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President Obama’s Best 2014 Moments

If the end of 2014 was any indication, we may be finding out that this supposedly lame-duck president has no intention of going gently into that good night. (Getty Images)

The Root


This is by no means an exhaustive list. And I’m not suggesting that there’s consensus about the positives and negatives of President Barack Obama’s various initiatives—although I’m guessing that folks on both sides of the aisle were tickled by his exchange with that overzealous boyfriend in the Chicago voting station—but here are a few notable moments from the president’s past year that pleased a lot of people.

1. The Reconciliation with Cuba

Wednesday, Obama announced restoration of “full diplomatic relations” with Cuba, a plan that includes opening a U.S. embassy in Havana, easing restrictions on financial transactions such as remittances and banking, and encouraging Congress to start a legitimate conversation about lifting the embargo against Cuba, since that would require congressional action.

When asked to explain his decision, the president stressed that the status quo had not worked over the past 50 years, and it was that realization that inspired him to seek a change. That approach—when something isn’t working, try a something else—made sense even to some of the president’s political adversaries.

2. Support for #BringBackOurGirls and Fighting the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

Obama understood that a crisis for one country could reach the doorstep of the United States in no time. In May, he sent about 80 military personnel to West Africa to help Nigerian officials in the search for the nearly 300 schoolgirls who were abducted by the Islamist group Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria.

President Obama visited the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health on Dec. 2, 2014, in Bethesda, Md., to discuss the ongoing fight against Ebola. (ALEX WONG/GETTY IMAGES)

And in September, the United States spent more than $100 million to help curb the spread of Ebola in three West African countries.

3. Addressing African Americans’ Distrust of Law Enforcement

When the nation learned that a Ferguson, Mo., grand jury would not indict police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting unarmed teenager Michael Brown, Obama spoke from the White House minutes later to reassure Americans who were angered by the outcome.

Read more at theroot.com »

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Addis Ababa Metro Set for Completion in January (Reuters)

The Ethiopian Railway Corporation (ERC) overseas the Addis Ababa Light Railway project (LRT) backed and to be operated by Chinese firms. (Photo: Addis Fortune)


By Aaron Maasho

December 18th, 2014

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia expects to complete the Chinese-backed construction of a $475 million metro rail system in the capital Addis Ababa next month, the head of the project said.

The project, built by China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) and mostly financed through a loan from China’s Exim Bank, is a rarity on a continent plagued by poor transport links.

Beijing is a major partner in Ethiopia’s bid to expand its infrastructure, with cumulative investments by Chinese firms reaching well over $1 billion, official figures show.

The Horn of Africa country is building a new rail link to neighbouring Djibouti and wants to complete 5,000 km of railway lines by 2020. It will also aims to almost treble the size of the road network by next year, from less than 50,000 km in 2010.

Ethiopia is one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, expanding by about 9 percent a year and attracting overseas investment with its with rock-bottom wages, cheap and stable electricity and transport projects such as the metro.

A country where many still rely on subsistence agriculture, Ethiopia is nonetheless developing a reputation for producing clothes, shoes and other basic goods that have attracted firms from China, as well as India and the Gulf.

The metro system will transform the lives of the more than 5 million people in the capital, where commuters currently wait in long queues before they are crammed onto buses and minivans.

Project manager Behailu Sintayehu told Reuters nearly 80 percent of the tracks had been laid and he expected it to be completed by the end of January 2015, three years after the plan was launched in January 2012.

“We believe that it will have a great impact in alleviating the problem of transportation in the city,” Behailu said.

Stretching for a combined 32 km, two lines dividing Addis Ababa north-south and east-west will serve 39 stations, in underground and overground sections.

The state-run Ethiopian Railways Corporation signed an agreement this month that will see Shenzhen Metro – the enterprise managing the Chinese city’s subway system – operate the lines for a period of 41 months alongside CREC.

CREC will carry out a trial phase of up to three months and then the teams will decide when to start operating the system, Ethiopian Railway Corporation’s spokesman Dereje Tefera said.

Other African capitals with either subway systems or light rail networks are Cairo, Algiers and Tunis. South Africa has an extensive system linking several cities.

(Editing by James Macharia and Alison Williams)

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Mr. Obama’s Historic Move on Cuba (NYT)

President Raul Castro addressed Cuba on Wednesday. (Photo: Getty Images)

The New York Times | EDITORIAL


Following months of secret negotiations with the Cuban government, President Obama on Wednesday announced sweeping changes to normalize relations with Cuba, a bold move that ends one of the most misguided chapters in American foreign policy.

The administration’s decision to restore full diplomatic relations, take steps to remove Cuba from the State Department list of countries that sponsor terrorism and roll back restrictions on travel and trade is a change in direction that has been strongly supported by this page. The Obama administration is ushering in a transformational era for millions of Cubans who have suffered as a result of more than 50 years of hostility between the two nations.

Mr. Obama could have taken modest, gradual steps toward a thaw. Instead, he has courageously gone as far as he can, within the constraints of an outmoded 1996 law that imposes stiff sanctions on Cuba in the pursuit of regime change.

“These 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s time for a new approach.”

Read more »

Pope Francis’ Big Role in Thawing US-Cuba Relations

Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City, on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014. (Photo credit: EPA)


By Joy Y. Wang

In a rare move, a personal plea from Pope Francis contributed to the thawing of more than five decades of tense U.S.-Cuban relations.

“In particular, I want to thank His Holiness Pope Francis, whose moral example shows us the importance of pursuing the world as it should be, rather than simply settling for the world as it is,” President Barack Obama said Wednesday.

The pope wrote letters to both Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro requesting that they “resolve humanitarian questions of common interest, including the situation of certain prisoners, in order to initiate a new phase in relations between the two Parties,” according to a statement released by the Vatican. Coincidentally, Francis celebrated his 78th birthday on Wednesday.

The news on Wednesday came with the release of American contractor Alan Gross, who had been held in Cuba for five years. “What a blessing it is to be a citizen of this country,” he said in a press conference in Washington, D.C. Gross had been working to provide internet connectivity to Cuba’s small Jewish population when he was jailed on on espionage charges in 2009.

Francis’ personal involvement in the easing of diplomatic relations, as well as the release of Gross, who was in declining health, highlights the human rights issues at play in the development. A little more than half of Cuba’s population is Catholic, according to the Pew Research Center. Along with others in the country, they have lived under a strict Communist government that has been subject to harsh embargoes for the past five decades. Pope John Paul II in 1998 became the first pontiff to visit Cuba, and he was followed by Pope Benedict in 2012. Francis, who is from Argentina, is the first Latin American pontiff, making his role in the U.S.-Cuba talks particularly notable.

Read more »

Obama Announces U.S. and Cuba Will Resume Relations (The New York Times)
Cuba Frees American Alan Gross, Held for Five Years (NBC News)
Obama: US re-establishing relations with Cuba (The Associated Press)
The Untold Story of Ethiopians in Cuba (TADIAS)

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Pictures: Chester Higgins’ Stunning Photos of Ethiopia & His New Project ‘Apparitions’

Retired New York Times photographer Chester Higgins, Jr. (left) took the above photos of the St. George church in Lalibela & the Sof Omar Cave in Bale region (bottom right), two of Ethiopia's iconic religious sites.

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – From the spectacular images of Lalibela to the beautiful portraits of people in the Omo region, from the profile of the late Poet Laureate of Ethiopia Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin to Nelson Mandela, you may have seen some of the timeless photos captured by international photographer Chester Higgins, who retired this year from The New York Times after nearly four decades with the prominent U.S. newspaper.

Higgins is already busy with new photography projects — his latest is entitled Apparitions. “My new imagery comes from a decade of falling in love with dead plant leaves,” Higgins says. “I’ve experimented with different leaves and settled on the Elephant Leaf because it’s bigger and tends to dry down in a much more interesting way than others.” He adds: “Each year, I’ve planted the bulbs, tended them and when they die, harvest them and hang them inside the house to dry out for a few months before I start making photos. I make the photos in a most unique way, without the use of the camera but using the computer scanner. I cut the leaves, position them so and use a software to produce a more abstract look.”

“You see, like the people who believe in nature, I believe in the equality of the complexity of nature. To me, the dried plant leaves represent the remains of a once fuller spirit that possessed the plant. Like all living things, we cannot stay forever, but in our departure the spirit that occupied the vessel is the only thing that has the ability to transit time and space. So, when I make images of this leaf that makes my heart smile, I name them after some ancestor. Right now, I name them after ancient Egyptian mummies.”

