picked up. So I said ‘I’m calling from Ethiopia.’ Then I passed the congratulations message to her, and I told her that I am very happy and she also said ‘I am happy too.”

Negash says she now plans to visit Eritrea later this year.

After it was announced on Monday that phone lines would be restored between both countries, Ethiopia’s telecoms company, Ethios, sent text messages to its 57 million subscribers, saying they could now call Eritrea.

Negash was one of the people who quickly picked their phones to check if it was true. She and others in Ethiopia spent the day placing calls to friends and long-lost family members in Eritrea.

And the occasional stranger too.

“Oh gosh, I am so excited over this EthioEritrea thingy, I just called on a random number in Asmara and had a nice chat with a lady named Frtuna and she speaks Amharic,” Twitter user Henok Karvonen posted.

It has been 20 years since a war led to a shutdown of communication between the two countries.

But a diplomatic breakthrough was reached this week following a two-day summit between Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, 41, and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, 71, in Eritrea’s capital, Asmara.

The two leaders delighted their citizens after declaring an end to the war between both nations on Monday.

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PM Abiy Ahmed to Travel to Washington D.C. & Los Angeles on July 28-29

Ethiopia's new prime minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, is traveling to meet the Ethiopian Diaspora in the U.S. this month (Photo Courtesy: Zacharias Abubeker/AFP/Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 5th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The government affiliated media organization Fana Broadcasting Corporation has announced on July 4th that Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, will be traveling to Washington D.C. on July 28th and Los Angeles, California on July 29th, 2018 to meet the Ethiopian Diaspora in the United States.

“The objective of his trip is to hold face-to-face meetings with Ethiopian Diaspora in the U.S., according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia,” reports Fana Broadcasting Corp. “It is also aimed at boosting the involvement of all Ethiopian Diaspora living in the U.S. in the ongoing reforms, development, and democratization in their country of birth.”

According to the announcement all Ethiopians are “invited to participate in the meeting, regardless of their political ideology, religion, and ethnic background.”

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Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

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Ethiopia Fires Prison Officials Over Human Rights Abuses Amid Torture Report

Human Rights Watch has released a report on torture in prisons in Ethiopia's Ogaden region (photo courtesy: HRW)

The Washington Post

ADDIS ABABA (The Washington Post) — Ethiopia’s attorney general announced the dismissal of five top prison officials for alleged human rights violations, hours before the Thursday release of a Human Rights Watch report on torture in one regional prison.

Berhanu Tsegaye said the top prison officials “were relieved of their post for failing to discharge the responsibilities and respect prisoners’ human rights,” according to the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting late Wednesday.

The announcement came hours before the release of a harrowing report by Human Rights Watch describing systematic torture in Jail Ogaden, a prison in Jijiga, the capital of Ethiopia’s Somali region.

Report author Felix Horne said federal and regional authorities never responded to letters in April and May conveying the group’s findings. The report calls for a probe into the alleged abuses as well as criminal charges against those responsible.

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3-Year-Old Girl From Ethiopia Killed at Her Birthday Party in Idaho Mass Stabbing

Photo of girl identified by International Rescue Committee as Ruya Kadir, 3, is seen at July 2, 2018 vigil in Boise, Idaho for 9 victims of stabbing at her birthday party two days before; Ruya succumbed to her wounds. Ruya and her mother are Ethiopian refugees. They arrived in the U.S. in December 2015 and settled in Boise. (KBOI-TV)

CBS News

Girl slain in Boise stabbing “loved pink and Disney princesses”

BOISE, Idaho — The three-year-old Idaho girl who died from her wounds two days after a mass stabbing at her birthday party Saturday has been identified as an Ethiopian refugee “who loved pink and Disney princesses.” CBS Boise affiliate KBOI-TV reports Ruya Kadir is the victim who lost her battle to survive.

The station cites The International Rescue Committee, an organization providing support for the families involved in the stabbing.

IRC President and CEO David Hillbrand said in a statement, “Our caseworkers describe Ruya as a child who always sparkled when she walked into a room. She was her mother’s princess, always the center of attention, and loved pink and Disney princesses. She had just turned three years old Saturday, and according to our IRC colleagues in Boise, was the epitome of sweetness.

“Ruya and her mother are Ethiopian refugees. They arrived in the U.S. in December 2015 and settled in Boise. Her father is in Turkey. Ruya’s parents are enduring every parent’s worst nightmare, which is made doubly cruel by the fact that they fled to America to escape conflict in Ethiopia. IRC had resettled the Kadir family in Boise. Our local team is doing everything possible to support the family – and the other refugees injured on Saturday – in this moment of extreme distress and fear.”

Authorities say a man invaded the birthday celebration and attacked nine people with a knife.

Timmy Kinner is accused of stabbing a group of children and the adults who tried to protect them at the party at an apartment complex that is home to many refugee families.

Word of the child’s death came at Kinner’s first court appearance, where Ada County Magistrate Judge Russell Comstock told him that he was charged with first-degree murder and other felonies in connection with the attack.

Comstock told Kinner he was “an extreme danger to the community” and ordered him held without bond.

Kinner is American, and the victims are members of refugee families from Syria, Iraq and Ethiopia. Boise Police Chief William Bones said the evidence doesn’t suggest the attack was a hate crime.

The suspect had recently stayed at the apartment complex but was asked to leave Friday over bad behavior, Bones said.

Three of the stabbing victims were adults, the others children: the 3-year-old girl who died, two 4-year-olds, a 6-year-old, an 8-year-old and a 12-year-old…

Monday evening roughly 1,500 people turned out at a vigil honoring members of refugee families targeted in the stabbing.

People wept, sang and shouted their support for the refugee community, and many brought bouquets of white flowers intended to symbolize peace. By the end of the rally, hundreds of bouquets filled dozens of baskets on the steps of Boise’s City Hall.

But community leaders told the crowd that what the survivors really need is money to cover rapidly growing medical bills and space at home to try to overcome the constant sense of unease they’ve experienced since the attack. Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and others urged community members to do what they can to help.

