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Writers Lemn Sissay & Zone 9′s Befeqadu Hailu Share 2019 PEN Pinter Prize

Poet Lemn Sissay (right) has named writer and activist Befeqadu Hailu (left), who is a co-founder of the blogging platform Zone 9, as this year’s ‘international writer of courage’ (Composite: PR/Hollie Fernando)

The Guardian

The poet Lemn Sissay has won the PEN Pinter award alongside the Ethiopian writer Befeqadu Hailu, who dedicated his award “to all those who use their voices for the voiceless”.

Hailu, a writer, activist and co-founder of the blogging platform Zone 9, has been jailed four times for his work, although never convicted of the charges brought against him. Under the motto “we blog because we care”, Zone 9 sets out to create a space for freedom of expression, where individuals can speak out against human rights violations in Ethiopia.

Sissay chose Hailu as the PEN Pinter international writer of courage, calling him “a man who stands by his word and whose words stood in the face of prison and arose far, far above to declaim in the name of humanity”.

“When I was considering him, I spoke to many Ethiopians in Ethiopia about him,” Sissay said. “He is loved by his people and the younger generation: He is a 21st-century hero. It was obvious that the writer of courage had to be him. He is my hero.”

Speaking in Amharic at the British Library event, Hailu thanked Sissay for choosing him to share the award. Hailu said he had wasted “596 days of his life in prison as a result of his writing”, as well as being “a victim of surveillance, intimidation, beatings and insults”.

“But I can say confidently that I have gained rather than lost by writing,” he said. “My wish is to use my voice for the service of the suppressed, those who are victimised because of sexual orientation, creed, religion or political opinion. My dream will come true. My wish is to give my voice to the service of the voiceless, who spoke for me when I could not. I pay it back only when I write to become a voice for the voiceless, the unheard.”

The PEN Pinter award goes to a writer who is deemed to, in the words of Harold Pinter’s Nobel speech, cast an “unflinching, unswerving” gaze upon the world, and show a “fierce intellectual determination … to define the real truth of our lives and our societies”. Sissay, who was announced as recipient in June, was described by judges as “an Orpheus who never stops singing”, who in every work “returns to the underworld he inhabited as an unclaimed child”, and “from his sorrows … forges beautiful words and a thousand reasons to live and love”. Sissay grew up in foster care in Wigan and his childhood was scarred by racist bullying.

The prize is shared with an international writer of courage who has been persecuted for speaking out about their beliefs.

Read more »


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Ethiopia Mourns Elias Melka

Musician and composer Elias Melka died on 4 October. (Music in Africa)

Music in Africa

The news of his death was made public by Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC)… FBC said Milka was receiving treatment for diabetes and kidney complications at a hospital in the country’s capital.

Several prominent Ethiopians have shared their fondest memories of the musician, while others have spoken about what his music means to them.

“Saddened to learn the passing of renowned lyricist and composer, Elias Melka. We lost a talented and influential figure in the music industry. My condolences to his family and fans,” Addis Ababa mayor Takele Uma Banti said.

Radio and TV journalist Berhane Negussie said: “What heartbreaking news. Elias Melka was a musical genius of our generation This is a loss to the Ethiopian music industry. Not only as a musician, but he was also an amazing and extremely kind as a person. Rest in heaven, my brother.

Ethiopian political analyst Esayas Girmay wrote: “Farewell to a legend! Elias transformed modern Ethiopian music like no other. His influence on traditional Amharic music was also something to remember him by. Tigrigna, Oromifa, Kunama and Guragigna have also benefited from his amazing talent and creativity.”

Melka began his career in the 1990s after graduating from Yared Music School where he majored in cello, piano and the krar.

Melka’s discography includes more than 40 albums, which mainly contain socially conscious songs. His songs touched on topics such as HIV/AIDS, road accidents, African unity and minorities. In 2003, he composed ‘Negarit’ (War Drum), which highlighted the plight of about 13 million people facing starvation in the country.

The award-winning musician composed music for prominent Ethiopian artists, most notably activist Teddy Afro, Gossaye Tesfaye, Zeritu Kebede, Haile Roots, Mikia Behailu, Eyob Mekonnen, Michael Belayneh, Aster Girma, Abush Zeleke, Berry, Gedion Daniel and Dan Admassu.

He will be remembered for being one of the first musicians to introduce the one-man band studio production concept in Ethiopia and for being part of the team that launched the Awtar Music App this year.

Before his death, he was one of the judges on the Fana Lamrot talent show, which airs on FBC.


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Majority of Americans Support Impeachment Inquiry into Trump (UPDATE)

The survey shows how public sentiment has moved amid the unfolding scandal over Trump’s request that Ukraine investigate his potential 2020 rival Joe Biden. (ILLUSTRATION: HUFFPOST; PHOTOS: GETTY)

CNBC

Updated: TUE, OCT 8 2019

Most Americans — including 1 in 5 Republicans — now back an impeachment inquiry or already believe Congress should remove President Donald Trump from office, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows.

The survey shows how public sentiment has moved amid the unfolding scandal over Trump’s request that Ukraine investigate his potential 2020 rival Joe Biden. The share of Americans who say Congress should let Trump complete his term has dipped to 39%, from 50% in July.

At the same time, the proportion who say Congress should move to impeachment and removal has ticked up to 24% from 21%, while those who support an impeachment inquiry have swelled to 31% from 27%. Taken together, that 55% majority backing an impeachment inquiry at minimum is the highest the NBC/WSJ poll has shown this year.

That represents a gradual, not dramatic, shift in opinion. But it shows that, after the political hazards of the Trump-Russia investigation appeared to dissipate during the summer, the president faces new and potentially more-threatening trouble over Ukraine.

“What we’re seeing in this poll is an openness and willingness to listen to new information,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff. His Democratic counterpart Peter Hart added, “There’s not a scintilla of good news for Donald Trump in this survey.”


2nd Whistleblower Adds to Impeachment Peril at White House (AP)


U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has initiated an impeachment proceedings against President Trump, accusing him of violating the Constitution in seeking help from a foreign leader to damage a political opponent. AP reports that this week a second whistleblower has come forward “adding to the impeachment peril engulfing the White House.” (AP photo)

The Associated Press

Updated: October 7th, 2019

A second whistleblower has come forward with information about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, adding to the impeachment peril engulfing the White House and potentially providing new leads to Democrats in their unfurling investigation of Trump’s conduct.

Attorney Mark Zaid, who represents both whistleblowers, said in a text message to The Associated Press that the second person has spoken to the intelligence community’s internal watchdog and can corroborate information in the original whistleblower complaint. That document alleged that Trump pushed Ukraine’s president to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s family, prompting a White House cover-up. Crucially, the new whistleblower works in the intelligence field and has “firsthand knowledge” of key events, Zaid said.

The emergence of the second whistleblower threatened to undermine arguments from Trump and his allies to discredit the original complaint. They have called it politically motivated, claimed it was filed improperly and dismissed it as unreliable because it was based on secondhand or thirdhand information.

A rough transcript of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, released by the White House, has already corroborated the complaint’s central claim that Trump sought to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. The push came even though there was no evidence of wrongdoing by the former vice president or his son Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

Text messages from State Department officials revealed other details, including that Ukraine was promised a visit with Trump if the government would agree to investigate the 2016 election and Ukrainian gas company Burisma — the outline of a potential quid pro quo.

Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said word of a second whistleblower indicates a larger shift inside the government.

“The president’s real problem is that his behavior has finally gotten to a place where people are saying, ‘Enough,’” Himes said.

Democrats have zeroed in on the State Department in the opening phase of their impeachment investigation. The Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees have already interviewed Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine who provided the text messages. At least two other witnesses are set for depositions this week: Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and Marie Yovanovitch, who was abruptly ousted as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in May.

Trump and his supporters deny that he did anything improper, but the White House has struggled to come up with a unified response. No administration officials appeared on the Sunday news shows to defend the president, while other Republicans focused mainly on attacking Democrats. A few Republicans suggested that Trump was only joking this past week when he publicly called on China to investigate the Bidens.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of Trump’s most vocal backers, provided perhaps the strongest defense of the president. He said there was nothing wrong with Trump’s July conversation with Zelenskiy and that the accusation look like a “political setup.”

As for Trump, rather than visiting his nearby golf course in Sterling, Virginia, for a second day, he stayed at White House, where he tweeted and retweeted, with the Bidens a main target.

“The great Scam is being revealed!” Trump wrote at one point, continuing to paint himself as the victim of a “deep state” and hostile Democrats.

As the president often does when he feels under attack, he trumpeted his strong support among Republican voters. He kept lashing out at Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, one of the few Republicans who has publicly questioned Trump’s conduct.

“The Democrats are lucky that they don’t have any Mitt Romney types,” Trump wrote, painting the 2012 GOP presidential nominee as a traitor to his party. Romney tweeted recently that Trump’s “brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine” for an investigation of Biden is “wrong and appalling.”

The July call raised questions about whether Trump held back near $400 million in critical American military aid to Ukraine as leverage for a Burisma investigation. Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma at the same time his father was leading the Obama administration’s diplomatic dealings with Ukraine. Though the timing raised concerns among anti-corruption advocates, there has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.

A leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Biden wrote in The Washington Post that he had a message for Trump and “those who facilitate his abuses of power. … Please know that I’m not going anywhere. You won’t destroy me, and you won’t destroy my family.”

Additional details about the origins of Trump’s July 25 call with Zelenskiy emerged over the weekend.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry had encouraged Trump to speak with the Ukrainian leader, but on energy and economic issues, according to Perry spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes. She said Perry’s interest in Ukraine is part of U.S. efforts to boost Western energy ties to Eastern Europe.

Trump, who has repeatedly described his conversation with Zelenskiy as “perfect,” told House Republicans on Friday night that it was Perry who teed up the July call, according to a person familiar with Trump’s comments who was granted anonymity to discuss them. The person said Trump did not suggest that Perry had anything to do with the pressure to investigate the Bidens.

As the furor over Trump’s phone call and the House’s subsequent impeachment inquiry escalated, two Republicans challenging Trump for the GOP presidential nomination engaged in a heated on-air debate over what should happen to the president. The exchange between former Reps. Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Joe Walsh of Illinois was notable, given the refusal of all but three Republican senators to criticize Trump’s conduct.

Walsh said the president deserves to be impeached. Sanford tried to make the case that moving forward with impeachment in the Democratic-run House if the Republican-controlled Senate doesn’t have the votes to convict would be counter-productive.

“This president needs to be impeached, just based on what he himself has said,” Walsh said. “And Republicans better get behind that.”

Himes appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” while Walsh was on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Graham spoke on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

___

Related:

U.S. House Announces Formal Impeachment Inquiry of Trump


U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday the launch of a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. The dramatic development follows the recent revelation that Trump may have abused his presidential powers by seeking help from a foreign government to undermine his potential 2020 election opponent, former vice president Joe Biden, and help his own reelection campaign. (Getty Images)

The Washington Post

Pelosi announces impeachment inquiry, says Trump’s courting of foreign political help is a ‘betrayal of national security’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the extraordinary step Tuesday of initiating impeachment proceedings against President Trump, accusing him of violating the Constitution in seeking help from a foreign leader to damage a political opponent.

Pelosi’s move came after Trump acknowledged that he urged the Ukrainian president to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination who holds a wide lead over Trump, polls show, in a potential general election matchup. The revelation prompted a rush of moderate House Democrats to call for an impeachment inquiry into Trump, a step they had resisted for months. On Tuesday, Pelosi (D-Calif.) relented as well.

“The actions of the Trump presidency have revealed the dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” Pelosi said in a brief statement before a backdrop of American flags, repeatedly invoking the nation’s founders. “Therefore, today, I am announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.”

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Man Seeking U.S. Asylum Claims Ethiopian Airlines Changed Records After 737 Max Crash

Yonas Yeshanew, a former employee of Ethiopian Airlines who is currently applying for asylum in the U.S., has claimed — in a whistleblower complaint filed with U.S. Federal Aviation Administration — that Ethiopian Airlines changed records on a Boeing 737 Max jet following the tragic crash earlier this year. Investigators had preliminarily ruled that a defective software flight data sensor known as MCAS was to blame for the accident. (AP Photo)

The Associated Press

Engineer: Ethiopian Airlines went into records after crash

SEATTLE (AP) — Ethiopian Airlines’ former chief engineer says in a whistleblower complaint filed with regulators that the carrier went into the maintenance records on a Boeing 737 Max jet a day after it crashed this year, a breach he contends was part of a pattern of corruption that included fabricating documents, signing off on shoddy repairs and even beating those who got out of line.

Yonas Yeshanew, who resigned this summer and is seeking asylum in the U.S., said that while it is unclear what, if anything, in the records was altered, the decision to go into them at all when they should have been sealed reflects a government-owned airline with few boundaries and plenty to hide.

“The brutal fact shall be exposed … Ethiopian Airlines is pursuing the vision of expansion, growth and profitability by compromising safety,” Yeshanew said in his report, which he gave to The Associated Press after sending it last month to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and other international air safety agencies…

Ethiopian Airlines portrayed Yeshanew as a disgruntled former employee and categorically denied his allegations…

Read the full article at apnews.com »


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Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

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

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

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PM Abiy Commissions Artist Elias Sime for New Public Garden at National Palace

Elias Sime’s garden under construction. (COURTESY JAMES COHAN GALLERY)

ARTNEWS

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Commissions Artist Elias Sime for New Public Garden at Historically Off-Limits National Palace

Elias Sime, an Ethiopian artist well known at home and ascendant internationally for works involving intricately woven tangles of reclaimed electrical wires and other materials that come to look like paintings from afar, is building a large public garden for the Grand National Palace in Addis Ababa that once served as the home of emperor Haile Selassie. The project came to fruition after Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed visited Zoma, an ambitious complex of buildings and gardens in the city devoted to exhibitions of contemporary art and indigenous-architectural education as imagined by Sime and anthropologist Meskerem Assegued.

As James Cohan, whose New York–based gallery represents Sime, recalled of the prime minister, “Once he saw it, literally the next day he called Elias up and said, ‘You need to come to the grounds of the royal palace, which I’m going to open to the public for the first time since 1976. It will become our national pride, and you need to build a garden for us.’”

That visit some three months ago led to work that has continued around the clock on a 30,000-square-foot garden expected to be completed in six months. “They’re carving pieces of stone with wavelike rhythmic forms,” Cohan said, “and he’s carving stone for the walls.” More than 300 workers are involved, and “the prime minister visits on a daily basis and has brought numerous visiting international diplomats and dignitaries to see progress,” Cohan added.

In a written statement, Sime—who is working on the project with his partner in Zoma—told ARTnews, “Anyone can be commissioned to build, but being trusted by the Prime Minster, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, with love to build our dream in one of the most prestigious places is special. What Meskerem Assegued and I are building is meant to give love to anyone as much as we loved building it.”

Read more »


Related:

Elias Sime Set for Major U.S. Museum Shows in NY, Ohio and Kansas (TADIAS)

Noiseless: Elias Sime’s New Exhibition Opens in NYC

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In Oklahoma, Ethiopian Woman Receives OU’s International Water Prize

OU Interim Vice President Jane Irungu, left, presents the hand-blown glass trophy in the shape of a water droplet with a world map overlaid to Martha Gebeyehu, the 2019 International Water Prize winner. The World Health Organization estimates 800 million people do not have access to safe drinking water and 2.6 billion people lack adequate sanitation. (The Transcript)

The Transcript

An Ethiopian woman who helps coordinate government workers and private, self-help groups to promote clean water and sanitation formally received the 2019 University of Oklahoma International Water Prize at a banquet Tuesday evening.

Martha Gebeyehu received the $25,000 cash prize and hand-blown glass trophy shaped like a water droplet at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History at the end of the OU WaTER Center’s two-day conference.

Gebeyehu, who was chosen the winner by five jurors in 2018, said much of her country does not have access to adequate drinking water. Ninety four percent of the population drinks untreated water and nearly that many do not have access to basic sanitation.

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Behailu Wase: Ethiopia’s Cafe Society

Exploring the making of a political satire show offers insight into the growing pains of Ethiopia's new democracy. (Aljazeera)

Aljazeera

Filmmaker: Brian Tilley

In a compound on the edge of Addis Ababa – next to a cluster of houses and a busy primary school – is a large corrugated iron shack.

Inside is a cafe. Not an ordinary cafe, but the set of Ethiopia’s first political satire show to be broadcast on state television – Min Litazez, which translates to “How may I serve you?”.

“This is our mini Ethiopia,” says creator and director Behailu Wase, who grew up in the same compound from where he now airs his popular show. “A lot of ideas are discussed here.”

In the three seasons it has been on air, Min Litazez has built an enthusiastic and loyal audience among a population starved for political commentary and a new kind of comedy after almost 27 years of dictatorship during which such things would have been unthinkable.

We’re not just trying to make people laugh, but raise awareness because we want to create a better country.

But after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018, he instituted a number of political and economic reforms, including loosening restrictions on the media and freedom of speech.

The sitcom-satire is set in a cafe, meant to be a metaphor of the country as a whole. In each episode, the cafe owner’s life tries to mirror and reflect the challenges faced by the country’s new leadership.

Past episodes have dealt with issues like government inefficiency, ethnic nationalism and authoritarianism – despite attempts to censor some of the content and, at times, even temporary suspension of the show itself.

“We’re not just trying to make people laugh, but raise awareness because we want to create a better country,” Behailu says.

Read more »


Related:

Watch: Meaza Ashenafi on Restoring Public Trust in Ethiopia’s Justice System

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Watch: Meaza Ashenafi on Restoring Public Trust in Ethiopia’s Justice System

In the following video Aljazeera follows Ethiopia's chief justice Meaza Ashenafi "as she meets judges and government officials to discuss current cases and reform efforts, visits some of Ethiopia's infamous prisons, and shares her dreams and aspirations for the future of her homeland." (Aljazeera)

Aljazeera

Meaza Ashenafi: Judging Ethiopia’s Future

Meaza Ashenafi, Ethiopia’s first female president of the Federal Supreme Court, is determined to restore public trust in her country’s justice system.

Appointed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in November 2018, the chief justice is tasked to reform her country’s entire judicial system.

“I always believed that promoting justice is my duty … I decided to take up this position to restore public trust in the judiciary,” Meaza says. “I knew it’s going to be a difficult assignment. There is a lot of expectation from the judiciary. The history of the judiciary [in Ethiopia] … has not been beautiful and people expect this to be corrected and they want that change not tomorrow, they want it today.”

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UPDATE: Dozens killed in Sidama Clashes

Reports from activists and opposition groups cite a higher death toll with fatalities as high as 60, but the local acting security head, Andinet Ashenafi, warns against what he called exaggerated numbers, reports the BBC's Kalkidan Yibeltal from Addis Ababa. (BBC)

BBC

Updated: July 22nd, 2019

At least 25 people have died in clashes between Ethiopian security forces and activists in southern Ethiopia, hospital officials have told the BBC.

The officials said security forces fired bullets during the protests across the Sidama region.

Activists from the Sidama ethnic group were set to declare their own federal state on Thursday.

They accused the government of failing to hold a promised referendum on the issue.

The Sidama are Ethiopia’s fifth biggest ethnic group, making up 4% of the population and are mainly based in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s (SNNP) regional state.

The four bigger communities all have their own regions within Ethiopia’s ethnically based federal system.

Reports from activists and opposition groups cite a higher death toll with fatalities as high as 60, but the local acting security head, Andinet Ashenafi, warns against what he called exaggerated numbers, reports the BBC’s Kalkidan Yibeltal from Addis Ababa.

Mr Andinet confirmed to the BBC that four people had been killed in the city of Awassa and 26 others sustained wounds.

Members of other ethnic groups were also killed after being attacked by angry mobs.

Local media reported that protesters had attacked a tourist lodge, leading to 12 tourists being escorted out by troops.

The internet has been blocked in parts of the south of the country since Thursday, including the main city of Awassa.

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FAA Has No Timeline for 737 Max Return

The attempt to adapt the software on the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which has been identified as a factor in crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, has been slower than was initially predicted. (Bloomberg)

Bloomberg

FAA Has No Timeline for Lifting Grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max

U.S. aviation regulators have no timeline for returning Boeing Co.’s grounded 737 Max to service and won’t act until they are sure it is safe, the nation’s top transportation official said Thursday.

The Federal Aviation Administration has to be assured that a fix being developed by Boeing in the wake of two fatal crashes will prevent any future accidents, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a speech in Washington.

“The FAA will lift the aircraft’s prohibition order when it is deemed safe to do so,” Chao said. “That is the bottom line: There is no timeline.”

Chao was speaking before the Air Line Pilots Association’s Air Safety Forum. ALPA is the largest pilot’s union in North America.

Boeing is altering software on the plane that had malfunctioned in both accidents, pushing each plane’s nose down without pilot input. The crews weren’t able to counter the plane and they lost control…

The attempt to adapt the software on the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which has been identified as a factor in crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, has been slower than was initially predicted.

Read more »


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Ethiopian Voted Best Airline in Africa
Boeing’s Mea Culpa Wins Over Ethiopian Airlines
Boeing CEO Calls Handling of 737 Max Crashes a ‘Mistake,’ Vows Improvements (USA Today)
In U.S. Fellowship Being Created in Name of Victim of Ethiopia Crash (AP)
Ethiopian Airlines Slams Bloomberg’s Ex-Pilot Story as ‘Baseless & False Allegation’
Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

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Meet the ‘Squad’: The 4 Female U.S. Lawmakers Shaking Up Old Politics in DC

They were elected to Congress last November with a promise to shake up old politics in Washington, DC. This week they garnered international press attention for doing just that when they rattled the White House with their own unabashed social stand and world view. Below is a Boston Globe profile of the freshman American lawmakers who are pushing back against Trump's ethnocentric politics. (Photo Clockwise from top left: Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar. Photos from the Associated Press/Getty Images)

Boston Globe

Meet the ‘Squad’: Pressley, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Tlaib

So who exactly are the four trailblazers that comprise the “Squad”?

Pressley posted a photo in November, shortly after her election to the House, of herself, Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Omar at the orientation for new members of Congress.

The four represent among the most progressive districts in the House, according to the Cook Political Report and that profile appeared to be part of the basis for Trump’s weekend attacks, where he referred to them as “ ‘Progressive’ Democratic Congresswomen.”

Pressley replied Monday by saying “our squad is big.”

Here’s a brief refresher on the four Democratic woman challenging the president and facing his ire.

Read more »


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The American Chamber of Commerce in Ethiopia Report on U.S.-Ethio Business

The American Chamber of Commerce in Ethiopia launched its inaugural report on U.S. investment in Ethiopia during an event held at the Sheraton hotel in Addis Ababa on Thursday, July 11, 2019. (Photo: @AmchamET/Twitter)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: July 12th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The American Chamber of Commerce in Ethiopia has released a report featuring how U.S. investments in Ethiopia are having an impact on the ground. The report showcases “the contribution our members are making towards advancing inclusive economic growth in Ethiopia,” the non-profit organization announced in a Twitter post on Friday. “Case studies in the report cover education, skills development, health, and environment.”

It was announced previously that the American Chamber of Commerce in Ethiopia was founded in 2016 “to strengthen the century‐old partnership economic ties that have existed between the United States and Ethiopia,” and counts former Director General of the Ethiopian Investment Commission, Fitsum Arega, among its Board members. Mr. Arega is now Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the U.S.

“The AmCham can play an important role in building a conducive environment for private sector growth, share experiences, and facilitate business capacity building in Ethiopia,” the press release adds.

The Twitter announcement notes that the current report was released during a forum held at the Sheraton hotel in Addis Ababa on Thursday, July 11th where “a delegation from US Chamber met with Ethiopian President SahleWork Zewde to discuss linking the private sectors of the two countries & also underscored its long-term commitment to Ethiopia, focusing on deep & sustainable engagement.”

In addition to the forum the American Chamber of Commerce in Ethiopia also hosted a panel discussion focusing on youth employment and featuring the head of Ethiopia’s Jobs Creation Commission Ephrem T. Lemango as well as a representative from Coca Cola Africa, which recently had announced its intention to create 2700 new jobs through a construction of a new factory in Sebeta as their biggest plant in Ethiopia.


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TSEHAI Picks: Ethio-American Musicians

(Image courtesy of TSEHAI Publishers)

By Elias Wondimu

TSEHAI Picks: Ethio-American Musicians to Watch

For decades, TSEHAI has published books and journals to educate, inspire, and empower its readers with comprehensive and diverse narratives. In keeping with this tradition, TSEHAI is delighted to announce the launch of the quarterly TSEHAI Picks Series.

From cultural tastemakers to historical figures, TSEHAI Picks celebrates individuals from all walks of life and fields of expertise. In this first edition, the TSEHAI team is giving your summer playlist a makeover with a list ten songs from phenomenal musicians of Ethiopian origin whose art represents the rich and diverse Ethiopian heritage and narratives on the world stage.

“Rewind”-Kelela
https://youtu.be/py6PgXq0yDM


Kelela. (Courtesy of TSEHAI Publishers)

The combination of Kelela’s sultry vocals with the hypnotic synthesizer and beat in “Rewind” immediately pull you in. On the podcast, Song Exploder, Kelela talks about her process of working with five different producers on this song. I was blown away by how she melded together elements from each producer to create one dynamic layered sound. “Rewind” is a great testament to Kelela as an artist: complex, unique, and forged from a melting pot of experiences.

“Danjahrous”–Haile Supreme
https://youtu.be/XJJjXFjkZKQ


Haile Supreme. (Courtesy of TSEHAI Publishers)

Drawing from many genres including jazz, blues, reggae and funk music, Haile Supreme creates a unique blend of Ethiopian culture with contemporary hip-hop/R&B in both his music and his persona. “Danjahrous” is a chill jam that goes down as smooth as honey wine.

“Black Truck”–Mereba
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGojZ12cZRQ


Mereba. (Courtesy of TSEHAI Publishers)

Mereba is a multi-talented musician, songwriter, producer, and rapper. Her brilliant album, The
Jungle is the Only Way Out, is a must listen for soulful vocals, intricate production, and poetically incisive lyrics. Her song “Black Truck” is an ode to her father who immigrated to the U.S. from Ethiopia and the perseverance of her ancestors.

“Walk Up”–Meklit
https://youtu.be/hGK6VUlaJmw


Meklit.(Courtesy of TSEHAI Publishers)

In “Walk Up,” Meklit’ssoft vocals are accompanied by an eclectic assemblage of instrumental sounds. The lyrics of this song reminds me of Meklit’s brilliant TED talk, “The Unexpected Beauty of Everyday Sounds” on how music can be found all around — from the emphatic lilt of Amharic language to the sound of birds.

“W.I.A”–SIIMBA SELASSIIE
https://youtu.be/oN36HaYaZdc


SIIMBA SELASSIIE. (Courtesy of TSEHAI Publishers)

SIIMBA SELASSIIE serves up clever and honest lyricism in an irreverent package that expands the definition of a hip-hop artist. Donning traditional dress and referencing his Ethiopian roots in his lyrics, SIIMBA is not one to shy away from his heritage.

“Abune”–Kibrom Birhane
https://youtu.be/2qwebzVcKAc

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Kibrom Birhane. (Courtesy of TSEHAI Publishers)

Kibrom is a humble music visionary who embraces traditions in EthioJazz and EthioFolk music. His talent in piano and vocals shine in “Abune.” The powerful artistry of his music is truly arresting.

“Free Again”–Arima Ederra
https://youtu.be/OaYAE2lneD0


Arima Ederra. (Courtesy of TSEHAI Publishers)

Arima Ederra has the kind of angelic voice that will capture your attention within the first few notes. “Free Again” evokes the feeling of the first day of summer, ripe with infinite possibilities and childlike energy. I also love how the album art for this record draws from traditional Ethiopian illustration styles.

“Slow Fade”–Ruth B.
https://youtu.be/4HEUfU2CrEM


Ruth B. (Courtesy of TSEHAI Publishers)

Ruth B.’s regal voice remains soothing and pleasant, even as she takes you through her innermostfeelings. Currently signed with Columbia Records, it is exciting to see what she will do next.

“Process”–Gabriel Teodros, Shakiah
https://youtu.be/GUC31bcfAfM


Gabriel Teodros. (Courtesy of TSEHAI Publishers)

Gabriel Teodros is an Ethiopian-American son of a refugee, which strongly influences his music. He creates music motivated to heal and promote positive social change. When he’s not creating music, Gabriel is actively involved in local youth communities and advocates on the treatment of immigrants in the US.

