Posts Tagged ‘ethio’

Ethiopian Airlines losing $8 million per month over Ebola scare

Friday, November 21st, 2014

WALL STREET JOURNAL –

ANTWERP, Belgium—Ethiopian Airlines is losing around $8 million a month in sales as travelers cut back on African trips as concern about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa affects far-afield airlines, the carrier’s chief executive said.

“The Ebola scare has caused weakness in demand,” Tewolde Gebremariam said in an interview Thursday. Ethiopian Airlines has been hit even though the airline’s main hub in Addis Ababa is several hours flight time from the Ebola-affected region in West Africa.

Flights across much of the continent have been affected by the regional outbreak, Mr. Gebremariam said. “This is a major concern for African airlines,” he said.

The World Health Organization said more than 5,000 people have died from Ebola. Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are the countries most affected.

The carrier has tried to cut back on capacity to help mitigate the effect, he said on the sidelines of the CAPA World Aviation Summit.
Ethiopian should still deliver a full-year profit for the financial year ended in June, though the extent of the final impact from Ebola on the bottom line is too early to assess, he said. Concern over regional instability in countries such as Mali and Nigeria also has hit demand, Mr. Gebremariam said.

Despite the difficult market conditions, Mr. Gebremariam said long-term growth plans aren’t being curbed. The airline still expects to take delivery of eight aircraft in the first half of 2015, including three Boeing Co. 787-8 Dreamliners and three 737 single-aisle jets, as well as two of the manufacturer’s 777-300ER long-range jets. “”We believe Ebola will be contained in a few months,” Mr. Gebremariam said.

Ethiopian Airlines expects to have a fleet of 150 or more jetliners by around 2025, double today’s number, Mr. Gebremariam said. As part of the growth plan the airline is considering buying Boeing 777X jets, the newest model of the large twin-engine widebody, with a commitment possible next year, he said.

The airline also is considering buying the 787-9, a larger version of the Dreamliner that Boeing started delivering this year. The carrier will likely also exercise an option for two more Airbus Group NV A350-900s on top of the 12 already ordered, Mr. Gebremariam said.

Separately, Ethiopian Airlines has struck an agreement with the government of South Sudan to establish a new carrier for the three-year-old country. The government will own 51% with Ethiopian Airlines controlling 49%, Mr. Gebremariam said.

Source: wsj.com [/size]

Removing the TPLF dictatorship with the least cost

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

When one wants to bring down a dictatorship most effectively and with the least cost then one has four immediate tasks:

* Strengthen the oppressed population themselves in their determination, self-confidence, and resistance skills;

* Strengthen the independent social groups and institutions of the oppressed people;

* Create a powerful internal resistance force; and

* Develop a wise grand strategic plan for liberation and implement it skillfully.

A liberation struggle is a time for self-reliance and internal capacity development of the struggle group.

You must only rely upon your own determination. Help yourselves by standing together, strengthen those among yourselves who are weak, band yourselves together, organize yourselves, and you must win.

Against a strong self-reliant force, given wise strategy, disciplined and courageous action, and genuine strength, the dictatorship will eventually crumble. Minimally, however, the above four requirements must be fulfilled.

Liberation from dictatorships ultimately depends on the people’s ability to liberate themselves.

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Prepared by Ethiopian Review Research Center

ENTC Weekly Radio – Nov 19

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Listen to ENTC radio program – November 19 News, Interviews, entertainment, etc Listen here (mp3) To listen by phone – 213-992-4363

Ethiopian scientist at Ohio State University calls for accelerated efforts to understand zoonotic infections such as Ebola

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

By Emily Caldwell

COLUMBUS, Ohio – For many, global public health seems like an abstract and distant problem – until the Ebola virus is diagnosed among people in our midst.

Though no one would call the Ebola pandemic a good thing, it has presented an opportunity for scientists to alert the public about the dire need to halt the spread of infectious diseases, especially in developing and densely populated areas of the world.

“What often seems like an abstract notion becomes very concrete when a deadly virus previously contained in Western Africa infects people on American soil,” said Wondwossen Gebreyes, professor of veterinary preventive medicine at The Ohio State University. “It does create a certain sense of urgency and awareness that this world is much smaller than we think.”

Gebreyes is the lead author of an article published in the Nov. 13, 2014, issue of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases that makes the case for accelerating efforts to put “One Health” into action. One Health refers to a strategy to more fully understand and address the links between animal health, human health and the environment.

The paper emphasizes the danger of zoonotic infections – those transmitted from animals to humans – and the staggering damage they do, especially in developing nations that lack a variety of resources. These diseases don’t just kill people, but they cause tremendous economic harm in a variety of ways: killing livestock, reducing the ranks of qualified health and education providers, creating political unrest and stopping development in its tracks.

There is an urgent need for progress. Approximately 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases are those transmitted from animals to humans, and the world is on pace to experience at least one deadly disease outbreak each year.

Gebreyes cited the current Ebola epidemic and the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic as “stark reminders of the unpredictable nature of pathogens and the importance of animals in the ecology and emergence of viral strains.” Evidence suggests that bats were the original carriers of the strains of Ebola that sicken humans, and pigs were the source of the 2009 flu.

“To attain a true One Health approach, we need broad recognition of the interconnectivity among the health of humans, domestic or wild animals and the environment, which are all closely linked by the pathogens that they share,” he said.

At the heart of the effort to adopt One Health globally, and particularly in developing areas, proponents agree, is the need to build capacity – of skilled personnel, laboratories for disease diagnostics and testing, educators to perform training, and technologies that enable far-reaching and coordinated pathogen reporting and surveillance systems.

Ohio State is doing its part. Gebreyes has spearheaded a partnership between the university and academic institutions and service agencies in Ethiopia designed to create sustainable collaborations in teaching, research and outreach by embracing the principles of One Health. Three issues have topped the agenda to date: improved screening and treatment for cervical cancer; a roadmap for the prevention and control of rabies as a model for the One Health platform; and improvements in environmental health, food safety and food security.

“Rabies is the year-round Ebola of Ethiopia, as it regularly kills people – particularly the young. It is 100 percent fatal if interventions such as vaccines and awareness are not implemented,” Gebreyes noted. “We consider this partnership a model for how to build effective, sustainable capacity.”

A worldwide initiative also exists: The International Congress on Pathogens at the Human Animal Interface has convened twice, with the third meeting scheduled for August 2015 in Thailand. But while the congress delegates address the big picture, they recognize the need for grassroots recruitment of scientists and policymakers in higher education, government agencies and nongovernment organizations – plus farmers, health care providers and ecologists – to create measurable change on a global level, Gebreyes said.

For global One Health to be implemented effectively and widely adopted, the risks associated with emerging infectious diseases need to be quantified, and the capacity needs and available resources must be assessed, Gebreyes said. World health organizations provide guidelines for quality control systems, but they aren’t necessarily applicable to fit developing regions’ needs and are not systematically applied in low-resource settings, he said.

With that in mind, the congress has identified four priority areas for capacity-building, primarily in low-resource settings:

* Development of adequate science-based risk-management policies
* Growth of skilled One Health personnel
* Environmental and clinical diagnostic labs with a shared database, and
* Improved use of existing natural resources.

“These are recommendations. The congress delegates recognize that it’s impossible to take a ‘one size fits all’ approach,” Gebreyes said.

Gebreyes co-authored the paper with representatives of Ohio State, Paris Descartes University, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Federal University of Paraiba, Kenya Medical Research Institute, University of Montreal, Sokoine University of Agriculture, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Elanco Animal Health, Chiang Mai University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-Ministry of Public Health in Thailand.

Source: OSU

HRW testimony at the U.S. Congressesional hearing on human rights condition in Ethiopia

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Testimony of Felix Horne, Researcher, Africa Division, Human Rights Watch

Friday, November 14, 2014

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for providing me the opportunity to speak today about the human rights situation in Ethiopia.

The other panelists have articulated some of the critical issues that are facing Ethiopia ahead of the May 2015 elections. I would like to elaborate on human rights concerns associated with Ethiopia’s many development challenges.

Ethiopia is the one of the largest recipients of development assistance in the world, including more than $800 million in 2014 from the US government. Many of Ethiopia’s 94 million people live in extreme poverty, and poverty reduction is rightly one of both the US and Ethiopian government’s core goals. Improving economic and human development is fundamental to ensuring that Ethiopians are able to enjoy their rights to health care, education, shelter, food and water, and Ethiopia’s government, civil society, international donors and private investors all have important roles contributing to the realization of these rights.

But sustainable development also requires a commitment to the full range of human rights, not just higher incomes, access to education and health care, but the ability for people to express their views freely, participate in public policy decision-making, join associations of their choice, have recourse to a fair and accessible justice system, and live free of abuse and discrimination.

Moreover, development that is not rooted in respect for human rights can be counter-productive, associated with abusive practices and further impoverishment of people already living in situations of extreme poverty. In Ethiopia, over the past few years Human Rights Watch has documented disturbing cases where international donors providing development assistance are turning a blind eye to government practices that fail to respect the rights of all beneficiaries. Instead of improving life in local communities, these projects are proving harmful to them. And given the repression of independent voices, media and associations, there are no realistic mechanisms for many local communities to express their views to their government. Instead, those who object or critique the government’s approach to development projects face the prospect of intimidation, harassment and even serious abuse.

In 2011 in Ethiopia’s western region, Gambella, Human Rights Watch documented such abuses during the implementation of the first year of the government’s "villagization" program. Gambella is a region populated by indigenous groups who have suffered from political marginalization and lack of development for decades. In theory the villagization program aimed to address some of these concerns. This program required all indigenous households in the region to move from their widely separated homes into larger villages – ostensibly to provide improved basic services including much-needed schools, health clinics and roads.

I was in Gambella for several weeks in 2011 and travelled to 16 different villages in five different districts. I met with people who had not yet moved from their homes and others who had been resettled. I interviewed dozens of people who said they did not wish to move but were forced by the government, by police, and by Ethiopia’s army if necessary. People described widespread human rights violations, including forced displacement, arbitrary arrest and detention, beatings, and rape and other sexual violence. Thousands of villagers fled into neighboring countries where they became refugees. At the same time, in the new villages, many of the promised services were not available and the food security situation was dire.

The villagization program has also been implemented in other marginalized regions in Ethiopia. These regions are the same areas where government is leasing large pieces of land to foreign investors, often from India, China and the Gulf states, without meaningful consultation with local communities, without any compensation being paid to local communities, and with no benefits for local communities other than low-paying labor jobs on the plantations.

In the Omo valley in southern Ethiopia, Human Rights Watch found that the combination of sugar and cotton plantations and hydroelectric development is causing the displacement of up to 200,000 indigenous people from their lands. Massive amounts of water are being used for these projects which will have devastating impacts for Lake Turkana across the border in Kenya and the 300,000 indigenous people who live in the vicinity of the lake and depend upon it. The displacement of communities in the Omo valley is well underway. As in Gambella, communities in the Omo valley told Human Rights Watch about coercion, beatings, arrests and threats from military and police to force people to move to new settlements.

Human Rights Watch also found politically motivated abuse in development programs. In 2010, we documented discrimination and "political capture" in the distribution of the benefits of development programs especially prior to the 2010 elections. Opposition party supporters and others who did not support the ruling party were denied access to some of resources provided by donor-funded programs, including food aid, micro credit, seeds, fertilizers, and other critical agricultural inputs needed for food security, and even employment opportunities. Schools, funded as part of education programs by the US and other development partners, were used to indoctrinate school children in ruling party ideology and teachers were required to report youth perceived to support the opposition to the local authorities. These government practices, many of which continue today, show the intense pressure put on Ethiopian citizens to support the ruling party, and the way in which development aid is manipulated to discriminate against certain communities.