Signs were dotted throughout the crowd, some reading “love wins” and “we are all immigrants.”

Younis Kamel, a 16-year-old who moved to Boise from Iraq, and his 23-year-old sister Zuzu Kamel held up a more poignant sign:

“I will never forget seeing my friend getting stabbed in front of me,” the sign read. Younis Kamel was at the apartment complex the night of the attack.

Another woman held a sign reading “Justice for Teeba,” with a photo of a young child in a hospital bed, a breathing tube obscuring part of his face with half a dozen other tubes and medical devices connected to his body.

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Dutchman Claims He Owns Teff Since 2003, But Ethiopians Have Been Eating Injera for Millennia

The European Patent Office lists a Dutch national as the “inventor” of teff flour and associated food products since 2003. Now Ethiopia wants its intellectual property back. Earlier this year, the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office announced that it would do everything in its power to reclaim the teff patents, including legal and diplomatic action. (Mail & Guardian Online)

Mail & Guardian

Whose injera is it anyway?

Injera, Ethiopia’s staple food, was invented by a Dutchman in 2003.

That’s according to the European Patent Office, which lists the Netherlands’ Jans Roosjen as the “inventor” of teff flour and associated food products. Teff is a plant endemic to Ethiopia, and the grain is used to make [injera] that Ethiopians eat with their meals.

Roosjen also has a patent for the “invention” in the United States — though he is patently not the inventor of a product that has been around for millennia.

Ethiopians are nonplussed.

“For someone from Europe, from across the ocean, in a different continent, to come and say we patented teff and the copyright is ours …” Kassahun Gebrehana, owner of the Little Addis Café in Maboneng, Johannesburg, shakes his head…


The story of how Ethiopia lost the intellectual property for teff and its associated products in Europe began in the early 2000s, with a bright idea: If Ethiopians love teff so much, why wouldn’t the rest of the world? The tiny grain — the world’s smallest grain, in fact — is gluten-free and rich in nutrients, beloved by hipsters and dieticians alike. It was, and remains, perfectly poised to take advantage of the global health food trend. Teff could be the next kale or quinoa.

Dutch researchers formed a company, which eventually became Health and Performance Food International, to explore options to market teff in Europe. Roosjen was a director. After many negotiations with different government entities, the company reached a deal with Ethiopia to plant and distribute teff in Europe. In return, it would send a hefty slice of the profits back to Addis Ababa.

These details are all courtesy of researchers Regine Andersen and Tone Winge, who in 2012 published a comprehensive paper on the subject for the Fridtjof Nansen Institute.

At the time, the deal was hailed as ground-breaking: for once, an African country was actually going to benefit from its precious natural resources. But not everyone was impressed: in 2004 the Coalition Against Biopiracy gave the Dutch company its award for the “most outrageous” deal: “The company appears to be oblivious to the fact that they are seeking to monopolise teff varieties that were developed over millennia by Ethiopian farmers and community plant breeders,” reads the citation.

In 2003, Ethiopian officials boxed up 1 440kg of teff seeds and shipped them off to the Netherlands. From there, it was supposed to find its way into kitchens all over Europe. Ninety-one Dutch agrarian entrepreneurs started growing teff, and that year 620 hectares were harvested.

But things did not go according to plan. The demand for teff never materialised, and the much-lauded deal earned the Ethiopian government a mere pittance: just €4 000 in total. In 2009 the Dutch company went bankrupt, meaning in effect that the contract was terminated.

But Health and Performance Food International had already applied for and been granted patents for the production and distribution of teff in Europe, and these did not lapse when the company went bankrupt. These patents are incredibly broad, covering most forms of teff flour, as well as all products that result from mixing teff flour with liquids. These include bread, pancakes, shortcake, cookies, cakes and, of course, injera.

Read the full article at Mail & Guardian »

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Dr. Getachew Metaferia: Morgan Professor Awarded Fulbright Scholarship

Dr. Getachew Metaferia is a professor of political science at Morgan State University in Maryland. (Courtesy photo)

Morgan State University

Adding to Morgan’s growing number of Fulbright Scholarship recipients representing the University, Getachew Metaferia, Ph.D., a professor of political science in the College of Liberal Arts, will be next to engage in learning abroad. Dr. Metaferia will serve as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University in Israel. His research will focus on the Bete Israel community of Ethiopian Jews. During his time in the country, Metaferia will examine the community’s fast-growing population and its contributions to Israel’s social, economic, and political spheres.

This will not be Dr. Metaferia’s first visit to Israel. In 2017, he traveled to the country as a member of Academic Partner for Peace: Conflict, Peacemaking, and Peacebuilding in the Context of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Dr. Metaferia will be taking a sabbatical leave for the Fall 2018 semester and during his upcoming teaching stint in Israel, he will look to establish collaboration between Morgan and Tel Aviv University.

Morgan is among the nation’s top producers of Fulbright scholars and the leader among HBCUs. To-date, 140 students and 70 faculty/administrators have received scholarships to study and teach abroad in more than 41 countries, including India, China, Brazil, and Jordan. Recently, Dr. Omar J. Khan, an associate professor of Marketing and International Business in the Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management was awarded the Fulbright to teach and perform research at the University of Jordan.

The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. government, is the nation’s flagship international educational exchange program designed to increase mutual understanding between American scholars and people of other countries. The program operates in more than 140 countries worldwide. The Fulbright Program at Morgan was instituted when Dr. Sandye Jean McIntyre, II (Distinguished Professor of Foreign Languages and Honorary Consul of the Republic of Senegal) was appointed campus Fulbright Program Director in 1951. Dr. McIntyre was the longest serving Fulbright advisor in history. In 1968, Dr. Carleen S. Leggett, who would go on to become Morgan’s Fulbright program director, joined him in his efforts to aid student applicants.

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Images: Washington DC Rally to Support Ethiopia’s New PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed

Support Rally for PM Abiy Ahmed in Washington DC on Tuesday, June 26th, 2018 (Photo Courtesy: Matt Andrea/Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, June 28th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Following the historic, large rally in Ethiopia in support of PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed this past weekend, the Ethiopian Diaspora in Washington DC and metropolitan area held a support rally on Tuesday, June 26th in front of the State Department.