“Eye”–Helen Hailu
https://youtu.be/YAvdusDoDCE


Helen Hailu. (Courtesy of TSEHAI Publishers)

For my last pick, I chose “Eye” by Helen Hailu. “Eye” is the perfect song for a slow Sunday morning. Her jazzy vocals and instrumentals rock steady as she invites listeners to join in her proclamation of independence: “I’d rather be me, myself, and I.”


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Life After Death of ‘Love Bug’ in Ethiopia

Volkswagen will halt production of its latest version of the Beetle model car at its plant in Puebla, Mexico on Wednesday. Production of the original version of the curvy little vehicles ended in 2003. But, in Addis Ababa, Beetles enjoy a kind of life after death; their parts are never discarded but re-used to keep the city's remaining Beetles on the road. (Photo: Ishetu Kinfe, 59, a mechanic, poses next to his 1965 model Volkswagen Beetle car at a garage in Addis Ababa/Tiksa Negeri/Reuters)

Reuters

In Ethiopia authentic spare parts of the original Beetle model are hard to come by. So mechanics there have to “slaughter” some cars to keep others alive.

“If one is in a bad condition, we will cannibalise it and give its parts to other cars. That is how we extend their life,” said Kinfe, the 74-year-old garage-owner who has been working on Beetles for six decades.

“I wish the Germans had continued producing them. They abandoned them and things started falling apart.”

“They are lovely cars,” said Teferi Markos, a mechanic in Kinfe’s garage. “You get satisfied when you fix them. If you want to change the colour, they absorb any paint.”

About 8,000 commercial and other vehicles are assembled in Ethiopia for the home market, about a quarter of them cars. The numbers of expensive imported models on the roads is also rising as a new middle class emerges.

“My brother-in-law owned a Beetle and I learned to drive with it when I was a young student,” said Workineh Kebede, 41, a businessman in the capital.

“I like them because they are so easy to drive. So I bought it because of my love for them since that time. It is not for economic reasons – I could afford to buy other cars.”

Read the full article and see photos »


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Africa Launches Free-Trade Zone

The IMF described the free-trade zone as a potential “economic game changer” of the kind that has boosted growth in Europe and North America. (Photo: AU summit in Niger on June 7th, 2019 where Ghana was announced as the host of the trade zone’s future headquarters/Reuters)

Reuters

Economic ‘Game Changer’? African Leaders Launch Free-Trade Zone

African leaders launched a continental free-trade zone on Sunday that if successful would unite 1.3 billion people, create a $3.4 trillion economic bloc and usher in a new era of development.

After four years of talks, an agreement to form a 55-nation trade bloc was reached in March, paving the way for Sunday’s African Union summit in Niger where Ghana was announced as the host of the trade zone’s future headquarters and discussions were held on how exactly the bloc will operate.

It is hoped that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) – the largest since the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1994 – will help unlock Africa’s long-stymied economic potential by boosting intra-regional trade, strengthening supply chains and spreading expertise.

“The eyes of the world are turned towards Africa,” Egyptian President and African Union Chairman Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said at the summit’s opening ceremony.

“The success of the AfCFTA will be the real test to achieve the economic growth that will turn our people’s dream of welfare and quality of life into a reality,” he said.

Africa has much catching up to do: its intra-regional trade accounted for just 17% of exports in 2017 versus 59% in Asia and 69% in Europe, and Africa has missed out on the economic booms that other trade blocs have experienced in recent decades.

Economists say significant challenges remain, including poor road and rail links, large areas of unrest, excessive border bureaucracy and petty corruption that have held back growth and integration.

Members have committed to eliminate tariffs on most goods, which will increase trade in the region by 15-25% in the medium term, but this would more than double if these other issues were dealt with, according to International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates.

The IMF in a May report described the free-trade zone as a potential “economic game changer” of the kind that has boosted growth in Europe and North America, but it added a note of caution.

“Reducing tariffs alone is not sufficient,” it said.

Read more »


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In Era of Reform, Ethiopia Still Reverts to Old Tactics to Censor Press (CPJ)

Ethiopians read newspapers in Addis Ababa on June 24. Following what the government refers to as a failed attempted coup, access to the internet was cut and journalists were arrested. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

CPJ

By Muthoki Mumo/CPJ Sub-Saharan Africa Representative

On June 22, Ethiopia was plunged into an internet blackout following what the government described as a failed attempted coup in the Amhara region. In the aftermath at least two journalists were detained under the country’s repressive anti-terror law, part of an uptick in arrests that CPJ has noted in the country since May.

While internet shutdowns and anti-terror laws being turned against journalists are nothing new in Ethiopia, their use in recent weeks is in stark contrast to the Ethiopia that welcomed the international media community for World Press Freedom Day celebrations in May and whose prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has been fêted as taking bold steps in opening up the space for a free press.

Yared Hailemariam, the executive director of the Swiss-based Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia, described the June 22 shutdown to CPJ as “a very wrong and old strategy of the government.” But it wasn’t the only blackout last month. The country was hit by intermittent network disruptions affecting internet and SMS services between June 11 and June 18, according to the Open Observatory of Network Interference, a global open sourcing network for tracking blocks. Several outlets, including Bloomberg and CNN, said speculation inside Ethiopia was that authorities cut internet access in those instances to prevent students cheating during examinations.

Alongside the blackouts, in the past two months authorities also arrested several journalists and, on July 8, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Defense said in a press conference that it planned to file charges against “individuals and media creating distrust between the public and the army,” the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting reported.

Read more »


Related:
Abiy should stick to his liberal instincts

Meet Daniel Bekele: The New Chief at Ethiopian Human Rights Commission

Ethiopia Coup Attempt Heightens Risk of Violent Balkan-style Split

Internet Being Restored in Ethiopia

The Biggest Displacement Crisis That Almost No One Is Talking About

Ethiopian Diplomat: ‘Power in Ethiopia to Come Through Voting, Not Violence’

Q&A: The Current Ethiopia Situation

Killings and Claims of an Attempted Coup Rock Ethiopia

An Emotional Memorial for Slain Military Chief in Ethiopia

UPDATE: Plotter of Failed Ethiopia Coup Killed


The PM’s spokeswoman gives details of army chief’s assassination

Watch: Government says rebellion quashed

Ethiopia’s army chief, 3 other officials killed in renegade general’s coup attempt (The Washington Post)

Ethiopia says coup attempt thwarted, military chief killed (AP)

Ethiopia says coup attempt in Amhara region has failed (CNN)

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Ethiopia Lifts Power Rationing for Homes

Fana quoted Seleshi Bekele, the minister for water and electricity, saying the changes were prompted by an increase in water levels at the country's Gibe 3 dam. (Photo: Fana Broadcasting)

Reuters

Ethiopia Lifts Power Rationing After Water Levels Rise

Ethiopia on Monday lifted measures rationing electricity for homes and companies after a rise in water levels at hydroelectric dams, state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting said.

Fana quoted Seleshi Bekele, the minister for water and electricity, saying the changes were prompted by an increase in water levels at the country’s Gibe 3 dam.

Seleshi had said in May when announcing the rationing that the drop in water levels at Gibe 3 dam had led to a deficit of 476 megawatts, more than a third of the country’s electricity generation of 1,400 MW.

Load shedding temporarily reduces supply of power to an area of the grid when demand exceeds its supply.

Fana quoted Seleshi as saying power to the grid was also expected to increase when electricity from another dam, the Genale Dawa 3, is inaugurated next month. The dam has an installed capacity of 254 MW.

Under the rationing programme announced in May, domestic consumers faced blackouts for several hours each day, while cement and steel firms had to operate fewer shifts due to the cuts, Seleshi said at the time.


Related:
Ethiopia to Issue Two Telecom Licences

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Oklahoma State University Renews Bond with Haramaya University in Ethiopia

Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis meets with Haramaya University officials in Ethiopia during its commencement ceremony on Saturday. (Courtesy photo)

The Oklahoman

Across the globe, standing before a room of foreign graduates, Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis could see the fruits of a program his college helped plant.

Hargis delivered the commencement address Saturday to Haramaya University in Ethiopia, addressing the more than 4,000 graduates earning degrees in agriculture, animal science and plant science.

“OSU has a lot of history in Ethiopia,” Hargis said. “Very excited to be a part of continuing that.”

Hargis is the first Oklahoma State president to visit the Ethiopian school in more than 60 years, renewing a bond between the two institutions that started in the years after World War II.

Established in 1952, Alemaya College of Agriculture (now called Haramaya University), was part of the vision of President Harry S. Truman as part of the Point Four Program, designed to build relationships with countries in Africa, Asia, Latin American and the Middle East, while assisting them in agriculture and technological innovations.

Truman believed it was America’s duty to build up allies in the wake of World War II.

“What we envisage is a program of development based on the concepts of democratic fair-dealing,” Truman said about the Point 4 program. “All countries, including our own, will greatly benefit from a constructive program for the better use of the world’s human and natural resources.”

Truman tasked Henry G. Bennett, OSU’s president, to help bring modern farming and ranching techniques to Ethiopia.

With the help of the agricultural experts at Oklahoma State, Bennett established schools in Ethiopia to teach the basics of crop management and rotation.

Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie then returned the favor with a visit to Stillwater and Oklahoma State in 1954, marking the first time a foreign head of state had visited Oklahoma.

Clyde Kindell, who served as both an instructor and then as president of the college in Ethiopia, said his eight years in the country were life changing.

“If you establish friendship among the Ethiopians, they will never forget it,” Kindell said. “We have evidence to this day that there’s many Ethiopians in Ethiopia now that you mention Oklahoma State University and they remember it with fond memories.”

At an event last year, Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie of Ethiopia, the great-grandson of Emperor Selassie, visited as OSU honored Kindell and four other professors for their work in the African nation.

“OSU’s involvement in the Point Four program in Ethiopia remains an important milestone in the university’s emergence as a truly global institution,” said Randy Kluver, the dean of OSU’s School of Global Studies and Partnerships.

Hargis’ trip to the Horn of Africa is part of a renewed effort on behalf of Oklahoma State and Haramaya to re-establish a strong connection between the two institutions.

Officially, Oklahoma State’s aid for the college ended in the late ‘60s, but earlier this year both schools pledged to reforge the relationship.


Related:

Photos: Emperor Haile Selassie visiting Oklahoma in 1954:

At Oklahoma State University Dr. Clyde Kindell Honored for Service to Ethiopia

Reflection: The 60th Anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie’s Visit to OSU

Mel Tewahade Honored at Oklahoma State University

Point Four: A Film About Haramaya University

Letter From Harar: Dr. Clyde Kindell’s ‘Fond Memories of Ethiopia’ — Photos

Haile Selassie in America: Q & A with Professor Ted Vestal

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Ethiopia to Issue Two Telecom Licences

Finance Minister Eyob Tekalign Tolina told Reuters that Ethiopia will grant two telecoms licences to multinational mobile companies and a minority stake in Ethio Telecom. (Reuters)

Reuters

Ethiopia will award two telecoms licences to multinational mobile companies, a senior official told Reuters on Friday, in the first detailed formal announcement of the government’s plans for opening one of the world’s last major closed telecoms markets.

The government will also offer a minority stake in Ethio Telecom, the monopoly operator, and foreign firms will be invited to bid.

“We have announced the market structure as ‘two plus one’,” State Minister of Finance Eyob Tekalign Tolina told Reuters by telephone, referring to the two licences and stake in Ethio Telecom.


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Healing Ethiopian Anger – Jerusalem Post

Protesters stand opposite police during a protest for the death of 18-year old Solomon Tekah of Ethiopian descent, after he was shot by police, in Tel Aviv, Israel July 2, 2019. (photo: REUTERS)

The Jerusalem Post

EDITORIAL – JULY 5, 2019

Israeli leaders and society in general understand that there are problems that we must address, and also help heal the anger among victims in the Ethiopian-Israeli community.

Protests erupted across Israel this week by Israelis from the Ethiopian community. Demonstrators blocked intersections. Some of the protests descended into tragic clashes with police in which more than 60 protesters were arrested and 47 officers injured. There are fears the protests will continue. Now is the time to reach out and heal the wounds and embrace each other.

These are not the scenes anyone in Israel wants to see, either members of the Ethiopian-Israeli community who have suffered racism in the past, or police and others caught in the traffic jams that surrounded the protests. The protests were triggered by the shooting of 19-year old Solomon Tekah in a suburb of Haifa. He was killed after an altercation with an off-duty policeman, the circumstances of which are under investigation.

The wider context, and the reason that people poured into the streets in anger, is that four years after similar nation-wide anti-racism protests in April 2015, there is a feeling among many Ethiopian-Israelis that the systemic issues youth face are still not being addressed. In April 2015, an Israeli soldier named Damas Pakedeh was stopped by police while riding his bicycle. An altercation ensued. At the time, the highest levels of government, from the president to the prime minister, sought to reach out to Pakedeh and the community and assure them that the incident was not consistent with the values of the Israel Police, and that they wanted a society in which people are not accosted for the color of their skin…

Israeli leaders and society in general understand that there are problems of racism that we must address, and also help heal the anger among victims in the Ethiopian-Israeli community. President Reuven Rivlin said we must stop and think how to continue. “Let us sit together in peace.” Articles in the media said it is important that the government addresses anger over discrimination by police. An officer should think twice before pulling his or her weapon.

Read the full editorial at jpost.com »


Ethiopian-Israelis Protest for 3rd Day After Fatal Police Shooting


The man who was killed, Solomon Tekah, 18, arrived from Ethiopia with his family seven years ago. On Sunday night, he was with friends in the northern port city of Haifa, outside a youth center he attended. An altercation broke out, and a police officer, who was out with his wife and children, intervened. (Photo: Israeli security forces detained a protester at a demonstration in Tel Aviv on Wednesday/Getty Images)

The New York Times

JERUSALEM — Ethiopian-Israelis and their supporters took to the streets across the country on Wednesday for a third day of protests in an outpouring of rage after an off-duty police officer fatally shot a black youth, and the Israeli police turned out in force to try to keep the main roads open.

The mostly young demonstrators have blocked major roads and junctions, paralyzing traffic during the evening rush hour, with disturbances extending into the night, protesting what community activists describe as deeply ingrained racism and discrimination in Israeli society.

Scores have been injured — among them many police officers, according to the emergency services — and dozens of protesters have been detained, most of them briefly. Israeli leaders called for calm; fewer protesters turned out on Wednesday.

“We must stop, I repeat, stop and think together how we go on from here,” President Reuven Rivlin said on Wednesday. “None of us have blood that is thicker than anyone else’s, and the lives of our brothers and sisters will never be forfeit.”…

On Tuesday night, rioters threw stones and firebombs at the police and overturned and set fire to cars in chaotic scenes rarely witnessed in the center of Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities.

After initially holding back, the police fired stun grenades, tear gas and hard sponge bullets and sent in officers on horseback, prompting demonstrators to accuse them of the kind of police brutality that they had turned out to protest in the first place.

The man who was killed, Solomon Tekah, 18, arrived from Ethiopia with his family seven years ago. On Sunday night, he was with friends in the northern port city of Haifa, outside a youth center he attended. An altercation broke out, and a police officer, who was out with his wife and children, intervened.

The officer said that the youths had thrown stones that struck him and that he believed that he was in a life-threatening situation. He drew his gun and said he fired toward the ground, according to Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopian-Israeli teen shot by cop laid to rest amid cries for justice (The Times of Israel)

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Meet Daniel Bekele: The New Chief at Ethiopian Human Rights Commission

Daniel Bekele is the new Commissioner of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. Previously he served as a senior Advisor at Amnesty and as the Africa Director at Human Rights Watch in New York. (Photo: by Patricia Williams)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: July 3rd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Daniel Bekele, formerly a Senior Advisor at Amnesty International and the Africa Director at Human Rights Watch in New York, has been appointed as the new head of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed called Daniel a “seasoned human rights advocate and lawyer” congratulating him following his appointment by parliament on Tuesday. In a Twitter post Abiy also noted that “independent, credible and strong democratic institutions play a vital role in ensuring multiparty democracy and respect for human rights.” Daniel replaces the outgoing Commissioner Dr. Addisu Gebregziabher.

Prior to his experience at Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch “Daniel practiced law in Ethiopia as a partner at Abebe Worke & Associates,” according to his bio shared by HRW. “He served as the Legal Department Director as well as Secretary of the Board for United Insurance Co., and he managed Action Aid Ethiopia’s policy research and advocacy departments.”

HRW adds: “Daniel has extensively consulted with non-governmental organizations including Oxfam, ARTICLE 19, Freedom House, and PACT, as well as with USAID and the World Bank. He has worked in varying capacities with numerous civil society organizations, and led the national-level campaign for the Global Call to Action against Poverty. Daniel’s focus includes promoting African civil society organizations, human rights, and good governance. In the 2005 parliamentary elections in Ethiopia, Daniel was actively involved in promoting human rights, and independent election monitoring, as well as peace initiatives in the aftermath of the post-election crisis. However, he was arrested by the authorities and spent more than two years in prison. He was internationally recognized as a prisoner of conscience, and in 2009 received the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism, and in 2010 was nominated for the Martin Ennals Human Rights Defenders Award and the Index Freedom of Expression Award. Daniel received a Bachelor’s in Law and a Master’s in Regional Development Studies from Addis Ababa University and a Master’s in Legal Studies from Oxford University, where he is completing a PhD in International Law.”


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FT on Liya Kebede’s Brand Lemlem

The supermodel implemented a sustainable approach while sponsoring her foundation for African women. (Photo: Founder Liya Kebede at Lemlem's Muya workshop in Addis Ababa/FT)

THE FINANCIAL TIMES

Liya Kebede’s brand Lemlem offers Ethiopian craftsmanship that sells

When supermodel Liya Kebede was growing up in Addis Ababa, she wore comfortable Ethiopian clothing — ample dresses made from strips of woven cotton sewn together. But traditional clothes were beginning to disappear, replaced by the spread of western fast fashion and access to cheap second-hand garments.

Since 2007, her fashion label Lemlem has revived commercial interest in Ethiopian weaving, putting back on the map the artisanship that was at risk of falling into oblivion.

“I wanted to reinject an energy and fuel back into the artisans and into the artisanal industry,” Ms Kebede explains. “The idea is to inspire others to look at Africa as a source of high-end artisanal work, and not just be a place to which you outsource for cheap labour.”

Tailors all over the continent make clothes using traditional techniques, with patterns and styles that are often unique to their culture. But the arrival of faster production methods threatens this treasure trove of skills and traits, in Ethiopia and elsewhere.

“Few in the fashion industry thought it possible to ever use Africa’s traditional skills on a commercial scale,” she says. “We are showing local creators and local entrepreneurs [how] to invest in their own local skills and skill makers, and not just look to the outside.”

Although Lemlem, which means “blooming” in Amharic, shipped 35,000 items last year, 85 per cent of which were made in Ethiopia, Ms Kebede admits it is still “uncharted territory”.

Experienced suppliers do not exist in Ethiopia — each partnership must be built from scratch, workers need to be trained and exports are arduous.

Liya Kebede with Ethiopian artisans working on cotton garments © Gilles Bensimon

This results in long production times and expensive individual products — most of Lemlem’s dresses sell for between $250 and $450.

As the fashion world wrestles with questions of sustainability and wastage, Ms Kebede believes there are opportunities for African brands such as Lemlem, in creating a small number of “beautiful, unique” garments, for consumers who want fewer, better-made clothes.

“The whole world is thinking about excess in general, and in the fashion world there is so much of it,” she says.

Lemlem is now working with 300 artisans, up from 50 when it started, but it will not push for very high production volumes.

Read more »


Related:
Liya Kebede Looks Regal on Porter’s Summer Escape 2019 Covers

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Etenesh Tesfu: From Ethiopian Immigrant to Entrepreneur in Aurora, Colorado

Etenesh Tesfu at her 7-Eleven store in Aurora, Colorado. she and her husband Zek Tesfu, opened their second 7-Eleven franchise this week. (The Sentinel)

The Sentinel

AURORA | Etenesh Tesfu emigrated from Ethiopia in 2000 and got a job at an Aurora 7-Eleven. Now she owns one.

In fact, she and her husband Zek Tesfu, opened their second 7-Eleven franchise this week.

“It’s all about community,” said Zek. “You won’t believe how many people come and, like, try to meet us here.”

The Tesfu’s new store at 3800 Tower Road. in the Green Valley Ranch neighborhood, celebrated a grand opening with free small Slurpees, coffee and Big Gulps. There were discounted pizza slices and hot dogs and even games. Sponsors set up booths outside to greet customers, like Colorado Lottery, Monster Energy and KS1075. The Denver Broncos mascot Miles came to visit and take photos with families.

Etenesh worked her way up from cashier to assistant manager, to manager to 7-Eleven franchisee. The other location the couple owns is in Commerce City.

Jullian Garcia, 4-years-old, spent his summer morning and afternoon at the grand opening. His tongue turned blue from the blue raspberry Slurpee he sipped on. When he found out that there would be a new location, his father Joseph Garcia promised Jullian that he would take him to the event. According to Joseph, his son has always loved the place.

“So he was always saying ‘They’re gonna build my 7-Eleven,’” said Joseph. “He loves Slurpees, pizza, anything from 7-Eleven.”


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Samuelsson’s Audiobook ‘Our Harlem’

Our Harlem features interviews with folks like style icon Dapper Dan, veteran Harlem chef Charles Gabriel, and food historian Jessica Harris, along with a soundtrack as diverse as Red Rooster's clientele, and most importantly, Samuelsson's rhythmic, affable voice. (Getty Images)

Forbes

Spotlight: Forbes on Marcus Samuelsson’s Audiobook ‘Our Harlem’

Our Harlem opens on the sound of laughter.

You’re welcomed into the story, invited by the voices of the neighborhood. It seems intentional, significant, even, that Marcus Samuelsson’s jovial, hard-to-place voice is the third one to greet listeners on the recording. He wants you to know from the beginning that he’s telling this story, but it’s not a story about him.

Our Harlem is an Audible Original adaptation of Samuelsson’s Red Rooster Cookbook with a few vital differences. In the print version, he tells us about the history, culture, and food of the remarkable place he’s chosen to call home. In the audiobook, he takes you there.

Books are personal totems, little worlds unto themselves, but they cannot give you the mood and the music, the strong sense of place that’s possible on audio. By adapting it into an audiobook, Samuelsson has taken what was a brilliant cookbook with stories and transformed it into a vibrant story with recipes.

In letting the culinary instruction take a backseat, he focuses on Harlem itself. Our Harlem features interviews with folks like style icon Dapper Dan, veteran Harlem chef Charles Gabriel, and food historian Jessica Harris, along with a soundtrack as diverse as Red Rooster’s clientele, and most importantly, Samuelsson’s rhythmic, affable voice.

Read more »


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In Texas, Father of Girl From Ethiopia Killed by Fleeing Driver Speaks Out

8-year-old Sesinna Kahsay was hit by a fleeing driver and killed while walking with her three brothers and two sisters in their new neighborhood in Fort Bend County, Texas on June 20, 2019, ABC reports. (Photo: ABC13)

ABC13

The father of the girl who was killed in a hit-and-run crash gave a tearful interview just days after his 8-year-old daughter died.

Sesinna Kahsay was hit while walking with her three brothers and two sisters on Bissonnet and Hodges Bend on June 20.

“We all lost her love. We all lost her uniqueness, her character,” Berhane Kahsay Asgedom told ABC13′s Steve Campion.

They were new to the neighborhood and were excited about seeing their new school.

Berhane said they moved to the U.S. from Ethiopia three years ago. Before that, they spent 10 years in a refugee camp there.

Berhane said now only faith can pull him through the sudden death of his daughter.

“I know she’s going to go to heaven because of our faith in Jesus Christ,” Berhane

The woman accused in the hit-and-run, 39-year-old Angela Smith, was arrested and charged on Friday.

A woman accused in a hit-and-run crash that killed an 8-year-old girl in Fort Bend County will face upgraded charges.

She did not answer questions as deputies walked her to a patrol car. Sheriff Troy Nehls said during her interview that Smith had little emotion.

“She has not asked about the status of the person she struck. Very little sympathy and quite honestly, very little remorse,” Nehls said in a Friday afternoon news conference.

Twelve minutes after allegedly hitting Sessina, she rear-ended another vehicle. That driver took a picture that helped deputies identify Smith. They say her family led them to her and her car at Edgewood Park in southeast Houston.

ABC13 was there when they took her in. Nehls said she eventually told them why she left.

“The reason she left the scene, she didn’t stop is because she was scared,” Nehls said. “She had a suspended driver’s license, but she knew she hit somebody.”

Her car’s driver’s side windshield was shattered. The car’s hood was dented. Investigators say the child flew 20 feet on impact.

The victim was crossing Bissonnet at the crosswalk with her brother and sister. Deputies say Smith ran the stop sign and hit the girl.

“All of a sudden I heard my neighbor saying, ‘Oh my God! Oh my God!’” Bolanle Awoniyi said.

Awoniyi called 911. She says the little girl had a faint pulse when paramedics arrived.

The child was pronounced dead Saturday evening.

A GoFundMe account has been launched to help the Kahsay family pay for Sessina’s funeral.

Smith was originally charged with failure to stop and render aid, a 3rd degree felony with bond set at $40,000.

Her charges were updated Sunday to felony failure to stop and render aid in the second degree. Smith’s bond was increased to $100,000.

Her now-deleted social media accounts show her with children.

In 2008, Smith was convicted on marijuana possession in Harris County.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe account has been made for Sesinna’s funeral expenses. You can make a donation through here.


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Q&A: The Failed Power Grab in Ethiopia

Ethiopian diplomat Samia Zekaria tells Al Jazeera that the attempted power grab in Ethiopia this week "came completely unexpectedly given the ongoing political and democratic reforms" undertaken under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed since he came to power in April last year. (Photo: Reuters)

Al Jazeera

Q&A: ‘Power in Ethiopia to come through voting, not violence’

A failed coup bid last weekend in Ethiopia’s Amhara region was orchestrated by people seeking to forcefully seize power against the will of the population, the Ethiopian ambassador to Qatar has said, adding that the situation has now returned to normal.

In an interview with Al Jazeera this week, Samia Zekaria said the attempted power grab “came completely unexpectedly given the ongoing political and democratic reforms” undertaken by the government under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed since he came to power in April last year.

Ethiopia’s government accused General Asamnew Tsige of masterminding two separate attacks on June 22 in Bahir Dar and Addis Ababa that killed several people, including the president of the Amhara region and the national army’s chief of staff. The government referred to the killings in Amhara as an attempted coup. Asamnew was shot dead on Monday by security forces.

Al Jazeera spoke to Zekaria, who assumed the position of Ethiopia’s ambassador in Qatar in February, about the recent instability in Ethiopia, the state of human rights in the country and its mediating efforts in neighbouring Sudan. The interview below has been slightly edited for brevity and clarity.

Al Jazeera: What is the current mood in the country following last weekend’s events?

Samia Zekaria: The people of Ethiopia want peace. The coup attempt came completely unexpectedly given the ongoing political and democratic reforms undertaken by the government.

It is a national tragedy. People are condemning what has happened all across the country. Power in Ethiopia will come through the ballot box, not through violence.

Al Jazeera: Many have attributed the recent violence to ethnic tensions. Do you think Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has managed to help defuse ethnic tensions in Ethiopia?

Zekaria: Ethiopia is a country of diversity in terms of religion, language, ethnicity and culture but known for centuries to live together peacefully.

There are more than 80 ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Some have tried to use the differences such as religion and ethnicity to cause trouble and conflict. I believe these tensions will settle down as time goes by.

The recent coup attempt was orchestrated by those who want to acquire power forcefully against the will of the people and in an unconstitutional way. The situation has been normalised now.

Read more »


Related:
Q&A: The Current Ethiopia Situation

Killings and Claims of an Attempted Coup Rock Ethiopia

An Emotional Memorial for Slain Military Chief in Ethiopia

UPDATE: Plotter of Failed Ethiopia Coup Killed, 182 Others Arrested


The PM’s spokeswoman gives details of army chief’s assassination

Watch: Government says rebellion quashed

Ethiopia’s army chief, 3 other officials killed in renegade general’s coup attempt (The Washington Post)

Ethiopia says coup attempt thwarted, military chief killed (AP)

Ethiopia says coup attempt in Amhara region has failed (CNN)

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In Sacramento, California, Fire at Ethiopian Restaurant Queen Sheba Deemed Arson

The owner of the Ethiopian restaurant in Sacramento, California that was damaged by a suspicious fire earlier this week has confirmed in a Facebook update that investigators are now pursuing the fire as an arson. (Photo: sacramento cbslocal screenshot)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: June 26th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Earlier this week in Sacramento, California local media had reported a suspicious fire that had damaged the city’s long-standing Ethiopian Restaurant, Queen Sheba, in the wee hours of Monday morning.