All of these cases have several common features. First, the Ethiopian government routinely denies the allegations without investigation, claiming they are politically motivated, while simultaneously restricting access for independent media and investigators. Second, these programs are directly and indirectly funded by Western donors, who seem unwilling to acknowledge, much less address human rights concerns in Ethiopia.

Monitoring and evaluation of these programs for human rights abuses is inadequate. Even when donors carry out assessments to look into the allegations, as has happened in Gambella, they are not conducted rigorously and do not ensure victims of abuses can speak freely and safely. In the current environment in Ethiopia, it is essential for anyone seeking to investigate human rights violations to go to locations where victims can speak openly, to understand the dynamics of the local communities, and recognize the depths of the fear they are experiencing.

All of these problems are exacerbated by the ongoing government crackdown on the media and civil society. The independent press has been ravaged since the 2010 election, with the vast majority of journalists terrified to report anything that is remotely critical of the government. In October I was in a country neighboring Ethiopia where over 30 journalists have fled in the past few months alone. I spoke to many of them: their papers were closed, their families were threatened, and many had been charged under repressive laws merely because they criticized and questioned the Ethiopian government’s policies on development and other issues. I spoke with someone who was forced to seek asylum abroad because he had questioned in writing whether the development of Africa’s largest dam on the Nile River was the best use of money in a country where poverty is pervasive.

As for Ethiopian civil society, it has been decimated by another law, the Charities and Societies Proclamation. It has made obtaining foreign funding nearly impossible for groups working on human rights, good governance, and advocacy. Leading members of the human rights movement have been forced to flee abroad.

Some people take to the streets to peacefully protest. Throughout 2014 there were various protests throughout Ethiopia. In many of these protests, including during the student protests in the Oromia region in April and May of this year, the security forces used excessive force, including the use of live ammunition against the students. We don’t even know how many Oromo students are still detained because the government publicizes no information, there is no comprehensive human rights monitoring and reporting, and family members are terrified of reporting the cases. Members of the Muslim community who organized protests in 2012 against what they saw as government interference in religious affairs have also paid an enormous price for those demonstrations, with many beaten or arrested and most of the protest organizers now imprisoned on terrorism charges.

Finally, bringing about change through the ballot box is not really an option. Given that 99.6 percent of the parliamentary seats in the 2010 election went to the ruling party and that the political space has shrunk dramatically since then, there is little in the way of a viable opposition that can raise questions about government policy, including development plans, or other sensitive topics.

This situation leaves Ethiopians no real means to express concerns over the policies and development strategies imposed by the government. They either accept it, they face threats and imprisonment for speaking out, or they flee their country as thousands have done. The refugee communities in countries neighboring Ethiopia are full of individuals who have tried to raise concerns in all of these ways, and are now in exile.

To conclude, we all recognize that Ethiopia needs and requires development. The problem is how development is being undertaken. Development projects need to respect the rights of the local communities and improve their quality of life, regardless of ethnicity or political perspective. The United States and Ethiopia’s other major partners can and should play a leading role in supporting sustainable, rights-respecting development. The US should not accept arguments that protecting human rights is in contradiction to development goals and implementation.

In 2014, the appropriations bill required the US to scrutinize and suspend funding for development programs in Ethiopia that might contribute to forced evictions in Ethiopia, including in Gambella and Omo. This was an important signal that the abuses taking place were unacceptable, and this should be maintained in the upcoming FY15 appropriations bill, whether it is a stand-alone bill or a continuing resolution.

As one of Ethiopia’s key partners and supporters of Ethiopia’s development, the US needs to do more to ensure it is rigorously monitoring and consistently responding to human rights abuses in Ethiopia, both bilaterally and multilaterally. The US should be pressing the Ethiopian government to ensure that there is genuine consultation on development initiatives with affected communities, that more robust monitoring is put in place to monitor for potential abuses within programs, and that independent civil society, both domestic and foreign, are able to monitor and report on rights abuses. Respect for human rights is first and foremost a concern of all Ethiopians, but it is also central to all US interests in Ethiopia, from security to good governance to sustainable development.

Other witnesses
Soleyana S. Gebremichale, Co-founder, Zone Nine Bloggers
Robert Herman, Vice President of Regional Programming, Freedom House
Susan Valentine, Africa Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists
Felix Horne, Ethiopia Researcher, Human Rights Watch
Joshua Klemm, International Rivers

Driving through the town of Gondar, Ethiopia (video)

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

http://www.mereja.com/video/watch.php?vid=e21539fa5

Texas medical examiner says missing Ethiopia woman accidentally drowned in pond

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

WYLIE, Texas — A North Texas medical examiner says an Ethiopian woman whose body was found inside her minivan at the bottom of a pond accidentally drowned.

The Dallas Morning News reports (http://bit.ly/1HdonQe ) the Collin County medical examiner’s office released the findings in the death of 42-year-old Almaz Gebremedhin on Monday.

The Ethiopia native was last seen Oct. 2 before she left for work in Wylie. She lived about 3 miles from her workplace and the pond was along her commute. Her body was found Nov. 9 by a private team hired by an Ethiopian community group.

It’s unclear how her vehicle ended up in the pond.

Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com
http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/ … ound-Pond/

The Twilight of Non-Violent Change in Ethiopia and the Slippery Ground of TPLF’s Power Strategy

Monday, November 17th, 2014

The rationale for the TPLF’s current stepping up of repression, obviously triggered by the coming elections, is hard to comprehend. Ranging from constant harassments and severe beatings to torture and long-term imprisonments, the repression particularly targets journalists and young leaders of opposition parties. The fear of losing the elections is usually advanced as the main […]

“Hagere, Hizbe, Kibre” (My Country, My People, My Honor)

Monday, November 17th, 2014

 The poet-artist with an “unconquerable soul”? Last week, Meron Getnet, the extraordinary young Ethiopian actress, put out on Youtube a powerful Amharic poem entitled,  “Hagere, Hizbe, Kibre” (My Country, My People, My Honor). The last time I “saw” Meron was this past September in a video clip intended to be a promotional for the film DIFRET (COURAGE),  a film […]

Federal Police beaten and stabbed to death a young man and his mother in Jimma, southern Ethiopia [warning: graphic photo]

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

The savage attack took place Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014, by members of the notorious Federal Police who broke into the victims’ home in the southern Ethiopian town of Jimma.
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Police forcibly dispersed peaceful protest organized by a coalition of 9 Ethiopian opposition parties (photos, videos)

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

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ፖሊስ ህዝቡን ለመበተን እየጣረ ነው፡፡የስብሰባው አዘጋጆች አንሄድም ብለው ሜዳው ላይ ይገኛሉ፡፡
‪#‎Ethiopia‬ ‪#‎Blueparty‬ ‪#‎Election2007‬ ‪#‎NegereEthiopia‬ ‪#‎MinilikSalsawi‬
9ኙ ፓርቲዎች የጠሩት የአደባባይ ህዝባዊ ስብሰባ በኃይል ተበተበ

ዛሬ ህዳር 7/2007 ዓ.ም 9ኙ ፓርቲዎች በትብብር የጠሩት የአደባባይ ህዝባዊ ስብሰባ በፖሊስና በደህንነት ኃይሎች ተበትኗል፡፡ ፓርቲዎቹ…

The benefits of drinking water right after waking up

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

It is popular in Japan today to drink water immediately after waking up every morning. Furthermore, scientific tests have proven its value. We publish below a description of use of water for our readers. For old and serious diseases as well as modern illnesses the water treatment had been found successful by a Japanese medical society as a 100% cure for the following diseases:

Headache, body ache, heart system, arthritis, fast heart beat, epilepsy, excess fatness, bronchitis asthma, TB, meningitis, kidney and urine diseases, vomiting, gastritis, diarrhea, piles, diabetes, constipation, all eye diseases, womb, cancer and menstrual disorders, ear nose and throat diseases.

METHOD OF TREATMENT
1. As you wake up in the morning before brushing teeth, drink 4 x 160ml glasses of water

2. Brush and clean the mouth but do not eat or drink anything for 45 minute

3. After 45 minutes you may eat and drink as normal.

4. After 15 minutes of breakfast, lunch and dinner do not eat or drink anything for 2 hours

5. Those who are old or sick and are unable to drink 4 glasses of water at the beginning may commence by taking little water and gradually increase it to 4 glasses per day.

6. The above method of treatment will cure diseases of the sick and others can enjoy a healthy life.

The following list gives the number of days of treatment required to cure/control/reduce main diseases:

1. High Blood Pressure (30 days)
2. Gastric (10 days)
3. Diabetes (30 days)
4. Constipation (10 days)
5. Cancer (180 days)
6. TB (90 days)
7. Arthritis patients should follow the above treatment only for 3 days in the 1st week, and from 2nd week onwards – daily..

This treatment method has no side effects, however at the commencement of treatment you may have to urinate a few times.

It is better if we continue this and make this procedure as a routine work in our life. Drink Water and Stay healthy and Active.

The Chinese and Japanese drink hot tea with their meals not cold water. Maybe it is time we adopt their drinking habit while eating!!! Nothing to lose, everything to gain…

For those who like to drink cold water, this article is applicable to you.
It is nice to have a cup of cold drink after a meal. However, the cold water will solidify the oily stuff that you have just consumed. It will slow down the digestion.

Once this ‘sludge’ reacts with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster than the solid food. It will line the intestine.
Very soon, this will turn into fats and lead to cancer. It is best to drink hot soup or warm water after a meal.

A serious note about heart attacks:

• Women should know that not every heart attack symptom is going to be the left arm hurting,
• Be aware of intense pain in the jaw line.
• You may never have the first chest pain during the course of a heart attack.
• Nausea and intense sweating are also common symptoms.
• 60% of people who have a heart attack while they are asleep do not wake up.
• Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Let’s be careful and be aware. The more we know, the better chance we could survive…

Driving to Lake Tana, Gorgora, Ethiopia (video)

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

http://www.mereja.com/video/watch.php?vid=3467433e1

Strategies aimed at subverting the loyalty of TPLF’s pillars of support should be a top priority by civil resistance strategists

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

The regime’s power is heavily dependent on the cooperation of certain key institutions and organizations. We call these supporting organizations pillars of support or pillars of oppression because they support the power structure in society.

By themselves, tyrants cannot collect taxes, enforce repressive laws and regulations, prepare national budgets, direct traffic, print money, repair roads, train the police and army, issue postage stamps or even milk a cow. People provide these services to the ruler through a variety of organizations and institutions.

Defiance strategists should remember that it will be exceptionally difficult, or impossible, to disintegrate the dictatorship if the police, bureaucrats, and military forces remain fully supportive of the dictatorship and obedient in carrying out its commands.

Strategies aimed at subverting the loyalty of the tyrant’s forces should therefore be given a high priority by civil resistance strategists.

If these organizations and institutions begin to withdraw their support from the dictator (and some may even start actively supporting your movement), the dictator will no longer be able to maintain control.

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Health official orders the burning of Ebola patients in western Ethiopia, secret letter reveals

Friday, November 14th, 2014

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Susan Rice an Abysmal Failure at Her Job: The Atlantic

Friday, November 14th, 2014

A Withering Critique of Obama’s National Security Council By Jeffrey Goldberg The Atlantic November 14, 2014   If George W. Bush’s foreign policy was a testament to the perils of overreaction, Barack Obama’s foreign policy is becoming, to many experts, a testament to the dangers of underreaction. On the matter of Syria, in particular, fear of […]

Ginbot 7 is suspected in Ethiopian power station fire

Friday, November 14th, 2014

A massive fire destroyed the Gerji power station in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, two days ago. The station serves Bole and Urael area of the city. Ethiopian authorities suspect the opposition Ginbot 7 is behind the fire and detained several individuals for questioning, including senior officials of the Ethiopian Electric Power and Electric Services (EEP & EES).