You can view images from Apparitions at chesterhiggins.com. Below is a slideshow of photos by Higgins previously featured in Tadias Magazine:

A Dance of Rivers – By Chester Higgins (NYTimes.com)

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2014 Census: Ethiopia Again Ranks Among the Worst Jailers of Journalists in the World

Zone9 bloggers and Reeyot Alemu. (Photos: International Women's Media Foundation and Zone 9 Tumblr)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopia has once again earned the unflattering distinction of being one of the worst jailers of journalists in the world along with Eritrea, Iran, Egypt, Burma and China. The 2014 Census of Imprisoned Journalists released today by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) found that the number of journalists imprisoned in Ethiopia more than doubled since the previous year.

Overall CPJ said it identified 220 incarcerated journalists globally in 2014. “Worldwide, 132 journalists, or 60 percent, were jailed on anti-state charges such as subversion or terrorism,” the report said. “Online journalists accounted for more than half, or 119, of the imprisoned journalists. Eighty three worked in print, 15 in radio, and 14 in television.” The annual census shows “roughly one-third, or 67, of the journalists in jail around the world were freelancers, around the same proportion as in 2013.”

In Ethiopia, the survey points out that “a state crackdown on independent publications and bloggers this year more than doubled the number of journalists imprisoned to 17 from seven the previous year, and prompted several journalists to flee into exile.”

Next to China, with 44 journalists in prison, “the list of the top 10 worst jailers of journalists was rounded out by Eritrea, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Syria, Egypt, Burma, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. CPJ notes that the tally marks the second highest number of journalists in jail since the independent free-press advocacy organization began taking a yearly census of imprisoned journalists in the early 1990s.

You can read the full report at CPJ.org.

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From NYC to DC Tens Of Thousands Demand an End to Police Violence (Video)

Some youth activists say they were excluded from speaking at ‘Justice for All’ demonstration in Washington, D.C. (Crowds gathered Saturday in downtown Washington, D.C./TWITTER)

The Root


‘A Movement, Not Just a Moment’: Thousands March to Call for an End to Police Violence

Armed with posters and a camera, Delores and Shannon King made the three-hour trek from Portsmouth, Va., to the nation’s capital on Saturday to join thousands of people gathered for the “Justice for All” demonstration protesting the recent deaths of several unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers.

“We are here to support the cause,” said Delores King, who has an 18-year-old son. “This has to become a movement and not just a moment.”

The Kings and a sea of protesters marched east on Pennsylvania Avenue chanting, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” After the march, the Rev. Al Sharpton called on Congress and the U.S. Justice Department to intervene on behalf of protecting black men from law enforcement.

“State grand juries have suspended the right of due process,” said Sharpton, founder and president of National Action Network, the civil rights organization he founded in 1991. “We need national intervention.”

Protesters came from across the globe to demand an end to police violence and a change in the justice system. Interracial and intergenerational crowds gathered on a brisk winter afternoon—soccer moms next to union members, who were sandwiched between activists and such celebrities as filmmaker Spike Lee and television judge Greg Mathis, all connected through the tragic deaths of unarmed black men.

Read more at theroot.com »

Video: Thousands March Across U.S. to Protest Police Killings (NBC News)

The New York Times


More than 25,000 people marched through Manhattan on Saturday, police officials said, in the largest protest in the city since a grand jury declined this month to indict an officer in the death of an unarmed black man on Staten Island.

Just before 2 p.m. they began spilling out of Washington Square Park, and after an hour and a half, the park still had not emptied. Walking north toward 34th Street, the protesters filled the cold air by chanting “I can’t breathe,” the last words of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man, who died from a chokehold after an officer dragged him to the ground on a hot day in July.

The protest, which at times stretched for over a mile, highlighted growing anger nationwide over recent police deaths, including that of Mr. Garner, 43, who officers accused of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.

More than 25,000 people marched through Manhattan in New York on Saturday, police officials said. Protesters held up 8 panels depicting Eric Garner’s eyes, created by an artist known as JR. (Getty Images)

Read more at NYT »

Tens Of Thousands March On NYPD Headquarters To Protest Police Killings
In DC, Congressional Staffers Walk Out Protesting Garner & Brown Decisions

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The Oscar Chances of Difret & Timbuktu

Hirut (Tizita Hagare) sits in a halfway house in "Difret." (Haile Addis Pictures / Cineart)


By Adam Dawtrey

‘Difret’ May Raise Profile of Ethiopia’s Filmmakers During Oscar Race

Only one film from sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) has ever won an Academy Award for foreign-language film. That is “Black and White in Color” back in 1976, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, a French production flying under the flag of the Ivory Coast. Before this year, this vast region of 900 million people had only ever submitted nine films, and Annaud remains the only nominee.

So could 2014 see a breakthrough for authentically African cinema at the Oscars? For the first time, there are two entries, and both are real contenders: “Timbuktu” by Abderrahmane Sissako from Mauritania, which premiered to glowing reviews at Cannes, and “Difret” by Ethiopia’s Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, which won audience awards at Sundance and Berlin.

Sissako, 53, is the more established name, one of a handful of African filmmakers to achieve international recognition. But Mehari, a 38-year-old USC grad making his feature debut, brings the kind of Hollywood experience and trans-Atlantic smarts that could just catch the eye of Oscar voters.

“Difret,” which boasts the endorsement of Angelina Jolie as exec producer, tells the true story of the 1996 trial of a 13-year-old girl for killing a man who abducted and raped her. The problem is that “abduction for marriage” was a tradition in large parts of Ethiopia. Most of the girl’s village didn’t think her rapist did anything wrong, and the government didn’t want to go against tribal tradition. A young woman lawyer from the country’s capital city, Addis Ababa, took up the girl’s cause, and sued the minister of Justice. The case led to the practice of bride abduction being outlawed in Ethiopia.

It’s easy to understand why Jolie, in her role as Special Envoy for the U.N., lent her support. She screened the film in June at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Mehari — known as “Z” — was born and raised in Ethiopia, but came to the U.S. when he was 19 for college. His father expected him to study medicine, law or engineering, but Mehari enrolled instead at the USC film school. His father didn’t talk to him for a year. “I explained to him that I want to tell stories about engineers, doctors, lawyers,” Mehari recalls. “I told him we need storytellers as well.”

For a decade, Mehari worked back and forth between the U.S. and Ethiopia, picking up production experience in America, which he applied to developing his career back home, and to training local crews. He cut his teeth on musicvideos, while Ethiopia’s film industry went from virtually nothing in the mid-1990s to producing around 100-120 films a year today. Most of these cost just a few thousand dollars and are aimed exclusively at the local market, but Mehari had bigger ambitions.

He pitched his script to Mehret Mandefro, an Ethiopian-American physician based in Washington, D.C., whose research on HIV in the South Bronx was the subject of the 2008 feature doc “All of Us.” That led her to set up her own production company, Truth Aid.

Read more »

Review Effective ‘Difret’ Looks at Abhorrent Practice in Ethiopia – The Los Angeles Times
Difret Los Angeles Premiere at Laemmle Music Hall Theater – Friday, December 12th
‘Difret’ Submitted for Oscar Consideration for Best Foreign Language Film

Video: Audience Reaction at 2014 New African Films Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland

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Sexual Violence Against Women in Ethiopia

A social media campaign was started in Ethiopia after 16-year-old Hanna Lalango died after being sexually attacked on the streets. (Photograph: Facebook)

The Guardian

By Rediet Wegayehu

Kidnapped, Raped and Left for Dead: Who Will Protect Ethiopia’s Girls?

One day in early October, Hanna Lalango, 16, did not return from school to her home in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, at the usual time. Her father Lalongo Hayesso was worried about his youngest daughter.

“We waited for her at her usual time … but we had to wait for 11 days to hear that she had been abandoned on the street. She was incapacitated and couldn’t even get up,” said Hayesso. His daughter had been abducted, gang-raped and left for dead. Hanna was not able to get to hospital until 12 days after her attack, where she was treated for traumatic gynaecological fistula and other injuries. She died on 1 November.

Sexual violence against women in Ethiopia is relatively common. Research from 2012 found that “rape is undoubtedly one of the rampant crimes in Ethiopia”, and linked its prevalence to male chauvinist culture, legal loopholes, the inefficiency of different agencies in the criminal justice system, and “a deep-seated culture of silence”. In October 2011, an Ethiopian Airlines flight attendant named Aberash Hailay lost her eyesight after her ex-husband, Fisseha, stabbed her in both eyes with a sharp knife. And there’s the story of Frehiwot Tadesse, a mother of two, who was shot several times by her ex-husband in a broad daylight in Addis. Since the first reported case involving Kamilat Mehdi and her ex-boyfriend, acid attacks against women have also shown a disturbing increase.