The owner, Zion Taddese, had told The Sacramento Bee newspaper that she was not sure if it was a hate crime or what the motivations may have been, but she “received a call from the Sacramento Fire Department at 4:30 a.m. and first thought it was a kitchen fire. But she said security footage provided by a neighboring business on Broadway showed a person driving up and intentionally starting the fire.”

Zion confirmed in a follow up Facebook update shared yesterday that investigators are now pursuing the fire as an arson.

“It has been confirmed that the Fire Inspector is pursuing this as an arson fire based on all evidence that has been collected — The implications of which are uncertain at this time,” she said. “We do not know the reasons behind this attack, but knowing that the authorities are handling matters has been reassuring.” She added: “We are holding ourselves together for now and awaiting the outcome.”

As the NBC-affiliated media outlet KCRA-TV noted: “flames burned the front of the building, and smoke damaged the inside. Firefighters were able to put out the fire about a minute after arriving at the scene. Surveillance video from a pawn shop next door appears to show someone pulling up to the restaurant, intentionally setting the fire and then driving away. Fire officials said they have the surveillance video.”

Regarding when Queen Sheba may return back to business Zion said:”More details will follow shortly on our re-opening… as the institutions coordinate their red tape, the haze of after-fire bureaucracy is beginning to clarify some matters. Stand by for more information.”


Related:

Sacramento Bee: Queen Sheba Ethiopian Cuisine catches fire in possible arson

Fire Damages Ethiopian Restaurant

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More People To Be Employed In Ethiopia As Coca Cola Expands Market

The investment by Coca-Cola Company, an American multinational corporation, includes the building of a new factory in Sebeta that's expected to be the biggest plant for coca cola in Ethiopia. (Photo: Coca Cola New PET bottling plant, Addis Ababa/Dubber Consulting)

WeeTracker

For the past few years, Ethiopia has continuously attracted investments. Even despite the political ups and downs, the country’s foreign direct investment has been on an upward trajectory.

Ethiopia attracted USD 3.75 Bn worth of investments in the 2017/18 fiscal year. The country now aims to achieve USD 5.1 Bn in the current financial year.

Experts have attributed the positive growth to extensive infrastructural development and friendly government policies and strategies.

The resource-rich country has put strategic measures in place in an attempt to woo investors to pump money in their economy. A noteworthy thing they did is come up with an online investment guide.

The Sahle-Work Zewde-led country launched a web-based investment promotion tool in last year December that seeks to help investors discover opportunities in the country, business costs, key procedures and laws they may need to know before committing their money.

Hardly a year after they unveiled the investment promotion tool, the country has bagged a deal that will see USD 300 Mn pumped into their economy for the coming five years.

The investment is by Coca-Cola Company, an American multinational corporation. The company has made the announcement as they strategise on expanding.

The investment is part of a current project that the soft drink manufacturer is running where a new plant will be established at a cost USD 70 Mn. The new Coca-Cola Factory will be located in Sebeta and is expected to be the biggest plant for coca cola in Ethiopia.

Reportedly, the factory that will sit on a 14.3 hectares of land is set to be finalized early next year. It will have a manufacturing capacity of 70,000 cases per day.

The Sebeta plant will be Coca-Cola’s fourth factory in Ethiopia. The company has plans of setting up a fifth one in Hawassa, capital of the Southern Regional State.

Since its entrance in the Ethiopian market 60 years ago, the beverage manufacturer has created jobs for 2,200 locals and aims to further create 2700 jobs as it commissions the Sebeta plant.

“Coca-Cola has been present in Ethiopia for 60 years and we are proud to be associated with its growth.

“We plan to invest further and have also set some ambitious targets and goals around empowering women and youth, water conservation and access and management of plastic waste,” said Phillipine Mtikitiki General Manager for East & Central Africa.

Burno Pietracci, general manager of the East and Central African Franchise noted that the new investment also seeks to promote Ethiopia as a destination for other potential foreign investors.


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Slate on Ethiopia’s Displacement Crisis

Ethiopia’s current situation brings to mind Alexis de Tocqueville’s famous warning that the most dangerous moment for a government is when it starts to reform. (Photo: A group of internally displaced people waits for aid distribution near shelters at Qercha village on May 20 in southern Ethiopia/ by Yonas Kiros/Getty Images)

Slate Magazine

The Biggest Displacement Crisis That Almost No One Is Talking About

The world’s largest new population of displaced people results from a conflict that has received shockingly little international attention: More than 1.5 million people were displaced by violence in Ethiopia last year, nearly all of them internally. This increase doubled the total number of displaced people in the country.

The fact is surprising in part because Ethiopia is enjoying a period of unusually good publicity. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took over in April 2018, has earned international praise for an ambitious reform agenda that has included freeing thousands of political prisoners, reining in the country’s security services, lifting a state of emergency and restrictions on the media, and resolving a long-running border conflict with neighboring Eritrea. But Monday’s headlines, which saw the killing of a general accused of plotting a coup attempt, suggest the government’s position is fragile. Ethiopia’s current situation brings to mind Alexis de Tocqueville’s famous warning that the most dangerous moment for a bad government is when it starts to reform.

Now that the government is in a moment of transition, ethnic conflict is surfacing. Much of the worst of the crisis has occurred in the country’s southern region, where hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by fighting between the Oromo and Gedeo ethnic groups. Abiy is Oromo, and many of his reforms are meant to address the marginalization of several ethnic groups, including his own. But observers say the reforms have emboldened communal violence by Oromos. Tensions between the two groups are not new but have intensified in recent years due in part to competition over scarce farmland and resources. (Ethiopia has one of the fastest-growing populations in the world.) Lynchings, rapes, and beheadings have been reported.

Yohannes Gedamu, an Ethiopian political scientist at Georgia Gwinnett College, said in a phone interview that he doesn’t believe Abiy’s government has stoked the violence but said that the prime minister has failed to adequately address it: “Ethiopia is becoming more fragile in that, when you look at the federal government’s inability to curb the violence.”

Many experts see the current crisis as the consequence of the Ethiopian government’s decision in the mid-1990s to set up a system of ethnic federalism, giving groups a greater degree of political autonomy within nine ethnic-based regional states. The system was meant to quell conflict in a country with nearly 80 ethnic groups. The problem, as Gedamu put it, is that “you cannot give every ethnic group its own state, so you have to somehow make it work. The political parties have also become ethnic in nature. It led to the growth of so many nationalist movements. Every political and economic grievance is voiced by ethnic parties or movements.”

Read the full article at slate.com »


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Ethiopia Finally Has Its Internet Back

Ethio Telecom, Ethiopia’s sole provider, restored service Tuesday after intermittent outages left most of the country’s 16 million internet users unable to access the web or social media for the past week. (AP photo)

VOA

By Salem Solomon

WASHINGTON – This report originated in the Horn of Africa service. Alula Kebede contributed to the story.

After days without access, internet users in Ethiopia can once again get online.

Ethio Telecom, Ethiopia’s sole provider, restored service Tuesday after intermittent outages left most of the country’s 16 million internet users unable to access the web or social media for the past week.

The telecom giant, also the country’s main mobile phone provider, acknowledged the outage and apologized for inconveniencing their customers, waiving monthly fees and extending times to use prepaid plans.

The shutdown also affected access to Telegram, a cloud-based instant messaging app many Ethiopians use on their mobile phones.

NetBlocks, an independent civil society group that tracks internet shutdowns around the globe, first identified the outage in Ethiopia June 11 and recorded episodic starts and stops since then.

Neither the government nor Ethio Telecom has confirmed why the shutdown happened, but some have speculated that officials cut the internet to prevent high school students from cheating on a national exam.

In 2016 and 2017, the government shut off the internet to block the leak of stolen exam answers.

Tilaye Gete, Ethiopia’s minister of education, told VOA Amharic his ministry did not order the shutdown. “It is not the work of the Ministry of Education but the work of Ethio Telecom, and I want to confirm that the exams weren’t stolen,” he said.

Tilaye added that the federal government has taken into custody more than 100 people accused of distributing stolen exam answers. About 1.5 million 10th grade students took the exam at 2,800 testing centers, he said.

Similar shutdowns in Ethiopia have also occurred during protests and civil unrest, raising concerns about the government’s commitment to a free and open society, despite rhetoric vaunting the benefits of democratic participation.

“It worries me that the government response for every problem has become shutting down the internet without any due process,” Atnafu Berhane, an Ethiopian blogger and a co-founder of the Zone 9, a collective of outspoken political bloggers, told VOA in an email response.

“People have the right to access to information, and the government is taking away that right from the people,” he added.

Investors also worry that frequent shutdowns could ensnarl Ethiopia’s efforts to open and expand its economy — one of Africa’s fastest growing. Any businesses that rely on internet access will experience disruptions with a shutdown, especially with country-wide blackouts like the most recent outage.

Internet disruptions have a tangible financial impact, according to NetBlocks. In Ethiopia, a complete shutdown costs the country about $4.5 million a day, the group estimates.

Internet access in Ethiopia remains low, with just 15% of the population benefiting from regular, reliable access. On the whole, Africa is one of the least-connected places on Earth, with a continent-wide access rate of 37%. But some countries fare better. In Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country, 56% of people have reliable access. In Kenya, the most-connected country, the number stands at 83%.


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CFR on Ethiopia’s Transition & Challenges

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is a United States nonprofit think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. (Photo: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed responds to questions at the Parliament in Addis Ababa, on February 1, 2019/ Tiksa Negeri/Reuters)

The Council on Foreign Relations

U.S. Should Acknowledge Critical Challenges for Ethiopia’s Transition

Anyone fishing for a good news story out of Africa recently, and rightly, has celebrated Ethiopia, where dynamic young Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has dramatically opened political space, departing from decades of repressive, tightly controlled government. Abiy is a charismatic whirlwind of activity—making peace with neighboring Eritrea, working to open the Ethiopian economy to new opportunities for growth, and even mediating between protestors and securocrats in Sudan. Anyone who cares about stability and prosperity in Africa, and anyone who understands how important African partnership will be to tackle the foreign policy challenges of the future, is pulling for him to succeed. Just days ago, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg wove Ethiopia into a major foreign policy address, citing the country as an example of “what it looks like when hope triumphs over hostility.”

But Ethiopia faces real and urgent challenges, and it is critical that well-wishers not ignore them. Abiy has lifted the lid off of a pressure cooker—one his predecessors held in place with sometimes brutal force—and in some cases the result has not been euphoria, but rather messy, complex eruptions of communal violence. Ethiopia’s story is not a simple one, and the millions internally displaced over the past year, the worrying reports of forced returns, and the potential for 2020 elections to be a flashpoint should focus the minds of policy-makers around concrete ways to provide support to what is sure to be a long and complex transition.

Ethiopia is one of the world’s dozen most populous countries, characterized by tremendous ethnic and linguistic diversity. Over 60 percent of the population is under the age of twenty-five. Despite real gains over the past years, many Ethiopians still live in severe poverty, and official literacy rates hover at around half of the population. It is not an easy country to govern in any circumstance. Against that backdrop, and at a moment of profound change, in which the role of the state and indeed the unifying national idea is being rethought, the possibility of more instability is very real.

The Unites States and others ought to be more ambitious in finding new ways to support the resilience of governing institutions, mechanisms for reconciling longstanding grievances, and the capacity of a government inclined to respect the civil and political rights of citizens to also deliver services and opportunity. Countless talented and patriotic Ethiopians from around the country and across the diaspora have mobilized, sometimes upending their own lives, to lend support to their government’s liberalizing project. They know this will not be a year’s work—it is a generational project. A clear sense of U.S. strategic interests indicates that it is one that deserves more of our own attention and support.


Related:
In Ethiopia, Former U.S. Diplomats See Promise in Reform (U.S. Institute of Peace)
Free Media and New Challenges in Ethiopia
Reflection on PM Abiy’s One Year in Office

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PM Abiy’s Father Ahmed Ali Dies at 105

Ahmed Ali, father of Ethiopia's PM Abiy Ahmed, passed away on Monday, June 17th at the age of 105, according to the state affiliated Fana Broadcasting. (Photo: @fanatelevision/Twitter)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: June 18th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s father Ahmed Ali died Monday afternoon, state media reports. He was 105 years old.

According to Fana Broadcasting the PM’s father passed away while receiving treatment at a hospital in Jima.

Citing the Agaro town government communication affairs office in Jima, Fana reports that Mr. Ahmed will be buried on Tuesday.


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In Ethiopia, Former U.S. Diplomats See Promise in Reform (U.S. Institute of Peace)

This week the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, DC held a panel featuring former American diplomats to Ethiopia to "identify what lessons are relevant to engagement with Ethiopia today." The event was held on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at USIP. (Photo: From left: Moderator Aly Verjee, Senior Africa Program Advisor at USIP, Ambassador David Shinn, Ambassador Aurelia Brazeal, Ambassador Marc Baas and Ambassador Donald Booth. (U.S. Institute of Peace)

USIP

As the country’s new, young leader spurs dramatic change, serious challenges lie ahead, say former American ambassadors.

In Ethiopia, political prisoners are free and the security services revamped. Women now comprise half the cabinet, and serve as ceremonial head of state, chief justice, and chair of the electoral commission. Significant steps have been taken toward resolving a 20-year conflict with neighboring Eritrea and reforms to unleash the economy—already one of Africa’s fastest growing—are ostensibly on the way. Elections are slated for next year. Under Abiy Ahmed, the nation’s popular new prime minister, Ethiopia is changing in ways long desired by American policymakers, agreed four former U.S. ambassadors to the country. Yet the most the U.S. is likely to do is offer encouragement and a bit of support, they said.

In the past 15 months, Abiy has introduced a “blitzkrieg of reforms,” said Johnnie Carson, the U.S. Institute of Peace senior advisor on Africa, in remarks opening the ambassadors’ discussion at the Institute. After 25 years of rule by the coalition of parties known as the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the 42-year old reformist politician has lifted the state of emergency under which it governed and promised to break up and privatize the inefficient state-owned holding companies that strangled Ethiopia’s economy, Carson said.

Despite the positive trends, the ambassadors, whose experience in Ethiopia spanned more than 20 years, concurred with Carson that history in the ethnically divided country has not been erased. The concerns for the future include the possibility that Abiy’s reforms are exacerbating communal tensions, whether the pace of transition is faster than the public can absorb and whether the country is capable of conducting free, fair and peaceful elections in 2020, he said.

Many of the themes implicated in the current round of reforms confronted Ethiopia during the ex-ambassadors’ service in the country, said Aly Verjee, the discussion’s moderator—democratization, elections, economic reforms, political restructuring, federalism, and relations with Eritrea.

“This is not to say Ethiopia faces an exact replica of the past,” said Verjee, a USIP visiting expert in the politics of East Africa. “But it is instructive to see how they, and the United States, dealt with these issues.”

Ethiopian Experience

To illustrate the complexity of Ethiopia, Verjee asked the ex-diplomats what they wish they had known before taking their posts in Addis Ababa and what they learned on the ground.

For Marc Bass, who arrived in 1991, just weeks after the communist regime of dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam was overthrown by the EPRDF, it was the depth of ethnic identity in regions that are “more like nation states.” The intensity of the divisions created a “zero sum politics where if you get something, I lose something.” Aurelia Brazeal, the ambassador from 2002-2005, said getting to know the Ethiopian diaspora would have helped with her mission, given the ex-patriates’ role in the country. As for surprises, David Shinn, who became ambassador in 1996, said he found “compromise came very hard to highlanders on both sides of the [Ethiopia-Eritrea] border. You just have to accept that.”

While Washington shows little interest in Africa at the moment, there are a few things the U.S. might do, realistically, over the next 12 to 18 months to aid the country’s democratic transition, Shinn said. It would start with moral and financial support for institutions that promote democracy including a free press, the electoral commission (which other donor countries are eager to assist) and civil society. The U.S. might also offer technical advice on moving quickly to replace the 2007 census with a new one to apportion representation, Shinn said.

“These are relatively small contributions to the problem,” he said. “In the final analysis the fix has to be Ethiopian.”

Election Prospects

While Shinn said he is far from convinced the country will be ready for elections on any level next year, neither can they be indefinitely put off. Hopeful signs include that Abiy is not using a weakening EPRDF to manipulate the electorate, said Donald Booth, who served from 2010-2013. Brazeal noted that the population is more literate than it was in 2005—the only previous competitive, if disputed, election in Ethiopia’s 2,000-year history—and much better informed through social media. Remote regions once virtually cut off from outside communications are now connected, Bass said. In addition, Abiy, who still rules by fiat, has promoted press freedom, a shift that the former diplomats agreed should help foster a more open electoral process.

The vigorous involvement of U.S., NGO and other national and international observers and mediators helped dampen violence and limit breakdown in the system in 2005, said Brazeal, the ambassador at the time. It did not restrain subsequent arrests, detentions and exiles, however. The EPDRF had been jolted by its failures in the election and was determined not to be surprised again, she said. “I don’t know if they’ve evolved,” she said. “I hope so.”

A Booming Economy

On the economic front, Ethiopia has indisputably evolved. Its broad-based growth is the fastest in the region, averaging 10.3 percent a year from 2006-2017 compared to a regional average of 5.4 percent, according to the World Bank. Still, the country’s approximately 105 million people—the second biggest population in Africa after Nigeria—remain among the continent’s poorest, with a per capita income of $783.

Lifting the country economically became the single-minded focus of Meles Zenawi and the EPDRF after they won elections in 2010 and felt securely in control, said Booth, the U.S. ambassador from 2010 to 2013. Their argument, Booth said, was that they needed one-party control to promote growth and create the middle class critical to developing a liberal democracy. They took the opportunity to mobilize the country to do something unthinkable in the past—build a dam on the Blue Nile with only Ethiopia’s own resources.

Structural Problems

Despite the growth, the economy still faces structural problems tied to the political system, Booth said. There are too many state-owned enterprises, too much involvement by the military through entities such as the Defense Forces-owned Metals and Engineering Corporation—which the government is now trying to break up—and massive projects by the sugar corporation that are huge money losers. Yet privatization faces a huge obstacle: No foreigner will invest in Ethiopian enterprises for domestic sales if they have no foreign exchange to repatriate profits. The ban on operation by foreign banks is a big disincentive for Western and Chinese companies, he said.

Further, the lack of industrial infrastructure creates the kind of difficulties Booth said a Turkish textile manufacturer had described to him: He had to bring in tradesmen to build the plant, import all his machinery, build a cardboard box plant for shipping and create his own bus system to get production workers to their jobs.

Perhaps the U.S. could provide some ideas on how to free the economy from monopolies and oligopolies, foster competition and allow Ethiopian entrepreneurship to flourish, Booth said.

“Today we see Abiy making all these changes and most of them we really like.” he said. “But we have to be a little cautious about how much advice they’ll take from outsiders. They are going to do it their own way.”

The former ambassadors touched on other topics critical to Ethiopia’s future:

On Rising Ethnic Tensions

Abiy’s steps to expand press freedom, free political prisoners, and give civil society and NGOs more latitude are positive, Shinn said, but it can also “take the lid off of the pot,” allowing tensions previously repressed by the security forces and government to boil over. At the local level particularly, ethnic relationships are getting out of control, creating conflict without regard to what the central government is doing or can do about it, he said. “Local and regional nationalism is rearing its head” in parts of the country, Booth added. Even some regional governments in the country’s federated system lack control over all of their territory, he said.

On the Peace Agreement with Eritrea

Abiy’s quick move to end hostile relations with Eritrea by ceding disputed territory is widely viewed as his most important foreign policy initiative. Its significance for the future is unclear however, Bass said. Eritrea’s leader Isaias Afwerki, who Bass dealt with frequently, is erratic and hard to predict.

From Isaias’s point of view, Abiy has sent “the hated Tigrayans off into exile,” Booth said, referring to the ethnic group that had dominated Ethiopia’s government, making him more open to rapprochement. But the border is closed again, he said, after tens of thousands of Eritreans crossed into Ethiopia, threatening to “empty the gulag” of one of the world’s most repressive regimes. While Isaias has improved his international standing, “maybe Abiy got played,” Booth speculated. Landlocked Ethiopia ideally wants access to Eritrean ports, but who will invest in roads, railroads and port development in a country where the leader might shut it all down over a perceived slight, he asked. As welcome as the peace deal is, it may not be the end of tensions between the two countries.

On Ethiopian Demographics

“Demographics is the future that has already happened,” Brazeal said. With 43 percent of its population less than 15 years old, an urbanizing Ethiopia faces the urgent need to create millions of jobs annually, she said. Brazeal said she has been working on starting an American university in Africa, situated in Addis Ababa. It is critical to educate people for jobs in a changing economy as opportunities for emigration shrink, curtailing a long running trend in Ethiopia.


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Q&A: Former Zone 9 Blogger Abel Wabella

Abel Wabella, founding members of Zone 9, is Managing Editor of Addis Zeybe. (Image: @Abelpoly Twitter)

FairPlanet

ABEL WABELA: PAYING THE PRICE FOR SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER IN ETHIOPIA

He has been described by his peers as strong willed and a true patriot, but for Ethiopia’s Abel Wabela the journey and clamour for respect of rule of law has seen him pay the ultimate price.

He is one of the founding members of Zone 9, a group formed to advocate for social justice, good governance and protection of human rights. Abel and his colleagues were arrested and charged with terrorism and were tortured which led to Abel becoming partially deaf.

In an exclusive interview with FairPlanet, Abel recalls the harrowing experience at one of the country’s most notorious torture chambers, the resolve to fight on and the future of Zone 9.

FairPlanet: How did the journey to being one of the most vocal groups in Ethiopia on social and civic issues begin and what have been the key highlight of that journey?

Abel: After the general elections of 2005, the Ethiopian government launched a sustained crackdown on opposition, civil society groups and journalists with repressive laws that sought to cripple freedom of press and curtail opposition voices.

As young people we were opposed to this move and because government had blocked media from passing information to masses on its atrocities, we went online to share this information. Many young people were doing it. I had my platform which was very critical of the regime. I started following what others were writing and contacted some of the other bloggers. We formed an online community that strengthened our resolve and eventually started meeting in person.

We were nine of us, six bloggers and three journalists. We started attending political functions and visiting political prisoners. As we continued to find unity of purpose in what we were doing, we decided to form an association that would bolster our passion and that is how Zone 9 was born. We were from different professional backgrounds, I was working as a tool engineer at Ethiopian Airlines, my other colleagues were university lecturers, journalism and others in banking. We did blogging as a part-time activity.

Our political and activism work continued to inspire freedom of expression with even a political party for demonstrators formed to agitate for government’s respect of its people. They even used our hashtag and the story was picked by international media including Al Jazeera.

That is where our problems as Zone 9 started. The government started surveillance on every aspect of our lives from tapping our phones to trailing our family members. As the security situation worsened, people pleaded with us to seek political asylum abroad but we wondered what that would mean for all that we had worked for in the political space. We decided to stay on and wait for what would happen to us.

And the worst happened.

Yes, in April 2014, the government launched a massive crackdown where over 100 security men were deployed to hunt and arrest all political dissidents and that is how we were captured and put into one of the most notorious torture chambers called Maekelawi and charged with terrorism.

What formed the name Zone 9?

In the height of political persecutions in Ethiopia, journalists and other political prisoners were being incarcerated in an infamous state prison called Kaliti Maximum Security Prison which is divided into eight zones. We felt that the country had turned into another Zone where its citizens were held captive by the state. They needed liberation and that is how we ended up calling ourselves Zone9ers with our mantra being, ‘We blog because we care.’ We wanted to be the voice of the million voiceless Ethiopian citizens and we campaigning for rule of law and constitutionalism.

You and the rest of the Zone 9 members were convicted of various charges including terrorism. Tell us about the experience in prison and whether it shook or strengthened your resolve?

It was one of the most harrowing experiences of our lives. We underwent the most inhumane treatment anyone could imagine. They had some prepared confessions that they wanted us to sign admitting to terrorism and disturbing law and order. I blatantly refused to sign and that is when all hell broke loose. I was beaten with thick sticks and computer cables. The prison guards forced me to lay down and stamped on my entire body including my face with their boots. They continued beating me and hitting me and in the process seriously injured my left ear. To date I can no longer hear with my left ear. We were then charged in court and I remember how skewed the court proceedings were. I asked the judge why he wasn’t letting the accused defend themselves and I was given three months jailtime for contempt of court.

We were in prison for one and a half years before the judge dropped all charges saying the prosecution didn’t have enough evidence to charge us with the said crimes. But the government didn’t want to let us free so the prosecutor appealed the judge’s ruling in the Supreme court and after one a half years of grueling court cases the Supreme court also threw out the case for lack of evidence.

What has life after release from incarceration been for the members? Are you still involved in blogging?

I went to my former employer Ethiopian Airlines who said they couldn’t employ me as I had been out of work for over six months. My work in blogging and political activism was widely known so the reason they never wanted me back is because they didn’t want to rub government the wrong way.

After taking a break for some time I managed to work for one of the leading publications in Ethiopia called Addis Fortune as new media editor a position that emboldened my zeal for freedom of expression. I then resigned to start my current media company called Addis Zeybe that seeks to highlight various political and social happenings in Ethiopia with a view to ensuring the country has an informed citizenry that understands their rights. The rest of the team has also been involved in running various civic and social ventures spanning civil society groups and political offices.

In November 2015 we were awarded the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Read more »


Related:

Ethiopia Seeks New Image After Years of Media Repression (Video)

Ethiopia: Are Anonymous Bloggers Journalists?

Spotlight: VOA’s Negussie Mengesha on New Media Freedoms in Ethiopia

Zone 9 Bloggers Honored with International Press Freedom Awards – In Pictures (TADIAS 2015)

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State Projects Leave Tens of Thousands of Lives in the Balance in Ethiopia – Study

US thinktank, the Oakland Institute, says that while the Ethiopian government has made considerable progress on human rights under prime minister Abiy Ahmed, it has yet to address the impact of state development plans on indigenous populations in the lower Omo valley. (The Guardian)

The Guardian

A giant dam and irrigated sugar plantations are “wreaking havoc” in southern Ethiopia and threaten to wipe out tens of thousands of indigenous peoples , a US-based thinktank has claimed.

The Oakland Institute says that while the Ethiopian government has made considerable progress on human rights under prime minister Abiy Ahmed, it has yet to address the impact of state development plans on indigenous populations in the lower Omo valley, where people face loss of livelihoods, starvation, and violent conflict .

Acute hunger is now widespread, the organisation said in a report, due to blockage of the Omo River by Gibe III, Africa’s tallest dam. Since late 2015, the dam has stopped the river’s annual flood, a natural event that the valley’s inhabitants have relied upon for centuries for farming. As a result, entire communities have been tipped into destitution.

Responding to the report, Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s minister of water, irrigation and electricity , said that while the government accepts there are problems, “the points raised in the paper are not properly documented or balanced”.

Seleshi said solutions had been put in place to mitigate the impact of the dam, including small-scale irrigation and outgrower schemes.

According to the report, however, such promises have not materialised. Moreover, said the study, communities claim they were tricked into leaving their ancestral land in order to make way for sugar plantations built by the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation as part of its mammoth Omo-Kuraz sugar development project (OKSDP). The project, a 100,000 hectare (247,000 acre) irrigated agricultural scheme, is fed by the waters of the Omo.

Read more »


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Free Media and New Challenges in Ethiopia

Ethiopia jumped 40 places in last year's press freedom index by Reporters Without Borders, which noted that over 250 previously banned websites and blogs are now running. And for the first time in 15 years no journalists are being held in connection with their work. (Reuters)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

June 12th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Below is a recent video from Reuters highlighting the growing free media environment in Ethiopia as well as the new challenges facing journalists and other professionals in the field including the public’s right to receive factual, timely and balanced news information.

As reuters reports: “Ethiopia was once ranked as one of the worst places in Africa to work as a journalist. It’s now trying to become a model for press freedom in the region.”

Addis Abeba resident Benega Teene spoke to Reuters and shared that “it’s good to have two sides of a story we should encourage that,” and noting “there are those who publish unrealistic stories and photographs.” Benega adds: “Since the transition we now have a platform to entertain all sides of ideas whether good or bad.”