Gerji power station fire in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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ENTC Weekly Radio – Nov 13

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Listen to ENTC radio program – November 13 News, Interviews, entertainment, etc Listen here (mp3) To listen by phone – 213-992-4363

Ethiopian man in San Francisco crushed by fuel tanker truck

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

A man who died after he was run over by a fuel tanker truck that he had been hanging on to in downtown San Francisco was identified Thursday as 35-year-old Henok Ayele.

Ayele, who had no known address, was riding between two gas tanks on an 18-wheeler about 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, police said. He lost his grip when the truck turned from Mason Street onto Turk Street and was run over, authorities said.

The truck driver left the scene, but “may have no knowledge of this collision,” said Officer Gordon Shyy, a police spokesman. Officers were trying to locate the truck and identify the company involved.

Report by Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle
Source: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/M … 875833.php

A spectacular view of Ras Dashen, Ethiopia

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

http://www.mereja.com/video/watch.php?vid=327a62788

Fashion retailer H&M says seeks to ensure cotton does not come from Ethiopia land grab

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

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

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

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

H&M said it did not accept such practices.

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

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

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

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

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

The company said it had undertaken an analysis that showed land-grabbing did not occur in the area where its direct suppliers are located. It was not possible to trace any land-grabbing further down its cotton delivery chain, it said.

The Ethiopian government has leased large swathes of land, mainly in its western Gambella and Benishangul Gumuz regions, to large companies such as Indian firm Karuturi Global, hoping to boost agricultural productivity.

Critics, however, say many people — poor farmers in particular — have been forced off their land under the scheme.

H&M sources mainly from Asia and is sensitive about its supply chain.

A Bangladeshi factory collapse last year killed more than 1,100 people, heaping pressure on big fashion firms to improve working conditions at suppliers.

(Reporting by Helena Soderpalm and Anna Ringstrom in Stockholm, Aaron Maasho in Addis Ababa; Editing by Simon Johnson/Ruth Pitchford)
http://www.euronews.com/business-newswi … uted-land/

4 men who raped and dismembered Ethiopian woman in Dubai released from jail after paying blood money and receiving pardon from Ethiopian embassy

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Four men facing the death penalty for raping, killing and dismembering an Ethiopian maid five years ago have been bailed after blood money was paid to the victim’s family.

The Sharjah Appeals Court dropped the death penalty, according to a ruling announced on Monday by presiding Judge Abdullah Yousif Al Shamisi.

The court reversed the death penalty and reduced the prison sentence to three years each.
The Emirati men, who have now spent more than five years in jail, are now out on bail, according to their lawyer

Salem Obaid Bin Sahoo, the men’s lawyer, told Gulf News that the ruling announced on Monday follows payment of Dh100,000 ($27,000 USD) by the convicted men.

"We received a pardon from Ethopian authorities through the Ethiopian consulate in Dubai and we were told that the victim’s family had accepted the blood money and dropped the demand for the death penalty," he said.

"The amount of Dh100,000 has been deposited in the safe of the court and they were bailed on this basis," he said.

The approval by the family is a complete reversal from its original refusal to pardon the killers during the early days of the case.

In 2010, the Sharjah Court of First Instance issued the death penalty to A.M., 35, S.R., 32, H.A., 33, and A.J., 30, for the gruesome murder in what became known as the "Al Dhaid murder".

The original verdict was handed down by Judge Yaqoub Al Hammadi and two other judges on the bench, Hussain Al Asoufi and Ahmad Awdh.

Sharjah Police had earlier said it was one of the gravest crimes of its kind as it included rape, alcohol and murder.

According to court records, the four kidnapped an Ethiopian maid in Khor Fakkan, taped her mouth, pushed her into their Land Cruiser and took her to the desert in August 2009.

They raped her in Khor Fakkan, dragged her into their vehicle again, before driving to Al Dhaid mountains where the act was repeated.

Prosecutors said after raping her in Al Dhaid the men ran their SUV over her head and battered her with rocks before attempting to hide her body.

According to the police, in 2004, one of the killers had raped and killed a 13-year-old Pakistani girl with two other accomplices.

They were all sentenced to death, but he was forgiven by the victim’s father.

Cases involving capital punishment automatically go to appeal.

Representatives from the Ethiopian consul attended the session and followed up the case with the court on the behalf of the family.

Ethiopia’s regime accused of massacring civilians to clear way for foreign farms

Monday, November 10th, 2014

By Lara Whyte | The UK Guardian

Ethiopia, one of the world’s hungriest countries, is selling off vast chunks of its land to foreign investors who are growing food products for export — and those who get in the government’s way are being killed or silenced, according to a new investigation.

Under the country’s controversial "villagization" scheme, huge populations of farming communities are being moved out of their homes on land eyed for development and into new settlements built by the government. Residents not lured out by promises of better infrastructure and services are often forced to go against their will, and resistance often brings violence or intimidation into acquiescence or exile, US-based rights group the Oakland Institute says in a report due for release on Monday.

Now, for the first time, pictures obtained exclusively by VICE News appear to show evidence of the widespread atrocities and abuses being reported by farming communities and minority groups across the country.

WARNING: This article contains disturbing images

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/global-devel … stors-land

Off-roading in the Simien Mountains, Ethiopia (video)

Monday, November 10th, 2014

http://www.mereja.com/video/watch.php?vid=9eb78756e

Police Find Body of Missing Ethiopian Mother in Texas

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

#Texas : #Wylie Police Find Body of Missing Mother . #Ethiopia #Betinewscom በቴክሳስ የጠፋችው ኢትዮጵያዊት እናት አስከሬን ተገኘ ::
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Late Sunday, the City of Wylie confirmed recovery of the body of missing woman Almaz Gebremedhin. She was last seen October 2, 2014.

The city reports a search and rescue team notified authorities after discovering her van in the Muddy Creek Farms pond at 2500 McMillen Road in Wylie.

A dive team discovered Gebremedhin inside the van. The 42-year-old woman was a married mother of two children, ages 10 and 8. She and her husband are natives of Ethiopia.

A private search and recovery team from Illinois found the van using sonar.

Gebremedhin’s family has been notified by Wylie investigators.

Exactly how the van ended up in the pond is still under investigation.
http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Police … B_DFWBrand
www.betinews.com

Ethiopia 2014: I Always Remember in November and in…

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Oh, Cruel November 2005!  In 2005, Ethiopians faced unspeakable horrors. Following the parliamentary elections in May of that year, hundreds of Ethiopian citizens who protested the daylight theft of that election were massacred or seriously shot and wounded by police and security personnel under the exclusive command and control of the late regime leader Meles […]

Protest pamphlets flood Asmara

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, was flooded with anti-government pamphlets over the past few days, according to my relatives there. The security forces did not make any attempt to collect the pamphlets, fueling the rumor that the Isaias regime is unraveling. Today a large part of Asmara was without electricity and the bread lines are backed up several city blocks. Young Eritreans continue to flee the country in massive numbers.

Asmara bread lines
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Eritrean youth who fled their country gather at Israeli border in the Sinai desert.
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Putin awards the Medal of Pushkin to Ethiopian scholar Tibebe Yemane Berhan for contributing to Russian literature

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

Dr Tibebe Yeman Berhan receives the Medal of Pushkin from Russian President Vladimir Putin
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Ethiopian protesters shut down busy street in Brussels, Belgium (video)

Friday, November 7th, 2014

It was a busy day for Belgian police today, Ethiopians from all over Europe who gathered at Brussels city center shut down a busy street briefly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzEO5lkiRis

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-p2yuJguFbU

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United action for Ethiopian Civil Resistance Campaign

Friday, November 7th, 2014

By understanding and accepting each other, we can go beyond our individual positions and focus on solving problems together. We switch from arguing over positions to collaboration and implement our common grand strategy and a coordinated, integrated and synergized supporting action plans. We have more to gain from working together than from growing apart.

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Prepared by Ethiopian Review Research Center

Driving through Nech Sar national park, Ethiopia (video)

Friday, November 7th, 2014

http://www.mereja.com/video/watch.php?vid=ebc894ac6

British boarder guards arrest 6 Ethiopians

Friday, November 7th, 2014

UK Border AgencySix Ethiopians were arrested on suspicion of immigration offenses in Bulphan, East of England, on November 5.
The three men and three women, who were…

ENTC Weekly Radio – Nov 5

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Listen to ENTC radio program – November 5 News, Interviews, entertainment, etc Listen here (mp3) To listen by phone – 213-992-4363

November 15 DC onference to promote dialog among Ethiopians

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

                 

Congressman Coffman, who reached out to Ethiopian-American community, wins tight race

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman, who reached out to the Ethiopian-American community, wins a tight race yesterday. Hopefully Ethiopian-Americans in other states also start supporting Republican candidates if they wish to let the Democratic Party know that their vote should not be taken for granted any more. Learn from the Jewish and Asian communities.

THEHILL.COM – Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) won reelection Tuesday night despite being a Democratic target at the start of the 2014 cycle.

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Coffman’s district went for President Obama in 2012 and has a large Hispanic population, which made Democrats think it could be a potential pickup this cycle.

But in early October, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pulled $1 million in ads from the district that was meant to help former Colorado state Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D).
Coffman helped improve his reelection prospects by highlighting his Spanish-speaking abilities and indicating that he wouldn’t oppose immigration reform, albeit on a piecemeal basis.

Abebe Teka granted visitation rights to his children

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

http://www.mereja.com/video/watch.php?vid=3ae9aed25

Republican Congressman in Colorado reaches out to Ethiopian-American voters

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

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Republican Congressman Mike Coffman of Colorado made stops at four Ethiopian churches on Sunday, November 2nd, 2014 seeking Ethiopian American votes for his reelection campaign. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, November 3, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – Republican Congressman Mike Coffman of Colorado’s 6th Congressional District, who is running for re-election, visited four Ethiopian churches yesterday, ahead of the mid-term U.S. elections on Tuesday, hoping to attract votes from the community. Organizers says that Mr. Coffman received “a gracious reception” by his Ethiopian American hosts to whom he pitched his views on issues related to immigration, small business loans, and U.S. foreign policy towards Ethiopia. The latter, we are told, received an enthusiastic response. “It was a great success and our community will vote tomorrow and decide on many important issues,” said Mel Tewahade, CEO of Infinity Wealth Management, Inc., who helped coordinate the visits for the Congressman.

Mr Coffman who previously served as the Secretary of State of Colorado and as State Treasurer, was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 2009. Per Wiki “Located in central Colorado [his district] encompasses much of the southern part of the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area, including the suburbs of Littleton, Centennial and portions of Aurora. Redistricting in 2012 added some suburbs to the north of Denver including Brighton and Henderson.”

In Tuesday’s midterms election, the Republican party is widely expected to win control of the Senate and retain their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to the latest polls.

The election season this year also features an unprecedented number of minority candidates, including the first Ethiopian American Candidate for U.S. Senate Mohammed Tahiro of Texas. The Associated Press reports that “more than 100 black candidates will be on the ballot in statewide and congressional races, a post-Reconstruction record that some observers say is a byproduct of Barack Obama’s historic presidency.” The list includes the state of Utah’s Mia Love, who if elected, is poised to become the first black Republican woman to serve in Congress.

In Colorado Mel said: “Congressman Coffman will do a lot to help our community with business loans and immigration matters for our families. I was also proud and happy to be Ethiopian as we are getting stronger and starting to stand on our own two feets.”

Below are photos courtesy of the organizers:
http://www.tadias.com/11/03/2014/republican-congressman-mike-coffman-visits-four-ethiopian-churches-in-colorado/

Vote Republican

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Today it is an election day in the United States. All elections are important, and this one could be particularly important for Ethiopian-Americans and all freedom-loving people in the U.S. who have been betrayed by Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.