Read more at The Guardian »

Teen’s Death After Kidnapping and Gang Rape Causes Scrutiny of Ethiopia’s Anti-NGO Law

16-year-old student Hanna Lalango died last month after being abducted and gang-raped by five men in Addis Abeba. (Photo: Ethiopian TV)

Vice News

By Johnny Magdaleno

December 7, 2014

The brutal kidnapping and gang rape of a teenage student in Addis Ababa has spurred a movement against gender-based violence in Ethiopia and throughout the country’s diaspora communities.

Sixteen-year-old Hanna Lalango was abducted by a taxi driver and a group of passengers in Ethiopia’s capital on October 1 after she boarded the driver’s vehicle on her way home from school, according to local media reports, activists, and other sources who spoke with VICE News about the incident. A few days later, Lalango’s sisters received a call from the kidnappers, who offered to arrange a meeting to negotiate the release of their hostage.

When the sisters arrived at the meeting, they were asked to board the same taxi used for Hanna’s kidnapping in order to be taken to the house where she was held. The sisters refused, and the assailants drove off, shouting that Lalango would not be released. On October 11, Lalango called her father and directed him to the Kolfe Keraneo district in western Addis Ababa, where the kidnappers had abandoned her. She revealed that multiple men raped her repeatedly over a period of at least five days, and was reportedly able to identify three out of five suspects from her hospital bed. She received treatment at several hospitals in Addis Ababa, but died November 1 from wounds sustained during the attacks.

The incident galvanized activists on social media, and the hashtag #JusticeForHanna became a top trending topic on Twitter in Ethiopia. A “Justice for Hanna” page on Facebook has received more than 20,000 likes. Activists are now demanding that national press outlets in Ethiopia devote extensive coverage to Lalango’s case and the issues that surround it. The UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which was observed Tuesday, November 25, has also helped raise awareness of Lalango’s case.

Read more at news.vice.com »

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

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Ericsson to Take Part of Ethio Telecom Deal

Ericsson is a Swedish multinational provider of communications technology and services based in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo: Bloomberg)


Dec 11, 2014

Addis Ababa — Swedish telecom group Ericsson is set to sign a contract with Ethiopia to expand telecom infrastructure, taking a slice of an $800 million contract from Chinese firm ZTE Corp because of a row over terms, a senior official told Reuters on Thursday.

ZTE Corp’s deal with state-run operator Ethio Telecom was signed in 2013. The other half of the overall a $1.6 billion package to help double mobile subscribers was shared with another Chinese firm, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

But Ethiopian and ZTE differed over the cost of upgrading an existing network. Ethiopian officials said the firms were expected to carry out the upgrade at no extra charge, while ZTE said it would cost an additional $150 million to $200 million.

Ethiopian officials had said Nokia and Ericsson could take some work if agreement was not reached.

Ethio Telecom Chief Executive Andualem Admassie told Reuters that discussions with Ericsson were nearing completion.

“Ericsson will start working on that share of expansion work,” he said, without giving a value for the deal. “We are only waiting for confirmation from the (Ethio Telecom) board.

Read more at Reuters.com »

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In DC, Congressional Staffers Walk Out Protesting Garner & Brown Decisions

U.S. Congressional staffers staged a Walk Out in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, December 11th, 2014 to protest the recent grand jury decisions in the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases. (Photo: Twitter)

NBC News

The protests over the lack of indictments in the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases have expanded to Congress. Congressional staffers walked out of their jobs Thursday afternoon in a symbol of solidarity with protests taking place in the streets, on the basketball court and on football fields across the country.

The walk out was led by Senate chaplain Barry Black. Staffers stood on the steps of the Capitol holding their hands up.

“Democrats and Republicans across the country are incredibly frustrated by what happened in Ferguson, Staten Island, and elsewhere, and this protest reflects the mistrust they have in the integrity of the criminal justice system,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, said in a statement. “These congressional staffers put in incredibly long hours, nights, and weekends working to pass legislation to help people live better lives, so I fully support them taking a few moments today to pray with the Senate chaplain for Congress to take action to ensure that all Americans are treated equally before the law.”

Cummings is one of several members of Congress who requested hearings on the issues raised by Garner’s and Brown’s deaths.

Read more at NBC News »

Watch: Congressional Staffers Protest Garner, Brown Cases on Capitol Steps

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Ethiopian Opposition Activists Bailed After Poll-Protest Arrests

File image of protest in Addis Ababa, June 2, 2013. (Getty Images)

Bloomberg News

By William Davison December 11, 2014

Ethiopian authorities released on bail about 80 activists, including the head of an opposition group, arrested while protesting for fair campaigning in 2015 elections, a Blue Party spokesman said.

Security forces made arrests on Dec. 5 when members of the Blue Party and eight other opposition groups took to the streets of the capital, Addis Ababa, to call for greater freedom to hold meetings and rallies, Yonatan Tesfaye Regassa, the party’s head of public relations, said by phone.

Organization leader Yilkal Getnet was among those freed, while four other opposition members are still detained, possibly because they refused to co-operate with investigators, according to Yonatan. Investigations into the activists continue, he said.

Read more at Bloomberg News »

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The Shameful Side of International Adoption

A documentary by Dan Rather focuses on Ethiopian adoptions, and children who have been “re-homed,” moved to new adoptive families with little oversight and assistance. (Photo of Hanna Williams/KOMO)

Light of Days Stories Blog

By Maureen McCauley Evans

Dan Rather hosted an in-depth show on AXS TV called “Unwanted Children–The Shameful Side of International Adoption.” (Use the password danrather to view the show, which is available here).

It’s a tough and important 2 hours to watch and ingest. Much of the focus is on Ethiopian adoptions, and children who have been “re-homed,” moved to new adoptive families with little oversight, assistance, or regulation. Reuters did a series on re-homing about a hard ago; information is available here.

“Unwanted Children” sheds light on some terrible child welfare practices in adoption. The idea that children can be internationally adopted to the United States, and then moved to new adoptive homes with less oversight than occurs with dogs, is deplorable.

Kathryn Joyce wrote powerfully in Slate in November 2013 about some of these adoptees as well. Her detailed, insightful article “Hana’s Story: An Adoptee’s Tragic Fate and How It Could Happen Again” was part of the impetus for the Dan Rather show.

This show, on the heels of “E.J. Graff’s incisive report They Steal Babies, Don’t They?“, is an explicit call to action for change in Ethiopian adoptions. I have spoken out about this; many, many people are deeply concerned around the globe. I hope to see a response soon from organizations such as the Joint Council on International Children’s Services, the National Council for Adoption, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, and Both Ends Burning to demand changes in oversight and regulations, as well as solid improvement in services provided to adoptive and first/birth families.

Read more »

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Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam 42% Complete

Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam (African Globe)

African Globe

AFRICANGLOBE – Engineer Simegnew Bekele, Project Manager of the GERD, told reporters on Saturday that the project is progressing well in all its activities.

All the activities on the project “are progressing healthily in order to realize the project.

“We are mobilizing all the people, nations and nationalities of Ethiopia, including the Ethiopian Diaspora,” said Simegnew.

Ethiopia is now harnessing its potential for renewable energy to fight against poverty and improve the lives and livelihoods of its people, said Simegnew.

“This is a green energy; and this supports other renewable energy; and Ethiopia is the power hub; we have tremendous natural resources.

“So, we are now exploiting; we are now harnessing this potential to improve lives and livelihoods of individuals,” he noted.

“This is our primary agenda, number one agenda for our country; this is a project which is equipping us to fight poverty, our common enemy.

“The government has devised a strategy to improve the lives and livelihoods of individuals, the citizens.”And we have already started developing such kind of infrastructures that allow us to fight poverty,” he said.

He said, “On Nov. 28, 2014 we already booked world record with a daily average of 16,949 m3 roller compacted concrete.

Read more »

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Energy Gap: Africa’s Hydropower Future

In the face of rampant energy poverty, African governments are increasingly turning to renewable sources to spur development. And a cornerstone of this move towards renewables is hydropower. (m.scidev.net)

Sci Dev Net

From Côte d’Ivoire in the west to Ethiopia in the east, Africa is home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies. Debates often proclaim a new era of economic boom, innovation and social opportunity for the continent. But beyond the hype, millions of people remain affected by severe poverty, and at the root of this lies a perennial problem: energy poverty. Could hydropower hold the key to energy access in Africa?

Energy poverty is rife in Africa. Of the more than one billion people living in its 54 countries, over half lack access to electricity.

Rapid population growth looks set to further strain energy services, with some estimating that the continent’s population will surpass four billion by the end of the century.

Access to electricity is both limited and uneven. Economic powerhouses such as Egypt have almost total electricity coverage, but it remains scarce in countries such as Chad and Liberia, as well as South Sudan, where only 1.5 per cent of people have access to such energy. Similarly, step outside the continent’s cities and the picture is also bleak: the electrification rate for rural settlements is just 27.8 per cent.