Tolera Fikru, Managing Director of OMN tells Reuters: “Most of the people who work in lower ranks of government have limited understanding of media. We encounter lots of public outcry and when we try to take up these issues with them they either tend to avoid us or fail to respond properly.” He added: “This is one of the emerging challenges we’re facing.”


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Ethiopia: Are Anonymous Bloggers Journalists?

Spotlight: VOA’s Negussie Mengesha on New Media Freedoms in Ethiopia

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In Ethiopia, This Woman Gives Birth And Sits Exams 30 Minutes Later

Almaz Derese took three exams at the Karl Mettu hospital in western Ethiopia. (Photo: Illubabor Zone Communication Office)

BBC News

A woman in Ethiopia has taken her exams in a hospital bed just 30 minutes after giving birth.

Almaz Derese, 21, who is from Metu in western Ethiopia, had hoped to sit the tests before her baby was born, but the secondary school exams were postponed because of Ramadan.

She went into labour on Monday shortly before the first exam was due to start.

Ms Almaz said studying while pregnant was not a problem and she did not want to wait until next year to graduate.

She took her English, Amharic and maths secondary school exams in hospital on Monday and will sit her remaining tests at the exam centre over the next two days.


Armed police transport papers and guard exam centres in Ethiopia. (Illubabor Zone Communication Office)

Read more »


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Ethiopia Census Postponed Once More

(Photo by Tiksa Negeri/Reuters)

Reuters

Ethiopia delays census again despite looming election

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s parliament postponed a national census for a second time on Monday, citing security concerns but potentially undermining logistics for the first election under reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Ethiopia is due to hold a national vote some time next year, and the census – already postponed once from 2017 – is a crucial step towards demarcating constituencies.

But parliamentarians in both houses voted overwhelmingly to delay the census again by a year, due to an upsurge in ethnic conflicts that has forced 2.4 million Ethiopians out of their homes, according to United Nations figures.

“Our people are still displaced in many parts of the country,” lawmaker Tesfaye Daba told Reuters. “Having this situation, I don’t think it wise to conduct the census this year.”

William Davison, an analyst at the International Crisis Group, said the decision would disrupt election logistics.

“Preparations for those polls are also behind schedule … this is therefore perhaps another indication that elections will be pushed back,” he said.

The next vote will test Abiy’s reformist agenda that has included ending hostilities with Eritrea, opening the economy to foreign investment, and freeing political prisoners.

Parliament also postponed to Thursday debate on a proposed law to liberalise the telecoms sector.


Reporting by Dawit Endeshaw; Writing by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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What You May Have Missed: Ethiopian Scholars Discuss UN Peace Keeping

Left: Awol K. Allo is Lecturer in Law at Keele University in the UK. Right: Dr Mehari Taddele Maru is a Robert Schuman Fellow at the Migration Policy Centre in Italy. (Photos: LSE and MPC)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: June 7th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – In recognition of “International Day of UN Peacekeepers” last week Al Jazeera’s Inside Story TV program held a timely discussion highlighting how a budget crisis at the United Nations could undermine the missions carried out by the ‘Blue Helmets’ around the world including next door to Ethiopia in South Sudan and other neighboring countries.

Al Jazeera noted: “The UN Secretary-General says the peacekeeping budget is two billion dollars short because member states are not paying their share on time. The United States, the biggest contributor, owes more than one billion. Recent peacekeeping missions in Haiti and Africa have also been implicated in controversies. So, what can be done to improve the system of protecting the world’s most vulnerable?”

Among the guests invited to discuss this issue included Ethiopian scholars Awol K Allo, Lecturer in Law at Keele University in England, and Dr Mehari Taddele Maru, who is a Robert Schuman Fellow at the Migration Policy Centre in Italy. The program also included Mark Goldberg, the Editor of the UN and global affairs news website, UN Dispatch.

Watch: Who should pay for the world’s peacekeepers? | Inside Story


Related:

Ethiopian PM visits Sudan in bid to mediate crisis (AP)

Just in via Ethiopia Observer: An Ethiopian journalist who travelled to Canada for work disappeared

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The Obamas Sign Deal With Spotify to Produce and Host Exclusive Podcasts

Getty Images

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: June 6th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company has announced that it has signed a multi-year deal with Spotify to produce and host exclusive podcasts on their audio streaming platform.

The Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground, announced in a press release that under the agreement Michelle and Barack Obama will “develop, produce, and lend their voices to select podcasts, connecting them to listeners around the world on wide-ranging topics.”

“President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are two of the world’s most important voices and it is a privilege to be working with them to identify and share stories that will inspire our global audience, which looks to Spotify for unique, breakthrough content,” said Spotify Chief Content Officer, Dawn Ostroff. “Connecting people with original and thoughtful creators — especially those with the ability to highlight underrepresented and indispensable narratives — is at the core of our mission and we are thrilled that not only will the Obamas be producing content, but that they will be lending their voices to this effort.”

The Obamas signed a similar deal with Netflix last year to produce movies and TV shows.

“We’ve always believed in the value of entertaining, thought-provoking conversation,” President Obama said in a statement regarding the deal with Spotify. “It helps us build connections with each other and open ourselves up to new ideas. We’re excited about Higher Ground Audio because podcasts offer an extraordinary opportunity to foster productive dialogue, make people smile and make people think, and, hopefully, bring us all a little closer together.”

Michelle Obama added: “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to amplify voices that are too often ignored or silenced altogether, and through Spotify, we can share those stories with the world. Our hope is that through compelling, inspirational storytelling, Higher Ground Audio will not only produce engaging podcasts, but help people connect emotionally and open up their minds—and their hearts.”–


Related:

The Obamas Ink Deal With Spotify (Hollywood Reporter)

Photos: President Obama Becomes First Sitting U.S. President to Visit Ethiopia – July 2015


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Ethiopia’s US Tour Operator Controversy

A tour group visits Debre Berhan Selassie Church, Gonder, Ethiopia. Photograph: (Getty Images)

The Guardian

LGBT tour operator faces death threats over Ethiopia trip

An LGBT tour operator has received death threats and hate messages on social media after launching a holiday to Ethiopia. Chicago-based Toto Tours’ 16-day trip to Ethiopia is due to take place at the end of October and includes religious sites such as the Debre Berhan Selassie in Gondar and the ancient cave monasteries in the mountains of Lalibela.

But religious groups in the country are urging the Ethiopian government to ban the company from visiting religious sites, warning that gay travellers could face violence.

Ethiopia has strict anti-gay laws, with homosexual acts punishable by up to 15 years in prison. According to Article 629 of the Ethiopian Criminal Code, this applies to both nationals and foreigners.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Dereje Negash, vice chairman of Sileste Mihret United Association, an Ethiopian Orthodox Church organisation, said that gay travellers with Toto Tours, “will be damaged, they could even die”, if they visit Ethiopia. “Toto Tours are wrong to plan to conduct tours in our religious and historical places,” he said.

Tagay Tadele of the Inter-Religious Council of Ethiopia told news agency AFP, which has seven Islamic and Christian denominations as members, said: “[LGBT] tour programmes and dating programmes that try to use our historical sites and heritage should be immediately stopped by the Ethiopian government.”

Read more »


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New Generation Leads Ethiopia’s Ambitious Reform Drive (Financial Times)

New generation with international experience appointed to turn around tightly controlled, state-led economy. (Photo: © AFP)

THE FINANCIAL TIMES

Ethiopia looks to young technocrats to lead ambitious reform drive

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has broken with tradition in Ethiopia by appointing young technocrats with international experience to important economic jobs as he seeks to turn the country’s tightly controlled, state-led economy into a competitive free market powered by private capital. 

The officials, including Eyob Tolina at the finance ministry, Abebe Abebayehu at the investment commission and Mamo Mihretu in the prime minister’s office, are leading the most ambitious aspects of Mr Abiy’s promised reforms, investors said. 

Since taking office a year ago, the reformist leader has promised to overhaul the Ethiopian economy and open previously blocked sectors, such as telecommunications and energy, to foreign investment. 

To succeed, his youthful disciples need to push reforms through Ethiopia’s sprawling bureaucracy and navigate conservative political officials in the ruling coalition, many of whom remain suspicious of relinquishing too much control of the economy after 28 years of state-led growth. 

For Mr Eyob, a former private equity executive and now state minister at the ministry of finance, the ruling party has no choice but to evolve. 

“We had public-led economic growth and it did run its course, it was obvious,” Mr Eyob told the Financial Times in an interview in Addis Ababa. “If you didn’t make some pragmatic decisions and shift the course, it would have been a full-blown crisis so you needed to avert that.” 

Read more »


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Spotlight: Hailu Mergia at DC Jazz Festival

Hailu Mergia plays at The Hamilton on Sunday as part of the DC Jazz Festival. (The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

Hailu Mergia left behind his days as a superstar in Ethiopia. Then the world rediscovered his mind-blowing music.

For 20 years, Hailu Mergia spent his days in a cab shuttling passengers to and from Dulles International Airport. In between fares, he’d pull over, pull out a keyboard and make music.

For most of that time, no one else heard the sounds that were coming out of his instrument.

“I was performing for myself — that’s the best way to say it,” Mergia says.

He wasn’t just a cabbie who played piano as a hobby — Mergia was an accomplished Ethiopian jazz musician, formerly of the Walias Band, who moved to D.C. in the early 1980s after the group toured the region. When the band broke up, he stuck around, recording the hypnotic “Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument,” a 1985 album for which he acted as a one-man band, layering Rhodes piano, accordion and Moog synthesizer sounds. He gigged a little around the world and then, in 1991, stopped performing publicly and opened a restaurant.

“But I was practicing everywhere, all the time,” says Mergia, who is in his early 70s and lives in Fort Washington, Md.

In 2013, Brian Shimkovitz, who runs the blog-turned-record label Awesome Tapes From Africa, discovered Mergia’s album on cassette while in Ethiopia and rereleased it on his label the following year. Awesome Tapes went on to rerelease two more Mergia albums: “Wede Harer Guzo,” with the Dahlak Band, and “Tche Belew,” with the Walias Band. Both are heavy on keyboard and accordion work, blending funk and jazz in forward-thinking (at the time) ways that also recall Ethiopia’s past.

“When I started playing in the clubs, I was a singer and then I started playing accordion because accordion, back in the early ’60s in Ethiopia, was very popular — there was no organ,” Mergia says. “When the organ came in the mid-’60s, the accordion became a forgotten instrument — it was lost. So after so many years when I brought it back … along with the Moog, it was kind of like a different sound.”

Mergia is spending more time on the road — his trio plays The Hamilton on Sunday as part of the DC Jazz Festival — and he quit driving his cab in October.

Read more »


Related:
Listen to Hailu Mergia and The Walias Band playing – Tche Belew

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Let’s Talk About Sexual Abuse of Children

(Image: #MeTooEthiopia)

Aljazeera

Sexual abuse against children in Ethiopia: End of the taboo?

Twin sisters Dagim and Yeabsera were young children when their uncle first sexually assaulted them.

The abuse continued for years, as their father was absent – he left when they were born, and their mother worked as a domestic helper in a Middle Eastern country.

“Our uncle used to take turns to rape us, especially at middle of the night, when he was usually either drunk or high from taking drugs,” said Yeabsera.

They had been living with their uncle and maternal grandmother, who they say also physically abused them and failed to acknowledged her son’s devastating actions.

When the uncle was imprisoned for two years for shoplifting, his friends took turns abusing the children.

Dagim developed a heart problem, caused by stress. A school teacher referred her to a hospital for treatment where, finally, the twins’ trauma was revealed.

They are now 15 and, for the past two months, have been living in a refuge in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, run by the Association for Women’s Sanctuary and Development (Awsad), the only local NGO offering shelter and rehabilitation to women and girls.

“We used to think we had no mother and father,” said Yeabsera, “but the care given by Awsad staff has got us feeling we have a real family”.

In socially conservative Ethiopia, the sexual assault of children, who make up around half of the population, is largely a taboo subject.

Read more »


Related:
Spotlight: #MeTooEthiopia “Assault is a Crime, not a Culture”

Watch: Stories We Ignore (Amharic)

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Israel Marks Ethiopian Jews’ Memorial Day

President, PM address memorial ceremony on Mt. Herzl for Ethiopian Jews who perished while attempting to make it to Israel. (Photo: President meets Ethiopian leaders on Ethiopian Jewish Memorial Day/GPO)

Israel National News

President Reuven Rivlin today spoke at the official memorial ceremony at Mount Herzl in memory of the Ethiopian Jews who perished on their way to Israel. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Minister of Immigrant Absorption Yoav Galant and a representative of the bereaved families also spoke at the event.

The president began by saying, “with great symbolism, the State of Israel chose to mark the memorial day for the Jews of Ethiopia who perished on their way to Israel on Yom Yerushalayim, the day celebrate Jerusalem. Their journey was not easy and unfortunately, it is not yet over. Not your journey and not the State of Israel’s journey.”

“More and more Ethiopian Israelis are climbing the ranks in the army, advancing in science, medicine, the media, sports, yeshivas and ulpanot, academia and all walks of life, and Israeli society is committed to continuing to correct the failures created in the absorption process, to repair the rifts and to strengthen the faith of the members of the community in the institutions of the state. Thirty-five years since Operation Moses and the twenty-eight years since Operation Solomon, the time has come to stop talking about ‘absorption’ and treating Ethiopian immigrants as a separate group. Ethiopian Israelis are an integral part of the State of Israel, the Jewish people, Israeli society and the story,” he said.

Read the full article at israelnationalnews.com »


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Ethiopia Honors Dr. Catherine Hamlin

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Dr. Catherine Hamlin at the 60th anniversary celebration of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital on May 29th, 2019. (Photo: Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation via Twitter)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: June 1st, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Dr. Catherine Hamlin, founder of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, has been honored with Ethiopia’s prestigious citizenship award.

PM Abiy Ahmed presented the award to Dr. Hamlin during the hospital’s 60th anniversary celebration on Wednesday, May 29th.

Since it was launched in 1974 the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, which was co-founded by Dr. Catherine and her late husband Dr. Reginald Hamlin, has treated over 60,000 women, the majority of whom have been cured and have returned to their homes to live healthy, normal lives.

Catherine and Reginald Hamlin, both gynecologists and natives of Australia and New Zealand respectively, moved to Ethiopia in 1959 to start a midwifery school at the Princess Tsehay Hospital in Addis Ababa before opening the dedicated hospital for fistula patients fifteen years later.

According to the World Health Organization, up to 100,000 women are affected worldwide by obstetric fistula — an injury during the birthing process that women with obstructive labor suffer from when they have inadequate access to medical support.

“Prime Minister Abiy commended Dr Catherine Hamlin for her tremendous work of restoring the dignity of Ethiopian women affected by obstetric fistula,” the announcement said. “He expressed his heartfelt appreciation for the care-taking role she took of the most marginalized in their time of grave need.” The PM also “bestowed an award upon Dr Catherine Hamlin on behalf of the Government of Ethiopia for her tireless contribution and together with First Lady Zinash Tayachew planted seedlings in the compound of the hospital.”

Below are photos from the event:


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250 Ethiopians Held in Yemen Return Home

File: Ethiopian migrants depart Aden Airport as part of IOM's Voluntary Humanitarian Return initiative, May 22, 2019. (Photo: IOM)

VOA NEWS

250 Ethiopian Migrants Detained in Yemen Fly Home

GENEVA — The International Organization for Migration reports two flights carrying an estimated 250 Ethiopian migrants are expected to depart Yemen Saturday for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as part of a larger ongoing repatriation operation.

The UN migration agency says it hopes to repatriate another 1,968 Ethiopian migrants who are being detained under horrific conditions in a sports stadium in the Yemeni port city of Aden.

But the operation, which was to have begun last Saturday got off to a late start. And this says IOM spokeswoman, Angela Wells, might pose a problem.

“The operation was only cleared for eight days. So, because it was delayed, we are now waiting to see if we can continue it past that date, ” she said. “We will do our best to work with the authorities to find sustainable solutions and start another round of VHR (Voluntary Humanitarian Returns) and to help people where we can.”

With the approval of the Saudi-led coalition and Government of Yemen, 347 migrants have been flown home on three IOM chartered flights this past week. Wells says women and children were among the first to be repatriated as they are seen to be the most vulnerable.

At the end of April, Yemeni authorities rounded up more than 2,000 irregular migrants in Aden, most Ethiopians. They are among an estimated 150,000 migrants who have made the arduous journey to war-torn Yemen in hopes of finding work and a better life in neighboring Saudi Arabia.

Wells tells VOA the migrants are being held under appalling, life-threatening conditions in Aden’s Al Mansoura Football Stadium. She says delays in repatriating the migrants are likely to result in more suffering and more deaths.

“Already eight people have died from acute watery diarrhea and one migrant was shot by a guard. So, the result if we are not able to get everyone out that we can could be quite catastrophic. And, so that is why we are urging the authorities to work with us and help us get as many people home as possible,” Wells said.

In the meantime, IOM reports Yemeni authorities are continuing to round up more migrants and bring them to the sport stadium. It warns the growing number of people being detained under sub-standard conditions is worsening an already acute humanitarian situation.


Related:
Ethiopia- Eritrea Filmmaker Refugee Stuck in Libya Amid Raging Civil War

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Boeing CEO Apologizes to Victims of Ethiopia, Indonesia Crashes

(File Photo by David Silpa/UPI)

UPI

In his first remarks to news media about two deadly crashes involving his company’s planes, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg apologized to the victims’ families.

Muilenburg has been highly visible over the last few months following the crashes of two Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft that killed a combined 346 people. The Max 8 and Max 9 have been grounded worldwide since March while investigators identify the causes and Boeing finalizes a software fix for the airliners’ automated flight systems.

Muilenburg apologized to the victims’ families in a video message last month, but Wednesday was the first time he spoke to news media. The Boeing chief told CBS News the 737 Max will be safe when it returns to the skies, and said he’d put his own family on one of the planes “without hesitation.”

“I do personally apologize to the families,” Muilenburg said. “We feel terrible about these accidents. We apologize for what happened. We are sorry for the loss of lives in both accidents, and that will never change. That will always be with us. I can tell you it affects me directly as a leader of this company, it’s very difficult.”

“We know there was inaccurate sensor data that came into the airplane and there appeared to be a maintenance issue with that sensor,” Muilenburg said. “The implementation of that software, we did not do it correctly. Our engineers discovered that. We are fixing it now, and our communication on that was not what it should have been.”

The airplane manufacturer said this month it knew for more than a year a cockpit alert wasn’t working properly. If the angle-of-attack sensors had conflicting data, the alert was supposed to go off before the airplane automatically went into a steep dive to avoid a stall.

“We clearly fell short and the implementation of this angle-of-attack disagree alert was a mistake, right, we did not implement it properly,” Muilenburg said. “We’re confident in the fundamental safety of the airplane.”

“We know … the public’s confidence has been hurt by these accidents and that we have work to do to earn and re-earn the trust of the flying public, and we will do that,” Muilenburg told an investor conference earlier Wednesday. “We are taking all actions necessary to make sure that accidents like those two … never happen again.”


Related:
Ethiopian Airlines Slams Bloomberg’s Ex-Pilot Story as ‘Baseless & False Allegation’
Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

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

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

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

(Photo: Ethiopian Airlines Bombardier Aircraft/by Mulat Abera)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: May 31st, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Ethiopian Airlines has dismissed a recent Bloomberg news story titled Long Before Boeing 737 Max Crash, Ethiopian Air Pilot Warned of Dangers as “baseless and factually incorrect.”

The article refers to an ex-Ethiopian Airlines pilot by the name of Bernd Kai von Hoesslin who claims that he had communicated with his former superiors at the company about the need for more Boeing 737 Max training back in December 2018, prior to the March 10 crash of flight 302 that killed all 157 passengers and crew on board.

The claim by von Hoesslin, who is not Ethiopian, mirrors comments made recently by Boeing’s CEO as well as the acting head of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and some American politicians blaming the pilots for the Ethiopian crash despite the fact that investigators had preliminarily ruled that a defective software flight data sensor known as MCAS was to blame for the accident and that the pilots performed all the procedures recommended by Boeing but could not control the plane.

Boeing has admitted in a press release earlier this month that it was aware of 737 Max safety problems two years before the deadly Ethiopia and Indonesia crashes, but had deemed the now globally grounded airplane as safe after an internal examination.

“The pilot who has been referred to as a source of these false allegations is a disgruntled former employee of the airline who has left the airline after many administrative problems, failures to comply with the company procedures and repeated demonstration of clear disobedience during his short employment period,” Ethiopian Airlines said in a statement responding to Bloomberg. “As a result of the cumulative problems he created and his inability to perform his duties as per the airline procedures and policies his contract of employment was terminated.” The statement added: “Ethiopian Airlines strictly complies with all global safety standards and regulatory requirements.”

Meanwhile, in his first media appearance since the Ethiopia crash nearly three months ago Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg issued an apology to the victims’ families. “I do personally apologize to the families,” Muilenburg told CBS News in a broadcast aired this week on Wednesday, May 29th. “We feel terrible about these accidents. We apologize for what happened. We are sorry for the loss of lives in both accidents, and that will never change. That will always be with us. I can tell you it affects me directly as a leader of this company, it’s very difficult.” He added: “We know there was inaccurate sensor data that came into the airplane and there appeared to be a maintenance issue with that sensor. The implementation of that software, we did not do it correctly. Our engineers discovered that. We are fixing it now, and our communication on that was not what it should have been. We clearly fell short and the implementation of this angle-of-attack disagree alert was a mistake. We did not implement it properly.”

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam has emphasized that Ethiopian, which has been a customer of Boeing for more than seven decades, has no plans to fly the Boeing 737 Max again anytime soon, but has not yet made a decision to cancel its pending orders with the U.S. plane maker.


Related:
Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

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

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

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In Ethiopia PM Tackles Displacement Crisis

PM presses plan to return displaced people after violence. (File Photo: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks at a news conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 28, 2019/REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

Reuters

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister on Thursday pursued a plan to return displaced people to their homes following ethnic violence, meeting communities who recently went home, as relief workers voiced fears that the initiative could provoke fresh violence.

Abiy Ahmed, who took office in April 2018, has won international plaudits for announcing bold reform pledges, but the blossoming of political freedoms over the past year has been accompanied by a surge in ethnic violence.

Rivalries between ethnic groups — once repressed by a state with an iron fist — have exploded into the open, and the United Nations says 2.4 million Ethiopians are currently displaced due to these conflicts. More people were displaced last year in the Horn of Africa nation than in any other country, according to data published this month.

Earlier this month the government announced it was scaling up its plan to return displaced people to their homes as soon as possible, a message Abiy reinforced on Thursday when his office published photos of him speaking with people from the Gedeo and West Guji areas in southern Ethiopia who had recently returned to their homes.

“The military has been involved to the extent of supporting and securing the safe passage of the displaced back to their original locales where some still experienced a perception of fear,” a spokeswoman for the Prime Minister’s office wrote in an email to Reuters.

She added that the government is working to ensure that the returns are “voluntary”, in line with international standards.

Read more »


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Mueller: Probe Did Not Exonerate Trump

“If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Former FBI Director Robert Mueller said on Wednesday speaking publicly for the first time about his investigation. Mueller said he couldn't charge a sitting president because of a long-standing Justice Department rule and indicated that only Congress could "formally accuse the president of wrongdoing." (AP photo)

The Associated Press

Mueller: Special counsel probe did not exonerate Trump

WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller said Wednesday he was barred from charging President Donald Trump with a crime but pointedly emphasized that his Russia report did not exonerate the president. If he could have cleared Trump of obstruction of justice he “would have said so,” Mueller declared.

The special counsel’s remarks, his first in public since being tasked two years ago with investigating Russian interference to help Trump win the 2016 presidential election, stood as a strong rebuttal to Trump’s repeated claims that he was exonerated and that the inquiry was merely a “witch hunt.” They also marked a clear counter to criticism, including by Attorney General William Barr, that he should have reached a determination on whether the president illegally tried to obstruct the probe by taking actions such as firing his FBI director.

Mueller made clear he believed he was restrained from indicting a sitting president — such an action was “not an option” — because of a Justice Department legal opinion. He said it was Congress’ job to hold the president accountable for any wrongdoing.

“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller said. “We did not however make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”

Mueller’s statement largely echoed the central points of his 448-page report released last month with some redactions. But his remarks, just under 10 minutes long and delivered from a Justice Department podium, were nonetheless extraordinary given that he had never before discussed or characterized his findings and had stayed mute during two years of feverish public speculation.

Mueller, a former FBI director, said his work was complete and he was resigning to return to private life. For his rare appearance, he wore a black suit, crisp white shirt and blue tie, walking briskly onto the stage gripping a folder containing prepared remarks that he largely adhered to.


Related:
Impeachment 101: How could Congress remove President Trump from office? (LA Times)

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BBC: Ex-boss of Ethiopia’s Notorious Jail Ogaden Arrested

Ex-boss of Ethiopia's notorious Jail Ogaden arrested. Activists say the jail, in the Somali region of Ethiopia, was the site of particularly brutal torture. (Photo: Google Earth)

BBC

The former head of a notorious Ethiopian prison has been arrested and is expected to face trial.

Hassan Ismail Ibrahim, also known as Hassan Dhere, was arrested in neighbouring Somalia in a town where he had been hiding, following a tip-off.

Campaigners say inmates were routinely tortured at “Jail Ogaden”, which he ran in Ethiopia’s Somali region.

Many prisoners were accused of being linked to the separatist group the Ogaden National Liberation Front.

But that group signed a peace deal with the government in October, following the appointment of Abiy Ahmed as prime minister.

Read more »


Financial Times on Ethiopia’s Displacement Crisis


In total, 2.9m people were displaced by December 2018, more than those dislodged in Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan combined, according to estimates published this month. (Financial Times)

Financial Times

Ethiopian ethnic violence has forced almost 3m to flee homes

On a drenched field in southern Ethiopia, hundreds of members of the ethnic Gedeo community are huddled together with nothing to do but wait. It had rained all night and the ragged shelters they had strung together were sinking in the mud. 

“We can’t go back,” said Haptemu Mariam, 28, a father of six who fled his home in the Guji area of the neighbouring Oromia region last year. “The Guji people are dangerous,” he said, referring to a group with which his people had lived peacefully until a recent flare up of violence between the two groups. 

About 700,000 people have been displaced by the Gedeo-Guji dispute, according to the UN. Yet it is just one of many inter-ethnic conflicts raging in Ethiopia that have given the country an unenviable distinction: last year more people fled their homes there than in any other nation on earth.

In total, 2.9m people were displaced by December 2018, more than those dislodged in Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan combined, according to estimates published this month.

The upsurge in communal violence has coincided with the early days of Abiy Ahmed’s tenure as prime minister and is arguably the greatest threat to his lofty ambitions.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia Tops List of Countries with Displaced People – The Economist

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Spotlight: Two Timely U.S. Conferences on Ethiopia That You May Have Missed

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. (Photo via @fanatelevision/Twitter)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 24th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Last month two timely conferences were held in Washington, D.C. reflecting on current Ethiopian affairs and the marathon political and economic reforms being undertaken under the new administration of PM Abiy Ahmed, which should have received more media attention.

The first conference titled “Ethiopia’s Democratic opening One Year Later: Looking Back and Looking Ahead” was organized by The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a private nonprofit foundation that has played a valuable role during the long years of struggle for democracy in Ethiopia including awarding fellowships to former opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa — who is now the head of Ethiopia’s Election Board — as well as academic scholar and former prisoner of conscience Dr. Merera Gudina, among others.

Participants of the recent NED gathering included Seife Ayalew, Executive Director of the African Civic Leadership Program, Ltd; Yoseph Badwaza, Senior Program Officer for Ethiopia at Freedom House; Kassahun Follo, Executive Director of the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU); and Obang Metho, Founder and Executive Director of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia. The panel “examined the success, opportunities, and challenges of Ethiopia’s democratic transformation” in this past year.

Watch: Ethiopia’s Democratic Opening One Year Later: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

The second program titled “Building a Big Tent for Agricultural Transformation in Ethiopia” was held on April 24th and hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a bipartisan and nonprofit policy research organization exploring “current endeavors, and future challenges” of Ethiopia’s Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA).

According to CSIS, the keynote delivered by ATA CEO Khalid Bomba was followed by a panel discussion that included Getachew Diriba, Independent Consultant on Agricultural Development; Beth Dunford, Assistant to the Administrator at USAID; and Sara Boettiger, Senior Advisor at Center for Agricultural Transformation, McKinsey & Company, which compared and contrasted “Ethiopia’s experience in agricultural transformation to that of other countries” and explored “the role that donors like the United States government can play to support such efforts for country-led development.”