Democratic Party candidates take some communities such as African-Americans for granted because no matter what they do while in office and no matter how many promises they break, they always receive 80%+ votes. Today, African-Americans, Ethiopian-Americans and others who have been ignored by Obama and his Democratic Party have the chance to send a loud and clear voice by voting Republican or simply do not vote.

Obama as broken most his promises that are important to the Ethiopian community:

1. He promised to promote freedom around the world, but instead he has been providing hundreds of millions of dollars in financial assistance to blood thirsty dictators in Ethiopia and around the world. His national security adviser Suzan Rice is a cheerleader for mass murderers and looters. Obama has been the worst president in the U.S. history as far as advancing the cause of freedom is concerned.

2. He promised to protect civil liberties, but instead he has used the Patriot Act to harass and violate the civil rights of journalists and others.

3. He promised to reform immigration, but instead he squandered his political capital on a disastrous health care program and promoting same-sex marriage.

4. He promised to help create jobs in the African-American community through investments, tax incentives and other programs, but instead he squandered billions of dollars assisting companies that are owned by his billionaire supporters and dolling out money to dictators around the world. As a result, unemployment among Blacks remain twice that of Whites. Today, one in five Blacks are without jobs.

5. He broke his promise to promote the institution of marriage, which is an issue that is dear to African- and Ethiopian-American.

You have a chance to be heard today by not voting for any of the Democratic Party candidates.

1984 Great Ethiopian Famine: TPLF Still Licensed to Steal

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Gebremedhin Araya (L), Max Perbedy (C), Tekleweyne Assefa (R) Remembering the Great Ethiopia Famine of 1984 (Part II) In my commentary last week, (Remembering the Great Ethiopia Famine of 1984, Part I), I reviewed various commentaries I had written over the years challenging the fabricated and false claims of the Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) and its […]

Artiste Abebe Teka accused of attempted murder by his wife

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Ethiopian artiste Abebe Teka accused of attempted murder by his wife in a U.S. court. Listen the story below.

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Ras Seymour Mclean, advocate for Ethiopia’s priceless relics, passed away

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Ras Seymour McLean, a well-known advocate for the return of priceless Ethiopian relics and hundreds of books and manuscripts of Ethiopian history, has passed away in London on October 6, 2014, after a short illness.

He was also best known an activist for the recognition of land given by Emperor Haile Selassie to Jamaican Rastafari who wished to return to their spiritual home in Shashemane.

Ras Seymour McLean was also a regular campaigner who would attend most public events when Jamaican government ministers were visiting the UK pleading for assistance to the Rastafarians who had set up home in Shashemane but were neglected by the Ethiopian government.

There will be a special African-themed funeral service for Ras Seymour McLean on Thursday (Nov 6) at the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Phillips Square, Battersea, London SW8 3RT starting at 10am. Interment will be at Putney Vale Cemetary, Stag Lane, London SW15.

Seymour Antony Mclean was born in Jamaica on November 6, 1956 and he grew up in Beckford Kraal, Clarendon. He was the third of four brothers and one sister. He spent his formative years in Jamaica where he attended Mount Liberty Primary School.

At the age nine he left Jamaica for England with his older brother Ronald to be reunited with his mother in Battersea, south London. He attended Wix’s Lane primary where the knowledge of his maths times tables positioned him way in front of his peers, he recalls being sent to the back of the class for “knowing to much”. He later attended William Blake Secondary School.

In his teenage years, Seymour studied karate. He went on to represent the UK in the European championships at the semi-final stage.

Seymour followed in his elder bother’s footsteps into electrical engineering and started work as an apprentice at Clarkes Electrical Constructor. He rapidly worked his way up the ranks and he went on to work at Lloyds of London, the prestigious central London-based specialist insurance organisation. He then moved on to work at Sterling Westminster as a Financial Consultant until 1982.

In 1982, Ras Seymour Mclean came to the Ras Tafari House (temple) in Brixton, south London, at the time of the famine in Ethiopia.

After expressing his concerns and reasoning with the elders, he and others were sent to research the best ways to support Ethiopia. A series of fundraising events followed this.

His further research led him to spearheading a campaign calling for the return of priceless relics and hundreds of books and manuscripts of Ethiopian history to Ethiopia, which were stolen from the Ethiopian church during the British invasion of the African nation in 1868.

His struggle was chronicled in a 1991 television movie, The Book Liberator, which was based on his trial after he had recovered several of the manuscripts from the British museum ¬ including the Kebra Nagast (Prayer of the Virgin Mary) from the Pankhursts’ museum – an offence for which he spent nine months in prison.

In June 1990, Ras Seymour McLean joined the Ethiopian World Federation Inc and he devoted most of his life to research and repatriation in the true sense of the words, exploring the ancient Ethiopian royal and cultural history.

He was part of the delegation for the 1992 Centenary Trod to Ethiopia, and in1996 he was part of the delegation for the Centenary of the Adwa Victory celebrations in Addis Ababa. He was well known for his one pound educational documents, which he sold on the streets of London.

Ras Seymour was known globally for the liberation of ancient Ethiopian manuscripts and books looted from Magdala, Ethiopia, in 1868 by the British. His research led him to uncover priceless information about the magdala loot, this has been documented on TV and again Seymour spent significant time campaigning for the stolen relics return.

Through his own business project, Ras Tafari International Consultants, he also retrieved public records detailing the British parliamentary involvement in the looting of Magdala, as well as their interest in, and reports on, the Rastafari Movement in their early days in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

Ras Seymour held the offices of President, Vice-President, Sergeant-at-Arms, and Chaplain in the Ethiopian World Federation, Incorporated. He always strived to create ways and means to administrate and develop the organisation. Whilst serving as President he used his business skills and initiative to generate income for the locals.
In this connection, he hosted Ethiopian clothing exhibitions, and the Empress Menen Accolade was established during his presidency.

Likewise, the “Papa Dyer Flags Project” was established to financially assist Papa Dyer’s family in Shashemane, Ethiopia, giving testimony to his great awareness of humanitarian needs.

Whilst in office, he met with various officials at the Ethiopian and other Afrikan embassies, the Jamaica High Commission, and with the late Patriarch of Ethiopia, Abuna Paulos.

Ras Seymour McLean was a prolific public speaker on topics including ‘Protection of Ras Tafari Movement including Intellectual Property, Music, Arts and Culture’. He shared the stage at the RAS Tafari Global Reasoning 2003 conference held on the Mona Campus, Jamaica, were he was welcomed with several Rastafarians from around the globe.

He is survived by six children, Claudine, Farriea, Pharoah, Negus, Theodore and Janhoy as well as six grandchildren, Theo, Timone, Nkhai, Athaliah, Kirah and Delarno.

Source: http://www.voice-online.co.uk/article/e … asses-away

U.S. State Department statement on the jailing of Ethiopian journalist Temesgen Desalegn

Friday, October 31st, 2014

U.S. Deeply Concerned by Sentence of Ethiopian Journalist

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

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

Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 30, 2014

Source: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/10/233556.htm

New hip hop song about Haileselassie by Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco (video)

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

http://www.mereja.com/video/watch.php?vid=ddc0dbfe6

The Ethiopians and their recent history.

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

The Ethiopians and their recent history. By Yilma Bekele We all repeat by rot that our country is three thousand years old. It has always been like that ever since I remember. Not a single year more or one day less. I doubt anyone knows the details but we all seem to be happy repeating […]

Driving to the Omo Valley, Ethiopia (video)

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

http://www.mereja.com/video/watch.php?vid=9a6a33d3d

Key Essentials of Ethiopian Civil Resistance Campaign

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Civil resistance campaign for self-liberation is a highly complex and challenging project. In order to increase the chances for success, resistance leaders will need to formulate a comprehensive plan of action capable of strengthening the suffering people, weakening and then disintegrating the dictatorship, and building a durable democracy.

To achieve such a plan of action, a careful assessment of the situation and of the options for effective action is needed. Though related, the development of grand strategy (Master Plan), building coalition, identifying needed resource, maintaining discipline are some of the key essentials as demonstrated on the following exhibit.

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Prepared by Ethiopian Review Research Center

Is Ethiopia’s Sovereign Debt Sustainable?

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

By Seid Hassan, Minga Negash, Tesfaye T. Lemma and Abu Girma Moges

Determining the sustainability of a developing country’s public debt is a challenge. This is because most developing countries in general and Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) countries in particular face an undiversified export base, a large share of agriculture in GDP (which itself is characterized by low yields) with large share of labor force in the primary sector, and complex governance and instability problems. Debt management becomes even more complex if the countries in question have persistent current account and budget deficits and low savings and investments rates relative to their GDPs. Most of these countries follow public investment-led growth strategy, with all the dangers for the debt equation to unravel if and when the government-led growth “stumbles or stagnates.” Such a scenario worries lending institutions especially when the public investment programs happen to be externally financed. Whenever the IMF and the Work Bank think that the public debt of the debtor countries could be unsustainable, as in the case of Ethiopia now, they raise warning flags. It worries citizens and observers as well since the adverse effects of debt crisis hit hard the poorest segment of the population, often sparking social unrest, which in turn negates some of the economic theories of positive linkages between debt and development. Despite the current optimism about Africa’s growth opportunities and the increased appetite of emerging markets by fund managers on the SSA region, according to some estimates about two-thirds of the nations in the developing world are spending a significant portion of their export earnings on external debt repayments.

Although sovereign debts have usually been at the root of many of the financial crises in recent history, scholars allude to the complexity of assessing the sustainability of a nation’s public debt and hence the lack of consensus on the most apt approach. The financial economics literature identifies various models and proxies that could be used for the purpose of gauging the sustainability of a country’s debt. The commonly used benchmarks to measure the sustainability of a country’s debt include, inter alia, a country’s: (i) debt to GDP ratio; (ii) debt to export ratio; (iii) debt to revenue ratio; (iv) trade balance; (v) the primary fiscal gap; (vi) debt service to budgetary revenue; (vii) interest to GDP ratio; and (viii) interest to domestic budgetary revenue. We make a number of important observations with respect to the sustainability of Ethiopia’s public debt by invoking relevant benchmarks and other contextual variables. To make the text readable we have attempted to keep the technical analysis at the minimum.

In late 2010, Ethiopia adopted the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP 2010-2015) with rather ambitious targets. The plan was supposed to be driven mainly by growth and productivity improvements in the agricultural sector, industrialization and infrastructure development. Whereas the largely foreign aid and concessional financed infrastructural investment has increased remarkably from a weak base, the most decisive aspect of the plan in terms of agricultural-led growth and industrialization is yet to materialize. Apparently, on the basis of limited information that is available in recent years, there is in fact de-industrialization in many parts of Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA), including Ethiopia, in which the manufacturing sector is unable to cope with the fierce competition coming from cheap imports from Asia. Furthermore, the performance of the agricultural sector, both in total output and productivity, continues to be rather weak. The country faces chronic food deficit and its ability to fill the deficiency from global markets is limited. That is why close to 10% of the population has continued to live on donor community supported safety net programs. The agricultural sector is burdened by complex demographic, economic, environmental and political forces depriving the country’s household-based agriculture to play a transformative role and contribute to the country’s export earnings and pay off the escalating domestic and external debt. This state of the national economy and the challenges facing the agricultural sector have both immediate as well as long term implications regarding the sustainability of external debt in the country.

Globally, the stock of sovereign debt has been increasing and has now reached to levels higher than they have ever been in times of peace. This is particularly true of countries in the Global North although there are significant disparities across countries. For instance, while the average debt to GDP ratio of OECD countries stands at a 112.5 per cent as of 2014, Estonia appears to have kept her house in order sitting at 14.5 per cent. On the same vein, we note of Japan whose stock of sovereign debt is at a staggering 224 per cent of the size of its overall economy. While Japan isn’t facing debt crises despite its very high debt-to-GDP ratio, a major culprit behind the recent financial crises in the Euro-Zone has been excessive borrowing by member countries such as Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, etc. A plausible explanation for these differing outcomes of sovereign debt burden is partly due to the fact that Japan’s public debt is largely denominated in its local currency, and that the country is experiencing the lowest interest rate in the world. On the other hand, most sovereign debt issued by the Eurozone countries are denominated in Euros or U.S. dollars for which the individual countries didn’t have the authority to print. Thus, we see that even lower levels of sovereign debt denominated in a foreign currency [or a currency over which a country does not have monetary policy-making power] can create serious problems for the country.