Shortly after becoming Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed had told the nation in his inaugural address that “Democracy is unthinkable without freedom. Freedom is not a gift doled out to people by a government. Rather a gift of nature to everyone that emanates from our human dignity.”

Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s message of peace, love, forgiveness and unity has resonated with Ethiopians both at home and abroad, and in a televised address on Saturday the prime minister vowed to continue his agenda for democracy in Ethiopia.

Below are photos and videos shared on Facebook from the Washington DC support rally:

At Washington DC Support Rally for PM Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday, June 26th, 2018. (Photo: Matt Andrea/Facebook. Artwork by Solomon Asfaw).

Event poster for Washington DC Support Rally for PM Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday, June 26th, 2018. (Photo: Matt Andrea/Facebook).

Below are additional images and artwork by artists made for the rallies:

(By artist Yadesa Bojia)

(By Assegid Gessesse)

(By artist Yadesa Bojia)

(Anonymous from Addis)


In Pictures: Despite Attack Huge Ethiopia Support Rally for PM Abiy Ahmed

Ethiopia on the Right Track to a More Democratic Society (TADIAS Editorial)

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US: Obama Returns to Kenya and S. Africa

In this photo taken three years ago, Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta stands next to President Barack Obama as he signs a guest book at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, July 24, 2015. (Reuters)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Former U.S. President Barack Obama will return to his father’s homeland of Kenya next month on his way to South Africa, where he is scheduled to deliver the keynote speech at Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday anniversary.

“Obama will visit Kenya from July 15-16, where he’ll attend the inauguration of a youth sports center founded by his sister, Auma Obama,” CNN reports. “The vocational center in Siaya County aims to provide educational and economic opportunities to help young people serve their communities, and shares a similar mission as President Obama’s foundation.”

“Given that his own mission under the Obama Foundation is to inspire and empower people to change the world, his attendance at this event at our ancestral home, where our father was laid to rest, is of great significance to me,” Auma Obama said.

In Kenya, Obama will also meet with President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Since leaving office America’s ex-President has purposefully kept himself out of the limelight and away from the tumultuous political environment in the United States, which seems to have been further exasperated in recent days due to the fallout from his successor’s tragic family separation policy.

In a much talked about article published this week titled Where Is Barack Obama?, New York Magazine notes that “the most popular American…has, for now, virtually disappeared from public life.” Former White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest says: “He’s recognizing that the party and our country will benefit from other voices having an opportunity to weigh in, and that opportunity would be all but completely obscured if he were regularly sharing his opinion on these issues.”

Obama, who is also a talented writer, has been working on his upcoming memoir. Per New York Magazine: “No one close to Obama expects the finished product to look anything like other White House memoirs, given his history as a writer. “He is engaged in reflection, and he also cares about writing,” says Tim Kaine, the Virginia senator and an Obama friend. “I would be surprised if it’s just a standard chronological accounting of his last eight years.”

In addition Barack & Michelle Obama have partnered with Netflix to produce media content including films and documentary series for the online streaming service giving the former first couple a powerful and unprecedented platform to shape their post-White House legacy. “Under the name Higher Ground Productions, the Obamas will have hands-on involvement in producing content and will appear personally in some of the shows while curating others,” a person familiar with the deal told Reuters last month.”

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UPDATE: U.S. to Send FBI Experts to Investigate Ethiopia Blast

Ethiopians react after an explosion during a rally in support of the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia June 23, 2018. (Reuters Photo)


Updated: Monday, JUNE 25, 2018

ADDIS ABABA – The United States will send FBI experts to Ethiopia to help investigate a grenade attack at a rally for new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, state-affiliated media said on Monday.

A grenade exploded on Saturday moments after Abiy had finished addressing the crowds, who had turned out to back his push for radical political and economic reforms, including a peace deal with arch-enemy Eritrea.

Thirty people have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the attack that killed two and wounded 156 in Addis Ababa’s packed Meskel Square. Nine police officers have also been detained over the security lapse, officials said.

“The U.S. government said it is sending FBI experts,” the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporation reported.

U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce Gilbert Kaplan made the offer while talking to Ethiopia’s minister of foreign affairs, Workneh Gebeyehu, on Monday, Fana added.

There was no immediate confirmation from the U.S. embassy in Addis, or from Washington. Ethiopia is one of Washington’s main allies in the region, particularly in the fight against militants in neighboring Somalia.

Security officials have not said publicly who might be responsible for the attack.

Abiy took office in April, pledging to bring more transparency to government and reconciliation to a country that has been wracked by political unrest since 2015.

Ethiopia has released thousands of jailed dissidents since the beginning of the year. Major policy shifts include the partial privatisation of Ethiopia’s state-run telecoms monopoly and state-owned Ethiopian Airlines, loosening the government’s grip on the economy.

In Pictures: Despite Attack Huge Ethiopia Support Rally for PM Abiy Ahmed

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Ethiopia Unblocks 264 Websites and TV Channels, Ginbot 7 Suspends Armed Resistance (BBC)

ESAT was among the banned TV stations. In a related news Ginbot 7 also announced that it has suspended armed resistance against the Ethiopian government. (Photo: YouTube)


Ethiopia has unblocked 264 websites and TV broadcasters, a senior official has announced.

Fitsum Arega, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s chief of staff, announced the move on Twitter, saying “freedom of expression is a foundational right”.

Since coming to office in April, Mr Abiy has embarked on sweeping reforms.

The previous administration was accused of restricting access to foreign-based media platforms during the height of anti-government protests.

The government was accused of human rights violations – including torture and extrajudicial killing of political dissidents.

US-based television stations, Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) and Oromo Media Network (OMN), were among the outlets barred and charged in absentia for inciting violence and promoting acts of terror by the government, BBC Amharic editor Ashagre Hailu reports.

Many journalists were given prison sentences for stories they had written, while others fled the country.