Listen to Audio: Building a Big Tent for Agricultural Transformation in Ethiopia


Related:
In Pictures: DC Event on Ethiopia’s Digital Economy

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Pilots Union to Boeing: ‘Inexcusable’ to Blame Pilots for 737 Max Crashes

A spokesman for Allied Pilots Association tells CNN that Ethiopian crash might have been prevented if Boeing took them seriously. (CNN)

CNN

Ethiopian Crash Could Have Been Prevented If Boeing Took Pilots Concerns Seriously, Union Says

Atlanta (CNN Business) — American Airline’s pilots’ union is calling Boeing’s response to two fatal plane crashes “inexcusable,” claiming the crashes might not have happened if the company had listened to pilots.

Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for Allied Pilots Association — a union of American Airlines pilots — told CNN Business that Boeing had “a poisoned, diseased philosophy” for a global company.

“Shame on you… we’re going to call you out on it,” Tajer said.

Boeing did not comment on the union’s position early Thursday morning.

In recent weeks, both Boeing’s CEO and the acting Federal Aviation Administration administrator have said that the actions of the pilots were in part to blame for the recent Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes. Both planes were Boeing 737 Max 8 planes.

Tajer pointed instead to Boeing’s software, about which he said American Airlines’ pilots had expressed concerns in a November 2017 meeting with the company. The meeting was a few weeks after the Lion Air crash, but months before the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

It would be fair to conclude, Tajer said, that if Boeing had taken the suggestions of the pilots, the Ethiopian Airlines crash might have been prevented.

On the Ethiopian flight, pilots struggled to right the plane after the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) software, which pushes the nose of the aircraft down if it senses a stall, erroneously activated and as the plane traveled at a high speed, according to a preliminary report.

The software pushed the Ethiopian Airlines plane into an aggressive downward angle, according to Tajer.
The pilots did what they were instructed to do, he said.

“They had wired that thing so that is was irrecoverable,” Tajer said. “It just blew us away.”
In the meeting, American Airlines pilots made suggestions including having a way to turn off MCAS and adding an angle of attack disagree alert on all planes, he said. Tajer said Boeing dismissed the concerns.

The changes will be a part of a new software fix, Tajer said, but were not implemented before the Ethiopian crash.

Read more »


Related:
Leaked Audio: Before Ethiopia Crash Pilots ‘Raised Boeing Safety Fears’

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

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

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

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

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EDTF Ethiopia Board Announced

Of the 11-member Board of Directors five are chosen from the Diaspora representing "different parts of the globe," the announcement stated. (Image: @PMEthiopia)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 20th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – The long-awaited selection of the Board of Directors for the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund was announced today.

“The EDTF Board of Directors is the apex governance body which will provide overall leadership and set the strategic direction, policy, oversight and accountability of the EDTF,” the PM’s office stated. “It will, among others, review and approve EDTF financed projects that are identified and vetted by the EDTF Secretariat.”

As of this week, eight months after it was officially launched last October, the fund has raised about 3 million dollars so far from approximately twenty thousand donors worldwide. The aim is to hopefully reach the estimated three million Ethiopians residing in the Diaspora and to generate about a billion dollars annually through the fund.

How Democratic was the Board Selection Process?

The initial announcement of the creation of the Board of Directors had stated that it “will comprise of eleven persons drawn from the Ethiopian Diaspora, Civil Society and the Ethiopian Government.” Notably, in comparison to the EDTF advisory council membership, the new Board of Directors includes more female members and appears to be more gender-balanced. However, the process of how the individuals were selected was not clear in the recent announcement.

During a press conference last December organized by EDTF at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Advisory Board members had emphasized that the selection process for the Board of Directors would be more transparent and promised to engage the public in making recommendations. Since then there has not been much public discussion dedicated to the subject. Nor is there any publicly available document showing the pool of potential candidates that were considered for the positions representing the larger Ethiopian Diaspora.

Of the 11-member Board of Directors five are chosen from the Diaspora representing “different parts of the globe recommended by the EDTF Advisory Council,” the announcement stated. Three members of Civil Society representing Women, Youth and the Ethiopian public; and three members of the Ethiopian Government.”

At the media briefing the idea of using voting mechanisms was also briefly mentioned, but quickly dismissed as being impractical — although it’s worth mentioning that many Diaspora communities in the United States do vote on a regular basis, including online, to select their representative leaders.

The announcement did not state for how long the new Board members will serve and when the next elections will be held.

While we congratulate EDTF on the formation of the new Board of Directors, we continue to encourage the fund to engage the Ethiopian Diaspora not only to discuss fundraising concerns, but to develop more transparency on how representation in governance is decided, and if possible to create a participatory electoral process in the future.

The full names of EDTF’s new Board of Directors are listed below:

Sirgut Yadeta, Editorial Lead, Lloyds Bank Group, London, U.K., representing Diaspora in Europe

Dr. Mehret Mandefro, Founder and President, Truth Aid and Executive Producer, Director of Social Impact, Kana Television, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, representing diaspora in North America

Chernet Debele, Founder and General Manager, Kia Travel & Business LLC, Maryland, USA, representing diaspora in North America

Yohannes Asefa, Director, Agriculture & Agribusiness, USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, Nairobi, Kenya, representing diaspora in Africa

Dr. Abdulwehab Ibrahim, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Engineering, Technology and Science, Abu Dhabi, UAE, representing diaspora in the Middle East

Sister Zebider Zewdie, Founder and Executive Director of Mary Joy Ethiopia, representing women

Mr. EyesusWork Zafu, Chairman of the Board of Directors of United Bank, representing the Ethiopian public

Selamawit Dawit, Director General, Ethiopian Diaspora Agency, representing the Ethiopian Government

Hirut Zemene, State Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bilen Mamo, Advisor, Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation.


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

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

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In Ethiopia, PM Abiy Hosts $173,000-a-seat Dinner to Beautify Capital

The event, 'Dine for Sheger,' was held at the Menelik palace in Addis Ababa on Sunday May 19, 2019. (@PMEthiopia/Twitter)

AFP

Scores of wealthy Ethiopians paid an eye-watering $173,000 (150,000 euros) to attend a dinner thrown by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, to raise funds to beautify the capital Addis Ababa, state media reported Monday.

The state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate published pictures of diners, some wearing tuxedos, seated at a long rose-covered banquet table.

“A seat at the event is valued at 5 million birr,” the report said.

The dinner was held to raise funds for a three-year project by Abiy to “lift the image” of the capital, a bustling, fast-changing city where modern buildings have shot up, construction is ever-present and greenery scarce.

“The rapid growth and expansion of the city over the past few years has not adequately utilised the natural resources and beautiful topography that the city is endowed with,” according to a video of the project posted on Abiy’s website.

The video said that currently green cover is only 0.3 square metres per capita in Addis Ababa, and the project hopes to raise this to seven square metres per capita — in line with average green coverage in Africa.

The project along an area of 56 square kilometres (21 square miles) envisions parks, bicycle paths and walkways along the rivers of the capital, the planting of trees and the development of urban farms.

The project is estimated to cost $1 billion, according to Fana.

It was not known how many people attended the dinner, or who they were.

Abiy’s website said that those present would have a plaque with their name on it placed along the project route, and would have a private photo-op with the prime minister. The pictures would be compiled into “an album of individuals who changed the face of Addis Ababa.”

Abiy has won praise for his reformist agenda since taking office in April last year.

Ethiopia is home to over 100 million people, the second most populous country on the continent after Nigeria, and its economy is the fastest growing in the region.

However, it is also one of the poorest, and the World Bank estimates average earnings of $783 per year.


Related:


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Review of the Play ‘EthiopianAmerica’

“EthiopianAmerica,” is a new play by Sam Kebede making its world premiere at Definition Theatre in Chicago. (Photo: Simon Gebremedhin and Freedom Martin in "EthiopianAmerica" by Definition Theatre Company/ by Joe Mazza)

Chicago Tribune

‘EthiopianAmerica’ really captures immigrant, teenage lives as they are lived.

The children of immigrants long have written plays and novels about what it’s like to be a first-generation American, trying to build a life in a new country under the watchful eyes of foreign-born parents.

In such works, mostly penned by the young and the restless (you know, Eugene O’Neill, Ayad Akhtar and so on), these parental figures are most usually severe, determined and troubled figures whose own lives involved great risk and who are determined that their offspring will recognize the importance of an education that might help them thrive and prosper in a new world these parents both admire and deeply distrust. For their part, the kids want to respect the traditions and ancestors of whence they came, but also make their own path in a country with different priorities. Their work is usually about trying to reconcile the pull of two forces that seem to be thrusting them in different directions.

“EthiopianAmerica,” a new work by Sam Kebede now in its world premiere by Definition Theatre, is one of those plays, the work of a first-generation American with Ethiopian-born parents. But it’s far more interesting and original than most. That’s partly because of its topic: When did you last see a play about Ethiopian Americans? I have known some members of that community in Chicago very well, and over a long period of time, and, for much of “EthiopianAmerica,” I was thinking it was time to get on the phone and make a recommendation, until Kebede took his play in a different and more critical turn toward his father’s generation of men. Even so, I think “EthiopianAmerica” would be widely respected.

That’s because Kebede writes about domestic life (in California, but if could be anywhere in America) with real veracity. Anyone who has teenage kids (I have two myself), or tough parents, can relate to the inter-generational struggle that fills this play. Kebede really gets the clash of the authority figure and the young person, striving to find a place in a changed world, and he does so with real understanding of what it is like to be the child of someone born in a different country. (It’s not easy.)

Read more »


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Brookings Institution Appoints Lemma Senbet to Africa Board

Professor Lemma Senbet, the William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, also serves on the advisory council of the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund. (Photo: @AERCAFRICA)

Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park

Professor Lemma Senbet at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business has been appointed to the Distinguished Advisory Board of the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC.

“You join a panel of select, high-level policymakers, academics and practitioners on African socio-economic development issues,” Africa Growth Initiative director Brahima S. Coulibaly writes in a March 7, 2019, letter to Senbet.

The advisory board provides guidance to the Africa Growth Initiative on key issues facing Africa.

Senbet, the William E. Mayer Chair Professor of Finance at Maryland Smith, also serves on the advisory council of the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund.

He finished a five-year term as executive director and CEO of the African Economic Research Consortium in summer 2018. The nonprofit organization is the largest and oldest economic research and training network in Africa. During his African tenure, Senbet visited and led missions to 25 countries.


Related:
Tadias Interview: Dr. Lemma Senbet on EDTF

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Ethiopia- Eritrea Filmmaker Refugee Stuck in Libya Amid Raging Civil War

At a refugee detention centre in Tripoli, Libya last month. (Photo: © UNHCR)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 15th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Abraha Taeme, who is in a refugee camp near Tripoli in Libya, has a bachelor’s degree in theater arts from a university in Ethiopia, and he has been sending out desperate calls for help through Facebook to whoever may listen to his plea. His heart-wrenching messages was recently forwarded to Tadias by an American filmmaker in California who happened to be researching human trafficking in the region and befriended Abraha through Facebook messenger.

Abraha says he was staying in Qasir bin Gashir detention center along with several hundred East African refugees, which he described as including “children, women and sick people among us” before he was transferred into another camp.

“Yesterday UNHCR transfer 140 refugees from Zahawia to the GDF and I am one of them,” he wrote last week. “Zahawia is dang near a death camp due to disease and IF they’re taken there ….they won’t get them because of fear of spreading infection.” He also mentioned that a local charity organization is helping to supply one meal a day as well as access to electricity. “These are the good news so far,” he adds. “About the war, still it is close to our center. Restless heavy weapons bursts close to our ears. We can’t get sleep. When we see the children and our sisters our hearts sunken in a deep grief. Literary they are shocked.”

According to AP: “The self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, launched an offensive on Tripoli last month. His force, based in eastern Libya, is battling rival militias loosely allied with the U.N.-supported government in the capital.”

Caught in the middle are foreign refugees like Abraha. Last month around 146 asylum-seekers arrived in Italy as part of a U.N.-backed humanitarian evacuation from Libya. The Associated Press notes that “the U.N. refugee agency says it’s the fifth such evacuation since 2017, though previous airlifts have taken migrants to Niger and elsewhere. Dozens of the asylum-seekers are minors, many of whom are unaccompanied. They hail from Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Ethiopia.”

But Abraha was not among them and his Facebook friend Flip Webster of Jurupa Valley, California hopes that Ethiopian or the Eritrean government will step in to help or international media agencies like Voice of America could try to locate him.

Webster said Abraha is originally from Eritrea. “I am a refuge from Ethiopia (Addis Abeba) I was a film maker, I have BA Degree in Theater Arts,” Abraha wrote to Webster. “I was working with a lot of governmental and non-governmental organizations during my stay in Ethiopia.” He added: “I had my own theater and film company. Unfortunately right now I am here. What are my hopes? I spent two solid years here in Libya in a warehouses owned by smugglers. They hit us, gave us small portion of meal two times a day, no medication, even sun light was luxury.”


If you are able to assist Abraha to leave Libya you can contact Flip Webster at flenoit@gmail.com.

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Ethiopia Tops List of Countries with Displaced People – The Economist

Ethiopia tops the list of countries with displaced people, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. (The Economist)

The Economist

After drought, famine and war, ethnic conflict now plagues Ethiopia

FOR MANY years Ethiopia struggled with drought and starvation, creating a population that moved frequently in search of food and water. Now it is violence that millions of Ethiopians are fleeing. Last year it topped the list of countries with displaced people, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), an NGO.

There are nearly 70m forcibly displaced people in the world. Refugees and asylum-seekers have rights and protections, but the roughly 40m who are “internally displaced” do not. Two-thirds are in African and Middle Eastern countries. And 2018 was another awful year, with an additional 10.8m newly-displaced people.

Read more »


Related:
‘Go and we die, stay and we starve’: the Ethiopians facing a deadly dilemma (The Guardian)

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New Freedom of Expression in Ethiopia

Whether it was ruled by an aging emperor, Soviet-backed army officers or former rebels, Ethiopia was rarely a place where you could criticize leaders so openly. Until last year, there were dozens of journalists and opposition politicians in jail or exile. (Photo: Ethiopian activist Eskinder Nega (2nd right) answered questions from BBC presenter Jonathan Dimbleby (center) at BBC's World Questions program held in Addis Ababa on Monday. The other panelists from left include Mustafa Omar, president of the Somali Region, Tsedale Lemma, editor of the Addis Standard and on the far right academic Merera Gudina. (Henock Birhanu/BBC)

The Washington Post

‘We don’t want another messiah’: Newly vocal Ethiopians debate an uncertain future

In a scene that would have been unimaginable just a year ago, some 200 Ethiopians in the capital debated their country’s politics, economics and expressed their fears over the rise in ethnic violence.

The BBC’s “World Questions” current events program came to Addis Ababa on Monday demonstrating how much freedom of expression has changed in Africa’s second-most populous nation.

After decades of authoritarian governments that tightly controlled the press, the new reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has transformed the country by taking the shackles off the media and promising wide-ranging reforms.

But the loosening of such restrictions in Ethiopia has been accompanied by an explosion of ethnic conflict in the countryside. Millions of people have been displaced as long-simmering disputes over land boil to the surface — and as Monday’s discussion showed, people are frightened. Just in the week before the show, there were reports of tit-for-tat massacres between the Amhara and Gumuz peoples in the northern part of the country that killed dozens.

“I used to be afraid of the government; now I’m afraid of the people,” said one audience member, citing a common concern over the rise in lawlessness. “Before it was dictatorship we were afraid of; now it’s about the [lack] of rule of law.”

The prime minister himself was not spared criticism, either, with some singling him out for the speed and what they called the recklessness of his reforms and a personal style of leadership that often bypasses the country’s institutions.

“I believe that Dr. Abiy is a problem because we want a systematic change that can sustain itself whether there is a messiah or not,” said one man. “We don’t want another messiah.”

Whether it was ruled by an aging emperor, Soviet-backed army officers or former rebels, Ethiopia was rarely a place where you could criticize leaders so openly. Until last year, there were dozens of journalists and opposition politicians in jail or exile.

Read more »


Related:
Spotlight: Voice of America’s Negussie Mengesha on New Media Freedoms in Ethiopia
After years of repression, Ethiopia’s media is free — and fanning the flames of ethnic tension
World Press Freedom Day events raise alarm on fake news (AP)
Ethiopian Selected as Official Carrier for 2019 World Press Freedom Day
Tadias Reflection on PM Abiy’s One Year in Office

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Meet the 2019 Obama Foundation Fellows

Here are 20 reasons to be hopeful this week: The Obama Foundation just announced its new class of Obama Fellows — comprising of educators, organizers, problem-solvers, and entrepreneurs from around the world. (Photo: The Obama Foundation)

Press Release

The Obama Foundation Fellowship supports outstanding civic innovators—leaders who are working with their communities to create transformational change and addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems. The program selects 20 community-minded rising stars from around the world for a two-year, non-residential program, designed to amplify the impact of their work and inspire a wave of civic innovation.

The second-ever class of Obama Foundation Fellows represents a diverse set of leaders who all model a powerful truth: that each of us has a role to play in making our communities better. These Fellows are building cultures of entrepreneurship in neighborhoods that need it most. They’re protecting our environment and ensuring we can live sustainably for generations to come. They’re showing the world that criminal justice can be restorative justice. And they’re proving that our most disadvantaged and disconnected communities can also be our most vital and innovative.

GET TO KNOW THE 2019 CLASS OF OBAMA FOUNDATION FELLOWS


Related:
I spent my 20s as an Obama speechwriter. Here’s what he taught me about growing up.

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DC Area U.S. Firm FAAZ Apologizes for ‘No Ethiopians’ Need Apply Job Posting

(Image courtesy Pixabay under Creative Commons license)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 3rd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — A Washington, DC area hiring firm, FAAZ Consulting, is apologizing to the Ethiopian community for its recent offensive job posting that appeared on LinkedIn declaring in all capital letters that “no Ethiopians and no Federal government employees” need apply for the position. The job placement that has since been taken down had shocked many Ethiopians and created a firestorm on social media.

Contacted by Tadias Magazine the company’s owner Fatima Ali was profusely apologetic and stating that the announcement was a blunder by a rookie employee. Ali also denied that the posting was made at the request of the firm’s client as indicated in the job description that was seeking qualified SharePoint developers.

“Only apply if you are a SharePoint developer with strong .NET experience,” the job posting had stated. “Please no Ethiopians and no Federal government employees as per client.”


FAAZ Consulting job post on Linkedin looking for SharePoint Developer in the DC area. (Image: Screen shot)

“This posting was a mistake by a new team member which didn’t go through proper internal review,” Ali told Tadias. “The information contained in the posting negates the values we stand by.” She added: “I would personally like to apologize to each one of those who have been inadvertently affected by this mistake. We would further investigate internally to understand how it happened and would take appropriate disciplinary action to ensure that such unfortunate mistakes never happen again.”

Ali said that FAAZ Consulting, which is based in Mclean, Virginia, is a minority-owned small business and is sensitive to these type of issues.

“FAAZ is a small minority women owned small business,” Ali said. “We have hired and placed people from all races, ethnic backgrounds, cultures, and regions.” She added: “Our recruitment only focuses on applicant’s skill set. As a minority woman and a person of color I understand the challenges faced by minority communities.”

Ali said they are working to remove the content from the internet. “The position was posted on one job board which essentially mass posted the job on different websites,” she said. “We have requested every website to take the content down and await for them to honor our request.”


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CPJ on Media in Ethiopia

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is an American independent non-profit based in New York City. It promotes press freedom and defends the rights of journalists. CPJ says "since Abiy's election, conditions for Ethiopia's journalists have improved, but some challenges remain." (Photo: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks during a press conference in Addis Ababa, in August 2018/AFP/Michael Tewelde)

CPJ

Under Abiy, Ethiopia’s media have more freedom but challenges remain

During a trip to Addis Ababa in January, it was impossible to miss the signs that Ethiopian media are enjoying unprecedented freedom. A flurry of new publications were on the streets. At apublic forum that CPJ attended, journalists spoke about positive reforms, but also openly criticized their lack of access to the government. At a press conference, journalists from state media and the Oromia Media Network, an outlet previously banned and accused of terrorism, sat side by side.

Mesud Gebeyehu, a lawyer who heads the Consortium of Ethiopian Rights Organizations, an alliance of human rights groups, told CPJ he had been on television “many times” in the past year to speak about human rights, an issue that was previously taboo for the media.

Ethiopia, which was one of the most-censored countries in the world and one of the worst jailers of journalists in sub-Saharan Africa, has gone through dramatic reforms under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took office last April. In 2018–for the first time in 14 years–CPJ recorded no journalists behind bars in its annual census. And the country ended its block of over 260 websites and ban on media outlets forced to work in exile.

“I was fighting for [press freedom], but I did not expect it to happen in such a short time,” said Abel Wabella, a journalist who was detained and charged with terrorism under the previous government.

In May, Ethiopia will host UNESCO’s annual World Press Freedom Day: a reflection, UNESCO said, of the country’s commitment to democratic and media reforms.

Though the Ethiopian press is much freer today than before Abiy took power, CPJ spoke to over a dozen journalists and rights defenders who said that challenges remain, including the risk of attack and arrest, especially in restive regions; attracting advertisers in a market where businesses are wary of being seen to support critical publications; accusations of sowing divisiveness; and a proposed law that could curtail their newly found freedoms.

CPJ also attempted to reach the government for comment on conditions for the press. The Prime Minister’s press secretary, Billene Seyoum, acknowledged receipt but did not respond to CPJ’s emailed questions sent on April 24.

Perhaps most fundamentally, journalists told CPJ they are anxious for the freedoms they are enjoying to be rooted in law, rather than guaranteed only by the good will of the Abiy government.

The reforms “are not legally nor institutionally guaranteed until now. They are so because the leaders on top are willing, but neither their willingness nor their hold on power is permanent,” Befekadu Hailu, a journalist and social activist who edits the Addis Maleda weekly, told CPJ.

A council established under the attorney general’s office is reviewing a raft of laws including those previously used to restrict the press, such as the anti-terror proclamation and the mass media law, according to media reports.

Most of the journalists with whom CPJ spoke with said they were happy with the reform process, which included public consultations. Befekadu said he believes those involved are “independent.” Jawar Mohammed, executive director of the Oromia Media Network, said that those involved could move faster and communicate more frequently and clearly with the public.

However, a proposed law on hate speech is splitting opinion.

The government last year said it would draft the law in response to concern abouttoxic rhetoric online that some say amounts to incitement to violence or has the potential to exacerbate divisions, largely along ethnic lines, according to reports. The government has previously responded to tension by cutting off access to the internet. CPJ documented two such shutdowns under Abiy’s government, during unrest in Addis Ababa in September and in the Somali region during a crisis in August.

Yared Hailemariam, the executive director of the Swiss-based Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia, told CPJ said that the media stand accused of “aggravating” tension. “It is a reflection of the political situation in the country, tension is high,” he said.

Most of those who spoke with CPJ said they felt there was a need for Ethiopian media to grow into “professionalism” and to act more “ethically” and “responsibly” within the newly opened space. But even so, some, like Befekadu, said they feared the hate speech law could have a “chilling effect on freedom of expression.”

“They want to give the government more power to regulate speech. Given the divisiveness in the country, it is understandable. But we need to be careful… we should not allow government to pass legislation which gives them reason to take down content they don’t like,” said Endalk Chala, assistant professor at Hamline University in Minnesota, who has studied Ethiopian media.

A copy of the draft law, viewed by CPJ, includes criminal penalties for hate speech and publishing “false news.” The privately owned Addis Fortune warned in an April 13 article that the draft law would not be a “golden bullet … to contain hate speech” and raised concerns that it harks back to laws Ethiopia previously used to suppress critical speech.

Eskinder Nega, who launched the weekly Ethiopis last year, months after he was freed from almost seven years in prison, said that ideas ought to be allowed to flourish, hate will be “filtered out”. Jawar said it was “dangerous” to invite government regulation of speech, suggesting instead a peer regulatory mechanism for the media.

Jawar and Eskinder are among the prominent media personalities whose work has been criticized for inflaming tensions, according to media reports.

Both strongly refuted these views. Jawar said that a strong political and advocacy position was being conflated with divisive speech. Eskinder said that while he has strong opinions, he has never advocated for violence. In a follow up email exchange on April 26, Eskinder told CPJ that the allegations of divisiveness were part of a “manufactured debate” and based on a misinterpretation of his work.

For the new papers that have mushroomed in Addis Ababa, financial concerns are urgent.

Abel can attest to that– he established the weekly Addis Zeybe in October, only for the paper to go out of print after four editions following financial pressures and distribution challenges.

Abel told CPJ that publications have a hard time attracting advertisers, whom he said can be shy of being associated with critical publications. This was a sentiment echoed by Jawar, who recently established a magazine, Gulale Post.

“Businesses are cautious. This is a popular government so they don’t want to be seen as being anti-government,” said Eskinder.

The government has also not been very open to the media, with Abiy hosting only a couple of press conferences with local journalists since he came to power, according to media reports and two of the journalists with whom CPJ spoke.

Journalists in Ethiopia also still face the risk of attack. CPJ has documented how mobs attacked a crew from the state-run Dire Dawa Mass Media Agency, in Meiso, in the Oromia region in July, in an incident that killed their driver, and how two journalists with the privately owned Mereja TV were briefly detained by police in Legetafo, in the same region, and assaulted by a mob upon their release in March . The regional government made initial promises to investigate, but Mereja TV chief executive Elias Kifle told CPJ in April that authorities had not investigated the crime.

Oromia government spokesperson Admasu Damtew did not answer CPJ’s phone calls or text messages on April 24 and April 27.

“They [have fulfilled] their obligation of respecting human rights, but the Abiy administration also has to protect people, to protect journalists, to protect human rights organizations from being attacked,” Yared, from the Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia, told CPJ.

The Economist reported last month that reform under Abiy “is not the first blossoming of free media,” pointing to how liberalization in the 1990s was followed by crackdowns in the 2000s. When CPJ asked Befekadu if he thought this current era of freedom would last he said, “I cannot say yes or no. But there is equal chance for the change to regress as it can progress. It needs collective effort of the media, civil society, and government to save it from falling into the vicious cycle.”


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Biden Releases New Video Starring Obama, Says Trump Should be Impeached (Update)

U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden has released a second campaign video in less than a week, this time featuring his close friend former president Barack Obama. Biden is also making national news after he told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday that Congress would have “no alternative” but to impeach President Trump if he blocks investigations of issues raised in the special counsel’s report on Russian election interference. (Photo by Pete Souza)

The Washington Post

Biden says Congress will have ‘no alternative’ but to impeach Trump if he blocks its investigations

Former vice president Joe Biden said in an interview broadcast Tuesday that Congress would have “no alternative” but to impeach President Trump if his administration seeks to block its investigations of issues raised in the special counsel’s report on Russian election interference.

Appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Biden said that the report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III left several unanswered questions related to whether Trump obstructed the nearly two-year probe, and he argued that Congress should follow up.

“What the Congress should do and they are doing is investigate that,” Biden said. “And if in fact they block the investigation, they have no alternative to go to the only other constitutional resort they have: impeachment.”

“My job in the meantime is to make sure he’s not back as president of the United States of America,” added Biden, who formally launched his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination last week.

Read more »

Watch: Biden Releases New Video Starring Obama:


Related:

Joe Biden Raises $6.3 Million on 1st Day of 2020 U.S. Presidential Campaign (UPDATE)

Joe Biden Officially Announces He is Running for U.S President in 2020

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In US the Growing Neo-Nazi Violence Takes Center Stage in 2020 Election

In the last couple of years the lack of a strong political and media leadership in the U.S. against the growing menace of neo-Nazi violence and the outdated ideology of white-nationalism & supremacy has severely damaged America's global brand as a multicultural and forward-looking country. But the conversation may now be changing thanks to Joe Biden's blockbuster campaign video released last week in which he tackled the issue straight ahead while speaking truth to power. Below is a new Washington Post article focusing on the timely topic. (Getty Images)

The Washington Post

As Trump stands by Charlottesville remarks, rise of white-nationalist violence becomes an issue in 2020 presidential race

First came Joe Biden’s campaign announcement video highlighting President Trump’s “very fine people on both sides” comment about the 2017 white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville that left a counterprotester dead.