Lately, SSA’s ability to access international bond markets has been on the rise – at least a dozen SSAs countries have been able to successfully access international sovereign bond markets in the last decade alone. These countries issued sovereign debts for a number of reasons including: (i) to finance mega and often turnkey projects; (ii) to help attract foreign direct investment; (iii) to provide a benchmark for sovereign, subnational, and corporate issuances; and (iv) to restructure existing public debt. And, the usual precursors to these issuances were obtaining “independent” evaluation of the investment grade of sovereign debts of these governments which is often done by credit rating agencies (CRAs). The donor community tends to tout an SSA country’s sovereign debt rating as a process of facilitating inward capital flows. Nonetheless, empirical evidence shows that the relatively low interest rates in the Global North and portfolio diversification opportunities offered by SSA countries to global investors were the primary incentives driving the increased demand for sovereign debt instruments issued by countries in the region. Many countries in SSA (including Angola, Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, and Zambia) have been rated which subsequently allowed them to raise funds through the issuance of sovereign debt instruments. However, it is important to note that at present, a number of these SSA countries have already failed to comply with the terms and conditions of the debt or are engaged in rescheduling and restructuring negotiations. For instance, while Ivory Coast and Seychelles have already defaulted on their sovereign debts, Gabon and Ghana (countries with relative strength in export earnings) are struggling to find money for the repayment of their soon to mature Eurobond.

Following the sovereign rating frenzy in the region, in May 2014, Ethiopia also obtained her own rating from major CRAs, which assigned an average sovereign rating of B, implying that the country is a “highly speculative” investment destination and therefore makes the investment security similar to a subprime mortgage. Notwithstanding this, the rating puts Ethiopia on par with Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameron, Mozambique, Rwanda, Seychelles, and Uganda but a notch below Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and Zambia. The reader needs to be cautioned that credit ratings are not stationary. The CRAs may down-grade or up-grade any country’s rating should new developments in that country warrant such an action. In fact, in the report where the grading news was issued, Moody’s makes the usual disclaimer and suggests the possibility that Ethiopia’s sovereign debt rating could go down if there is “acceleration of external debt that does not support growth and if there is an escalation of political and social tensions”. Furthermore, the CRAs are notoriously infamous for weighing State Owned Enterprises’ (SOEs’) debts for which governments grant explicit and implicit surety in revising sovereign debt ratings. Moody’s down-grading of South Africa’s sovereign debt rating in early 2013 is a case in point. The same agency was warning Kenya to keep an eye on its State Corporations’ debt.

Amidst a growing suspicion that Ethiopia would follow the footsteps of other countries in the region and go for a debut in the international capital markets to quench its growing thirst for funding, the government in Addis Ababa was trying to tout the rating exercise as an effort to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). Nevertheless, in a latest turn of events, the authorities, partly motivated by the higher than expected rating and also pressed by the investment resource gaps, are considering issuing Eurobond starting from early 2015. But here, we raise two important issues: (1) What are the benefits and costs associated with Ethiopia’s endeavor to access external commercial borrowing? (2) Is Ethiopia’s borrowing trajectory sustainable? In what follows, we attempt to explore plausible answers to these important questions.
On the up side, for a developing and landlocked country like Ethiopia which is trapped in a quagmire of mega projects while at the same time facing low capital formation due to its low productivity, low income and low savings, sovereign external debt provides the escape needed to acquire a direly needed funding to complete overdue projects. Other things being equal, accessing external non-concessional commercial funds and completing the electric power, railway, road, telecommunications and other projects could prove to be vitally important. Furthermore, if the commercial debt issuing goes well, with, for example, securitization and use of derivatives to hedge against the escalation of debt servicing costs, the access to external capital markets may potentially encourage the government to reduce its dependence on domestic borrowing and pave the way for domestic enterprises to access international capital markets. In addition to broadening the investor base, a successful issue of Eurobond allows a room for the country to restructure its sovereign debt, should the need arises, and external debt brings with it the effect of disciplining the government’s way of managing the economy. Finally, access to the international bond markets may provide benchmarks for determining interest rates for subnational and corporate bonds.

On the downside, the temptation to borrow in foreign currencies from non-concessional sources and relying on weak export sector may prove to be a risky proposition for a number of reasons. Firstly, large bond issues could potentially lead to maturity concentrations, a large pile of debt that may account for a significant percentage of the country’s GDP needing to be refinanced at the same time. It is uncertain whether investors would be willing to provide fresh money at that time. Past experience indicates that global investor’s investment behaviors in developing country bonds are extremely fragile and sensitive. Secondly, relative to concessional finance, sovereign debts generally involve higher interest rates which tend to be a function of a host of country risk factors (such as political, economic, country/sovereign, exchange rates, etc.). However, on July 7, 2014 Ethiopia was able to borrow from Credit Suisse AG a 12 year bond with 3 years grace period and a 6 year bond at LIBOR 6M + 4.59% and LIBOR +3.75 respectively. Hence, unless there is securitization, lease finance such as the one done for the Ethiopian Airlines, or a possible moral hazard and/or information asymmetry situation in the debt market, it is likely that the yield on Ethiopia’s new bond would hover around the rate obtained from Credit Suisse AG. Indeed, according to Reuter’s report of October 27, 2014, one day before the release of this commentary, the country was able to obtain new syndicated loan of seven and thirteen years split, aggregating to U.S. $865 at LIBOR +3.75, and supported by export guarantee entities, for a specific railway project. Added to these are underwriting fees, brokerages, commissions, legal services and insurance premiums which will be paid to the international banks and their associates. Ethiopia’s proposition to borrow from international capital markets is, therefore, a potential drain on public budgets and on the economy as a whole. The recent default and rescheduling of SSA sovereign debts adds a new upward pressure on the yield. Other things being equal, rising interest rates raise the debt serving obligations of the country. This could eventually lead to the vicious circle of downgrading of the sovereign debt which in turn further exacerbates the cost of borrowing. Thirdly, now that Ethiopia has decided to use international financial markets, it will have to deal with a larger number of creditors and face monitoring from international asset managers.

Economic theory provides little practical guidance on the optimal level of public debt. However, the scanty guidelines available agree on one thing: For developing countries like Ethiopia, high external debt often has immediate consequences for economic performance and financial crises. In their work based of eight (8) centuries of financial data, Reinhart and Rogoff of Harvard University concluded that economic growth in emerging economies suffers once the debt-to-GDP ratio hits a threshold of 60 per cent , , . Other researches carried out within the specific context of developing and low income countries suggest a much lower (30 – 40 per cent) threshold of debt-to GDP ratios. Obviously, if these results are robust, the implications for developing countries like Ethiopia are important. An examination of Ethiopia’s existing public debt relative to its GDP shows that the average figure for the just ended decade hovers around 41 per cent. This average gets lower if we exclude the pre-2006 period, for Ethiopia received a significant debt relief through the HIPC (highly indebted poor countries) initiative. At any rate, Ethiopia’s debt/GDP ratio is lower than the figures that we observe in developed countries and more in tandem with the threshold for developing countries and a similar metric for SSA.

We, however, contend that assessing the sustainability of a country’s public debt using the typical debt-to-GDP ratio (as reported in the IMF and other official statistics) underestimates the looming crises that a country actually faces. These statistics, with a blessing from the accounting profession, treats contingent liabilities as “off balance sheet items” unless and until something happens, and hence, fails to take into account the explicit (or implicit) surety that countries provide for the debts amassed by public enterprises. This treatment “window-dresses” the credit standing of countries and allows them to raise debt financing without having to suffer a corresponding increase in debt/GDP ratio. But the recent Euro crises and the series of [forced] bailouts that followed reveals that debts that come with explicit (or implicit) government guarantees could quickly make their way into government’s balance sheets in the event that a primary obligor fails to make good on its promises. In what appears to be a recognition of this problem, Eurostat, the statistical unit for the European Union, recognizes a “special case” and takes difference to the accounting profession’s stance in situations where the need for governments to make debt service payments on the loan is open and notorious from the outset. In circumstance under which a government enters into a debt guarantee agreement that obliges the government to repay the debts of primary obligors, even though the liability is issued by the SOEs or similar enterprises, it may be right away considered with certainty as an actual government liability, not in the enterprises’ liability. In other words, there is reason to add Ethiopia’s SOEs and by extension SSA’s SOEs’ debts into the national balance sheets for an effective and prudent debt management policy.

In recent years, the infrastructural developments that we witness in Ethiopia has been (and are being) financed through external loans. The air transport, telecommunications, rail and sugar projects are being financed by external loans. Some commentators argue that these state monopolies are profitable and hence warrant the incurrence of new external debt. However, it is also important to note that SOEs in Africa and elsewhere are generally and inherently known for their poor financial performance, and hence the call for their privatization. The Ethiopian SOE monopolies might have indeed been “profitable”, thanks to the suffocating monopoly power bestowed on to them by the government, and the negative real interest rate they enjoyed by preferential access to artificially cheap and directed credit from local financial institutions. However, such nominal profitability is achieved at high economic cost, poor service quality, and meager varieties to consumers. Furthermore, as is often the case with SSA’s SOEs, some of Ethiopia’s SOE monopolies are known to be employment shelters for preferred elites and social groups. Secondly, and more importantly, perhaps with the exception of the national airline and shipping lines, the profits of the monopolies are earned from the local market and denominated in the local currency. As a result, they fail to contribute in alleviating the country’s foreign exchange shortages and servicing its external debt. Thirdly, Ethiopia depends, just like other SSAs, on commodity exports, whose prices are determined by international markets and policies of trading partners. The closure of sugar estates in many parts of Africa, when Ethiopia is starting its new ones, as a result of dumping from China and India, serves as a case in point.

A review of the Government of Ethiopia’s recently released public debt statistics shows that about 79% of the external debts of the country are either owed directly by the government or the government is a guarantor to a primary obligor (SOE). The government statistics further indicates that the country’s official external debt stands at 14.07 billion US dollars in 2013-2014 and the new loan has made it close to 15 billion. Over the most recent five year period (2009/10-2013/2014), external debt increased by 249%. About 43% of the debt is sourced from concessional lenders, 32% from bilateral (concessional) and from the non-Paris club groups, China being in the top of the list of Ethiopia’s lenders. The debt that the country has been accumulating under the Ethiopian Airlines for the procurement and lease of aircrafts, under the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) for the construction of roads and bridges, under the Ethio-telecom for the expansion of telecom infrastructure, under the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) for dams, and to finance many other state-owned and ruling party owned enterprises could thus become a “time bomb of contingent liabilities” that could “detonate at any time” should the original obligors fail to make good on their promises. Furthermore, as we alluded earlier, the profitability of these enterprises must be examined in light of the foreign debt burden and their contribution (rather lack of) to revenues from exports. This probably explains why the World Bank’s officer, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, expressed her concern that the “current trend of borrowing will definitely create additional risk exposure” to the country.
A review of the World Bank’s external debt statistics reveals that Ethiopia’s external debt stock hiked by 356 per cent from a low of $2,293.7 million in 2006 (period of debt relief) to a high of $10,462.4 million in 2012. Put differently, the country’s external debt stock grew at a compound annual rate of circa 29 per cent during the seven years leading up to 2012 which is a much higher growth rate compared to a 10 per cent growth rate in SSA, and an even much higher growth rate (5 per cent) in other low income countries. A rising sovereign external debt would be less of a problem if it is accompanied by similar growth rates in export earnings and/or flow of inward foreign direct investments (FDI). Unfortunately, Ethiopia’s exports grew only by 166 per cent from a low of $2,254.3 million in 2006 to a disappointing high of $6,002.6 million in 2012, gauged by GTP’s projections, in particular. The saving grace for Ethiopia is that, her export growth has been better than the timid growth in export earnings registered by SSA and low income countries over the same period (110 per cent for SSA and 66 per cent for low income countries). Unfortunately, however, the inward FDI performance of the country was dismal. Except for the good performance in 2006 and later in 2011, Ethiopia’s growth in inward FDI between 2005 and 2012 was virtually negligible. On the upside, although still very small relative to the size of its diaspora community, the steady growth observed in personal transfers and compensation of employees has been increasing. Remittances increased by a stupendous 263 per cent from a low of $172.2 million in 2006 to $624.4 million in 2012. Unlike the Ethiopian case, inward FDI flows in low income countries shot up by 365 per cent from a low of $5,316 million to a high of $24,211.8 million between 2006 and 2012. And, unlike Ethiopia, equity portfolio flows in low income countries has impressively grown. Likewise, inward FDI in SSA countries rose by 112% from a low of $17,482.8 million to $37,048.8 million during the same period. Thus, the far from adequate performances in export earnings and inward FDI in Ethiopia should raise warning flags regarding the sustainability of non-concessional external debts.