This environment seems to be changing under Prime Minister Abiy, our correspondent says.

When he took office in April, Mr Abiy pledged to open up the airwaves, even calling on foreign-based opposition TV broadcasters to open offices in Ethiopia.

A few weeks ago, charges were dropped against ESAT and OMN.

Mr Abiy has also announced the part-privatisation of state-owned enterprises, is attempting to stabilise Ethiopia’s rocky relationship with neighbouring Eritrea, and ended a state of emergency put in place by the previous administration.

Ginbot 7 suspends armed resistance

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Why Ethiopia Wants to Launch a Navy

H H Commodore Prince Alexander Desta was Deputy Commander of the Imperial Ethiopian Navy in 1971. (Photo: IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM)

BBC News

When Eritrea gained independence in 1993, Ethiopia suddenly found itself without a coastline and so it took the logical step of disbanding its navy. Now, it is reconsidering its decision and its latest manoeuvres in the region suggest it could be shopping around its neighbourhood to find a naval base it can use.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed recently said on state TV: “We built one of the strongest ground and air force in Africa… we should build our naval force capacity in the future.”

His comments revealed the country’s naval ambitions but his plans for how to achieve this goal have not been made public. However, Ethiopia’s latest push to enter into deals with its coastal neighbours signals something is afoot.

What is behind the move?

State-linked Fana Broadcasting Corporate quoted Mr Abiy as saying the military reforms should “take into account current fast changing world, socio-economic and political situation in Ethiopia”.

After Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a bitter border war from 1998-2000, there was little chance that Ethiopia could carry on using Eritrea’s ports as it had done previously. So it had to find alternatives.

Ethiopia recently signed a deal to take a stake in the port of Djibouti, which now handles roughly 95% of all its exports and imports.

It is also connected to its small neighbour by a new 472 mile (759 km) railway line – opened last year – which links the capital Addis Ababa to the port of Doraleh, an extension of the port of Djibouti.

The railway line has increased the movement of cargo volumes to and from the port to such an extent that at least 70% of all its activity is now Ethiopian trade.

Roba Megerssa Akawak, head of the state-owned Ethiopian Shipping & Logistics Services Enterprise (ESLSE), told Bloomberg that Ethiopia was concerned that Djibouti was controlled by foreign naval forces. US, China, Japan and France all have military bases there.

“We are afraid perhaps in the future that even Djibouti may not have its own say to really decide on its own fate. This is quite a threat to Ethiopia,” Mr Roba said.

He added that a navy would also help protect the 11 Ethiopia commercial ships in a “very volatile” Red Sea area where Ethiopia has other economic interests “and there are conflicting political interests”.

Read more »

Ethiopia Offers Eritrea Chance to End Africa’s Longest War

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Futurists in Ethiopia Betting on AI

Young Ethiopians are increasingly seeing artificial intelligence as a promising profession. Some stakeholders think Ethiopia should skip the manufacturing stage of development and invest instead in a high-tech workforce. (Photo by Thomas Lewton for Undark)

Quartz Africa

Futurists in Ethiopia are betting on artificial intelligence to drive development

“I don’t think Homo sapiens-type people will exist in 10 or 20 years’ time,” Getnet Assefa, 31, speculates as he gazes into the reconstructed eye sockets of Lucy, one of the oldest and most famous hominid skeletons known, at the National Museum of Ethiopia. “Slowly the biological species will disappear and then we will become a fully synthetic species,” Assefa says.

“Perception, memory, emotion, intelligence, dreams—everything that we value now—will not be there,” he adds.

Assefa is a computer scientist, a futurist, and a utopian—but a pragmatic one at that. He is founder and chief executive of iCog, the first artificial intelligence (AI) lab in Ethiopia, and a stone’s throw from the home of Lucy. iCog Labs launched in 2013 with $50,000 and just four programmers. Today, halfway up an unassuming tower block, dozens of software developers type in silence. Their desks are cluttered with electronic components and dismembered robot body parts, from a soccer-playing bot called Abebe to a miniature robo-Einstein. An earlier prototype of Sophia, a widely recognized humanoid robot developed by Hong Kong-based company Hanson Robotics (she appeared with late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon last year) is here too. Arguably the world’s most famous robot of her kind, Sophia’s software was partly developed here in Ethiopia’s capital.

In stark contrast to the famine-stricken images that linger in the minds of many Westerners, Addis Ababa has, in recent years, become a hub for international business and diplomacy. Glitzy new office blocks and hotels continue to rise across the sprawling capital, and while Ethiopia is still ranked among the world’s poorest countries in terms of GDP per capita, it is also among the fastest growing.

Assefa hopes to place artificial intelligence at the heart of Ethiopia’s rapid development, but he receives little backing from the government, which has been encouraging investment in the manufacturing sector. “They think that advanced technologies are a luxury,” he sighs, as we sit in the Lucy-themed restaurant next door to the museum. “It’s not a luxury, it is crucial.”

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Ethiopia on the Right Track to a More Democratic Society

(Image via YouTube: Faces of Ethiopia)

Tadias Magazine

June 8th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — This week, Ethiopia’s parliament voted to lift a six-month state of emergency two months in advance than scheduled.

We were not surprised. It is a continuation of a series of positive major policy changes that have taken place in Ethiopia in the past few weeks fueling optimism both at home and abroad since the new PM Abiy Ahmed took office in early April.

The lifting of the State of Emergency follows the government’s recent announcement that it has dropped charges against two Ethiopian media associations based in the United States, ESAT and OMN, as well as granting pardons to several high-profile opposition leaders, journalists and political activists – some whom are set to speak in New York today (June 8th) at an Amnesty International USA conference focusing on the state of human rights in Ethiopia.

“Ethiopia is undergoing remarkable political transformation never seen in the country’s recent history,” says Awol K. Allo, a lecturer at Keele University School of Law in England, writing in a recent opinion article featured on CNN. “Since coming to power just over two months ago, the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, has taken a series of radical steps that are transforming the political map and restoring trust in public authority.”