Then Trump dug in, arguing that he was referring not to the self-professed neo-Nazi marchers, but to those who had opposed the removal of a statue of the “great” Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Less than 24 hours later came another act of violence described by authorities as a hate crime: Saturday’s shooting at a synagogue in Poway, Calif., in which a gunman killed one person and injured three others.

Those events have pushed the rising tide of white nationalism to the forefront of the 2020 presidential campaign, putting Trump on the defensive and prompting even some Republicans to acknowledge that the president is taking a political risk by continuing to stand by his Charlottesville comments.

“The president’s handling of Charlottesville was not one of the finer moments of his time in office,” Republican strategist Ryan Williams said. “He shouldn’t take Joe Biden’s bait and re-litigate this controversy.”..

Nonetheless, the rise of white-nationalist violence during Trump’s tenure is emerging as an issue as the president turns his attention toward his reelection campaign.

According to the most recent annual report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which has long tracked extremist activity, 39 of the 50 extremist-related murders tallied by the group in 2018 were committed by white supremacists, up from 2017, when white supremacists were responsible for 18 of 34 such crimes.

Read the full article at The Washington Post »


Related:

Joe Biden Officially Announces He is Running for U.S President in 2020

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Dr. Negasso Gidada, Former President of Ethiopia, Dies at 76

Dr. Negasso Gidada served as President of Ethiopia from 1995 until 2001. (Photo: @PMEthiopia/Twitter)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 27th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia is mourning the passing of Dr. Negasso Gidada, who served as President of Ethiopia from 1995 until 2001. Dr. Negasso passed away on Saturday at the age of 76.

According to local media reports the former president died in Germany where he was undergoing medical treatment.

“It is with deep regrets that we share the passing of former FDRE President, H.E. Dr. Negasso Gidada. PM Abiy Ahmed extends his condolences to the people of Ethiopia and his family,” Office of the Prime Minister shared on social media. “A national committee to oversee the funeral arrangements is being established & will share details.”

Fana Broadcasting noted that “similarly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the House of People’s Representatives, the House of Federation, the Ministry of Transport and regional states also expressed their deepest condolences.”


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Ethiopia to Extradite U.S. Murder Suspect

22-year-olds Henok Yohannes and Kedest Simeneh were killed in Fairfax County, Virginia in December 2016. The suspect Yohannes Nesibu who fled to Ethiopia soon after the incident is set to be extradited to face murder charges in the U.S. (Image: fox5dc.com)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 26th, 2019

The Story Behind Yohannes Nesibu’s Imminent Extradition From Ethiopia to U.S.

New York (TADIAS) — You may remember this shocking and disturbing story of a brutal double murder in Virginia two and half years ago involving Ethiopian victims Henok Yohannes and Kedest Simeneh, both 22, of Fairfax County. The suspect Yohannes Nesibu had escaped to Ethiopia and was seen roaming around Addis Abeba, freely club-hopping and sharing his adventures on social media.

As The Washington Post put it succinctly at the time: “After a young couple was killed, the alleged gunman fled to Ethiopia. He may never face trial.”

That’s about to change as Ethiopia prepares to extradite Yohannes Nesibu, who is currently under detention, to the U.S. According to the spokesperson for the office of Ethiopia’s Attorney General who spoke with the state affiliated Fana Broadcasting the decision to extradite Yohannes was made following “the request of the United States Department of Justice Criminal Division for his extradition.”


Henok Yohannes (left) and Kedest Simeneh. (fox5dc)

“Authorities are confident they know who carried out the brutal double slaying in Northern Virginia last December. A witness places an aspiring rapper at the scenes of the killings,” The Washington Post had noted in its October 2017 article. “A Fairfax grand jury indicted him for murder. Detectives know where he lives. Nessibu is out of reach because he boarded a flight to his native Ethi­o­pia, just before police closed in on him…Kedest’s family said detectives told them Nessibu paid about $3,000 in cash for a one-way plane ticket from Dulles International Airport to Addis Ababa, leaving the same day Kedest’s body was found.”

Fana added: “His extradition also took into account his nationality, the pledge made by the U.S. to treat him properly and the positive cooperation currently existed between the two countries in the justice sector.”


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Joe Biden Raises $6.3 Million on 1st Day of 2020 U.S. Presidential Campaign (UPDATE)

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden formally announced the launch of his 2020 Presidential campaign on Thursday declaring that he is on a rescue mission to save America's 'Soul.' Biden has said he would campaign as an “Obama-Biden Democrat." (Photo: Joe Biden Facebook)

CNN

Updated: Fri April 26, 2019

Joe Biden tops Democratic field with $6.3 million haul on first day of 2020 bid

Washington — Joe Biden’s campaign said it raised $6.3 million in the first 24 hours of his presidential campaign launch, a haul that surpassed the Day One amounts collected by his rivals in the crowded Democratic field.

Biden’s fundraising total underscores his prominence in the party — as a former vice president with near-universal name recognition and a cadre of supporters built up over decades in the Senate and eight years at President Barack Obama’s side.

More than 96,900 people donated online to the former vice president’s campaign, his aides said in a news release Friday.

A source familiar with the figures said the total does not include any general election funds. That means the money can all be used for the nomination battle against the 19 other Democrats seeking the party’s nod.

Of that haul, $4.4 million was raised through online donations, his campaign said.

“We are incredibly heartened by the energy and enthusiasm displayed throughout the country for Joe Biden,” his deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement.

Read more »


Joe Biden Officially Announces He is Running for U.S President in 2020

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 25th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has officially announced that he is running for president in 2020.

In a video posted on Twitter this morning Biden took an immediate aim at the current president citing Trump’s infamous response in the aftermath of the deadly neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia two years ago in which he had claimed there were some “very fine people” on both sides of the violent confrontation between white supremacists and counterprotesters.

“We are in the battle for the soul of this nation,” Biden said. “If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation — who we are. And I cannot stand by and watch that happen.”

Watch: Joe Biden Announces 2020 Presidential Campaign:

The Associated Press notes that “the 76-year-old Biden becomes an instant front-runner alongside Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is leading many polls and has proved to be a successful fundraiser. Among Democrats, Biden has unmatched international and legislative experience, and he is among the best-known faces in U.S. politics. He quickly racked up endorsements on Thursday morning, becoming the first Democrat running for president with the backing of more than one U.S. senator. Still, Biden must compete in a field that now spans at least 20 Democrats and has been celebrated for its racial and gender diversity. As an older white man with occasionally centrist views, Biden has to prove he’s not out of step with his party. He’s betting that his working-class appeal and ties to Barack Obama’s presidency will help him overcome those questions. Biden has said he would campaign as an ‘Obama-Biden Democrat,’ who is as pragmatic as he is progressive.”

President Obama also weighed in on Thursday releasing a statement via his spokeswoman Katie Hill.

“President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made,” Hill said. “He relied on the vice president’s knowledge, insight, and judgment throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency. The two forged a special bond over the last 10 years and remain close today.”

AP adds: “Privately, Trump allies have warned that Biden might be the biggest re-election threat given the former vice president’s potential appeal among the white working class in the Midwest, the region that gave Trump a path to the presidency. Biden is paying special attention to Pennsylvania, a state that swung to Trump in 2016 after voting for Democratic presidential candidates for decades. The former vice president will be in the state three times within the opening weeks of his campaign. He’ll be in Philadelphia on Thursday evening headlining a fundraiser at the home of David L. Cohen, executive senior vice president of Comcast. Biden is aiming to raise $500,000 at the event. He will hold an event in Pittsburgh on Monday and will return to Philadelphia in the next two weeks for a major rally. He’s scheduled to make his first media appearance as a 2020 presidential contender Friday morning on ABC’s “The View,” a move that may help him make an appeal to women whose support will be crucial to winning the primary.”


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In NJ Cory Booker Kicks Off Bid With Echo of MLK: “We can’t wait.”
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In US Call for Trump Impeachment Grows

Senator Kamala Harris became the latest U.S. presidential candidate to call on Congress to impeach President Trump in the wake of the explosive Mueller report released last week. (Photo: Reuters)

CNBC

Sen. Kamala Harris calls on Congress to take steps toward Trump impeachment

Sen. Kamala Harris late Monday said she would support Congress starting impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

That comes on the heels of fellow Democratic presidential contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren last week calling for impeachment.

“I think we have very good reason to believe that there is an investigation that has been conducted, which has produced evidence that tells us that this president and his administration engaged in obstruction of justice,” Harris said in response to a question at a CNN town hall in New Hampshire. “I believe Congress should take the steps toward impeachment.”

Harris, the junior senator from California and a member of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee and Select Intelligence Committee, said the report released following Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election made it clear there was “good evidence” to make a case for obstruction of justice.

“For those of us who have been following the investigation, and have seen any part of that report, it’s very clear that there’s a lot of good evidence pointing to obstruction and obstruction of justice,” said Harris, a former prosecutor who once served as district attorney in San Francisco and later as California attorney general.

Added Harris: “I believe that we need to get rid of this president.”

Read more »


Pelosi’s impeachment dam has been breached — The Washington Post

The Washington Post

Pelosi’s impeachment dam has been breached

Monday was the day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had to know might be coming but did her best to forestall. It was the day the dam she had erected against the Democrats’ impeachment fervor was breached.

Despite polls long showing about three-quarters of Democratic voters favor impeachment, Pelosi and her fellow leaders had done a good job keeping their party’s congressional contingent unified behind a more cautious approach. While a handful of mostly backbenchers have kept beating the impeachment drum, it hadn’t really filtered up into the ranks of top leaders and presidential candidates.

After the release of the Mueller report, that’s changing. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was the first big-name 2020 candidate to come out in favor of impeachment, and on Monday Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) joined her.

In some ways, it’s a wonder it’s taken this long…

But while the vast majority of Democratic voters have told pollsters they favor impeachment, there hasn’t really been a national movement. Part of that was because everyone was waiting to see the Mueller report, and part of that was that there really hasn’t been a national leader for the movement.

Neither of those reasons applies any more.

Read more »


Paranoia, Lies and Fear: Trump’s Presidency Laid Bare by Mueller Report


In his highly anticipated report released to the public on Thursday, April 18th former FBI Director Robert Mueller painted a damning portrait of Trump in the White House outlining in a cinematic fashion 10 “episodes” of obstruction of justice evidence and jarring scenes of presidential scheming, paranoia, fear and fabrication of false record. (AP photo)

The Washington Post

The moment President Trump learned two years ago that a special counsel had been appointed to investigate Russian election interference, he declared in the Oval Office, “This is the end of my presidency.”

Trump nearly made that a self-fulfilling prophecy as he then plotted for months to thwart the probe, spawning a culture of corruption and deception inside the White House.

Trump’s advisers rarely challenged him and often willingly did his bidding, according to the special counsel’s report released Thursday. But in some cases, they refused when Trump pushed them to the brink of committing outright crimes.

Trump ordered Donald McGahn to instigate special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s firing, but the White House lawyer decided he would resign rather than follow through.

Trump urged Corey Lewandowski to ask then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to curtail the investigation, but his former campaign manager only delivered the message to an intermediary.

And Trump demanded that Reince Priebus procure Sessions’s resignation, but the White House chief of staff did not carry out the directive.

The vivid portrait that emerges from Mueller’s 448-page report is of a presidency plagued by paranoia, insecurity and scheming — and of an inner circle gripped by fear of Trump’s spasms. Again and again, Trump frantically pressured his aides to lie to the public, deny true news stories and fabricate a false record.

“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state,” the report says. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

Read more »


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The Media is Failing Ethiopia

We are only a year away from a major and historic election season in Ethiopia, but is the media ready for the challenge ahead? “This opening up is sort of an ultimate test for us, and we are failing it, I’m afraid,” Tsedale Lemma, editor of Addis Standard, told The Washington Post in a recent interview. “That is damaging, not just to the industry, not just media, but to the social cohesion in a country that’s deeply polarized, ethnicized and going through a fragile moment of transition.” Below is an excerpt from The Post article published on Sunday, April 21st, 2019. (Photo: Paul Schemm/The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

After years of repression, Ethiopia’s media is free — and fanning the flames of ethnic tension

Ethiopia has been a rare bright spot of increased rights and democracy on a continent more known for leaders overstaying their mandates. Its progress in media freedom — there are no longer any imprisoned journalists — has been so dramatic that it was chosen to host World Press Freedom Day next month.

The changes have also prompted conflicts and unearthed long-buried grievances, often revolving around land and ethnicity. To many, a newly polarized press is making things worse.

In the 2019 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders, Ethi­o­pia rose 40 places, from 150 out of 180 countries to 110 — the biggest improvement this year in any country.

Next year, Ethi­o­pia will hold its first free elections in 15 years, and there are fears that the toxic media environment could lead to violence.

“This opening up is sort of an ultimate test for us, and we are failing it, I’m afraid,” said Tsedale Lemma, editor of the English-language Addis Standard. “That is damaging, not just to the industry, not just media, but to the social cohesion in a country that’s deeply polarized, ethnicized and going through a fragile moment of transition.”

Read the full article at The Washington Post »


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Tadias Reflection on PM Abiy’s One Year in Office

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Artnet News on Ethiopia’s Zoma Museum

‘It’s All About Life’: Ethiopia’s newest art museum doubles as an experiment in environmental sustainability. The Zoma Museum, an alternative arts and ecological institution in Addis Ababa, opened in March. (Photo by Michel Temteme, courtesy of Zoma Museum)

Artnet News

A museum made of mud and straw has opened its doors in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia.

When the Zoma Museum’s co-founders, curator Meskerem Assegued and architect Elias Sime, decided to build a museum in their home city 20 years ago, they knew they didn’t want it to be just another brick-and-mortar building with statement architecture. “As high-rise concrete and glass buildings are crowding the city with fewer and fewer green spaces, Elias and I felt strongly [about building] a large museum with huge garden where city dwellers can be connected to nature,” says Assegued, who is the museum’s director as well as an anthropologist.

To that end, the Zoma Museum, which opened its doors on March 23, is a low-lying, eco-sensitive arts center with farming plots, herb gardens, grazing animals, and traditional Ethiopian houses for artist residencies, workshops, and exhibitions. A small family of cows lives in an on-site stable, their dairy production supervised by a previous landowner. In short, it’s a haven.

Visitors to the museum “come to experience the sources of food,” which is cultivated on site at Zoma, Assegued says. It is both a literal source of nutrition and a symbolic one aimed at providing Ethiopians an alternate view of how to live in the increasingly crowded city. “Most children don’t know where milk comes from, so they come to see how cows are milked or smell the aroma of herbs. It is all about life and love.”

Read more »


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ABIY AHMED By Feyisa Lilesa (TIME)

In the following article published by Time magazine Ethiopian Olympic-silver-medalist marathoner Feyisa Lilesa honors Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who has been named one of Time's 100 most influential people of 2019. (Photo: Yonas Tadesse—Getty Images)

TIME

By Feyisa Lilesa

In 2016, the situation in Ethiopia was very bad. People were being killed and many were in jail, and I wanted the world to know what the government was doing. That’s why, during the 2016 marathon at the Rio Olympics, I crossed my wrists at the finish line—to symbolize that the Ethiopian people want to stop the killing, stop the jailing. We don’t want a dictatorship.

After that, I knew I wouldn’t be able to go back. The government was killing dissidents. I missed my country; I missed my mother. She cried to me on the phone every day for two years.

Then last March, while I was training in Kenya, I heard that Dr. Abiy Ahmed would be the next Prime Minister. In Ethiopian history, we have never seen a leader like him. He’s an educated person who talks about unity. He has released thousands of people from jail. He brought peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea after 20 years of war. And he made it possible for me to come home.

Yes, people are still protesting. But now, when they protest, they aren’t going to jail. To me, that is democracy. That is hope.

See the full list at Time.com »


Related:
Photos: Ethiopia Honors Feyisa Lilesa

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US Elections 2020|In NJ Cory Booker Kicks Off Bid With Echo of MLK: “We can’t wait.”

U.S. presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker formally Kicked off his campaign in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey this past weekend with a speech that echoed the world famous Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail: “We can’t wait.” (Photo: Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) takes a selfie with his supporters during a hometown kickoff for his presidential campaign in downtown Newark on Saturday, April 13th, 2019/AP)

The Washington Post

Sen. Cory Booker formally joins presidential race with an echo of Martin Luther King Jr.: “We can’t wait.”

NEWARK — Speaking in the rejuvenated downtown of the city he helmed as mayor for seven years, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) offered himself as an optimistic and hopeful counterpoint to President Trump who would heal political and social toxicity that Booker said extends far beyond the White House.

Like most of the Democrats running for president, he mentioned Trump sparingly in his remarks during his hometown kickoff — and then only as a symptom of a more pervasive problem in American society.

“We can’t wait when powerful forces are turning their prejudice into policy and rolling back the rights that generations of Americans fought for and died for,” he told the crowd of 4,100…

“And we can’t wait because many of our most serious challenges as a nation were with us long before Donald Trump entered the White House.”

Booker, the mayor of New Jersey’s largest city from 2006 until 2013, when he was elected to the U.S. Senate, finds himself solidly in the middle of a presidential pack that now numbers 18. Booker raised more than $5 million in the two months since he announced his bid for the presidency, a number that places him behind other high-profile aspirants like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Read more »


Corey Booker begins tour for president with ‘hometown kickoff’

UPI

April 13 (UPI) — U.S. Sen. Cory Booker began a two-week tour for president with a “hometown kickoff” Saturday in Newark, N.J., where still has a house and was mayor.

A crowd of around 4,000 to 5,000 people, according to police, turned out at Military Park for a campaign stretch billed as a “justice for all tour” — including criminal, economic and environmental. Because the supporters were slow in arriving, Booker’s speech was delayed by one hour, CNN reported.

Booker, who was elected senator in November 2012 after serving two terms as Newark’s mayor, announced his candidacy for president on Feb. 1 by emailing supporting with an email announcement.

Booker was the eighth Democrat to announce he was running for president. The Democratic field has ballooned to 17 other candidates, including six U.S. senators. He is backed by 3.8 percent of voters, according to RealClearPolitics, way behind 31.1 percent for Joe Biden, who hasn’t announced he is running for president, and 21.2 percent for Bernie Sanders, who ran in 2016 for president. All of the other candidates are in single digits.

“Together, we will fulfill our pledge to be a nation of liberty and justice for all,” Booker said in downtown Newark. “Together, we will win. And together, America, we will rise.”

Booker next plans to campaign in Iowa, Georgia and Nevada. He will be focusing on communities that have been left out, according to his campaign.

RELATED Democrats begin reporting funding totals; Sanders hauls $18.2M
“Too many people believe the forces that are tearing us apart are stronger than the bonds that hold us together. I don’t believe that,” the 50-year-old Booker told his supporters. “I believe we will achieve things that other people say are impossible. I believe we will make justice real for all.”

Booker, the first African-American to represent New Jersey in the chamber, mentioned Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” written in 1963, and its declaration that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

“We are here today to say, we can’t wait,” Booker said.

Read more »


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

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Ethiopia’s ‘Roof of Africa’ Forest Burns: Israel Joins Fire Combat

A wildfire burning in Ethiopia's Semien National Park. (Photo via Africa News)

Africa News

Israeli firefighters are the latest addition to a growing list of experts in Ethiopia to help authorities deal with a rampaging forest fire that has hit the Semien National Park in the northern Amhara region.

Fire have been raging in parts of the historic national park for the past few months but it wasn’t until last week that external intervention was sought for to combat the crisis.

Experts from South Africa, Kenya and France were among the first to offer their assistance as of last week. Media reports quoting an Amhara regional state official said after weeks of battling fires, a renewed forest fire had broken out as of April 9.

The Times of Israel said the team joining the efforts “is being led by Zion Shenkar, who was born in Ethiopia and was the Israel Defense Force’s first-ever battalion commander from the Ethiopian community.”

Local media portal, Addis Standard added that the fire has been on and off for the last two weeks with efforts aimed at controlling it largely unsuccessful. South Africa agreed to send six firefighter planes to help.

Kenya which is also dealing with a similar case in the Mount Kenya area could not deliver on its promised assistance as at close of last week. The regional state president admitted yesterday that the issue had gotten beyond their control and needed federal intervention.

The nature of gorges and the landscape of the area is also said to be a major contributory factor that largely hampered earlier efforts at extinguishing the blaze.

A BBC reporter said: volunteers and residents had joined in the effort to put out the blaze. Another fire broke out in the park last month, destroying 340 hectares (840 acres) of forest and grass. The cause of the fires have yet to be established.

Read more »


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Los Angeles: Nipsey Hussle, A Hometown Hero, Immortalized at Memorial

People watch as a hearse carrying the casket of slain rapper Nipsey Hussle passes Hussle's clothing store The Marathon, Thursday, April 11, 2019, in Los Angeles. Hussle’s casket, draped in the flag of his father’s native country, Eritrea, embarked on a 25-mile tour of the city after his memorial service, drawing thousands to the streets to catch a glimpse of the recently-anointed hometown hero. (AP Photo)

AP

By JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr. and MESFIN FEKADU

LOS ANGELES — Nipsey Hussle’s legacy as a persistent rapper, community activist, uniter, doting father, protective sibling and a loving son were underscored at his public memorial service on Thursday, with deeply personal testimonies from those closest to the rapper, including his actress-fiancee Lauren London, collaborator and dear friend Snoop Dogg and his mother, who said she was at peace with the death of her “superhero” son.

Beyonce and Jay-Z were among the big-name celebrities who attended the three-hour event in Los Angeles at the Staples Center, where the last celebrity funeral held at the concert arena was Michael Jackson’s in 2009.

The arena was packed with more than 21,000 fans and drove home the important impact Hussle — just 33 when he died — had on his city and the rest of the world.

“I’m very proud of my son. My son Ermias Joseph Asghedom was a great man,” said Angelique Smith, dressed in all white. Standing onstage with Hussle’s father, Dawit Asghedom, she declared: “Ermias was a legacy.”

London, who was in dark sunglasses, was emotional but stood strong onstage as she told the audience: “I’ve never felt this type of pain before.”

London called Hussle “majestic” and “brilliant” and said she had learned so much from his presence. She added that though she was hurting, she was really sad for their son Kross, whom she feared wouldn’t remember his dad: “My pain is for my 2-year-old.”

Snoop Dogg’s words to immortalize his friend were both serious and silly, as he told old stories about Hussle and their brotherhood.

“This a tough one right here,” he said, visibly shaken but keeping his composure.

Snoop thanked Hussle’s parents multiple times and told his father that “you picked up another son in me.”

Hussle’s father said he knew his son was strong because when he was born, the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck but he prevailed.

“He was a fighter,” he said.

Earlier in the ceremony, Hussle’s children also appeared onstage to pay tribute. London’s son with rapper Lil Wayne, Cameron Carter, said days after Hussle died, he had a dream he saw the rapper.

“I realized Ermias told me what heaven was like. He told me it was paradise,” Cameron said.

Cameron then told the audience that Hussle would look at him through the window at times and say “respect.” Cameron then asked the crowd to say “respect” in unison, and they complied.


Nipsey Hussle

Hussle was slain last month in front of a store that he tried to use to empower his South Los Angeles neighborhood. The public memorial service kicked off by paying respect to Hussle the rapper, as songs from his latest Grammy-nominated album, “Victory Lap,” filled the arena.

“Everybody put your hands in the air,” the DJ said as one of Hussle’s songs played. “It’s a celebration.”

Indeed, his mother danced in the aisle as R&B singer Marsha Ambrosius sang the Mariah Carey song “Fly Like a Bird” while fighting back tears. “This is for Nipsey y’all,” Ambrosius said before she started as she tried to gain her composure, sighing heavily.

But soon the focus was squarely on the person behind the persona. A montage of photos featuring the rapper from infancy, childhood and adulthood, with fellow rappers, his family and London, were shown to the crowd, set to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”

Stevie Wonder was the last performer to pay tribute to Hussle, who he said he had the chance to meet, saying: “We had a good conversation.” Before he sang “Rocket Song,” one of Hussle’s favorites, Wonder denounced gun violence and told the audience “there’s enough people being killed by guns and violence.”

Anthony Hamilton invoked the spirit of a church service when he performed in Hussle’s honor. Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan hailed Hussle’s ability to bring different factions together. And blogger and media figure Karen Civil read a letter sent by former U.S. President Barack Obama, who wrote that he never met Nipsey but heard of his music through his daughters.

“While most folks look at the Crenshaw neighborhood where he grew up and only see gangs, bullets and despair, Nipsey saw potential. He saw hope. He saw a community that even through its flaws taught him to always keep going. He chose to invest in that community rather than to ignore it,” the Obama letter read. “He set an example for young people to follow and is a legacy worth of celebration. I hope his memory inspires more good work in Crenshaw and communities like it. Michelle and I send our sympathies to Lauren, Emani, Kross and his whole family and to all those who love Nipsey.”

Father Thomas Uwal read a scripture in Tigrinya — the native language in Eritrea, the African country where Hussle’s father was from. Uwal spoke of Hussle being “proud to be an Eritrean-American,” later saying to the late rapper’s family: “On behalf of all Eritreans … we say our condolences to you.”


A makeshift memorial site for Nipsey Hussle is filled with candles outside The Marathon Clothing store. (AP photo)

Books with an image of Hussle on the cover were handed out to service attendees. The book of nearly 100 pages contained numerous photos of Hussle with London, his children, and friends like Russell Westbrook and Snoop Dogg. It also had heartfelt messages from Rick Ross, The Game and LeBron James.

“I’ve never cried myself to sleep over any public figure before, but Nipsey’s presence meant so much for our community,” actress Issa Rae said in her message inside the book.

The hearse carrying Hussle’s coffin went through a 25-mile (40-kilometer) lap through the city, including past the property where Hussle had planned to turn an aging strip mall into new businesses and affordable homes.

Thousands of people crowded the streets, some on bicycles and motorcycles, following and surrounding the vehicle as it slowly wound its way to the funeral home. The silver Cadillac passed the rapper’s childhood home in Watts. It came to a halt at times, unable to move in the vast crowd of people.

Police kept an eye on the crowd, which appeared largely peaceful. At one point, people sat atop a police car spray-painted with the words: “Nips in Paradise.”

At one point during the procession, there was a brief stampede, apparently because of some kind of startling noise that may have been Mylar balloons popping. The Fire Department said several power lines were downed by the metalized balloons. There also were reports of people feeling unwell from the heat and the packed conditions. The Fire Department said it treated 15 people, including five who were taken to local hospitals.

There were reports of leg pain and dehydration but no reports of major injuries, fire officials said.

The hearse finally arrived Wednesday evening at a funeral home in the city’s hard-scrabble Crenshaw district, where the rapper was born on Aug. 15, 1985.

Hussle was shot to death March 31 while standing outside The Marathon, his South Los Angeles clothing store, not far from where the rapper grew up.

Eric R. Holder Jr., who has been charged with killing Hussle, has pleaded not guilty. Police have said Holder and Hussle had several interactions the day of the shooting and have described it as being the result of a personal dispute.

For a decade, Hussle released much sought-after mixtapes that he sold out of the trunk of his car, helping him create a buzz and gain respect from rap purists and his peers. His said his stage name, a play on the 1960s and ’70s rhyming standup comic Nipsey Russell, was given to him as a teen by an older friend because he was such a go-getter — always hustling.

Last year he hit new heights with “Victory Lap,” his critically acclaimed major-label debut album on Atlantic Records that made several critics’ best-of lists. The album debuted at No. 4 on Billboard’s 200 albums charts and earned him a Grammy nomination.

But the rapper was also a beloved figure for his philanthropic work that went well beyond the usual celebrity “giving back” ethos. Following his death, political and community leaders were as quick and effusive in their praise as his fellow hip-hop artists.

His family and friends vowed to continue his work, and London told the crowd: “The marathon continues!”

Associated Press Writers Andrew Dalton, Amanda Myers and John Rogers contributed to this report.
___

In Ethiopia Candlelight Vigil Held for Slain Eritrean American Artist Nipsey Hussle


Hundreds of Ethiopians and Eritreans living in Addis Ababa attended a memorial service for Eritrean American rapper, Nipsey Hussle who was shot dead last month near a clothes shop he owned in Los Angeles. (AFP)

AFP

Ethiopians bid farewell to slain rapper Nipsey Hussle

Addis Ababa — With poems and speeches, Ethiopians have held an emotional farewell for murdered rapper Nipsey Hussle, whose roots in neighbouring Eritrea won him admirers in both countries.

Known for his Grammy-nominated debut album, Hussle was shot dead last week in front of the clothing store he owned in the US city of Los Angeles, whose violence-plagued neighbourhoods he had tried to revitalise.