Another way to look at the sustainability of the country’s external debt is to examine the country’s external debt to exports ratio. The World Bank’s records show that this ratio grew from a low of 101.8 per cent in 2006 to a high of 174.3 per cent by the end of 2012. By taking the inverse of this ratio, we see that the proportion of export earnings to external debt has deteriorated from 98.2 per cent in 2006 to a shocking 57.3 per cent in 2012, and early indications suggest that the ratio has further deteriorated in recent years. To put this in perspective, as of 2012, the external debt to export ratios of SSA and low income countries was about 71.2 per cent and 95.6 per cent, respectively. By taking the inverse again, we see that the proportion of export earnings to external debt of SSA countries is an impressive 140 per cent while that of low income countries is 104.6 per cent. Not only have the SSA and low income countries had better performance in this regard but they also enjoyed a cushion provided by equity portfolio flows which Ethiopia lacked. Research carried out in the context of developing and other low income countries suggests that the ratio of external debt to exports should at most be somewhere between 160-170 per cent. The lesser this ratio, the better it is. The 174.3 per cent that we observe in the case of Ethiopia was just outside the maximum range by the end of 2012. The gap has increased in recent years. Part of the problem is the weak performance of Ethiopia’s undiversified export sector. Most of the export earnings, except gold and international air transport services, originate from agricultural products which have been subject to declining prices. Even though most recent data shows modest increase in exports, the rate of growth does not match the growth rate of external debt, and the trade deficit is expected to widen reaching some 8.9 billion dollars. Ethiopia’s earnings have been so weak that fuel imports alone absorbed nearly 70 percent of the country’s total export earnings. As a result, the economy runs persistent current account deficits. (It stood at $2, 986 million as of 2012). Again, the continuously decreasing proportion of external debt that the country’s export earnings is able to cover, the disappointing performance of inward FDI flow, and the non-existent equity portfolio corroborates that the country’s external debt stock is nearing a dangerous zone that could stifle growth and trigger debt crises.

Investors’ concerns become elevated when they discover the government’s track record of fiscal responsibility, debt management, the unreliable and un-transparent nature of the country’s statistics, the emerging ownership structure and the complex political and social tensions in the country and in the Horn of Africa region. The evidence showing that some SSAs being already in trouble servicing their external debts has all the vulnerabilities and the adverse consequences of being engulfed in the infamous debt-crisis bandwagon effects. Furthermore, the recent U.S. court ruling against deadbeat Argentina should serve as a wake-up call to Ethiopian and by extension SSA authorities that international financiers will eventually win.

To complicate matters, just three months after the “highly speculative” sovereign debt rating was announced, the World Bank’s lead economist in Ethiopia suggested that the local currency is overvalued by about 31% and urged the Government of Ethiopia to consider currency devaluation, even though one of the drawbacks of currency devaluation is to increase a country’s debt obligations, a proposal that was criticized by Hassan and Alemayehu. The overvaluation and the over $14 billion external debt might have obliged the IMF to produce, on October 3, 2014, a negatively toned report about the sustainability of Ethiopia’s debt.

In summary, based on the evidence that is in the public domain, we argue that Ethiopia’s and by extension many of the SSA’s recent sovereign debts are likely to create problems. The external debt of Ethiopia has returned back to and even surpassed the level it was before the debt-write-offs. Ethiopia’s external public debt should be a concern in that its growth rate has been dramatic and has not been matched by a vibrant and diversified export sector. External debt sustainability largely depends on how the new funds are allocated and on the expected foreign exchange earnings capacity of the economy. Many SSA and developing countries were and are in the vicious circles of debt. Hence, even if new loans are made available from non-concessional sources, by way of new issues of Eurobonds and followed by the usual news of “over-subscription”, the country should learn to prioritize its resource allocation across projects and design realistic financial plans that could promote sustainable growth and development.
http://www.abugidainfo.com/index.php/22822/

ENTC Weekly Radio – October 28

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Listen to ENTC radio program – October 28 News, Interviews, entertainment, etc Listen here (mp3) To listen by phone – 213-992-4363

Eritrean resistance is finding new ways of getting its message across – The Guardian UK

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

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In a rare and courageous breach of the wall of silence, members of the internal opposition spoke to the Guardian and Radio France International last weekend.

Since independence from Ethiopia in 1993 Eritrea has been ruled by as a one-party state by President Isaias Afewerki, who brooks no opposition.

Two members of the Eritrean resistance, speaking via a secure connection, described conditions inside the country. “Essentials like water, electricity or petrol have disappeared,” they said. Food is so expensive that even middle-class families find it difficult to find enough to eat.

They said tension in the capital, Asmara, is high, with reports of trucks filled with Ethiopian “mercenaries” – from the Tigray People’s Democratic Movement (TPDM), known locally as Demhit, which Eritrea supports – ringing the city. The last round of compulsory military service failed, with only around 50 of the expected 400 conscripts reporting for duty. “We think it is highly likely that Demhit will carry out a door to door sweep to round up recruits,” said Sami (not his real name).

The TPDM, drawn from the ethnic group that now rules Ethiopia, has been given sanctuary, arms and training by Afewerki. Eritrea and Ethiopia have a long-standing border dispute, which has resulted in tens of thousands of troops confronting one another in the bleak, mountainous border region. Supporting Demhit is Eritrea’s means of maintaining pressure on the Ethiopian government.

A UN report published this month estimated that some 20,000 TPDM fighters are based in Eritrea, bolstering the president’s security. The report described them as having “a dual function as an Ethiopian armed opposition group and a protector of the Afewerki regime. Its fighters, who are from the same ethnic group as Afewerki, are seen to be personally loyal to him, unlike the defence forces whose loyalties have been questioned by the president in recent years.”

Since a failed army mutiny against the Eritrean regime in January 2013, the TPDM has become central to Afewerki’s survival. This reliance on foreign forces is deeply resented by the Eritrean population. “They demanded the identity documents of a friend of mine and I,” Sami said. “When this happened earlier this year there was a riot. People really hate them.”

Despite the intense security, the resistance is finding new ways of getting its message across. The group, which began over two years ago, started by helping organise phone calls from the diaspora abroad to Eritreans back home.

The resistance told the Guardian how it evaded tight security to put up posters protesting against conscription. “We lay on the streets, pretending to be homeless people,” said Sami. “It was freezing cold, but the security officials walked right over us. When they had gone we could put up our posters.

A smuggled video of “Freedom Friday”, now on YouTube, shows people in Asmara crowding round to read the posters.

Sami described the growing contempt for the regime. “In coffee bars you hear people talking – even high-ranking officials complain openly about the regime.” The government led the struggle for Eritrean independence, and for years relied on its legitimacy to demand the population’s support. “The movement was treated like a religion then, like the Bible or the Koran, and followed unquestioningly,” said Sami’s colleague, Temasgen. “Slowly, this has fallen away – and now it is gone.”

Both men know the risk they are taking in speaking to the international media. “I am willing to pay with my life,” Sami declared. “In history I would rather be remembered as someone who made the ultimate sacrifice rather than just sit and complain to my neighbours.”

They appealed for international pressure to be maintained on Afewerki: “Listen to our agony. We thank you for giving shelter to Eritrean refugees abroad, but if you are a decision-maker we beg you to keep up the pressure on the Eritrean regime.”

The opposition’s growing confidence and the fragility of the regime comes at a time when discussions are taking place about relaxing the sanctions against the Eritrean government. There are suggestions that the European Union is thinking about a new approach towards Asmara, and offering aid worth €200m (£158m) as a carrot for improved human rights.

Previous attempts by the former EU development commissioner Louis Michel to negotiate the release of the Swedish journalist Dawit Isaak in return for aid resulted in empty promises. Neither Dawit nor other political prisoners were freed. Instead, repression intensified, resulting in an exodus of refugees, who find their way across the Sahara and the Mediterranean to arrive at Calais in their hundreds.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/global-devel … s-afewerki

5,000 Oromos are held as political prisoners in Ethiopia – Amnesty International

Monday, October 27th, 2014

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

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

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

The Oromo make up 34 percent of Ethiopia’s 96.6 million population, according to the CIA World Factbook. Most of the ethnic group lives in the central Oromia Regional State, which surrounds Addis Ababa, the capital. Thousands of Oromo have been arrested at protests, including demonstrations this year against what was seen as a plan to annex Oromo land by expanding Addis Ababa’s city limits.

Muslims demonstrating about alleged government interference in religious affairs were also detained in 2012 and 2013, Amnesty said in the report, titled: ‘Because I am Oromo’ – Sweeping Repression in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia.
Government Denial

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

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

Senior Oromo politicians Bekele Gerba and Olbana Lelisa were jailed in 2012 for working with the group, which was classified as a terrorist organization by lawmakers in 2011.

“The accusation of OLF support has often been used as a pretext to silence individuals openly exercising dissenting behavior,” Amnesty said.

The bulk of Amnesty’s information came from interviews with 176 refugees in Kenya, Somalia and Uganda in July this year and July 2013. More than 40 telephone and e-mail conversations were also conducted with people in Ethiopia, it said.

Some interviewees said they fled the country because of conditions placed on them when released, such as being told to avoid activism, meeting in small groups, or associating with relatives who were political dissenters, the report said.

Amnesty has been banned from Ethiopia since 2011 when its staff was deported.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Davison in Addis Ababa at wdavison3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net Paul Richardson, Karl Maier
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-2 … -2011.html

Driving to Konso town, southwestern Ethiopia (video)

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Emebet Negasi – Senda Bel

The Great Ethiopian Famine of 1984 Remembered

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

 There is famine in Ethiopia in 2014, but it is known by other fancy names Famine in Ethiopia is a topic that horrifies me. Over the years, I have written long commentaries on the subject often challenging with incontrovertible facts the fabricated and false claims of the Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front and its late leader […]

Dr. Dima Nogo ordered to leave Ethiopia within 24 hours

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Dr. Dima Nogo, the second in command of Oromo Democratic Organization (ODF), has been ordered by TPLF security to leave the country within 24 hours.

An anonymous source has informed us that Dr. Dima was said to have arrived in Ethiopia for the funeral of late Aadde Tsehay Tolasa, the wife of late Gudina Tumsa, religious leader and Oromo nationalist. Sources claim Dr. Dima intended to discuss with the Ethiopian regime about the terms of ODF’s plan to enter Ethiopian domestic politics.