Awol adds: “On Tuesday (June 5), the government made three major and politically consequential announcements. It lifted the state of emergency imposed shortly after former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned, announced plans to liberalize the economy and declared it was ready to fully comply with and implement the Algiers Agreement that ended Africa’s most deadly conflict [with neighboring Eritrea].” Awol then asks: “Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister has had a stellar two months, can he keep it up?”

The Economist, which has dubbed Abiy ‘the Reformer-in-Chief,’ notes : “The exiled opponents have been invited home. Representatives of dissident media outlets based abroad have been encouraged to set up shop in Addis Ababa, the capital. Terrorism charges against dozens of activists have been dropped, including against a British citizen, Andargachew Tsige, who had been on death row.”

The question still remains, will Ethiopia likewise pull off its first ever truly multi-party election in 2020? The answer might as well be PM Abiy’s long lasting legacy.

In the last questionable election, which was held in 2015, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia declared a 100% vote victory for the ruling party. The unrealistic results certainly contributed to the resentment that ignited the three-year popular unrest leading to the abrupt resignation of the former prime minister.

The next election season in 2020 is not that far away, but given what has already been accomplished in a mere 8 weeks under PM Abiy who knows how Ethiopia may yet again surprise the world. In the end, however, what is not in doubt today is that this generation has answered the call of our time and has seized the moment to assure the continuity of Ethiopia’s long history and culture, while at the same time placing the country on the right path to a more peaceful and democratic society.

Abiy Ahmed pulls off an astonishing turnaround for Ethiopia (Washington Post Editorial)
Momentous days in Ethiopia as new PM pledges major reforms (The Associated Press)

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The Future is African — and the United States is not Prepared

Maj. Gen. Roger L. Cloutier Jr., the chief of staff for U.S. Africa Command, at the Pentagon on May 10. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

The Washington Post

Beginning in 2035, the number of young people reaching working age in Africa will exceed that of the rest of the world combined, and will continue every year for the rest of the century. By 2050, one in every four humans will be African. At the end of the century, nearly 40 percent of the world’s population will be African. Yet, instead of preparing to build a relationship that can grow with the continent, based upon diplomatic cooperation, the United States is doubling down on more than a decade of reliance on its military as the primary vehicle of engaging with Africa. The consequences, as one might expect, are overwhelmingly negative.

The impending demographic dividend will only add to Africa’s economic importance. Since 2000, at least half of the countries in the world with the highest annual growth rate have been in Africa. By 2030, 43 percent of all Africans are projected to join the ranks of the global middle and upper classes. By that same year, household consumption in Africa is expected to reach $2.5 trillion, more than double the $1.1 trillion of 2015, and combined consumer and business spending will total $6.7 trillion.

Africa’s rapid change also presents challenges that will not be contained within the continent. Indeed, the persistently high absolute number of people in poverty, the underdevelopment of infrastructure, ongoing conflicts, and continuing problems with democratic governance are already combining to make Africa the world’s largest source of emigrants.

Many other countries have taken note of both the potential and the challenges in Africa’s anticipated transformation, and have mostly decided to increase their engagement. Plenty has been written about China’s growing presence, and the European Union has also been deepening its links to the continent. But there is also a growing list of other countries pursuing stronger ties — including India, Brazil, Turkey, Japan, and the Gulf states.

In contrast, the United States’ relationship with the continent has, since 9/11, been increasingly defined by the militarization of U.S. foreign policy. In 2003, the George W. Bush administration established the first permanent U.S. base on the continent in Djibouti. In 2007, the U.S. Africa Command was created.

The Barack Obama administration solidified this policy approach by increasing military spending and deploying more troops. President Trump is following the lead of his predecessors; over the past year, the number of U.S. forces in Africa has increased by nearly 1,500, bringing the total to around 7,500, not including Special Operations forces. The United States now has 34 status of forces agreements (or similar treaties) with African countries — 14 of which were signed or upgraded in the last decade. U.S. Special Operations forces are also often deployed in countries without such agreements. In 2017 alone, U.S. troops were deployed to 50 out of Africa’s 54 countries, many on clandestine missions.

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Andy Tsege ‘Overjoyed’ to Return to UK

Andy Tsege was warmly greeted at Heathrow Airport. (Sky News)

Sky News

British national Andy Tsege ‘overjoyed’ to return to UK after years on death row in Ethiopia

A British national who spent four years on death row in Ethiopia has arrived back in the UK after being pardoned last month.

Supporters surrounded Andargachew Tsege, known as Andy, as he walked through arrivals at Heathrow Airport.

He told Sky News he was “overjoyed” to be home and “overwhelmed” by the reception he received.

Mr Tsege said he did not think the campaign to free him and the welcome he got would be “as large, as emotional, as effective as this”.

Andy Tsege’s family were waiting for him at Heathrow (Sky News)

Being away had been “terrible”, he added, and very hard on his family.

Missing four years of his children growing up had been the “most painful thing”.

“The price they paid, the kids, that’s very painful,” he said.

Were he not a father, Mr Tsege said he would not have minded dying in prison for a “cause I believed in”.

While in detention, he said he was “completely sealed off” from any information.

Mr Tsege said being away from his children was the ‘most painful thing’ (Sky News)

Mr Tsege was kidnapped in Yemen in 2014 and taken to Ethiopia, which he left in the 1970s after criticising the country’s ruling party.

The father-of-three sought asylum in the UK in 1979.

In 2009, he was accused by the Ethiopian authorities of being a terrorist, tried with others in his absence and sentenced to death.

After being taken back to Ethiopia, he was held in secret detention and solitary confinement for a year.

Theresa May has thanked her Ethiopian counterpart, Abiy Ahmed, for the release of Mr Tsege and other prisoners.

Ethiopia Drops Charges Against ESAT, OMN, Berhanu Nega and Jawar Mohammed (AP)

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Did Obama Come Too Early for America?