On Friday, 29-year-old Eric Holder pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder over the shooting that also wounded two other men.

At the Saturday evening memorial in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Hussle was remembered as a rare entertainer who bridged his American upbringing with his roots in the Horn of Africa.

“When we heard there’s an Eritrean rapper out there, we were fans before we heard his music,” said Ambaye Michael Tesfay, who eulogised Hussle at the event held in a darkened parking lot. “He was an icon for us.”

Before his 2018 debut album “Victory Lap” scored a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album, Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, had won the attention of rap fans from both Ethiopia and Eritrea for his embrace of his father’s Eritrean heritage.

Eritrea was a province of Ethiopia until 1993, when it voted for independence after a decades-long independence struggle, but both countries still have close cultural and family ties.

“It’s just really tragic what happened,” said Tezeta Solomon, an Ethiopian living in Los Angeles who attended the memorial in Addis Ababa.

“When he first came out, we were all so excited. To know there was a habesha rapper out there definitely sparked some pride,” she said, using a common term to describe people from the Horn of Africa.

Hussle embraced his Eritrean heritage, visiting the country last year and telling state media, “More than anything I am proud of being Eritrean.”

Read more »


Nipsey Hussle’s Eritrean American Dream (The Atlantic)


As the staff writer for The Atlantic magazine Hannah Giorgis highlights in the following article: “The slain rapper, who was known for his investment in his Los Angeles community, also inspired fans and fellow musicians who share his East African heritage.” (Getty Images)

The Atlantic

By HANNAH GIORGIS

Updated: APR 4, 2019

In April 2018, the Los Angeles–born street rapper Nipsey Hussle traveled to his father’s native Eritrea for the first time in 14 years. The trip found the musician, née Ermias Davidson Asghedom, both contemplative and triumphant: After a prolific run of mixtapes spanning more than a decade, the fiercely independent artist had recently released his major-label studio debut, Victory Lap. (The February 2018 record, which debuted at No. 4, would later earn him a nomination for Best Rap Album at this year’s Grammys.)

While in the East African country, Hussle and his brother, Samiel “Blacc Sam” Asghedom, followed their father’s lead: They traveled to historical sites and met the country’s divisive president; they were blessed by their 90-year-old grandmother with himbasha, the slightly sweet bread most often served during celebrations. Hussle was also interviewed by a number of state-run media outlets. In one interview, which was posted to Eritrea’s Ministry of Information website, the Eritrean journalist Billion Temesghen told the musician that his listeners, particularly those on the continent, saw his hard-won successes as their own. Hussle’s response at the time was gracious and affirming. “I want to thank my Eritrean fans for feeling connected to me and for supporting me. I feel extremely grateful,” he replied. “I am going to keep coming back here and make frequent returns … Thank you for keeping my name alive out here.”

But now, less than a year later, Hussle’s connection to his fans, Eritrean and American alike, has taken on a far more tragic valence. On Sunday afternoon, Hussle was fatally shot outside the store he co-owned in South L.A., the neighborhood Hussle celebrated in his music, advocacy, and philanthropic ventures. The Los Angeles Police Department has since apprehended a suspect in the case, but the rapper and activist’s killing remains a devastating blow to his family and to fans around the world, many of whom have likened him to the late Tupac Shakur.

Read more »


How Nipsey Hussle (Ermias Asghedom) Connected to His Eritrean Roots


Grammy-nominated Eritrean-American rapper Nipsey Hussle whose real name was Ermias Asghedom was shot and killed on Sunday outside the clothing store he founded in Los Angeles. He was 33. (Getty Images)

CNN

Rapper Nipsey Hussle’s death in a shooting near his clothing store was greeted with shock and disbelief by celebrities and fans alike.

The 33-year-old musician, real name Ermias Davidson Asghedom, was shot dead in an attack on Sunday that also left two others injured.

The city of Los Angeles where he grew up and dedicated his life to helping kids break out of the cycle of gang violence mourned his passing.

But somewhere, thousands of miles away in east Africa, Nipsey’s death was felt even more keenly by the people of Eritrea.

His father, Nipsey once said, fled a war in Eritrea to settle in the US.

Hussle visited Eritrea twice in his lifetime: first as an 18-year-old when he spent three months and most recently in April 2018.

With his brother Samiel and their dad, Hussle met the Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and sat down with the Ministry of Information’s website for a wide-ranging interview about his life and experiences growing up in Los Angeles in a culture of gang violence.

Then he spoke of his love for Eritrea and his desire to connect with his extended family after fourteen years since his last visit.

“I am here to visit my family and reconnect with my grandmother, my cousins and everybody else,” Hussle said during the interview.

“I love to be here. The people, the food, the culture, and the lifestyle are extremely good.”

During his trip back to his father’s country, Hussle also visited a local textile factory in the capital Asmara to explore business opportunities.

Eritrea’s Minister of Information Yemane Meskel led the tributes to Hussle after news of his death broke.

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

US-Ethiopia Launch $4m Justice Project

(Picture Courtesy: U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia)

Press Release

U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia

The United States and Ethiopia Launch New $4 Million Project to Improve Rule of Law Institutions

Today, the United States announced the launch of its new two-year, $4 million Feteh project to support the strengthening of independent rule of law institutions in Ethiopia. Feteh (meaning “justice” in Amharic) is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and will provide technical support to the Attorney General’s Office and the Supreme Court’s efforts to expand their independent decision-making and oversight capacity.

USAID’s Feteh project will strengthen the overall capacity of the Attorney General Office (AGO) directorates and agencies, and provide technical support to the AGO advisory council and secretariat for their ongoing legislative initiatives. The project will also support the Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia in its efforts to strengthen commercial benches, revise various framework laws – including the Law on Judicial Administration and the Law on Federal Courts – and enhance its case flow management to improve efficiency.

President of the Supreme Court Meaza Ashenafi joined USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick and Ambassador Michael Raynor to announce the new collaboration at a launch event in the capital city.

“Today, we are opening a new chapter in our partnership. The United States is committed to investing in the capacity of Ethiopian legal institutions to achieve their goals of ensuring free and fair elections, promoting human rights, citizen engagement, and greater representation,” said USAID Deputy Administrator Glick.

The United States has invested approximately $4 billion in development and humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia over the past five years to enable people across the country lead healthier and more prosperous lives.


Related:
Q&A: Ethiopia’s First Female Chief Justice Says “Women Shouldn’t Be Silent Victims”

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

In Ethiopia Candlelight Vigil Held for Slain Eritrean American Artist Nipsey Hussle

Hundreds of Ethiopians and Eritreans living in Addis Ababa attended a memorial service for Eritrean American rapper, Nipsey Hussle who was shot dead last month near a clothes shop he owned in Los Angeles. (AFP)

AFP

Ethiopians bid farewell to slain rapper Nipsey Hussle

Addis Ababa — With poems and speeches, Ethiopians have held an emotional farewell for murdered rapper Nipsey Hussle, whose roots in neighbouring Eritrea won him admirers in both countries.

Known for his Grammy-nominated debut album, Hussle was shot dead last week in front of the clothing store he owned in the US city of Los Angeles, whose violence-plagued neighbourhoods he had tried to revitalise.

On Friday, 29-year-old Eric Holder pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder over the shooting that also wounded two other men.

At the Saturday evening memorial in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Hussle was remembered as a rare entertainer who bridged his American upbringing with his roots in the Horn of Africa.

“When we heard there’s an Eritrean rapper out there, we were fans before we heard his music,” said Ambaye Michael Tesfay, who eulogised Hussle at the event held in a darkened parking lot. “He was an icon for us.”

Before his 2018 debut album “Victory Lap” scored a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album, Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, had won the attention of rap fans from both Ethiopia and Eritrea for his embrace of his father’s Eritrean heritage.

Eritrea was a province of Ethiopia until 1993, when it voted for independence after a decades-long independence struggle, but both countries still have close cultural and family ties.

“It’s just really tragic what happened,” said Tezeta Solomon, an Ethiopian living in Los Angeles who attended the memorial in Addis Ababa.

“When he first came out, we were all so excited. To know there was a habesha rapper out there definitely sparked some pride,” she said, using a common term to describe people from the Horn of Africa.

Hussle embraced his Eritrean heritage, visiting the country last year and telling state media, “More than anything I am proud of being Eritrean.”

Read more »


Nipsey Hussle’s Eritrean American Dream (The Atlantic)


As the staff writer for The Atlantic magazine Hannah Giorgis highlights in the following article: “The slain rapper, who was known for his investment in his Los Angeles community, also inspired fans and fellow musicians who share his East African heritage.” (Getty Images)

The Atlantic

By HANNAH GIORGIS

Updated: APR 4, 2019

In April 2018, the Los Angeles–born street rapper Nipsey Hussle traveled to his father’s native Eritrea for the first time in 14 years. The trip found the musician, née Ermias Davidson Asghedom, both contemplative and triumphant: After a prolific run of mixtapes spanning more than a decade, the fiercely independent artist had recently released his major-label studio debut, Victory Lap. (The February 2018 record, which debuted at No. 4, would later earn him a nomination for Best Rap Album at this year’s Grammys.)

While in the East African country, Hussle and his brother, Samiel “Blacc Sam” Asghedom, followed their father’s lead: They traveled to historical sites and met the country’s divisive president; they were blessed by their 90-year-old grandmother with himbasha, the slightly sweet bread most often served during celebrations. Hussle was also interviewed by a number of state-run media outlets. In one interview, which was posted to Eritrea’s Ministry of Information website, the Eritrean journalist Billion Temesghen told the musician that his listeners, particularly those on the continent, saw his hard-won successes as their own. Hussle’s response at the time was gracious and affirming. “I want to thank my Eritrean fans for feeling connected to me and for supporting me. I feel extremely grateful,” he replied. “I am going to keep coming back here and make frequent returns … Thank you for keeping my name alive out here.”

But now, less than a year later, Hussle’s connection to his fans, Eritrean and American alike, has taken on a far more tragic valence. On Sunday afternoon, Hussle was fatally shot outside the store he co-owned in South L.A., the neighborhood Hussle celebrated in his music, advocacy, and philanthropic ventures. The Los Angeles Police Department has since apprehended a suspect in the case, but the rapper and activist’s killing remains a devastating blow to his family and to fans around the world, many of whom have likened him to the late Tupac Shakur.

Read more »


How Nipsey Hussle (Ermias Asghedom) Connected to His Eritrean Roots


Grammy-nominated Eritrean-American rapper Nipsey Hussle whose real name was Ermias Asghedom was shot and killed on Sunday outside the clothing store he founded in Los Angeles. He was 33. (Getty Images)

CNN

Rapper Nipsey Hussle’s death in a shooting near his clothing store was greeted with shock and disbelief by celebrities and fans alike.

The 33-year-old musician, real name Ermias Davidson Asghedom, was shot dead in an attack on Sunday that also left two others injured.

The city of Los Angeles where he grew up and dedicated his life to helping kids break out of the cycle of gang violence mourned his passing.

But somewhere, thousands of miles away in east Africa, Nipsey’s death was felt even more keenly by the people of Eritrea.

His father, Nipsey once said, fled a war in Eritrea to settle in the US.

Hussle visited Eritrea twice in his lifetime: first as an 18-year-old when he spent three months and most recently in April 2018.

With his brother Samiel and their dad, Hussle met the Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and sat down with the Ministry of Information’s website for a wide-ranging interview about his life and experiences growing up in Los Angeles in a culture of gang violence.

Then he spoke of his love for Eritrea and his desire to connect with his extended family after fourteen years since his last visit.

“I am here to visit my family and reconnect with my grandmother, my cousins and everybody else,” Hussle said during the interview.

“I love to be here. The people, the food, the culture, and the lifestyle are extremely good.”

During his trip back to his father’s country, Hussle also visited a local textile factory in the capital Asmara to explore business opportunities.

Eritrea’s Minister of Information Yemane Meskel led the tributes to Hussle after news of his death broke.

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report

Below is an excerpt from a preliminary report released on Thursday, April 4th, 2019 by the Ethiopian government concerning Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 that crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa on March 10th, killing all 157 on board. The preliminary report found that the pilots performed all the procedures recommended by Boeing but could not control the plane. The Initial report also pointed out a problem with a flight sensor data that led to the crash. (Photo: An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8/EPA)

The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau of Ethiopia

FOREWORD

The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) is the investigation authority in Ethiopia responsible to the Ministry of Transport for the investigation of civil aircraft accidents and serious incidents in Ethiopia.

The mission of the AIB is to promote aviation safety through the conduct of independent, separate investigations without prejudice to any judicial or administrative action consistent with Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

The AIB conducts the investigations in accordance with the proclamation No 957/16 and Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, which governs how member States of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) conduct aircraft accident investigations internationally.

The investigation process involves the gathering, recording and analysis of all available information on the accidents and incidents; determination of the causes and/or contributing factors; identification of safety issues; issuance of safety recommendations to address these safety issues; and completion of the investigation report. In carrying out the investigations, the AIB will adhere to ICAO’s stated objective, which is as follows:

“The sole objective of the investigation of an accident or incident shall be the prevention of accidents and incidents; it is not the purpose of this activity to apportion blame or liability’’.


Executive summary

On March 10, 2019, at 05:38 UTC, Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, Boeing 737-8(MAX), ET-AVJ, took off from Addis Ababa Bole Int. Airport bound to Nairobi, Kenya Jomo Kenyatta Int. Airport. Shortly after takeoff, the Angle of Attack sensor recorded value became erroneous and the left stick shaker activated and remained active until near the end of the flight. In addition, the airspeed and altitude values from the left air data system began deviating from the corresponding right side values. Due to flight control problems, the Captain was unable to maintain the flight path and requested to return back to the departure airport. The crew lost control of the aircraft which crashed at 5: 44 UTC 28 NM South East of Addis Ababa near Ejere village.

ORGANISATION OF THE INVESTIGATION

On Sunday 10th March 2019 at around 05:47, FDRE Ministry of Transport and AIB were informed the loss of radio and radar contact with flight ET 302 a few minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.

After having established without doubt that the Aircraft had disappeared, the Ethiopian Authorities launched a technical investigation. In accordance with article 26 of the Convention and ICAO Annex 13 “Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation”, an Investigation Committee (IC) from Ethiopian AIB investigators was formed by a ministerial decree issued by the Minister of Transport in order to conduct the technical investigation. An investigator-in-charge (IIC) was designated in the same decree to lead and initiate the investigation immediately. As per Annex 13 provisions, in the investigation participated:

ECAA and Ethiopian Airlines Group – Technical Advisor to AIB
NTSB – Accredited Representative State of Design and Manufacturer
BEA – Accredited representative, State which provided facilities & experts for the read out of DFDR & CVR
EASA -Technical Advisor to AIB

As per the Ethiopian Government decision and agreement between the FDRE Ministry of Transport and the French Bureau d’Enquête Analyse pour la sécurité de l’aviation civile (BEA), the DFDR and CVR were read at the BEA facilities at Le Bourget, near Paris, France. Both recorders were transported directly to the BEA under the custody of the State of Occurrence accompanied by members from the IC and readings were performed by BEA personnel in association with and under the direct supervision of the IC. On request of Ethiopia and as per annex 13 article 5.23, BEA has appointed an accredited representative.

Working groups were formed as follows:
• Operations
• Maintenance & Airworthiness group
• Power plant group
• Autopsy examination group
• DFDR and CVR group

A Search & Rescue (SAR) team performed search by Ethiopian Air force, Ethiopian Air lines Group and Abyssinian flight service. Search operations were conducted in full coordination with Federal, Regional police and other Government bodies.

It was also decided that media relations till the release of the final investigation report were to be handled by the FDRE Ministry of Transport Minister with factual data and information relayed through the IIC directly to the Minister.


1 FACTUAL INFORMATION
1.1 HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On March 10, 2019, at about 05:44 UTC1, Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, a Boeing 737-8 (MAX), Ethiopian registration ET-AVJ, crashed near Ejere, Ethiopia, shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (HAAB), Ethiopia. The flight was a regularly scheduled international passenger flight from Addis Ababa to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (HKJK), Nairobi, Kenya. There were 157 passengers and crew on board. All were fatally injured, and the Aircraft was destroyed.

The following is based on the preliminary analysis of the DFDR, CVR and ATC communications. As the investigation continues, revisions and changes may occur before the final report is published.

At 05:37:34, ATC issued take off clearance to ET-302 and to contact radar on 119.7 MHz. Takeoff roll began from runway 07R at a field elevation of 2333.5 m at approximately 05:38, with a flap setting of 5 degrees and a stabilizer setting of 5.6 units. The takeoff roll appeared normal, including normal values of left and right angle-of-attack (AOA). During takeoff roll, the engines stabilized at about 94% N1, which matched the N1 Reference recorded on the DFDR. From this point for most of the flight, the N1 Reference remained about 94% and the throttles did not move. The N1 target indicated non data pattern 220 seconds before the end of recording. According to the CVR data and the control column forces recorded in DFDR, captain was the pilot flying.

At 05:38:44, shortly after liftoff, the left and right recorded AOA values deviated. Left AOA decreased to 11.1° then increased to 35.7° while value of right AOA indicated 14.94°. Then after, the left AOA value reached 74.5° in ¾ seconds while the right AOA reached a maximum value of 15.3°. At this time, the left stick shaker activated and remained active until near the end of the recording. Also, the airspeed, altitude and flight director pitch bar values from the left side noted deviating from the corresponding right side values. The left side values were lower than the right side values until near the end of the recording.

At 05:38:43 and about 50 ft radio altitude, the flight director roll mode changed to LNAV.

At 05:38:46 and about 200 ft radio altitude, the Master Caution parameter changed state. The First Officer called out Master Caution Anti-Ice on CVR. Four seconds later, the recorded Left AOA Heat parameter changed state.

At 05:38:58 and about 400 ft radio altitude, the flight director pitch mode changed to VNAV SPEED and Captain called out “Command” (standard call out for autopilot engagement) and an autopilot warning is recorded.

At 05:39:00, Captain called out “Command”.

At 05:39:01 and about 630 ft radio altitude, a second autopilot warning is recorded.

At 05:39:06, the Captain advised the First-Officer to contact radar and First Officer reported SHALA 2A departure crossing 8400 ft and climbing FL 320.

Between liftoff and 1000 ft above ground level (AGL), the pitch trim position moved between 4.9 and 5.9 units in response to manual electric trim inputs. At 1000 ft AGL, the pitch trim position was at 5.6 units.

At 05:39:22 and about 1,000 feet the left autopilot (AP) was engaged (it disengaged about 33 seconds later), the flaps were retracted and the pitch trim position decreased to 4.6 units. Six seconds after the autopilot engagement, there were small amplitude roll oscillations accompanied by lateral acceleration, rudder oscillations and slight heading changes. These oscillations continued also after the autopilot was disengaged.

At 05:39:29, radar controller identified ET-302 and instructed to climb FL 340 and when able right turns direct to RUDOL and the First-Officer acknowledged.

At 05:39:42, Level Change mode was engaged. The selected altitude was 32000 ft. Shortly after the mode change, the selected airspeed was set to 238 kt.

At 05:39:45, Captain requested flaps up and First-Officer acknowledged. One second later, flap handle moved from 5 to 0 degrees and flaps retraction began.

At 05:39:50, the selected heading started to change from 072 to 197 degrees and at the same time the Captain asked the First-Officer to request to maintain runway heading.

At 05:39:55, Autopilot disengaged,

At 05:39:57, the Captain advised again the First-Officer to request to maintain runway heading and that they are having flight control problems.

At 05:40:00 shortly after the autopilot disengaged, the FDR recorded an automatic aircraft nose down (AND) activated for 9.0 seconds and pitch trim moved from 4.60 to 2.1 units. The climb was arrested and the aircraft descended slightly.

At 05:40:03 Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) “DON’T SINK” alerts occurred.

At 05:40:05, the First-Officer reported to ATC that they were unable to maintain SHALA 1A and requested runway heading which was approved by ATC.

At 05:40:06, left and right flap position reached a recorded value of 0.019 degrees which remained until the end of the recording.

The column moved aft and a positive climb was re-established during the automatic AND motion.

At 05:40:12, approximately three seconds after AND stabilizer motion ends, electric trim (from pilot activated switches on the yoke) in the Aircraft nose up (ANU) direction is recorded on the DFDR and the stabilizer moved in the ANU direction to 2.4 units. The Aircraft pitch attitude remained about the same as the back pressure on the column increased.

At 05:40:20, approximately five seconds after the end of the ANU stabilizer motion, a second instance of automatic AND stabilizer trim occurred and the stabilizer moved down and reached 0.4 units.

From 05:40:23 to 05:40:31, three Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) “DON’T SINK” alerts occurred.

At 05:40:27, the Captain advised the First-Officer to trim up with him.

At 05:40:28 Manual electric trim in the ANU direction was recorded and the stabilizer reversed moving in the ANU direction and then the trim reached 2.3 units.

At 05:40:35, the First-Officer called out “stab trim cut-out” two times. Captain agreed and First Officer confirmed stab trim cut-out.

At 05:40:41, approximately five seconds after the end of the ANU stabilizer motion, a third instance of AND automatic trim command occurred without any corresponding motion of the stabilizer, which is consistent with the stabilizer trim cutout switches were in the ‘’cutout’’ position

At 05:40:44, the Captain called out three times “Pull-up” and the First-Officer acknowledged.

At 05:40:50, the Captain instructed the First Officer to advise ATC that they would like to maintain 14,000 ft and they have flight control problem.

At 05:40:56, the First-Officer requested ATC to maintain 14,000 ft and reported that they are having flight control problem. ATC approved.

From 05:40:42 to 05:43:11 (about two and a half minutes), the stabilizer position gradually moved in the AND direction from 2.3 units to 2.1 units. During this time, aft force was applied to the control columns which remained aft of neutral position. The left indicated airspeed increased from approximately 305 kt to approximately 340 kt (VMO). The right indicated airspeed was approximately 20-25 kt higher than the left.

The data indicates that aft force was applied to both columns simultaneously several times throughout the remainder of the recording.

At 05:41:20, the right overspeed clacker was recorded on CVR. It remained active until the end of the recording.

At 05:41:21, the selected altitude was changed from 32000 ft to 14000 ft.

At 05:41:30, the Captain requested the First-Officer to pitch up with him and the First-Officer acknowledged.

At 05:41:32, the left overspeed warning activated and was active intermittently until the end of the recording.

At 05:41:46, the Captain asked the First-Officer if the trim is functional. The First-Officer has replied that the trim was not working and asked if he could try it manually. The Captain told him to try. At 05:41:54, the First-Officer replied that it is not working.

At 05:42:10, the Captain asked and the First-Officer requested radar control a vector to return and ATC approved.

At 05:42:30, ATC instructed ET-302 to turn right heading 260 degrees and the First-Officer acknowledged.

At 05:42:43, the selected heading was changed to 262 degrees.

At 05:42:51, the First-Officer mentioned Master Caution Anti-Ice. The Master Caution is recorded on DFDR.

At 05:42:54, both pilots called out “left alpha vane”.

At 05:43:04, the Captain asked the First Officer to pitch up together and said that pitch is not enough.

At 05:43:11, about 32 seconds before the end of the recording, at approximately 13,4002 ft, two momentary manual electric trim inputs are recorded in the ANU direction. The stabilizer moved in the ANU direction from 2.1 units to 2.3 units.

At 05:43:20, approximately five seconds after the last manual electric trim input, an AND automatic trim command occurred and the stabilizer moved in the AND direction from 2.3 to 1.0 unit in approximately 5 seconds. The aircraft began pitching nose down. Additional simultaneous aft column force was applied, but the nose down pitch continues, eventually reaching 40° nose down. The stabilizer position varied between 1.1 and 0.8 units for the remainder of the recording.

The left Indicated Airspeed increased, eventually reaching approximately 458 kts and the right Indicated Airspeed reached 500 kts at the end of the recording. The last recorded pressure altitude was 5,419 ft on the left and 8,399 ft on the right.

1.3 DAMAGE TO AIRCRAFT
The aircraft is completely destroyed.

1.5 PERSONNEL INFORMATION
1.5.1 PILOT IN COMMAND

According to Ethiopian Airlines records, the captain has the following flight experience:
 Total hours: 8122
 Total hours in B737: 1417
 Total hours in B737-8 MAX: 103
 Flight time in previous 90 days: 266 hours and 9 minutes
 Flight time in previous 7 days: 17 hours and 43 minutes
 Flight time in previous 72 hours: no flight time

The pilot in command was 29 years old. According to Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA) records, the Captain’s most recent simulator training experience was September 30, 2018, and his most recent simulator proficiency check was October 1, 2018. The captain completed the Ethiopian Aviation Academy on July 23, 2010. A review of the captains training records indicated that he received his 737-800 First Officer type rating on January 31, 2011 and completed his PIC type rating for the 737-800 October 26, 2017. 737MAX differences training on 3 July, 2018.

The pilot in command is type rated as a First Officer of the following types of aircrafts: B737-7/800, B767/757, B777 and B787. As pilot in command, he is rated on B737-7/800 and B737MAX.

The pilot’s ECAA license allowed him to act as pilot-in-command in commercial air transport operations in a Boeing 737-7/800 (dated October 26, 2017) and Boeing 737 MAX (dated July 3,2018.)

The pilot had a first-class medical certificate with no limitations dated December 12, 2018. A review of the medical exam that resulted in the issuance of this certificate showed no vision or hearing deficiencies, and on the certificate application, the pilot stated he was taking no prescription or non-prescription medications. He reported no medical conditions.

1.5.2 FIRST-OFFICER

According to Ethiopian Airlines records, the First-Officer has the following flight experience:
 Total hours: 361
 Total hours in B737: 207
 Total hours in B737-8 MAX: 56
 Flight time in previous 90 days: 207 hours and 26 minutes
 Flight time in previous 7 days: 10 hours and 57 minutes
 Flight time in previous 72 hours: 5 hours and 25 minutes

The first-officer was 25 years old. According to ECAA records, the first-officer’s most recent simulator event was listed as a proficiency check and occurred on December 3, 2018. His line training/check (conducted in the B737 aircraft) was completed on January 31, 2019.

The first-officer’s ECAA license allowed him to act as first-officer in commercial air transport operations in Boeing 737-7/800 (dated December 12, 2018) and Boeing 737 MAX (dated December 12, 2018.)

The first-officer had a first-class medical certificate with no limitations dated July 30, 2018. A review of the medical exam that resulted in the issuance of this certificate showed no vision or hearing deficiencies, and on the certificate application, the pilot stated he was taking no prescription or non-prescription medications. He reported no medical conditions.

1.6 AIRCRAFT INFORMATION
1.6.1 GENERAL
The 737-8 (MAX) is a low wing, narrow body single aisle, jet transport with a conventional tail unit configuration, powered by two high bypass turbofan CFM Leap-1B engines mounted on pylons beneath the wings. The Aircraft is manufactured by Boeing Commercial Aircraft and is the fourth generation of the 737 series. According to The Boeing Company’s website, the Aircraft was designed to carry 162-178 passengers, depending on seating configuration. The 737-8 MAX was launched on August 30, 2017, and type certificated with the FAA on March 8, 2017.

ET-AVJ was a 737-8 MAX single aisle transport aircraft configured in a 160 passenger multi-class arrangement manufactured by the Boeing Company and delivered to Ethiopian Airlines on 15 November, 2018. The Aircraft was powered by two LEAP-1B Turbo Fan Engines manufactured by CFM International. The Aircraft had 1330.3 hours with a total of 382 cycles at the time of the accident.

Registration Number: ET-AVJ
Aircraft Serial Number: 62450
Aircraft Manufacturer: Boeing Commercial Aircraft
Model: 737-8 (MAX)
Engine Manufacturer: CFM International
Engine Model: LEAP-1B28B1G05
Manufactured Year: 2018
Aircraft Type: Fixed Wing Multi-Engine
Engine Type: Turbo Fan
Aircraft Category: Transport
Number of Engines: 2
Seating arraignment: Multi-Class
PAX Seating Capacity: 160
Max. T/O Weight: 82,190 kg
Total Time: 1330.3 hours
Total Cycles: 382
Aircraft Owner: Ethiopian Leasing (5-737) LTD

1.11.1 DIGITAL FLIGHT DATA RECORDER

The aircraft was fitted with a FA2100 NAND DFDR manufactured by L3-com with part number 2100-4945-22 and serial number 001217995.