Read more »

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Could Kenya Learn From Ethiopia’s Anti-Terror Strategy?

FILE - Kenyan security forces and others gather at the scene of a bus attack about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the northeastern town of Mandera, near the Somali border, Nov. 22, 2014. (AP Photo)

VOA News

By Gabe Joselow

December 09, 2014

NAIROBI, KENYA — Kenya has a security problem.

Fighters from the militant group al-Shabab, driven from their strongholds across Somalia, have claimed responsibility for gruesome attacks targeting non-Muslims in northeastern Kenya: hijacking a bus full of passengers in one recent incident and attacking quarry workers as they slept in their tents in another.

Both attacks took place in Kenya’s Mandera County, near the border with Somalia.

“Most of the al-Shabab forces seem to be largely in control of the area bordering Mandera – this Gedo region – so we have a situation where we have large numbers of people there and we don’t have a border that is really properly secured,” said Billow Kerrow, a senator from the county.

Kerrow has noticed that Kenya’s neighbor to the north, Ethiopia, has had much more success preventing terrorism on its own soil – despite having a much longer border with Somalia and a longer history of military involvement in the country.

And he thinks Kenya should look to Ethiopia as a model.

“What I know is on most of its border they have created a buffer, almost 50 to 100 kilometers, and any activity by these groups in that region will be met by an incursion directly that will immediately eliminate the threat,” Kerrow said.

Smaller impact in Ethiopia

There have been some terrorist incidents in Ethiopia, but not nearly on the same scale as Kenya.

In 2013, a bomb exploded in the capital, Addis Ababa, allegedly killing two militant operatives.

The U.S. Embassy warned this October of another al-Shabab threat in the Ethiopian capital, though nothing apparently came of it.

Cedric Barnes, Horn of Africa project director at the nonprofit International Crisis Group, attributes much of Ethiopia’s anti-terror success to its work developing a police force from local communities in the ethnically Somali east.

“Over the last few years, you’ve seen Ethiopia devolve a lot of security to a locally recruited police force called Liyu police, who are basically local Somalis who are police, but they are also counter-insurgency,” Barnes said.

System may not translate

But Ethiopia’s system is not necessarily translatable to Kenya, he said. For one thing, Ethiopia has been security-minded for years, he said, and has “radically devolved” power to local authorities – a process Kenya is just beginning to implement.

Barnes said imposing an Ethiopian-style security mechanism in Kenya could mean rolling back some of the political liberalization that has taken place, particularly in the Somali-dominated northeast.

“There are so many gains that have been made,” he said. “It would be a real pity to reverse some of those in the interest of a security threat which could be dealt with fairly easily by better intelligence, a more devolved police force especially.”

There are also serious rights concerns. Ethiopian security forces often round up al-Shabab suspects under a controversial 2009 anti-terrorism law that has also been used to prosecute journalists and political opponents.

Tough security tactics criticized

Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said such strong-arm security tactics come at a cost.

“There is absolutely no space in Ethiopia today for citizens to express themselves peacefully, whether in print or in protests,” Lefkow said. “And I think one of the concerns that we have is that this kind of iron grip is not a recipe for long-term stability.”

The Ethiopian government has repeatedly denied using anti-terror laws for anything other than the country’s security.

Kenya, too, is considering revamping its laws to give police more power to detain terror suspects. As with Ethiopia’s law, that’s likely to raise questions about whether the country is trading rights for security.

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70 Ethiopian Migrants Drown in Shipwreck

Seventy Ethiopian migrants have drowned after their boat sank near the entrance to the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen, the Yemeni Interior Ministry said. (Reuters)


SANAA – At least 70 Ethiopians drowned when a boat used by smugglers to transport illegal migrants to Yemen sank in the Red Sea in rough weather, security authorities in the western part of the country said on Sunday.

Human traffickers often use unseaworthy boats to smuggle African migrants to Yemen, seen as a gateway to wealthier parts of the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia and Oman, and the West.

Security authorities in Taiz province said the small boat sank on Saturday due to high winds and rough seas off the country’s al-Makha port.

They said the boat was carrying 70 people, all of them Ethiopians.

Read more at Rreuters.com »

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Update: New York Attorney General Seeks Powers to Investigate Police Killings

The New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman is asking to be granted immediate powers to investigate and prosecute killings of unarmed civilians by police. (Photo: NYT)

The New York Times


ALBANY — Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of New York asked Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday to immediately grant his office the power to investigate and prosecute killings of unarmed civilians by law enforcement officials.

Mr. Schneiderman also challenged state legislators to pass new laws to repair public confidence in the criminal justice system, which he said was badly damaged after grand juries in Missouri and on Staten Island declined to bring criminal charges against officers in fatal encounters with unarmed black men.

But he seemed unwilling to wait for new powers to investigate the police in the event that another killing occurred before new laws were passed. “When the trust between the police and the communities they serve and protect breaks down, everyone is at risk,” he said.

The grand jury’s decision not to indict in the case of Eric Garner, who died after a police chokehold during an arrest on Staten Island in July, has renewed and strengthened calls for special prosecutors to handle such cases.

While Mr. Schneiderman was joined by local and state political leaders during his announcement in Manhattan, the prospects for quick legislative or executive action seem murky at best.

Continue reading at The New York Times »

US Protests Escalate Over Police Killings

Protests in the U.S. escalated on Sunday over grand jury decisions declining to charge white police officers in the deaths of black males in New York and Missouri. (VOA News)

VOA News

By Michael Bowman

WASHINGTON — In the United States, protests have escalated over grand jury decisions declining to charge white police officers in the deaths of black males in New York and Missouri.

The demonstrations – the most widespread and persistent pertaining to race and justice seen in the country in decades – are forcing officials to respond and putting law enforcement under a powerful microscope.

In Berkeley, California, protests turned violent when rocks and bricks were thrown and windows smashed. Police responded with tear gas as unrest continued for hours.

More peaceful, but no less fervent demonstrations continued in New York, Washington, Chicago, and other major cities.

Talk bluntly of race

“We bluntly have to talk about the historic racial dynamics that underlie this,” said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“We have to have an honest conversation in this country about a history of racism. An honest conversation about the problem that has caused parents to feel that their children may be in danger in their dynamic ((interactions)) with police, when in fact the police are there to protect them. We have to transcend that,” de Blasio said.

The mayor said the city’s police force, one of America’s largest, will be retrained to improve its dealings with minority communities and, it is hoped, avoid deadly confrontations like the one between officers and unarmed illegal cigarette vendor Eric Garner, who died earlier this year after being wrestled to the ground and forcibly restrained.

De Blasio has spoken publicly of difficult conversations with his biracial son, telling him to be extra cautious if approached by police.

“ ‘Do not move suddenly, do not reach for your cell phone’ – because we know, sadly, there is a greater chance it might be misinterpreted if it was a young man of color,” he said.

Those comments have drawn the ire of police representatives, who accused the mayor of scape-goating, rather than defending, those who risk their lives to ensure public safety.

‘Confrontation leads to tragedy’

“You cannot resist arrest, because resisting arrest leads to confrontation. Confrontation leads to tragedy,” said New York Police union chief Patrick Lynch.

Grand jury decisions declining criminal prosecution of police officers have grabbed the world’s attention in recent weeks but have been the norm for decades, said James Jacobs, a criminal law professor at New York University.

“Police officers have a certain, I think, presumption of legitimacy in the community. It is recognized that they have a very hard job to do,” Jacobs said.

Last week, President Barack Obama said public confidence in U.S. law enforcement must be restored, along with faith that laws will be applied equally to all Americans.

NFL Players Protest Eric Garner Decision With ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Message (AP)
The 3 Worst Conservative Arguments in the Eric Garner Case (Opinion)
Protests Against Police Continue After Funeral of NY Man Shot by Officer
UN Experts Urge Review of US Police Practices (Video: Day 3 of NYC Protests)
New York to Retrain Police in Wake of Chokehold Death Case (VOA News)
Protesters flood New York City in second night of demonstrations (NY Daily News)
New Inquiry Needed on Eric Garner’s Death (NYT)

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U.S. Embassy Ethiopia Security Message

U.S. Embassy Compound - Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Photo: B. L. Harbert International)

Press Release

U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens that political rallies or demonstrations may occur without significant notice throughout Ethiopia, particularly in the lead up to Ethiopian national elections in May 2015. Such rallies and demonstrations may be organized by any party or group and can occur in any open space throughout the country. In Addis Ababa, applications for permits to conduct rallies are often requested for Meskel Square or Bel Air Field. Please remember that even public rallies or demonstrations intended to be peaceful have the potential to turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should, therefore, stay alert and avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.