Former president Barack Obama walks by his presidential portrait at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in February. (The Washington Post)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Did Obama Come Too Early for America? New Book Reveals He Wondered So

May 31st, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — In the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. election President Barack Obama was said to have wondered aloud if he had come a bit too early for America.

In response his advisors sought to uplift his spirits emphasizing that the vast majority of young people understood him better than the older generation; this was according to a new book by Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser Benjamin J. Rhodes.

“His aides reassured him that he still would have won had he been able to run for another term and that the next generation had more in common with him than with Mr. Trump,” the New York Times notes citing Rhodes’ book. “Mr. Obama, the first black man elected president, did not seem convinced. “Sometimes I wonder whether I was 10 or 20 years too early,” he said.”

As the Washington Post’s Eugene Scott reminds us “Obama’s vision of America was rooted in uniting those who often process politics and policy differently because of their different identities.” Obama famously articulated this during his 2004 Democratic National Convention speech in Boston that catapulted him to international stardom.

However, Scott also points out: “More than a decade later, as the first black president was ending his historic time in the White House, Obama was faced with acknowledging something that perhaps he had not previously — America was far more divided than many people realized. It’s fair to say, more than a year after President Trump entered the White House, Obama was wrong about one thing: just how many people bought into his vision of an inclusive America where diversity is fundamental to the country’s — and the world’s — success. Very often after a racist, sexist or other discriminatory comment or incident captures national headlines, some politicians and other cultural influencers head to Twitter to say: “This is not who we are.” The frequency with which these episodes happen is proof that that’s not true.”

Scott adds:

Obama often called on Americans “to appeal … to our better angels.” This is a line he borrowed from Abraham Lincoln, who had to challenge Americans to do the same thing more than a century and a half ago. While Obama may have underestimated just how tribalistic the country had become during his presidency, and the role he may have played in it, the idea that most people bought into the vision of America that Trump promoted is also unsupported by the data. A majority of the electorate voted against Trump.”

Indeed per the officially-certified votes from the 2016 presidential race Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote by nearly 2.9 million votes, but lost the Electoral College.

Below are links to both articles:



Millennials Take on Trump in 2018 Midterm Elections
Barack & Michelle Obama Partner With Netflix to Produce Media Content

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How Ethiopia’s Social Safety-net Program is Setting an Example — The Economist

Extending the safety-net in Ethiopia: Ethiopia’s scheme to help the poor is setting an example.

The Economist

May 31st 2018 | ADDIS ABABA

TSIDE ZEWIDE has lived in the shadow of the national palace in Addis Ababa for more than 50 years. Since her husband died four years ago the 73-year-old has cared for three orphans, the grandchildren of her late sister, alone in a rundown government-owned shack. She has no pension and, until recently, had no income. “I relied on the kindness of my neighbours,” she sighs.

Last year Mrs Zewide’s fortunes changed. She and some 80 of her neighbours rise at dawn to sweep the streets of the Ethiopian capital for three hours a day. For this she is paid 1,200 Ethiopian birr ($44) a month, a fifth of which she is required to save. “It’s good for me psychologically,” she says. “It keeps me busy, and now at least I can tell people I have a job.” Her teammates nod in agreement.

They are participants in Ethiopia’s Urban Productive Safety Net Project, which was launched in 2017 and is among the largest social programmes in sub-Saharan Africa (outside South Africa) designed specifically for urban areas. About 400,000 poor Ethiopians in 11 cities are already enrolled. The government hopes it will eventually help 4.7m people in almost 1,000 towns. Beneficiaries are selected by a neighbourhood committee based on how poor and vulnerable they are. In addition to the paid work, they also receive training. Those who want to start their own businesses are given grants…

Ethiopia’s programme is a step towards building a national social-security system that will, in time, replace a hotch-potch of small ones. It builds on Ethiopia’s flagship rural safety-net, which is the largest of its kind on the continent and covers some 10m poor people in the countryside (out of a total population of about 102m). The government has committed $150m to fund the new scheme and the World Bank has stumped up the remaining $300m needed for the first five years. Ethiopia hopes that within ten years it will no longer need help financing the programme.

Read more »

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Ethiopia Drops Charges Against ESAT, OMN, Berhanu Nega and Jawar Mohammed

Berhanu Nega, who leads the opposition Patriotic Ginbot 7 group, was previously sentenced to death. (Photo: NYT)

The Associated Press

An Ethiopian court has dropped charges against two U.S.-based media outlets once accused of coordinating anti-government protests, as well as a high-profile politician and opposition activist.

The developments reported by the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate are the latest under new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who since his installation in April has secured the release of several thousands of prisoners.

Charges were dropped against broadcasters ESAT and OMN and activist Jawar Mohammed.

Charges also were dropped against politician Berhanu Nega, who leads the opposition Patriotic Ginbot 7 group and was previously sentenced to death.

Also Tuesday, Ethiopia-born British national Andgargachew Tsige walked free after being pardoned Saturday on “special circumstances.” He was secretary-general of Ginbot 7 and had been detained in Yemen in 2014 under Ethiopia’s infamous anti-terror law.

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Andargachew Tsige to Be Released (AP)

Andargachew Tsege is a father of three from London. A prominent figure in Ethiopian politics, kidnapped and rendered to Ethiopia in 2014. (Family photo via Twitter)


Ethiopia releasing British national detained in 2014

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia says it is releasing an Ethiopia-born British national detained in Yemen in 2014 under the country’s infamous anti-terror law.

Andargachew Tsige was secretary-general of the opposition group Ginbot 7 based mainly in Ethiopia’s arch- foe Eritrea.

The state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate reports that Andargachew was pardoned under “special circumstances” with the intervention of the attorney general. The report says close to 600 people are being released in all.

Britain had been trying to secure Andargachew’s release since his arrest.

Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was installed in April and has since secured the release of several thousands of prisoners, including high-profile politicians and journalists.

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Barack & Michelle Obama Partner With Netflix to Produce Media Content

(Getty Images)


LOS ANGELES – Former U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, have struck a deal to produce films and series for Netflix Inc, the streaming service said on Monday, giving the former first couple a powerful and unprecedented platform to shape their post-White House legacy.