On 11 March 2019, the DFDR was recovered from the accident site by the AIB. The DFDR chassis with the Crash Survivable Memory Unit (CSMU) attached were transported to the French BEA recorder facility for data downloading. The recorder read-out was performed by BEA (Bureau d’Enquête Analyse pour la sécurité de l’aviation civile) investigators for the Ethiopian Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) under the authority of Ethiopian investigators with the participation of the U.S National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), The Boeing Company, U.S Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and EASA.

The memory unit recorded 1790 parameters and approximately 73 hours of aircraft operation, and contained 16 flights, including the accident flight.

1.11.2 COCKPIT VOICE RECORDER

The aircraft was fitted with a FA2100 NAND CVR manufactured by L3 Communications with part number 2100 1925-22 and serial number 001289168.

On 11 March 2019, the CVR was recovered from the accident site by the AIB. The CVR CSMU was transported to the BEA recorder facility for data downloading. The CMSU was found separated from the chassis during wreckage recovery. The read-out was performed by BEA investigators under the authority of the Ethiopian Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), with the participation the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) of United States of America, the Boeing Company, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The memory unit recorded 2 hours, 4 minutes and 14 seconds of aircraft operation, which contained 2 flights including the accident flight.

1.12 WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The accident site was located near Ejere, Ethiopia with a GPS location of approximately 8.8770 N, 39.2516 E.

The Aircraft impacted in a farm field and created a crater approximately 10 meters deep (last aircraft part found) with a hole of about 28 meters width and 40 meters length. Most of the wreckage was found buried in the ground; small fragments of the aircraft were found scattered around the site in an area by about 200 meters width and 300 meters long.

The damages to the aircraft are consistent with a high energy impact.

INITIAL FINDINGS
On the basis of the initial information gathered during the course of the investigation, the following facts have been determined:

 The Aircraft possessed a valid certificate of airworthiness;
 The crew obtained the license and qualifications to conduct the flight;
 The takeoff roll appeared normal, including normal values of left and right angle-of-attack (AOA).
 Shortly after liftoff, the value of the left angle of attack sensor deviated from the right one and reached 74.5 degrees while the right angle of attack sensor value was 15.3 degrees; then after; the stick shaker activated and remained active until near the end of the flight.
 After autopilot engagement, there were small amplitude roll oscillations accompanied by lateral acceleration, rudder oscillations and slight heading changes; these oscillations also continued after the autopilot disengaged.
 After the autopilot disengaged, the DFDR recorded an automatic aircraft nose down (AND) trim command four times without pilot’s input. As a result, three motions of the stabilizer trim were recorded. The FDR data also indicated that the crew utilized the electric manual trim to counter the automatic AND input.
 The crew performed runaway stabilizer checklist and put the stab trim cutout switch to cutout position and confirmed that the manual trim operation was not working.

3 SAFETY ACTIONS TAKEN
The day of the accident, the operator decided to suspend operation of B737-8MAX.

On 14th March 2019, Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority issued NOTAM regarding “The operation of Boeing B737-8 ‘MAX’ and Boeing B737-9 ‘MAX’ aircraft from, into or over the Ethiopian airspace, which is still active at the date of this report publication.

4 SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS
 Since repetitive un-commanded aircraft nose down conditions are noticed in this preliminary investigation, it is recommended that the aircraft flight control system related to flight controllability shall be reviewed by the manufacturer.
 Aviation Authorities shall verify that the review of the aircraft flight control system related to flight controllability has been adequately addressed by the manufacturer before the release of the aircraft to operations.


Related:
Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

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

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Ethiopia Crew Followed Boeing Procedures

Ethiopia's Minister of Transport Dagmawit Moges announced on Thursday that a preliminary report had found that the crew of the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed last month performed all the procedures recommended by Boeing but could not control the plane. (Photo: FBC)

The Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

Preliminary report: Ethiopia Crew Followed Boeing Procedures

ADDIS ABABA — The crew of the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed six minutes after takeoff last month performed all procedures recommended by Boeing when the plane started to nose dive but could not save it, according to findings from a preliminary report released Thursday by Ethiopia’s government.

The report, based on flight data and cockpit voice recorders on the Boeing 737 Max 8, was not released in full. Boeing declined to comment pending its review of the report.

The Max 8 has been under scrutiny since a Lion Air flight crashed off the coast of Indonesia under similar circumstances in October.

Investigators are looking into the role of a flight-control system known by its acronym, MCAS, which under some circumstances can automatically lower the plane’s nose to prevent an aerodynamic stall. The Max has been grounded worldwide pending a software fix that Boeing is rolling out, which still needs to be approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and other regulators.

The Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed just after taking off from Addis Ababa on March 10, killing all 157 on board.

Ethiopian investigators did not specifically mention the MCAS, but recommended that Boeing review “the aircraft flight control system related to the flight controllability.” They also recommended that aviation officials verify that issues have been adequately addressed before allowing the planes to fly again.

Boeing is the focus of investigations by the U.S. Justice Department, the Transportation Department’s inspector general, and congressional committees. Investigations are also looking at the role of the Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S., which certified the Max in 2017, declined to ground it after the first deadly crash in October. The agency was also reluctant to ground the planes after the Ethiopian Airlines crash and was among the last agencies to do so.

The FAA, which must certify the 737 Max is safe before it can go back into the air, said in a statement that the investigation is still in its early stages.

“As we learn more about the accident and findings become available, we will take appropriate action,” the agency said.

The statement did not say if the FAA would review the Max’s flight control system as recommended by Ethiopian investigators, and FAA spokesman Greg Martin would not comment beyond the statement. Boeing is working on improvements to the MCAS software that would make it less aggressive in pointing the nose down and easier for pilots to disable. The FAA has said it will review the software before allowing the Max to fly again.

The agency said Monday that it anticipates Boeing’s final software improvements for 737 Max airliners “in the coming weeks.”

But it wasn’t clear whether the Ethiopians are seeking just that or a broader update in the Max’s flight controls.

What also isn’t clear is whether the Ethiopian pilots followed Boeing’s recommendations to the letter in dealing with the system repeatedly pointing the nose down.

The pilots initially followed Boeing’s emergency steps by disconnecting the MCAS system, but for an unknown reason, they turned the system back on, an official familiar with the crash investigation told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because at the time, Ethiopian investigators had not released their preliminary report. Boeing’s procedures instruct pilots to leave the MCAS system disconnected and continue flying manually for the rest of the flight.

Ethiopian investigators did not address that issue at its press conference, saying only that the pilots had done what they were supposed to.

“The crew performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer but was not able to control the aircraft,” said Minister of Transport Dagmawit Moges.

However, Moges told The New York Times after the press conference that the pilots turned MCAS on and off, but she couldn’t say how many times. That will be addressed in the final report, she said.

In a statement Thursday, Ethiopian Airlines said its pilots followed Boeing instructions. “Despite their hard work and full compliance with the emergency procedures, it was very unfortunate that they could not recover the airplane from the persistence of nose diving,” the airline said.

David Hasse, an aviation analyst and editor of industry publication airliners.de in Berlin, says it is significant that the report found that the pilots followed the proper procedures, because that links the case more closely to the Lion Air crash.

“What is special about this case is that two crashes seem to have a very, very similar reason. This is something that is very rare in aviation. The question is whether the Boeing 737 Max should have been grounded after the Lion Air crash and before the Ethiopian Airlines crash,” said Hasse.

He noted that crash reports are not meant to assign legal blame and that it is too soon to know what the legal implications might be for Boeing, but it clearly raises the pressure on the company.

“If pilots sit there and follow the rules that have been given to them by the manufacturer, then they should be able to rely on the fact that they are correct,” Hasse said.

___
Associated Press Writers Carlo Piovano and Tom Krisher contributed to this report.

Related:
Vote of Confidence! Ethiopian Airlines Wins “African Champion of the Year” Award
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

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Eden Dersso Is the Changing Face of Tel Aviv’s Hip-Hop Scene (Vogue)

Eden Dersso. (PHOTOGRAPHY BY ORIT PNINI)

Vogue

I’m sitting inside Edmund Café, one of the few vegan coffee shops in Tel Aviv, as Eden Dersso raps at me in Hebrew. The 21-year-old Israeli-Ethiopian artist is seated on a bench in a huge, highlighter-yellow puffer coat and a spandex crop top, her braids knotted up with a black bandana as she grooves to the verse. Her flow is captivating—rapid and light, like the ticking hand of a clock or a boxer working away at the bag, slugging it with a knockout hook every few beats. In the quick stream of Hebrew, I can make out only one English term: hand job. Dersso uses it figuratively to describe the way she can handle a mic, which admittedly is pretty amazing. At the end of the verse, our group—which includes her manager, photographer Orit Pnini, and me—erupts in cheers.


PHOTOGRAPHED BY ORIT PNINI

Over the past year, Dersso has become a sensation in the city’s small but growing rap scene, yet she has spent her whole life preparing for this meteoric rise. She hails from the town of Rehevot, about 30 minutes south of Tel Aviv, and grew up with five brothers, who were fans of Tupac and Lil Wayne. “I didn’t know Beyoncé,” she explains. “We had posters of Tupac in the house.” Dersso began rapping in the 7th grade, using it as an emotional outlet. “[I’d rap about] if someone hurt me, [about] wanting to get out of my house and the hood,” she says. “Or if my life was too boring, I would just use my imagination.” She began writing lyrics in English and uploading her rap videos to Facebook. At 16, after she heard local artists rapping in Hebrew, she switched over. “The Israeli rappers were really good, and I thought maybe I could do the same in Hebrew,” she says. Eventually, Dersso was noticed by Tel Aviv–based musician DJ Mesh, who invited her to join his label, Shigola Records, and produced one of her biggest music videos to date: “Busses,” in which she uses buses as a metaphor for people’s opinions, weighing down and moving heavily around in her head. Another track, called “Amen,” is a mix of Dersso rapping and singing about a guy who’s stoned and who tricks her into saying “amen” to everything he wants. Most of her YouTube videos hover around 70,000 to 100,000 views—quite a feat for a rising Israeli artist—and she performs gigs several times a month.

Read more »


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Watch PM Abiy’s 1st Anniversary Speech

(Photo: Fana Broadcasting @fanatelevision/Twitter)

Fana

Sustaining Ongoing Reform Responsibility Of All Ethiopians, Says Premier

Addis Ababa, April 2, 2019 (FBC) – Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed said sustaining the ongoing reform initiative is the responsibility of all Ethiopians.

He made the remark at a culmination of review of the one year journey of reforms which took place at the Millennium Hall [Tuesday, April 2nd].

In his remark, the Prime Minister pointed out the gains made in the political, social, and economic sector since he came to office a year ago.

During the past year, gender balanced cabinet has been formed, political parties have returned home after several years in exile, thousands of political prisoners have been released, and a peace agreement has been signed with neighboring Eritrea.

As far as the economy is concerned, the government has managed to bring about 13 billion US dollars in investment, aid and remittance in the past seven months alone, the Prime Minister indicated.

The Prime Minister also highlighted the need to resolve differences through dialogue.

The Prime Minister pledged to add momentum on the ongoing reform in the year to come. Efforts will also be made to reliably rehabilitate displaced community members.

He also called on the Ethiopian Diaspora to continue supporting their country of origin.


Related:
Tadias Reflection on PM Abiy’s One Year in Office
Ethiopia Photo Exhibition Captures a Year of Reforms

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Reflection on PM Abiy’s One Year in Office

PM Abiy Ahmed at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, DC, July 27, 2018. (Photo: Matt Andrea for Tadias )

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 29th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – When Ethiopia welcomed Dr. Abiy Ahmed as its new Prime Minister nearly a year ago on April 2nd, 2018 he had inherited a country that was under a state of emergency – a society under heightened security following a relentless wave of nationwide protests.

A year on Ethiopia is no longer under State of Emergency. There are no journalists in prison. Freedom of expression is more evident, whether it’s from the arts sector or the political stage. And most importantly, the country is gearing up for what would hopefully be a groundbreaking first-ever season of free and fair elections led by former judge, opposition leader and human rights activist, Birtukan Mideksa, who is now serving as the new head of Ethiopia’s Election Board.

To be sure there are many serious challenges that remain. As the Financial Times reported in a recent article “Ethnic Rivalries Threaten Abiy Ahmed’s Reform Agenda.” PM Abiy’s administration needs to better address the unfolding humanitarian crisis of internally displaced people across Ethiopia, which has been severely exasperated by the ethnic-based violence particularly along border areas of Oromia and Somali regions, but also in Central and West Gondar zones of the Amhara Region. According to Ethiopia’s disaster prevention chief, Mitiku Kassa, about eight million people are currently in need of humanitarian assistance. The magnitude of this humanitarian crisis cannot be ignored and requires urgent solutions.

A year ago here in the United States Congress had been preparing for an unprecedented vote on Resolution H. RES. 128 denouncing the Ethiopian government’s human rights record the same week that PM Abiy was being inaugurated. In this past year alone, Ethiopia has re-forged relations with neighboring Eritrea and Ethiopians in Diaspora have been encouraged to return home and be part of the greater movement under the popular sentiment of “Breaking the Wall, Building a Bridge.” Economically, Ethiopia is continuing its annual growth rate of 10% — one of the fastest in the world and last but not least, the nation has its first female president and first female Supreme Court president as well as a gender-balanced Cabinet. These are all historic achievements to be proud of.

Having shared the events that have brought forth renewed hope, we are also aware of the work that still lies ahead. Below are a few areas:

Moving Forward with Democratizing the Media Environment in Ethiopia

Among the multitude of challenges, that PM Abiy faces as he starts his second year in office next week, include the still nascent media environment that’s dominated by a handful of state-affiliated outlets and formerly exiled political activists. Although freedom of expression is blossoming the political media is still in need of a new culture of independent journalism with adequate resources for professionals in the sector, especially as the country heads into a national election season.

The Arts as a Tool for Social Change

The good news is that PM Abiy is cognizant of the fact that in today’s digital age the media sector is not limited only to politics, and he is a big supporter of the arts community and the capacity of its members to encourage social change.

The arts, as we have demonstrated in Tadias Magazine for the past 15 years, play a major role in fueling social change and should not be seen merely as entertainment. If it wasn’t for the award-wining film “Difret,” for example, the world wouldn’t have known about the landmark Ethiopian court case that outlawed the archaic culture of abducting young girls for marriage, nor the brilliant lawyer and women’s rights advocate behind the case, Meaza Ashenafi, who is now the President of Ethiopia’s Supreme Court. In a similar manner singer and songwriter Teddy Afro has been preaching the idea of ‘Medemer,’ and unity in diversity in his music long before the term became a fashionable political cliché. Likewise, the new movie Anbessa — that is executive-produced by model and humanitarian Gelila Bekele and making the rounds at various international film festivals this year — is putting the spotlight on the impact of housing expansions that are affecting local agricultural communities that surround cities across Ethiopia. Artists, writers and musicians have always impacted and led social change movements in their communities and it’s vital that they’re voices are included in more ways than one when speaking about development or national growth.

In the end Abiy is in many ways a creation of our collective imagination and aspirations for a nation that not only embraces a plurality of identities and voices, but one that also becomes more equitable and inclusive. The continuity of Ethiopia depends on all of us, both at home and in the Diaspora.

John F. Kennedy said in his presidential inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Repeating JFK’s wisdom at this pivotal time in Ethiopia’s history we say: “Ask what you can do for Ethiopia, not what Abiy can do for you.”


Related:
Ethiopia Photo Exhibition Captures a Year of Reforms

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Lawsuit Filed Against Boeing in US Court

Debris from the crashed Ethiopia Airlines Flight 302 is seen near Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on March 11, 2019. (Getty Images)

Time

UPDATED: MARCH 29, 2019

A U.S. Lawsuit Targets Boeing Over the Deadly Ethiopian Airlines Crash

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Boeing in a U.S. federal court Thursday in what appears to be the first litigation over the fatal crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 earlier this month, Reuters reports.

The case was brought by the family of Jackson Musoni, a 31-year-old Rwandan national who was among at least 22 U.N. workers killed in the March 10 tragedy.

The suit alleges that Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft had a defectively designed automated flight control system and that Boeing failed to warn pilots about the allegedly faulty sensors. The ill-fated Flight 302 lost control minutes after takeoff from Ethiopia capital’s Addis Adaba and the crash killed all 157 people on board.

Following the crash, dozens of countries and airlines grounded the 737 MAX. The same aircraft was involved in Indonesian carrier Lion Air’s wreckage last October, which killed 189 people.

Read more »


Boeing Insists 737 Max is Safe (UPDATE)


The 737 Max was grounded in the U.S. March 13 after a deadly crash involving a Max in Ethiopia on March 10. ( Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max makes emergency landing in Orlando on Tuesday, March 27, 2019/AP)

The Washington Post

Updated: March 27th, 2019

RENTON, WASH. ― Boeing executives on Wednesday defended the safety of the company’s 737 Max commercial jetliner ahead of meetings with representatives from every corner of the global aviation industry.

In its most detailed briefing yet, Boeing executives took a conciliatory tone about the loss of life but rejected calls for new oversight of its aircraft development process amid an investigation into the company’s relationship with its regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration. They also offered more information about software and training fixes in the aftermath of two deadly crashes.

Officials from the Chicago-based aerospace giant defended the embattled 737 Max as the culmination of 50 years of aircraft development in which, they said, safety has been the first priority. They also pushed back on the idea that something is inherently wrong with the aircraft development system Boeing and the FAA have in place, an issue that is the subject of congressional inquiries, a Department of Transportation audit and a criminal probe by the Department of Justice.

In an office park a few miles from its 737 assembly plant, Mike Sinnett, Boeing vice president of engineering and chief project engineer for the 737 program, said the company had been “deeply affected by the tragic loss of life” in Ethiopia.

“We are going to do everything we can to make sure that accidents like this never happen again,” Sinnett told a packed room of 67 media professionals.

The statement echoed one from Chief Executive Douglas Muilenburg in the days after the Lion Air Max 8 crash in Indonesia in October.

Safety concerns over the 737 Max emerged around the world after March 10 when a Boeing Max 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed minutes after takeoff, killing 157. It came just months after another Max 8 crashed off the coast of Indonesia under similar circumstances, killing 189. The FAA concluded, based on satellite data and evidence from the wreckage, that the two accidents had enough in common that global fleets of the Max 8 should be grounded.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia Crash Report Due This Week
Boeing 737 Max Makes Emergency Landing in US
Vote of Confidence! Ethiopian Airlines Wins “African Champion of the Year” Award
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot
UPDATE: Preliminary info from flight 302 black box show ‘Clear similarities’ in Boeing crashes’ (AP)

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Ethiopian Ethnic Rivalries Threaten Abiy Ahmed’s Reform Agenda (FT)

Abiy Ahmed and Debretsion Gebremichael, chairman of the Tigray People's Liberation Front. Premier’s stellar reputation gets frosty reception among formerly dominant Tigrayans. For many of the 5m-plus residents of Tigray, Mr Abiy is not so much saviour as threat. If the gloss eventually comes off the prime minister’s story, that process will have begun in Tigray. (© Getty)

THE FINANCIAL TIMES

Mekelle — Ever since Abiy Ahmed became prime minister of Ethiopia last April, Africa’s youngest leader has been hailed as one of the most progressive figures on the continent. A former army intelligence officer who has forged peace with Eritrea, packed his cabinet with women and overseen the mass release of political prisoners, he has been greeted as a national saviour by many of Ethiopia’s 105m people.

But enthusiasm for Mr Abiy, 42, stops in Tigray, Ethiopia’s northernmost state and a dominant force in national politics since a Tigrayan rebel army overthrew the hated Marxist Derg regime in 1991.

For many of the 5m-plus residents of Tigray, Mr Abiy is not so much saviour as threat. If the gloss eventually comes off the prime minister’s story, that process will have begun in Tigray.

To the region’s people, Mr Abiy’s shake-up of the Ethiopian state, which has targeted Tigrayans in top positions, is widely seen as biased and vindictive. Even his rousing talk of national unity is viewed as an attack on the federal constitution, which devolves significant powers to nine ethnically defined territories, including Tigray.

“Concentrating on one ethnic group is dangerous,” said Debretsion Gebremichael, acting president of the Tigray region, who added that Mr Abiy’s crackdown on corruption had an anti-Tigrayan bias. Adding that he initially opposed Mr Abiy’s selection as chairman of the ruling coalition and hence prime minister last year, he said: “I told him: ‘You are immature. You are not the right candidate’.”…

To Mr Abiy’s supporters, the prime minister is merely cleaning house and correcting the over-representation in Ethiopia’s state apparatus of Tigrayans, who comprise only 6 per cent of the population.

Mr Abiy categorically denies any ethnic bias, saying he is governing for all Ethiopians. In a recent interview with the Financial Times, he emphasised the concept of medemer, which roughly translates as strength in diversity. To achieve that, he said, he must resist any tendency towards ethnic ultranationalism and instead promote national unity and national pride.

Mohammed Ademo, founder and editor of OPride, a news website focused on Oromo issues, said the complexity of Ethiopia’s political jigsaw would be Mr Abiy’s greatest challenge. “We need to dial down ethnic tensions,” he added. “I wish Abiy were superhuman and could make that disappear.”

Read the full article at FT.com »


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Ethiopian Airlines Chief Questions Max Training Requirements

Tewolde Gebremariam, Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, speaks to The Associated Press at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Saturday, March 23, 2019. The chief of Ethiopian Airlines says the warning and training requirements set for the now-grounded 737 Max aircraft may not have been enough following the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash that killed 157 people. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

The Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

ADDIS ABABA — The warning and training requirements set for the now-grounded 737 Max aircraft may not have been enough following the Ethiopian plane crash that killed 157 people, the chief of Ethiopian Airlines said Saturday.

After the Lion Air crash off Indonesia in October, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing “came up with contents that we incorporated in our working manuals and also briefed all our pilots. But today we believe that might not have been enough,” Tewolde Gebremariam told The Associated Press in an interview in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Ethiopian Airlines insists the carrier’s pilots went through all the extra training required by Boeing and the FAA to fly the 737 Max 8 jet. The March 10 crash killed people from 35 countries.

Gebremariam said earlier in the week that the training was meant to help crews shift from an older model of the 737 to the Max 8, which entered airline service in 2017. In a statement, he said pilots were also made aware of an emergency directive issued by the FAA after the Lion Air crash, which killed 189 people.

Ethiopian Airlines has said there is a “clear similarity” between the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, citing preliminary information from the flight data recorder.

Although the causes of the crashes haven’t been determined, investigators in the Lion Air disaster have focused on an automated system designed to use information from two sensors to help prevent a dangerous aerodynamic stall.

It is not known whether the same flight-control system played a role in the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines jet shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa, but regulators say both planes had similar erratic flight paths, an important part of their decision to ground the roughly 370 Max planes around the world.

Both planes flew with erratic altitude changes that could indicate the pilots struggled to control the aircraft. Shortly after their takeoffs, both crews tried to return to the airports but crashed.

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the pilots of the doomed Ethiopian plane never trained in a simulator for the Max. Gebremariam, the Ethiopian Airlines CEO, said Saturday that “it wouldn’t have made any difference” as the 737 Max simulator isn’t designed to imitate problems in the new jet’s flight-control software.

He still didn’t say whether the pilots had trained on the simulator.

Boeing’s planned software update for the Max must “address the problem 100 percent before we return the aircraft to air,” he said, noting that the airline hasn’t made a decision on whether or not to cancel orders for Max jets.

Ethiopian Airlines is widely seen as Africa’s best-managed airline.

The carrier had been using five of the Max planes and was awaiting delivery of 25 more.


Related:
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot
UPDATE: Preliminary info from flight 302 black box show ‘Clear similarities’ in Boeing crashes’ (AP)

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Ethiopia’s First Female Superhero Comic

The comic book digs deep through the trenches of history and is inspired by Ethiopian Queen Yodit Gudit. (Courtesy of Etian Comics)

Okayafrica

Barely a year since the founder of Etian Comics, Beserat Debebe, brought us the first ever Ethiopian superhero comic, Jember, he’s back with yet another first. This time, his newest comic book Hawi centers a female superhero, a young Ethiopian woman named Ement Legesse, who is tasked with having to rescue her mother after she’s abducted. The colorful visuals are stunning and showcase Debebe’s talented team of African artists and their unique ability to capture the vibrancy of Ethiopia. A story about returning to one’s roots and having the courage to rise above the challenges that come with seeking reconciliation and belonging, it’s one we can all relate to whether literally or figuratively.

“The fact that Hawi is Ethiopian means a lot to me,” Debebe tells OkayAfrica. For the 29-year-old creator of Etian Comics, having an Ethiopian superhero is meant to normalize the idea that Ethiopians and Africans in general can have an impact on the world. “I wish I had seen an Ethiopian superhero growing up,” he says. “I would have embraced my ability to make a difference earlier and acted on it.”

Hawi follows the story of Ement Legesse, a young Ethiopian woman living in America with her mother. In the opening scenes of the comic book, it becomes apparent that Ement desperately wants to visit Ethiopia on a guided tour but her mother is against the idea. According to her, Ement can barely speak their native Ahmaric language and fears for her safety given that numerous young girls have been abducted in Ethiopia. It’s quite clear that Ement is frustrated by her mother’s refusal to allow her to visit her home country. As the story progresses, the two eventually visit Ethiopia together (yay!) only for Ement’s mother, however, to be abducted (oh no!). This is where the story really begins. Now we won’t tell you how Ement obtains her dope superhero abilities but what we can tell you is what inspires them.

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Related:
‘Jember’: Ethiopia’s First Superhero Comic Series Entertains & Empowers Fans with African History

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Satire is Flourishing in Ethiopia

Wax and gold: The political climate has become more permissive—up to a point. (Surafel Daniel/Amen Films)

The Economist

Print edition | Books and arts

Mar 21st 2019

Ayalkibet, a portly man in a garish white suit, is taking an oath. Hand raised, expression sombre, he reads a pledge to administer his café wisely. Four colleagues nod in approval. “But only for a month,” prompts one, following the text as he recites it. Ayalkibet skips over that proviso; his colleagues look up in alarm. So begins a recent episode of “Min Litazez?” (“How can I help you?”), a hit Ethiopian sitcom, in which the temporary manager schemes to extend his time in office.

Who might this represent? Not, surely, Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, who has convulsed the country’s politics by promising free elections next year and to step down if he loses. And, indeed, “Min Litazez?” is too clever for such clunky comparisons. But the audience is invited to draw their own, and many viewers have seen a reflection of Abiy in the protagonist. In previous seasons there was no doubt that Ayalkibet—then a petty tyrant of the workplace—stood in for the ruling party’s authoritarian old guard, whom Abiy shoved aside last March. Now, as Ethiopians acclimatise to a more gentle leadership, the character has been transformed. No longer a dictator, he is a well-meaning but pompous honcho with a weakness for the limelight.

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

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

Image Source: Instagram user hunnahw

Popsugar

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

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

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

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

(Photo: Reuters)

The Economist

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

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

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

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U.S. Grounds Boeing 737 MAX Jets

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

Reuters

Updated: March 13th, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

The Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET and ROB GILLIES

Updated: March 13th, 2019

Canada grounds Boeing 737 Max 8s after Ethiopia crash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

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


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

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Ethiopian Community Asking Questions After Police Shooting in Philadelphia

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

KYW Newsradio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We have so many questions,” she said.

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

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


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

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All Female Ethiopian Flight Crew Celebrates International Women’s Day

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 7th, 2019

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

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

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


(Photo: TWITTER/@FLYETHIOPIAN)

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

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


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UK to Return Emperor Tewodros’ Hair

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

Press release

National Army Museum

National Army Museum Responds to Repatriation Request from Ethiopia

Request

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

Acquisition

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

Decision

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

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

Repatriation

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

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


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

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In US 2020 Candidates Honor Selma March

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

AP

On Selma anniversary, Booker calls for new fight for justice

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to read the full article »


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

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

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

Reuters

By Aaron Maasho

Ethiopians Celebrate Defeat of Colonialists, Call for Unity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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HRW Visits Ethiopia for 1st Time in 8 Years

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

HRW

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

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

How has Ethiopia changed since you were last there?

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

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

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

What was the workshop like?

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

Did anything surprise you?

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

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

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

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US Invests $40m in Ethiopia Health Care

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

Press Release

U.S. Embassy Ethiopia

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

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

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

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


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Q&A with Julie Mehretu – Brooklyn Rail

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

The Brooklyn Rail

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

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

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

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

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In Ethiopia AU Inaugurates Majestic New Statue Honoring Emperor Haile Selassie

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

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: February 11th, 2019

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

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

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

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


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