The U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens of the on-going threat of terrorist attacks in Ethiopia. U.S. citizens are reminded and encouraged to maintain heightened personal security awareness. Be especially vigilant in areas that are potential targets for attacks, particularly areas where U.S. and western citizens congregate, including restaurants, hotels, bars, places of worship, supermarkets, and shopping malls. Al-Shabaab may have plans for a potential attack targeting Westerners and the Ethiopian government, particularly in Jijiga and Dolo Odo in the Somali Region of Ethiopia, and Addis Ababa. Attacks may occur without warning.

Due to serious safety and security concerns, U.S. government personnel and their families are presently restricted from traveling to the following areas except as permitted on a case-by-case basis:

Read more »

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Teen’s Death Spotlights Ethiopia’s NGO Law

16-year-old student Hanna Lalango died last month after being abducted and gang-raped by five men in Addis Abeba. (Photo: Ethiopian TV)

Vice News

By Johnny Magdaleno

December 7, 2014

The brutal kidnapping and gang rape of a teenage student in Addis Ababa has spurred a movement against gender-based violence in Ethiopia and throughout the country’s diaspora communities.

Sixteen-year-old Hanna Lalango was abducted by a taxi driver and a group of passengers in Ethiopia’s capital on October 1 after she boarded the driver’s vehicle on her way home from school, according to local media reports, activists, and other sources who spoke with VICE News about the incident. A few days later, Lalango’s sisters received a call from the kidnappers, who offered to arrange a meeting to negotiate the release of their hostage.

When the sisters arrived at the meeting, they were asked to board the same taxi used for Hanna’s kidnapping in order to be taken to the house where she was held. The sisters refused, and the assailants drove off, shouting that Lalango would not be released. On October 11, Lalango called her father and directed him to the Kolfe Keraneo district in western Addis Ababa, where the kidnappers had abandoned her. She revealed that multiple men raped her repeatedly over a period of at least five days, and was reportedly able to identify three out of five suspects from her hospital bed. She received treatment at several hospitals in Addis Ababa, but died November 1 from wounds sustained during the attacks.

The incident galvanized activists on social media, and the hashtag #JusticeForHanna became a top trending topic on Twitter in Ethiopia. A “Justice for Hanna” page on Facebook has received more than 20,000 likes. Activists are now demanding that national press outlets in Ethiopia devote extensive coverage to Lalango’s case and the issues that surround it. The UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which was observed Tuesday, November 25, has also helped raise awareness of Lalango’s case.

Read more at news.vice.com »

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

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Photo of the Week: Ethiopia From Space

Ethiopia as seen from the the International Space Station. (Photo: Samantha Cristoforetti via Twitter)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, December 6th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – The first Italian woman in space, Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency who currently resides in the International Space Station, tweeted the following image on Friday, December 5th while flying over the eastern Coast of Africa.

“I could watch the entire Eastern African coast unfold beneath me all the way to Ethiopia,” Cristoforetti shared with her fans.

In Pictures: The Dibaba Sisters at the 2014 World Athletics Gala in Monaco

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A Year in the World Without Mandela

A resident in Soweto, South Africa, in front of a mural of former President Nelson Mandela on Thursday, a day before the first anniversary of his death. (Photo: Credit Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters)

The New York Times


It was a death long foretold that drew mourners from his own nation and across the globe. But on Friday, one year after Nelson Mandela died, it almost seemed as if those he inspired were questing to rediscover his message of probity and reconciliation in a society with new troubles.

After a long illness, Mr. Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, died at age 95 on Dec. 5, 2013, and President Jacob G. Zuma declared, “Our nation has lost its greatest son.” Mr. Mandela remains the country’s moral touchstone.

The superlatives returned on Friday as South Africa planned a day of anniversary events that included prayers and speeches as well as a star-studded cricket match and the blaring of the monotone vuvuzela horns that distinguish the nation’s soccer crowds.

In the year since his death, South Africa has sometimes seemed to cling to his memory as an antidote to the apparently intractable challenges of a land whose leaders stand accused of corruption and failure to provide jobs and basic services for millions of impoverished people.

Read more at NYT »

Photographer Gediyon Kifle’s Tribute to Nelson Mandela

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Zone9 Defense: Limits of International Law

Zone9 members together in Addis Ababa, 2012. (Photo: Zone9 Tumblr)

World Policy Journal blog

The international human rights system is broken – or perhaps it never worked at all.

In case after case, citizens’ human rights are violated under the national laws of their respective countries, despite the existence of international human rights commitments in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration, and by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organization of American States, the African Commission, and others. The International Criminal Court has little say concerning any but the most egregious of international human rights violations, and member states have wide latitude to dispense justice as they see fit.

For those who live in countries that fail to provide or enforce their own laws protecting freedom of expression, international principles have rarely provided actual recourse. Today, this is the case with the independent Ethiopian blogger collective known as Zone9.

In April of this year, the government of Ethiopia arrested six members of Zone9 along with three affiliated journalists in Addis Ababa. They were held for months without a formal charge and were denied the ability to communicate. Testimony from Befeqadu Hailu, one of the accused bloggers who was smuggled out of prison in August, as well as statements in court, allege mistreatment and frequent beatings. Informally, the nine were held on accusations of “working with foreign organizations that claim to be human rights activists and…receiving finance to incite public violence through social media.”

In July, the Zone9 prisoners were charged under Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation of 2009 for receiving support from political opposition organizations, defined formally by the government as terrorists, and receiving training from international activists in email encryption and data security from the Tactical Technology Collective, a group that helps journalists and activists protect themselves from digital surveillance.

The Zone9 bloggers joined other media outlets targeted under similar laws, including Eskinder Nega, who had reported on recent Arab uprisings and the possibility of similar uprisings taking place in Ethiopia. He was arrested and charged with the “planning, preparation, conspiracy, incitement and attempt” of terrorism and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

International appeals from human rights advocacy organizations have had little effect on the case. In May, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay issued a statement explaining,

The fight against terrorism cannot serve as an excuse to intimidate and silence journalists, bloggers, human rights activists and members of civil society organizations. And working with foreign human rights organizations cannot be considered a crime.

Additionally, seven international human rights and press freedom organizations pressed the African Commission and the United Nations in an urgent appeal to intervene in the case against Zone9. The appeal focused on the lack of clear charges and failure to allow the defendants adequate legal representation

Nani Jansen, a lawyer for the Media Legal Defence Initiative and the lead signatory in the appeal, writes in an email that both the African Commission and the UN “operate under the cover of confidentiality in the early stages of these matters.” She continues:

When they follow up with a Government, this is done without informing the outside world. Only months and months (often over a year) later, these exchanges with a Government get published in the mechanism’s report to its supervisory body.

Thus any intervention joins the rest of those in the cone of silence that is Zone9—hidden from public scrutiny or participation.

Even if these bodies do follow up with the Ethiopian government, their recourse is limited. In an article on the urgent appeal, Jansen notes that the African Commission can condemn the arrests in a resolution, that both organizations’ rapporteurs can request official visits to Ethiopia to investigate, and that Ethiopia, as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, would be obligated to honor such a request. But even should such requests be made, and investigations conducted, there is little chance of enforcement of hypothetical findings on the Ethiopian government.

Since the appeal, the Ethiopian government has proceeded with charges against the accused. The latest details on the trial can be found on the Trial Tracker Blog, a site run by people close to the defendants.

Public attempts to highlight the Ethiopian government’s transgressions against human rights such as the #Freezone9bloggers social media campaign have an indirect effect. They seek to shame the Ethiopian government to ensure better treatment for the prisoners. They also seek to pressure international organizations and Ethiopia’s allies such as the United States, for whom Ethiopia is a critical military and security partner. The hope is that those organizations will in turn apply political pressure on Ethiopia to free the Zone9 defendants.

The implementation of international commitments seems to rest primarily upon a negotiated process of politics, not a functioning and enforceable system of law. Considering the ease with which national law in Ethiopia is employed or ignored for political ends, it is a grim irony that only political pressure can hope to resolve the case in their favor.

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US, Ethiopia Partner to Empower Women

VOA File photo: Women and children holding their pink tickets queue for the evening meal at the Dollo Ado transit center in Ethiopia, October 26, 2011. (VOA P. Heinlein)

VOA News

By Pamela Dockins

STATE DEPARTMENT— The U.S. is awarding $15,000 grants to five U.S. universities that are partnering with Ethiopian schools on research and development projects.

The initiative by the State Department and the Department of Education is designed to strengthen the skills of faculty and administrators in both countries. One grant, awarded to the University of Maryland and Ethiopia’s Debre Birhan University, will be used to train Ethiopian women on how to grow crops, as part of an effort to address food insecurity.