Under the name Higher Ground Productions, the Obamas have the option to produce scripted and unscripted series, documentaries and feature films, Netflix said in a statement.

The Obamas will have hands-on involvement in producing content and will appear personally in some of the shows while curating others, said a person familiar with the deal.

Terms of the multi-year deal were not disclosed and the first of the programming is not expected to reach viewers until about May 2019, the person said.

The agreement between the Obamas and Netflix, which boasts some 125 million subscribers worldwide, is a first for any occupant of the White House…

The Obamas gave no details of the topics they planned to cover but the content is not expected to be directly political.

Barack Obama in a statement recalled the “fascinating people” from all walks of life that he had met during his eight years in office, ending in January 2017.

Netflix Forming Storytelling Partnership With Barack and Michelle Obama

Press Release

Hollywood, Calif., May 21, 2018 — President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have entered into a multi-year agreement to produce films and series with Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service.

The Obamas will produce a diverse mix of content, including the potential for scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features. These projects will be available to the 125 million member Netflix households in 190 countries.

The Obamas have established Higher Ground Productions as the entity under which they will produce content for Netflix.

“One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience,” said President Obama. “That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix – we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world.”

“Barack and I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others,” said Mrs. Obama. “Netflix’s unparalleled service is a natural fit for the kinds of stories we want to share, and we look forward to starting this exciting new partnership.”

“Barack and Michelle Obama are among the world’s most respected and highly-recognized public figures and are uniquely positioned to discover and highlight stories of people who make a difference in their communities and strive to change the world for the better,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “We are incredibly proud they have chosen to make Netflix the home for their formidable storytelling abilities.”

About Netflix:

Netflix is the world’s leading internet entertainment service with 125 million memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

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Al-Amoudi Will Be Released Soon, PM Says

Al Amoudi has been detained in Saudi Arabia since November 2017 as part of a high profile anti-corruption probe. The billionaire businessman will return to Ethiopia "soon," announced Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who recently traveled to the oil kingdom and met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “One of the reasons we went to Saudi Arabia was to ask the Saudi government to release Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi,” Abiy said. “We have made the request – we are sure that he will be released very soon.” (Photo: I-ARB Africa)

Middle East Monitor

Saudi Arabia will soon release Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi, an Ethiopian-born Saudi billionaire arrested in November during a crackdown on corruption, Ethiopia’s prime minister said.

Abiy Ahmed made the remarks late on Saturday after arriving from the Gulf kingdom, where he met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a two-day visit.

Al Amoudi, a son of a Saudi father and an Ethiopian mother who has invested heavily in construction, agriculture and mining in the Horn of Africa country, was among 11 princes, four current ministers and top businessmen detained during the swoop by a new anti-corruption body.

“The incarceration of one Ethiopian is the incarceration of all Ethiopians. Sheikh Al Amoudi’s arrest is top in the agenda for all Ethiopians,” Abiy said in the capital Addis Ababa.

“We have made the request – we are sure that he will be released very soon,” he added in a townhall-style gathering.

Read more »

Ethiopia Lobbies for Release of Billionaire in Saudi Arabia (Bloomberg)

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Ethiopia Probes Killing of Dangote Cement Country Manager (Bloomberg)

Deep Kamra, the Ethiopia country manager of Dangote Cement Plc, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on Wednesday along with his secretary and his driver near the factory north of Addis Ababa. The Company has faced opposition to its sourcing of raw materials. Kamra was an Indian national. The Indian Embassy in Addis Ababa said its providing all necessary assistance to return his body back home. (Photo: Reporter)


Ethiopian authorities are investigating the murder of the country manager of Dangote Cement Plc, the manufacturer owned by Africa’s richest man, and two other staff.

Unidentified gunmen shot dead Deep Kamra, his secretary and his driver on Wednesday, Tariku Alemayehu, deputy manager for sales and marketing in Ethiopia, said by phone from the capital, Addis Ababa. The killings took place in broad daylight near Dangote’s factory in Mugher, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) north of Addis Ababa, Group Executive Director Edwin Devakumar said by email from Lagos, Nigeria, where Dangote’s head office is based.

The assailants forced the driver to lose control by throwing a concrete block at the vehicle the three people were traveling in, before opening fire on the occupants, Devakumar said.

“Mr. Kamra tried to get out and escape,” he said. “They shot him in the leg. When he slumped into the jeep, they went near and shot him multiple times. Then they shot the driver and the secretary — also, each of them, multiple times. It was simply a massacre.”

Security forces are working to apprehend the suspects, according to a statement read on state-owned ETV.

Read more »

Gunmen kill Ethiopia country manager of Nigeria’s Dangote (Reuters)

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Reunited: Graduate From Ethiopia Relishes Mom’s Presence at Commencement

Roza Azene ‘18 graduated magna cum laude with honors after adjusting to life at Brandeis Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. (brandeis.edu)


Roza Muluken Azene ’18 was keenly aware of Commencement’s concurrence with Mother’s Day this year.

For Azene, a native of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, graduation marked just the third time in four years that she’s seen her mother, Muchit Reta, who made a 27-hour journey to Waltham last week to see her daughter receive a bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics.

“The distance and time apart has been very hard and challenging for both of us. Getting my diploma this Sunday definitely feels more significant given that it’s also Mother’s Day. It’s such a great coincidence,” Azene said.

Muchit, who works as a math teacher in Ethiopia, encouraged her daughter to pursue educational opportunities in the United States after a family friend recommended Brandeis.

Azene heeded her mother’s encouragement and applied to Brandeis. She was subsequently accepted into the Class of 2018 and was named a Lawrence A. Wien International Scholar. The Wien Scholarship Program provides four years of free tuition to a select group of international students. Since its inception in 1958, the program has brought over 860 scholars from 112 countries to Brandeis.

Even so, Azene was hesitant to leave home and face a new country, language and culture on her own. Today, she remembers the moment her plane took off from Addis Ababa en route to a new adventure.