Dr. Dima was seen with Obbo Abba Dulaa Gammada at the funeral ceremony. He also informally met Obbo Muktar Kedir, the president of Oromia regional state on the same ceremony. However, both OPDO and TPLF senior leaders declined Dima’s request for official meeting.They instead sent a mid-level official, Faysal Aliy who was formerly working at Washington DC embassy but currently head of the diaspora affairs department within ministry of foreign affairs. This made it clear that EPRDF/OPDO does not want to deal with ODF within domestic political framework yet. Later on, it is believed discussions broke down. Although the details of the terms, both by ODF, and EPRDF, are not entirely known to the public, sources close to the matter indicate there is strong disagreement.

EPRDF/OPDO wants to see ODF to completely distance itself from any OLF legacy including the famous OLF [Oromo] flag. It wants to see ODF denounce past ‘’atrocities’’ and current OLF ideologies and armed struggle. Above all, EPRDF/OPDO demands all ODF members give up their foreign citizenship for Ethiopian passport. Although Dr Dima signaled willingness to accept these terms, he was not able to get green light from the remaining ODF leaders to enter into official agreement with TPLF.

ODF’s demands include amnesty given to leadership for their role within OLF. They also asked for the their party to be legalized and allowed participation in the next election.EPRDF/ODPO dropped the demands. After Dima informed Faysal his inability to secure consent from ODF leaders to accept the government’s precondition, intelligence officers ordered him to leave the country in 24 hours. He has now left . What will becoming of the ODF plan to return us hangs in limbo.

Source: Anonymous

Get well Dr. Craig Spencer

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Get well Dr. Craig Spencer. By Yilma Bekele What kind of place would the world be without people like Dr. Craig Spencer? Dr. Spencer is the medical doctor that is currently in New York Hospital with symptoms of the Ebola virus. Before his privacy was breached and his name associated with the dreaded virus Dr. […]

57 Ethiopians arrested in Kenya while heading to S. Africa to look for job

Friday, October 24th, 2014

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According to police, the 57 Ethiopians were found inside a house allegedly owned by John Ngigi.

Witnesses say the suspects were on transit to South Africa to look for jobs.

A man said to be the leader of the illegal immigrants managed to escape during the raid.

The suspects including their Kenyan host were taken to Kasarani Police Station and are due in court today.

The police raid was led by their Ruiru Sub-County Commandant Hesbon Lusweti.

It is reported that some unscrupulous Kenyans are doing lucrative business of helping aliens especially from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia to enter the country illegally

Source: http://citizennews.co.ke/news/2012/loca … mbu-county

U.K. authorities accused of ‘dodging obligations’ in the abduction of Andargachew Tsige

Friday, October 24th, 2014

THE INDEPENDENT – The partner of a British father-of-three being held on death row after he was spirited into Ethiopia has accused the Government of “dodging its obligations” by insisting it has no grounds for demanding his release.

Andargachew “Andy” Tsege, 59, was arrested at an airport in Yemen in June, and vanished for a fortnight until he reappeared in Ethiopian detention facing a death sentence imposed five years ago after a trial held in his absence.

The Foreign Office is now facing legal action after it classified Mr Tsege’s arbitrary disappearance and removal to Ethiopia as “questionable but not a criminal matter” and said that despite the risk of torture and the ultimate sanction hanging over him it did not feel “entitled” to demand he be returned home to London.

Yemi Hailemariam, Mr Tsege’s partner and the mother of their three children, told The Independent she was deeply concerned that Britain was soft-pedalling on his case to preserve its relationship with an increasingly important ally in east Africa.

Mr Tsege, who came to Britain as a political refugee in 1979 and is a prominent dissident campaigning against the Ethiopian regime, is feared by Ms Hailemariam and the legal charity Reprieve to be at extreme risk of torture. Electrocution, beatings and abuse, which includes tying bottles of water to men’s testicles, have been reported by detainees, and Mr Tsege’s whereabouts has not been revealed by the Ethiopian authorities.

Ms Hailemariam said: “For anyone reading what has happened, it must be clear that Andy is the victim of a crime. He was kidnapped to Ethiopia and faces the death sentence from a trial where he wasn’t even represented. He is a political prisoner.

“The Foreign Office is dodging its obligations and it is hard to see any other reason than it is to preserve Britain’s wider relationship with Ethiopia. It is now 117 days that he has been in detention and Britain must now say enough is enough.”

Reprieve, which has taken up Mr Tsege’s case, said it was starting legal action against the Government, potentially leading to a judicial review, to force it to press for the Briton’s immediate release and repatriation.

Maya Foa, director of the Reprieve’s death penalty team, said: “Andy Tsege is now well into his fourth month of detention and, incredibly, we are no closer to knowing where he is or even whether the Ethiopians plan to execute him. The UK Government’s unwillingness to take action is simply unacceptable.”

The father-of-three was en route to Eritrea when he was arrested during a two-hour stop over in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, at the apparent request of the Ethiopian authorities, who seem to have had foreknowledge of Mr Tsege’s travel arrangements.

The Yemeni authorities have claimed the arrest and subsequent transfer of the Briton to Ethiopia – without any opportunity to challenge the move – took place on the basis of a security agreement between the two countries.

In a letter to lawyers for Ms Hailemariam, seen by The Independent, the FCO said it accepted “due process” did not appear to have been followed in the case but said his disappearance did not amount to a “kidnapping”.

It added that it required evidence that a British national was not being treated “in line with internationally accepted standards” before it could consider approaching local authorities. The letter said: “On the information presently available, the Foreign Secretary does not consider that the United Kingdom is entitled to demand Mr Tsege’s release or his return.”

Ms Hailemariam said: “Andy has been abducted and placed on death row on the basis of a politically motivated trial. It is difficult to think of circumstances that would fall further below ‘internationally-accepted standards’. What will it take for Britain to demand the return of one of its citizens?”

A FCO spokesman said: “The British Embassy in Ethiopia remains in contact with the Ethiopian authorities about regular consular access to Mr Tsege in the future so we’re able to continue to monitor his welfare. We also continue to press for reassurances that the death penalty imposed in absentia will not be carried out.”

The Independent revealed earlier this month that public money is being used to train security forces in Ethiopia under a £2m programme run by the Department for International Development (DfID) to fund masters degrees for 75 Ethiopian officials on improving the accountability of security services.

Material on the DfID website explaining the scheme has since been removed, prompting Reprieve to write to International Development Secretary Justine Greening asking whether the policy is under review or has been erased “to avoid embarrassment”.

DfID admitted it had cancelled the masters courses due to “concerns about risk and value for money”. A source said the decision was not linked to the case of Mr Tsege.

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po … 99773.html

Driving through Ethiopia’s Danakil Desert (video)

Friday, October 24th, 2014

http://www.mereja.com/video/watch.php?vid=90b501886

Eritrean military deteriorates

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
Intense Anxiety Engulfing Eritrea
October 23, 2014
Written by: Gedab News

Since last Spring, when the army started to instruct conscripts returning to their units to stay at home until further notice, the Eritrean government has been facing difficulties in maintaining a properly manned army.

A conscript who has escaped Eritrea informed Gedab News, “the government can’t feed the army, so they told us to stay at home to mend for ourselves.”

The conscript had stayed in his village for five months with his parents before escaping to Sudan and is now planning the second leg of his journey to make it to Europe. He said, “I can’t stay with my ailing parents who depend on a small farm to feed themselves … hardly enough to feed them, my handicapped brother, and my widowed aunt.”

Several units of the Eritrean army are hallow and exist only in name, and often, “you find a squad guarding the installations of a camp that used to house a battalion.”

Many conscripts have taken advantage of the extended leave and left the country; the army is now facing difficulties in recalling them.

In what appears as an attempt to control the situation, the Eritrean immigration department has suspended the issuing of exit visas, but that hasn’t stopped the flocking of people who are crossing the borders of the country.

Insiders say, “the regime thought it could simply declare them AWOL and like the old times sweep the streets to forcefully return every missing conscript.”

Only a little over a third of the twenty-thousand senior-year high school students who were supposed to report for the last round of training in the Sawa military camp did so. The rest simply ignored the call and either left the country or went into hiding.

Around the country, some youngsters have resorted to brigandage and several mugging incidents by “youth holding sticks” were reported in Asmara. Residents in poorly lighted neighborhoods with narrow alleys “are so terrified of the situation they do not move alone at night.”

In order to ameliorate the shortage of soldiers, and keep order, the government has been trying to assemble the militia who were supposed to report to several localities, but the calls to report for “training” were largely ignored.

In urban centers, “very few militia reported, particularly in towns like Keren, Adi Kieh and Ghindae … only one person reported from Edaga Hamus” neighborhood of Asmara. It is worse in the countryside where citizens in many villages defiantly refused to report. In many places the dateline for reporting has been postponed for a second time.

Reports indicate that Ethiopia has deployed its forces on the South and Southwest of the Eritrean borders and its reconnaissance scouts are monitoring the region.

A teacher from southern Eritrean told Gedab News, “The regime is acting as if these are signs of an imminent Ethiopian incursion into Eritrea, and this has added to the anxiety of the population.”

Adding to the already building tension, on October 16, 2014, Sendek, an Ethiopian Amharic newspaper quoting official sources stated that the federal prosecutor has charged six residents of the Beni Shangul-Gumuz region for receiving political and military training in Eritrea. One of the charges is an attempt to disrupt the Ethiopian renaissance dam.

In March, 2012 Ethiopian forces attacked the camps of Ethiopian rebels group trained and hosted by the Eritrean government. The attack was believed to be a retaliation for “terrorist acts the groups carried out in Ethiopia.”

Ethiopia has a long standing policy, which was repeated by its Prime Minister in New York recently, that it will retaliate if it ever catches any of its Eritrean based opposition conducting “an act of terrorism in Ethiopia.”

http://awate.com/intense-anxiety-engulfing-eritrea/

VOA reports hundreds of Ethiopians from Amhara and other ethnic groups murdered in Gambella over the past few weeks

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

http://www.mereja.com/video/watch.php?vid=c16afb29f

DLA Piper sued by Facebook for fraud

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

DLA Piper, the notorious law and pr firm that has been harassing me and other Ethiopian journalists on behalf of the genocidal junta in Ethiopia, has been sued by Facebook for fraud. DLA Piper, which receives $50,000 per month from the TPLF, has 3 lawsuits against me — 2 in London and 1 in Atlanta — in an effort to try to shut down this website. I have filed a $120 million counterclaim against DLA Piper and its clients in August 2014. Details about the Facebook lawsuit against DLA Piper:

USA Today – Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg have filed suit against attorneys for Paul Ceglia, claiming they helped their client attempt to defraud the giant social network and its founder.

Ceglia is a New York state man with a checkered business history who became famous for suing Facebook.

He brought suit against Facebook in 2010, alleging he had a contract with Zuckerberg that entitled him to half of Zuckerberg’s stake in the company.

Ceglia was represented by a series of attorneys including several from the firms of DLA Piper and Milberg.

Facebook maintained that Ceglia had concocted a scheme to defraud the company and Zuckerberg.

A grand jury eventually indicted Ceglia on federal fraud charges.

Lawyers for Facebook argue Ceglia’s attorneys should have known that he was making false claims based on forged documents.

Ceglia is named as a defendant in the lawsuit filed in state court in Manhattan as one of his original attorneys, Paul Argentieri, whom Facebook alleges helped cook up the fraud.

In an emailed statement, DLA Piper called Facebook’s lawsuit "baseless" and alleged Facebook was trying to "intimidate lawyers from bringing litigation against Facebook."

"We will defend this meritless litigation aggressively and we will prevail," the statement said.

Argienteri did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Robert Ross Fogg, Ceglia’s attorney who is fighting the fraud charges, also called the lawsuit against Ceglia’s previous attorneys is "ludicrous and baseless."