Through classroom instruction and work on “demonstration farms,” the University of Maryland will provide training on how to grow food throughout the year, with the goal of improving food security.

University technical advisor Becky Ramsing says they hope to help women in Ethiopia who may have had limited access to training opportunities.

“If you give the woman the resources, those resources will go directly to the family. When women are given added income or are able to raise more food, that directly relates to the children and the education and nutrition of the child,” said Ramsing.

She says the goal is to train staff members at Debre Birhan University who will then teach women in useful techniques such as growing food in small spaces.

“Some of these women do not have access to land. How can we do container gardening and vertical gardening, livestocks like small poultry,” she asked.

Tsigemariam Bashe, a program facilitator and dean at Debre Birhan, says an overall goal is empowerment.

“Empowering women is empowering the whole population or empowering the society,” said Bashe.

Debre Birham facilitator Hailu Terefe says only men are traditionally taught farming in some parts of the country.

“There is cultural differences in Ethiopia. All of the regions do not have the same culture. There are regions that women are not allowed to go for the agricultural practices,” said Terefe.

Tsigemariam Bashe hopes the women who are trained will in turn assist other women.

“I hope that in the near future the women in the project will become the community educator,” said Bashe.

The other U.S. university grant recipients are Brown, Bowling Green State, Ball State and the University of North Texas Libraries.

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Ethiopia Starts Marketing Debut Eurobond

(Image credit: Citi FM Online)

Bloomberg News

By Robert Brand, Paul Wallace and Lyubov Pronina

Ethiopia raised $1 billion in a debut international bond issue today, taking advantage of record demand for high-yielding African debt to fund electricity, railway and sugar-industry projects.

The 10-year bonds priced to yield 6.625 percent, at the lower end of the 6.625 to 6.75 percent price guidance, according to a person familiar with the matter, who isn’t authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be identified. Kenya’s $2 billion of bonds due June 2024 yielded 5.89 percent at 5:21 p.m. in London.

Africa’s fastest-growing economy and biggest coffee producer is joining issuers, including Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and Ivory Coast, who sold what Standard Bank Group Ltd. says is a record $15 billion of Eurobonds this year. Government and corporate issuers are seeking to benefit from investor appetite for higher returns before the Federal Reserve raises interest rates as soon as next year.

Ethiopia’s bond yield is “decent value for the deal given the limited knowledge and different nature of the Ethiopian economy and the challenges it faces compared to peers in the region,” Kevin Daly, a senior portfolio manager at Aberdeen Asset Management Plc, said by e-mail.

The country made a strong case for infrastructure development and financing needs at investor meetings, “which suggests they will be looking to come back to the market in near term,” Daly said.

Read more at Bloomberg News »

Market Watch: Ethiopia to complete debut dollar bond sale (The Wall Street Journal)

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White House Urges Congress to Approve $6.2 Billion Emergency Ebola Funding

President Barack Obama speaks at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland about the fight against Ebola on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014. (Photograph: The Associated Press)

VOA News

By Aru Pande

WHITE HOUSE— President Barack Obama is urging U.S. lawmakers, before they leave for the holiday recess in a few weeks, to pass $6.2 billion in emergency funding to fight the Ebola virus and prepare U.S. hospitals to handle future cases.

Speaking Tuesday at the National Institutes of Health near Washington, Obama said money to battle the disease is running out and that Congress could give a Christmas present to the American people and the world by passing a spending bill.

The president toured NIH laboratories and congratulated researchers on completion of phase 1 clinical trials of a potential vaccine to treat Ebola, which clears the way for it to go to clinical trials in West Africa. He called it “exciting news” that a potential vaccine produced no serious side effects during first-phase testing, noting that no other potential Ebola drug had progressed this far to date.

However, Obama stressed that there was no guarantee the vaccine would work and that the fight was not close to being over, even if media attention had shifted to other issues. He noted the outbreak has gotten worse in countries like Sierra Leone, where infections and the death toll have risen in recent weeks.

“Every hotspot is an ember that, if not contained, can become a new fire. So we cannot let down our guard even for a minute,” he said.

“If we are going to actually solve it for ourselves, we have to solve it in West Africa as well,” he added.

Contingency funds

Most of Obama’s request is aimed at the immediate response to the disease at home and abroad. But the package also includes $1.5 billion in contingency funds — money that could become a target if lawmakers decided to trim the bill.

“That is the part of the package that is most at risk,” said Sam Worthington, president of InterAction, an alliance of U.S. nongovernmental aid groups.

While lawmakers recognize that the United States has to take action to arrest the deadly disease, some are wary of giving the administration leeway in investing money in public health systems in West Africa.

“I think there is less understanding of the need to stay in it for the long run and to build the capacity of countries to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future,” Worthington said.

In its overseas response, the United States has scaled up deployment of American personnel in West Africa — with 200 civilians and 3,000 service members on the ground.

At the NIH, Obama said efforts to battle Ebola at its source are showing results, particularly in Liberia, where the U.S. has built three of 10 planned Ebola treatment units, and the number of beds for Ebola patients is expected to reach 2,000 by early next year.

“We’ve ramped up the capacity to train hundreds of new health workers per week,” Obama said. “We have improved burial practices across Liberia. And as a consequence, we have seen some encouraging news — a decline in infection rates in Liberia.”

Ebola has killed about 6,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, along with a handful of people in other countries.

The Obama administration came under fire in September after a series of protocol missteps involving an Ebola patient who traveled to Dallas from Liberia and later died. Two nurses contracted the disease while caring for the man.

The president also touted progress in the U.S. fight against the disease, saying the number of American hospitals prepared to deal with Ebola has increased from just three facilities to 35 nationwide in the last two months, and the number of laboratories testing for Ebola has increased from 13 to 42 since August.

Screening and treatment procedures have since been tightened, and there are no current U.S. cases.

“My hope is that we’re not getting Ebola fatigue setting in,” said Bruce Johnson, president of SIM USA, a Christian missionary group that helps treat Ebola patients in Liberia. “There continues to be a huge need for this funding.”

Some information for this report came from Reuters.

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Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

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Ethiopia Issues Unfamiliar Investor Warning Over War and Famine (The Financial Times)

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Photo credit: Africa.com)

The Financial Times

By Javier Blas, Africa Editor

Every country tapping the global sovereign bond market details the dangers investors face in its prospectus, often in a boilerplate section enumerating possible problems – such as fiscal deficits or taxation issues – that is largely ignored.

But the document sent by Ethiopia to international investors ahead of its foray into the global sovereign bond market is somewhat different. Far from a boilerplate, it includes a list of unfamiliar hazards, such as famine, political tension and war.

In the 108-page prospectus, issued ahead of its expected $1bn bond, Ethiopia tells investors they need to consider the potential resumption of the Eritrea-Ethiopia war, which ended in 2000, although it “does not anticipate future conflict”.

There is also the risk of famine, the “high level of poverty” and strained public finances, as well as the possible, if unlikely, blocking of the country’s only access to the sea through neighbouring Djibouti should relations between the two countries sour.

Read more at ft.com »

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Saudi Billionaire Mohamed al-Amoudi to Invest $100 Million in Ethiopian Rice Farm

Employees of Saudi Star rice farm work in a paddy in Gambella. (Photo: Jenny Vaughan/Getty Images)

Bloomberg News

By William Davison

Saudi Star Agricultural Development Plc, an Ethiopian company owned by billionaire Mohamed al-Amoudi, said it plans to invest $100 million in a rice farm in western Ethiopia next year to kick-start its stalled project.

The company leased 10,000 hectares (24,711 acres) in the Abobo district in the Gambella region, where it’s based, in 2008 and bought the 4,000-hectare Abobo Agricultural Development Enterprise from the government 18 months ago for 80 million birr ($4 million). After delays caused by unsuitable irrigation design and contractor performance issues, Saudi Star wants to accelerate work in 2015 after a change of management, a redesign of the farm and a successful trial of rain-fed rice on 2,000 hectares at the formerly government-owned, Chief Executive Officer Jemal Ahmed said in a phone interview.

“We have a very aggressive plan,” he said on Nov. 26 from Jimma, about 260 kilometers (162 miles) southwest of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. “If we’re able to do that we’ll be able to produce more.”

Read more at Bloomberg News »

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Ferguson: Obama Calls for Honest Conversation on Police-Race-Relations

Police and Missouri National Guardsmen stand guard as protesters gather in front of Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson, Nov. 28, 2014. (AP Photo)

VOA News

U.S. President Barack Obama is calling for millions of dollars more in federal spending to improve police forces around the country, in response to the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman during a street confrontation in the central town of Ferguson, Missouri.

After meeting at the White House Monday with his Cabinet, civil rights leaders and law enforcement officials, Obama announced spending proposals of more than $260 million for police forces across the U.S. He also said the country needs an honest conversation about the state of law enforcement.