“I remember sitting on the plane, waiting on the tarmac to takeoff,” Azene said. “And I remember saying to myself ‘What are you doing? What have you done?’”

Azene credits Brandeis’ community for welcoming her on campus in the fall of 2014 and making her transition easier. She made friends and enjoyed new student orientation. That said, she also experienced homesickness and culture shock.

Read more »

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Land and Corruption in Ethiopia

Villagers, lured by new jobs and rich rewards for selling their land, now face poverty and heartbreak as claims of corruption engulf £25bn transport project. (The Guardian)

The Guardian

They promised us we would get jobs there,” says Tadele, nodding at the grand, almost baroque edifice at the bottom of the hill. Adama’s new railway station, yellow bricks golden in the afternoon sun, is still a symbol of hope for the 43-year-old who lives in a village overlooking it. But its promise is dimmer than it was.

A stint on the payroll of the Chinese firm that built Ethiopia’s new railway ended sourly. After six months he was fired, for reasons he disputes. Now, like many in his village and in small towns all along the railway from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to Djibouti, the tiny nation and synonymous Red Sea port that borders Ethiopia, he is frustrated, impatient – and unemployed.

Ethiopia’s new £2.5bn, 750km (466-mile) line began commercial operations at the start of the year, making it Africa’s first fully electrified cross-border railway. Built and financed by Chinese investors and contractors, and shadowing the route of an earlier French-built track, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway lies at the heart of Ethiopia’s development aspirations. By linking the landlocked country to the sea and lowering transport costs for imports and exports, the government hopes to kickstart industrialisation and transform a poor, agricultural nation of nearly 100 million people into a middle-income one by as early as 2025.

And it is much more than that. “The railway project is a transport project,” explains Dr Getachew Betru, former chief executive of the state-owned Ethiopia Railways Corporation (ERC). “But it is also a hinterland development project.” The plan is for eight railways to eventually crisscross this vast, diverse land, knitting together the relatively fertile highlands with the historically neglected lowlands that are mostly inhabited by nomadic people. New stations, some of which rise incongruously from seemingly empty expanses of barren bushland, are visualised as “transport-oriented development zones”: future temples of commerce boasting malls, hotels, and golf courses…

The railway embodies these contradictions. “It’s the physical manifestation of the country’s politics,” says Biruk Terrefe, a graduate researcher at Oxford University who has studied the project.

Read the full story at theguardian.com »

Dr. Abiy Making Ethiopia Optimistic Again — Media Round Up

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UN IOM Conducting a Study of the Ethiopian Diaspora

(IOM Logo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

May 9th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is conducting a study of the Ethiopian Diaspora.

According to IOM the goal of the study is “to identify potential opportunities to partner with the Ethiopian Diaspora to promote development in Ethiopia.”

The United Nations organization states that “to do this most effectively, IOM needs feedback from the Ethiopian community. This survey is part of a study designed to collect input and feedback from the Ethiopian Diaspora to shape future IOM diaspora engagement strategies” adding that “future successful IOM engagement with the Ethiopian diaspora relies on collecting as many diverse opinions from as many voices as possible.”

Please complete this survey by May 14th and encourage others that you know in the Ethiopian Diaspora to do so as well. All responses will remain anonymous and will be treated with utmost confidentiality.

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Captain Alemayehu Abebe, First African Pilot to Command Commercial Aircraft

In 1957, Captain Alemayehu Abebe (center) became the first African pilot to command commercial aircraft making his solo flight as captain of an Ethiopian Airlines DC‑3/C-47 aircraft. This week, Captain Alemayehu who passed away in January 2018 is featured by the Pan-African website Face2Face Africa for his trailblazing role in African aviation. Below is excerpt from the story. (Photo: Ethiopian Airlines)

Face2Face Africa

This determined Ethiopian became Africa’s first commercial aircraft captain

Perseverance was his hallmark. At a time when management and flight operations at Ethiopian Airlines were dominated by Americans, who felt black people had no business flying, Alemayehu Abebe was determined to prove them wrong. Through hard work, he became the first Ethiopian captain in 1957, making his solo flight on DC-3/c-47 at the age of 32.

Ethiopian Airlines had in 1946 began commercial operation with an all-American aircrew.

In 1951, the airline trained four Ethiopian pilots, and Abebe was one of them.

He and the others did tremendously well. He was further set apart from the rest by becoming the first African to fly the Atlantic solo in 1962, with Boeing 720Bs.

Read more »

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D.C.-based Nonprofit Supports Young Female Ethiopian Runners

(Photo: GGRF)


The Girls Gotta Run Foundation started out with an effort to get running shoes to girls in Ethiopia.

Now, more than a decade later, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit is working with 100 girls and 40 mothers in the African country.

And the Girls Gotta Run Foundation provides more than just shoes. Three-year scholarship programs in Sodo and Bekoji, Ethiopia, allow girls to stay in school while also running, receiving coaching and running gear, and learning life skills, according to the nonprofit’s website.

In a place where child marriage is not uncommon, running provides an opportunity for Ethiopian girls to have more control over their futures — even if they don’t become professional runners. Education is key in the scholarship programs.

“After working closely with the communities we collaborate with, we shaped our program around the challenges and opportunities facing girls and women in these unique environments,” Executive Director Kayla Nolan wrote in an email from Bekoji, Ethiopia. “This led to a focus on education, early marriage prevention and recreational running.”

The Girls Gotta Run Foundation has worked with 210 people in total, she wrote.

Founder Pat Ortman, a retired women’s studies professor at Mount Vernon College, said the organization has grown much more than she imagined.

“I’m awestruck,” Ortman said.

In late 2005, Ortman read a Washington Post article titled “Facing Servitude, Ethiopian Girls Run for a Better Life.” She said she was impressed by the determination of the Ethiopian girls despite their tough circumstances. One runner featured in the story spoke of how she had to either run barefoot or in her brothers’ shoes because she didn’t have her own.

“They were just so optimistic,” she said.

Read more »

In Sodo & Bekoji, New GGRF Athletic Scholarship Keeps Girls in School

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