The president said Americans of color do not feel they are being treated fairly by police, creating what he called a “simmering distrust” in communities and weakening the country.

Protests have continued in Ferguson and elsewhere since a grand jury’s decision last week not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Obama said the additional money would pay for 50,000 body cameras for police to wear to record their interactions with civilians, as well as to fund more training for police.

The president also announced he will set up a task force to study how to improve policing.

Obama said federal programs that provide military-style equipment to local police departments must be more accountable, but he did not say whether the programs would be pulled back.

Since August, roughly 300 people have been arrested in Ferguson-related protests, which have been marred by looting and arson attacks. Those arrested face charges of unlawful assembly and trespassing, interfering with police activity and resisting arrest, as well as felonies, including second degree burglary, arson, unlawful firearm possession and assault.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Announces Plan to Target Racial Profiling

NBC News

In the wake of clashes at protests in Ferguson, Missouri, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says new Justice Department guidance will aim to end racial profiling and ensure fair and effective policing.

Holder said in a speech Monday at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta — where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a pastor — that he will unveil details of the plan soon.

“In the coming days, I will announce updated Justice Department guidance regarding profiling by federal law enforcement. This will institute rigorous new standards — and robust safeguards — to help end racial profiling, once and for all,” Holder said. “This new guidance will codify our commitment to the very highest standards of fair and effective policing.”

The president instructed Holder to hold regional meetings on building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve after the conflicts in Ferguson. Monday’s meeting in Atlanta was the first.

Tensions between police and the community in Ferguson boiled over after a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager in August. Protests turned violent again last week, after a grand jury declined to indict officer Darren Wilson in Michael Brown’s death.

During Holder’s speech, he was interrupted by about a dozen or so protesters holding signs and chanting “No justice, no peace.” Holder let them continue for about two minutes before they were escorted out by security, but then later said, “Let me make one thing clear, I ain’t mad at cha,” referencing the song by the late rapper Tupac.

Read more »

In Ferguson, ‘Nothing Has Changed From 1853. This Is the City of Dred Scott’

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The Great Ethiopian Run is the Most Incredible Experience

The start line of the Great Ethiopia Run. (Chronicle Live)


By Mark Douglas

Haile Gebrselassie has a problem.

You wouldn’t know it from a quick glance at his famous face, which is fixed with the beguiling smile that has accompanied him on a career that has touched heights that no other athlete has managed.

This is a man who broke 23 separate world records, collected two Olympic gold medals and earned four world titles.

He bestrode the track and the streets of famous marathons in Berlin, New York and Chicago and has now carried that success into the world of business, where he is one of the chief drivers of a resurgent Ethiopian economy that is creating millionaires faster than any other country in Africa.

But as he explains over delicious, jet-black coffee strong enough to wipe out the hazy affects of altitude, he can’t answer his phone right now. To prove the point, when his iPhone trills, he takes a quick look and sets it back down on the table in the small office that overlooks one of the busiest roads in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s bustling, frenetic and endearingly chaotic capital city.

“If I don’t know the number, I won’t answer. You know why?” he asks. “Because government ministers will ring me up and say ‘Haile – I need a ticket for the big run on Sunday!’”

Hearing this story is the perfect introduction to the Great Ethiopian Run – the colourful, barmy and brilliant little brother of our own beloved Great North Run.

Read more »

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Ethiopia: $1.6 Million Grant to Fund EduCare

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

VOA News

By Kim Lewis

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

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

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

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

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

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

Education instead of a Exploitation

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

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

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

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

Community schools will also receive support.

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

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In Ferguson, U.S.A, It’s Still Like 1853

Lesley McSpadden (left), the mother of Michael Brown, reacts to hearing a grand jury decision Nov. 24th, 2014 in the fatal shooting case of her 18-year-old son by police officer Darren Wilson. (Getty Images)

The Root


Ferguson, Mo.: – Monday night, a grand jury declined to indict Ferguson, Mo., police Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson on Aug. 9.

In advance of the announcement of the grand jury decision, media, protesters, members of the clergy and organizations in support of the Justice for Mike Brown movement waited anxiously outside the Ferguson Police Department building for the ruling. Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, who had been informed of the verdict, arrived a few minutes before St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch made the announcement.

In tears, frustration and anger, McSpadden addressed the crowd and said, “Everybody wants me to be calm. Do you know how [those] bullets hit my son? What they did to his body as they entered his body?” She added, “I have been living here my whole life; I have never had to go through anything like this.”

She was surrounded by several people who held and hugged her. When McCulloch concluded his conference, protesters immediately responded, chanting, “No justice, no peace!” Some shouted, “Burn it down!”

And many expressed that they were not surprised by the outcome, including Anthony Merri, 38. “Nothing has changed from 1853. This is the city of Dred Scott,” he told The Root. “African Americans, Latinos and others who do not fit the status quo cannot get [their] rights, and that was definitely displayed today.”

Read more at theroot.com

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

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

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

VOA News

By William Gallo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Exiled Ethiopian Journalist Betre Yacob

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

The Huffington Post

By Maura Kelly

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

Life as a journalist

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

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

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

Read more at The Huffington Post »

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‘Gracias (Thank you) President Obama!’

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

NBC News


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »

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

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

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of the Week: Ethiopian Jews Celebrating the Sigd Holiday

(Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Jewish Press

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

Read more at jewishpress.com »

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

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Can Farming in Ethiopia be Successfully Commercialised? (Video)

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

BBC News

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

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

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

Watch: Can Farming in Ethiopia be Successfully Commercialised?

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Eritrea’s Youth ‘Fleeing for Ethiopia’ – UN

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

BBC News

Eritreans ‘Fleeing Conscription Drive’ for Ethiopia – UNHCR

20 November 2014

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

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

Eritrea says conscription is needed because of tension with Ethiopia.

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

Eritrea became independent after breaking away from Ethiopia.

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

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

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

World Bulletin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »

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

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CBS: 135,000 Ethiopians Living in Israel

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

The Jerusalem Post

November 20th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at The Jerusalem Post »

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

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

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ZTE May Lose $800m Ethiopia Deal

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

Ventures Africa

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

November 19, 2014

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

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

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

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

Read more »

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

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

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

The Root


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

As a matter of fact, it’s not.

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

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

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

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

Read more at theroot.com »

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

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

BBC News

17 November 2014

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

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

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

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

Read more and watch the video at BBC »

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38 Killed in Bus Crash in Eastern Ethiopia

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

World Bulletin

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

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

Police commander Bizuneh Godana expected the death toll to increase.

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

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

Read more »

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AFCON 2015: Algeria 3 – 1 Ethiopia

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

Super Sport

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »

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ZTE at Risk of Losing Ethiopia Contract

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

The Wall Street Journal


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

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

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

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

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

Read more at The Wall Street Journal »

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

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


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

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

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

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

Read more at CBSDFW.com »

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

How a Texas Ethiopian Organization Assisted in Discovery of Almaz Gebremedhin

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Obama to Issue Executive Order On Immigartion

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

The Root


Nov. 14 2014

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

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

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

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

Read more at theroot.com »

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

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

The Root


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

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

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

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

Read more at theroot.com »

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In Photo: Ethiopian Afrem Gebreanenia Wins at Iowa Kickboxing Tournament

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

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

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

Below are photos from his recent competition:

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

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H&M Says No Cotton From Langrabbing

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

Reuters via Euronews

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

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

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

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

H&M said it did not accept such practices.

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »

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NASA to Grant Scholarships to Ethiopian Students

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

Newstime Africa

By Addis Getachew

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Newstime Africa »

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Online Hate Speech & Elections in Ethiopia: Oxford Researchers Call for Experts

How does internet hate speech in the Ethiopian cyberspace affect discourse among Ethiopians worldwide? Researchers at Oxford University are conducting a study to find the answer. (Image: Nerve.com)

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Press release – Oxford University Consulting

Oxford University Consulting is seeking 4 Researcher Consultants and 2 Senior Researcher Consultants for the Project “Online Hate Speech and Elections in Ethiopia.” The study will develop an empirically grounded understanding of the nature of online debates before and after elections, with a specific focus on how different actors engage or fail to engage online in a polarized political environment. The researchers will be responsible for supporting the study and analyzing media content.

The positions will be on a self-employed basis for approximately 15-20 hours per week and initially for 6 months, which may be renewable for a further 6 months. Additional hours may be available depending on experience and the needs of the project.

Junior Researchers will be paid at a rate of £9/hour, Senior Researchers will be paid at a rate of £14/hour.

The candidates should have:

  • Perfect command of Amharic and English and preferably of another language spoken in Ethiopia (Oromiffa, Tigrigna, Somali);
  • Familiarity with social science research, with a particular emphasis on content analysis and interview techniques;
  • Familiarity with the social and political history of Ethiopia;
  • Proven ability to work independently;
  • Strong research ethics;
  • Ability to achieve results timely and under pressure;
  • A BA degree with a graduate degree strongly preferred;

    Senior Researchers are also expected to:

  • Hold a graduate degree in a social science subject;
  • Have experience with software for quantitative research;
  • Prove their ability to supervise a team of researchers and ensure results are provided in a timely matter.

    Applications should be sent to Dr. Matti Pohjonen (mp41@soas.ac.uk) and should include:

  • A curriculum vitae;
  • A cover letter, indicating the reasons for applying, and whether and to which extent the candidate fulfills the requirements for the position;
  • The name and the contact details of 2 references (for the position of Researcher) or 3 references (for the position of Senior Researcher);
  • A writing sample (Up to 2000 words for junior researchers and up to 5000 words for senior researchers. Writing samples can include university papers, sections of master thesis, academic papers, newspapers articles, blog posts).

    Applications will be collected on a rolling basis until 24 November 2014 (5 pm GMT), and we strongly encourage applicants to apply before the deadline. Interviews will take place on 27 and 28 November either via Skype or phone or in person in London or Oxford.

    Informal queries can be sent to Matti Pohjonen (mp41@soas.ac.uk). Please include either “Researcher” or “Senior Researcher” in the subject line of the email with both the informal queries and the job application.

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

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

    Deutsche Welle

    November 11th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more at Deutsche Welle »

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

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

    The Guardian

    By David Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more at The Guardian »

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    New York Ebola Patient Leaves Hospital

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

    VOA News

    November 11, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    VOA News

    By Luis Ramirez

    November 10, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Zone 9 Case Sees 11th Court Delay

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

    The International Press Institute

    By: Siobhan Hagan, IPI Contributor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Photo credit: Jomanex Kasaye via IPI

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

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


    (The following statement was released by the rating agency)

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

    Read the full press release at Reuters.com »

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

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

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

    The Daily Mail Online


    November 7th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    (Photo by Danielle Elliott)

    Gapers Block

    By Danielle Elliott

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more »

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    Ethiopia-Egypt Trade Deals to Ease River Nile Row

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

    BBC News

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more at BBC News »

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    Tsehai Publishers Strives for a Better Africa and Ethiopia

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

    The Los Angeles Loyolan

    By Kaitlin Perata

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

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

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

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

    Read the full article at The Los Angeles Loyolan »

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    Republicans Take Control of US Senate

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

    VOA News

    November 04, 2014

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

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

    However, there several races were still to be decided.

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

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

    McConnell reelected to sixth term

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Republican victories

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Polling results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Ballot Initiatives on Marijuana, Guns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Republican Congressman Mike Coffman Visits Four Ethiopian Churches in Colorado
    US Election 2014: A Record Number of African Americans Running for Office
    Who’s Who in the Nov. 4 Election
    What You Need to Know About Tuesday’s Midterm US Elections
    Mohammed Tahiro Interview: First Ethiopian American Candidate for U.S. Senate
    Ethiopian American Council Endorses Congressman Mike Honda for Re-Election

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    UK Cancels Aid to Ethiopian Police

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

    The Telegraph

    By Matthew Holehouse

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more at The Telegraph »

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

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


    Things to look for in Tuesday’s midterm elections:

    Control of the Senate:

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

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

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

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

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

    The House:

    • Republicans will almost certainly maintain control.

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

    Read more at NYT »

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

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

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

    U.S. State Department

    Press Statement
    Jen Psaki
    Department Spokesperson

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

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

    Journalist Temesghen Desalegn Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

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    Ethiopia’s Impressive Regreening Program

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

    The Guardian

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more at The Guardian »

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

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    Spike in Eritreans Fleeing into Ethiopia

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more »

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    Wonderful Ethiopia Video From The Perennial Plate

    (Photo: Vimeo/The Perennial Plate)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Published: Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

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

    Watch: Ethiopia! from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo

    Ethiopia! from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo.

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    Nun Visiting NYC From Ethiopia Missing

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

    CBS New York

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more at CBS New York »

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

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    Journalist Temesghen Desalegn Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

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


    Press release

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

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

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

    Read more at CPJ.org »

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    Amnesty Says Ethiopia Detains 5,000 Oromos Illegally Since 2011

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

    Bloomberg News

    By William Davison

    Oct 27, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

    Read the full article at Bloomberg News »

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    Ethiopia’s South Sudan Refugees Beyond Capacity

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

    VOA News

    By Marthe van der Wolf

    October 27, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Amnesty International

    On the Streets of America: Human Rights Abuses in Ferguson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more and download the report at amnestyusa.org »

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    Meet the Tour Operator: Yohannes Zeleke

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

    Travel Pulse


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

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

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

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

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

    Read more »

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    When Ethiopians Joined Hands With Indians to Celebrate Diwali

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

    The New Indian Express

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more at The New Indian Express »

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    Ethiopia’s ‘African Tiger’ Leaps Towards Middle Income

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

    The Guardian

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

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

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

    Read more at The Guardian »

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

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    Man Caught After Jumping White House Fence

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

    VOA News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Ethiopia, 30 Years After the 1984 Famine

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

    The Guardian

    By David Smith

    Wednesday 22 October 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more at The Guardian »

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

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    Ethiopian Maids Reveal Abuse From Employers in UAE

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

    7DAYS October 21, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more »

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    Ebola: Africa’s Image Takes a Hit

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

    The Associated Press


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more »

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

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

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

    The Root


    Oct. 18 2014

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

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

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

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

    Watch: Obama’s credit card declined at fancy restaurant

    Read more at CNN »

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

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

    Global Voices Online

    Written by Rebecca MacKinnon

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

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

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

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

    Read more at Global Voices Online »

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    Professor Mohammed Tahiro for US Senate

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


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

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

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

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

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

    More information about the candidate at Tahiro2014.org »

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

    (Photo: ertagov)

    Bloomberg News

    By William Davison

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more at Bloomberg News »

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    UPDATE: Ethiopia Protected From Possible al-Shabab Attacks

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

    VOA News

    By Marthe van der Wolf

    October 17, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

    US security warning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    US Embassy Warns of al-Shabab Attack in Ethiopia

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    Boom Times for Ethiopia’s Coffee Shops

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

    BBC News

    By James Jeffrey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more at BBC.com »

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    Ali Mazrui: Death of A Towering Intellectual

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

    BBC News

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

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

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

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

    Ali Mazrui wrote extensively about colonialism.

    He condemned the atrocities committed by colonial rulers

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

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

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

    Read more at BBC.com »

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    Protest Planned Over Sentencing in Abuse of Adopted Ethiopian Children

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

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    By Paula Reed Ward

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more news at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette »

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

    (Image: Ebola virus under the microscope)

    U.S. Embassy – Ethiopia

    Press release

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    US Embassy Warns of al-Shabab Attack in Ethiopia

    Ethiopia map. (Credit: VOA)

    VOA News

    October 15, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Authorities in Ethiopia Convict Journalist Temesghen Desalegn

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


    October 15, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Ethiopian Editor Convicted for Inciting Public With Articles (Bloomberg)

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

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

    BBC News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more at BBC News »

    Ethiopia Launches Ebola Testing Lab to Combat Epidemic

    Video: New US Ebola Case Raises Fears (MSNBC)

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    Ethiopia’s Top Ten Religious Highlights

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

    Travel Pulse

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

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

    Read more and see the list at travelpulse.com »

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    New US Ebola Case Raises Fears

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

    VOA News

    By Michael Bowman

    October 13, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Dublin Airport Announces Direct Flights to LA and Addis Ababa

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


    By Pól Ó Conghaile

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more »

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

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

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    Chicago Marathon Results: Kenenisa 4th

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

    Guardian LV

    By Beth Balen

    Sunday, October 12th, 2014

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

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

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

    Read more at Guardianlv.com »

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

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

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

    The New York Times


    OCT. 11, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more at NYT »

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    Ethiopia Says US Embassy Intruders Must Be Charged – Associated Press

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

    Associated Press


    Oct 10, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    DC Ethiopian Embassy Shooting Sparks Rival Protests

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

    VOA News

    By Pamela Dockins

    October 07, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Diplomat Memo: Ambassador Girma Biru on DC Ethiopian Embassy Shooting

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

    Diplomat News Network

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Ethiopian Diplomat Flees US to Dodge Prosecution, US Official Confirms

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

    The Hill

    By Mario Trujillo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. (Getty Images)

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read more »

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

    The Washington Post

    By Victoria St. Martin

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

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

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

    Read more and watch video at The Washington Post »


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

    DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

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