"It’s an abhorrent use of our legal system," Fogg said.

Facebook does not see it that way.

"We said from the beginning that Paul Ceglia’s claim was a fraud and that we would seek to hold those responsible accountable. DLA Piper and the other named law firms knew the case was based on forged documents yet they pursued it anyway, and they should be held to account," Colin Stretch, Facebook’s general counsel said in an emailed statement.

Ceglia offered to pay Zuckerberg, then a Harvard student, $18,000 to work on a website in April 2003, according to the lawsuit.

They signed a contract but Ceglia only paid Zuckerberg about $8,000.

Ceglia is accused of forging the contract to make it look as if the two were working on a social network called "The Page Book."

The lawsuit got a big boost when DLA Piper took on Ceglia as a client, lending legitimacy to his claims, according to the lawsuit.

Ceglia’s suit was eventually dismissed by a federal judge amid evidence he forged the documents. Prosecutors filed criminal charges against him in 2012.

Facebook and Zuckerberg want to be reimbursed for legal fees and to be paid punitive damages. They did not specify how much.

ENTC Weekly Radio – October 21

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Listen to ENTC radio program – October 21 News, Interviews, entertainment, etc Listen here (mp3) To listen by phone – 213-992-4363

Ethiopian unity buidling forum to take place in DC on Novmeber 15

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Please click below to read the full annnouncement  Amharic BREAKING THE CYCLE OF DYSFUNCTION IN ETHIOPIAN INSTITUTIONS            

Ebola devastating Liberia

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

President Ellen Johnson SirleafMONROVIA, Liberia (FoxNews) – Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Ebola has killed more than 2,000 people in her country and has brought it to…

An organizational infrastructure model for the Ethiopian Civil Resistance

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

In the Ethiopian Civil Resistance Campaign, without organized, networked, clandestine or embedded democracy activists, there is no capacity to translate strategy into reality.

Organizational Infrastructure is how people are organized to achieve their stated goal. It establishes roles, responsibilities, authority, focus, and control within their cell organization. The infrastructure takes a collection of individuals and turns them into an engine that drives the struggle to achieve the goal.

The following two tactical plans are proposed organizational infrastructure.

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Ethiopian-born Bowflex inventor Dosho Tessema passed away

Monday, October 20th, 2014

October 17, 2014

Little Ethiopia received a very sad announcement about the passing away of an Ethiopian born inventor and manufacturer early this morning. Dosho Tessema Shifferaw who Invented the Bowflex exercise machines and the founder of Dosho Designs, Inc (DDI). He was selected as the recipient of National Director’s Award for Entrepreneurial Innovation, awarded by the US Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) on September 12, 2005. This prestigious award honors individuals or organizations with an outstanding record of entrepreneurial innovation that demonstrates commercial utility, contributes to the public and private sector of the economy, and brings visibility to the national minority business enterprise community. MBDA granted this award for Shifferaw’s invention of the revolutionary Bowflex exercise system and his creation of an exercise equipment line.

He came to America at age 17 with just $500 in his pocket and supported himself working as a cab driver. While working on a student project at San Francisco City College, Dosho came up with the idea for the Bowflex exercise machine. He patented the concept and attempted to license the idea to fitness equipment manufacturers. Lacking vision, they all declined. He then wrote a business plan with help from the MBDA, and started marketing the product directly to consumers in the early 1980s. He led his company to a successful IPO, forming a public company called Direct Focus, Inc. (DFXI) with a market cap of over $1 billion. Millions of Bowflex units have been sold in the United State and abroad, and the brand is now owned and marketed by The Nautilus Group (NYSE:NLS). Dosho has 14 patents and 4 pending patents worldwide.

Shiferaw was the son of Major General Shiferaw Tessema who served under Emperor Haile Selassie’s Ground forces and the Genet Military Academy. He was also well known among-st Washingtonian Diasporas for his support in the establishment of an Ethiopian advocacy group known as the Ethiopian American Constituency (EAC) in 2000.

Source

Driving from Gonder to Dabat (video)

Monday, October 20th, 2014

http://www.mereja.com/video/watch.php?vid=6e0d9834f

The Thugplomacy of the TPLF

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

I have often contended that the ruling regime in Ethiopia controlled by the Tigrean Liberation Front (TPLF) is a thugtatorship, the highest stage of African dictatorship.  If democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people, a thugocracy is a government of thugs, for thugs, by thugs. My concern in this commentary is […]

Amharic-Geez – differences in similar sounding letters

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

learning amharic

can any one tell me the difference between ሰ ሠ ጸ ፀ using examples?

what is the history of and ?
– is it the same as th in think, (dental)?

if = ts, (usually interpreted is this way),
is it the same as ts in bats, cats?

thank you

VOA responds to Journalist Abebe Gelaw’s accusation of false reporting

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

http://www.mereja.com/video/watch.php?vid=bad0deb5f

Ethiopian telecom nightmare

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Ethiopian Telecom sucks! It completely sucks in the Haud region in eastern Hararghe more than it sucks in Shoa and other regions. Every time I call my cousins with their camels in the great Haud plateau, they have to climb a tall tree just to get a reception. But if they cross the border by 900 meters to Somaliland side, the conversation is like as if they live in the same city as me.

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I hope this pretty lady is not the one that talks every time saying phone is switched off.

So how can an unrecognized state of 3 million have better telecommunication than a nation of 3,000 years old with 90 million consumers?

Something is not right. Ethiopian Telecom (ETC) is monopolist by few Adwa Tigrais and they have no idea how to stay competitive, innovative and expand the network beyond what Haile Selassie laid out more than 50 years ago. Very lagging and primitive system. The few Tigrais who run the system reply on poor services and products from China while the rest of the region have either produced their own domestic solutions or combined many systems such as those of the West and East.

ETHIOPIA has Africa’s last big telecoms monopoly. The absence of competition has seen a country of more than 80m lag badly behind the rest of the continent in an industry that has generally burgeoned alongside economic growth. Mobile-phone penetration, which averages 70% of the population elsewhere in Africa, is closer to 25% in Ethiopia. A paltry 2.5% of Ethiopians have access to the internet, compared with 40% in neighbouring Kenya.

Ethiopia’s authoritarian leaders are as keen as any on the economic benefits of modern telecoms but fear the political ramifications; pesky dissidents become even more irritating when wired. That explains a $1.6 billion agreement with China’s two leading telecoms-equipment companies to upgrade its network. The deal with Huawei and ZTE will preserve Ethiopia’s state dominance and further put off the opening up of one of Africa’s largest economies.

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An Ethiopian woman in Hararghe struggles to hear the person on the other end.

The picture is different just across the border in unrecognized Somaliland. Much of the technology there is linked to the US and EU technology.

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Somalilanders proudly share their 4g coverage and smart phone capabilities including free call apps such as Viber.

The state of internet policy making in Ethiopia

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Kinfe Michael Yilma, a scholar at Brunel University London UK, discusses Ethiopia’s internet policies and participation in internet governance forums.

Ethiopia is among those countries with the lowest level of internet penetration and use. A 2014 World Internet Stats report, for instance, claims that Ethiopia has had only 1.9% internet penetration. Similarly, the World Economic Forum also rated the number of internet users in Ethiopia at 1.1%, ranking the country 142 out of 144 countries surveyed in 2012/13. As of December 31, 2013, that number had only risen to 5.5%, according to a report released by the Ethiopian government. Indeed, it was only in 1997 that Ethiopia introduced the internet, and not until 2005 that the first four thousand kilometers of fiber optic backbone were laid in Addis Ababa. This delay in the proliferation of the internet has played a role in delaying the development of internet policies including legislative measures surrounding the internet.

Ethiopia’s internet policies are part of the country’s broader information and communication technology (ICT) policy. The first Ethiopian ICT policy was drafted and submitted to the Council of Ministers (CoM) in 2002. The policy envisioned, among other developments, the improvement of the social and economic well-being of the Ethiopian people through the exploitation of opportunities created by ICTs. Only a few measures based on the ICT policy of 2002were implemented, most notably the promulgation of the first set of cybercrime rules as part of the Criminal Code of the 2004. The CoM, however, replaced the 2002 policy with a more comprehensive policy in August 2009.

This more elaborate version of national ICT policy and strategy gears its strategic focus towards seven major areas: ICT infrastructure, human resource development, ICT legal systems and security, ICT for government administration and services, ICT industry and private sector development, and research and technology transfer. The national ICT policy and strategy is executed through specific ICT strategic documents. One example of such a document is the Ethiopian e-government strategy. The strategy envisions the implementation of several government electronic services, including informational and transactional services. The government has made significant achievements in rolling out various e-government services, such as WoredaNet – used to network various remotely located administrative divisions of the government, SchoolNet – used to network various schools sharing resources such as a digital library and video lessons, and EthERNet – used to network all public universities in the country.

The 2009 ICT policy makes it clear that the current legal framework is insufficient for coping with the challenges of the fast-developing national and global ICT sectors. The ICT policy even outlines the legislative instruments that are needed to govern cyber-related activities, such as data protection laws, cybercrime laws, and intellectual property laws. Only a couple of these legal instruments have thus far been enacted to implement the national 2009 ICT policy. Among them is the telecom fraud legislation, a major piece of Ethiopian internet law adopted in 2012. This legislation not only prevents frauds on telecom networks and services, but also deals with matters such as obscenity on the internet. Another piece of internet legislation is the national payment services proclamation, which governs, among other services, online payment services such as internet banking. There are also a handful of legislations currently under deliberation among legislators. For example, a modern and comprehensive cybercrime legislation is set to replace the existing cybercrime rules when the Ethiopian parliament returns from recess in October. The e-commerce, electronic signature, and data protection proclamations, which were initially crafted in 2010, are also in the pipeline.

Regarding the institutional framework, two entities play major roles in shaping internet policies in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoCIT) is the principal government organ in charge of ICTs in general. It has the power and duty to initiate policies and laws in ICT areas [1]. MoCIT also sets and implements standards to ensure provision of quality, reliable, and safe ICT services. Each regional state has its own Communications and Information Technology Agency entrusted with implementing on-the-ground laws, policies, and standards on ICTs adopted at the federal level, making MoCIT the principle internet policy organ in Ethiopia. The Information Network Security Agency (INSA) is an institution parallel to MoCIT that has statutory powers to formulate and enforce national policies, laws, and standards to ensure key information and computer-based infrastructure [2].While MoCIT is bestowed with a broad mandate for general ICT regulation, INSA is specifically dedicated to dealing with information security. In terms of cyber-related legislation, MoCIT has thus far written the e-commerce, e-signature, and data protection proclamations (all of which are still drafts), whereas INSA drafted the cybercrime legislation (still a draft) and the already adopted telecom fraud offense proclamation and Ethiopian Information Security Policy of 2011.

The Ethiopian government is completely absent from the global internet governance ecosystem, especially in regards to internet governance forums. Despite being the sole institution for critical internet resource administration in the country, the Ethiopian government does not attend the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) meetings, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), or sub-regional IGF forums such as the African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF) and the East African Internet Governance Forum (EAfIGF). The Ethiopian government has never been represented at the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) or the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) of ICANN, despite the fact that the Ethiopian government, through MCIT, manages the .et domain name [3]. Ethiopia also did not have a seat at the much-talked-about World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) held in December 2012 in Dubai, UAE despite the country being one of the early members of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

It is also rare to see notable participation from Ethiopian civil society, industry, or academia in the internet governance ecosystem. Potential stakeholders have also not been keen on holding the government accountable for its statutory obligation to coordinate all stakeholders in the management of the country code top level domains [3]. That said, it is important to mention the remarkable participation, if not decisive roles, of some individual Ethiopians in the internet governance ecosystem. Noteworthy examples include Ms. Sophia Bekele, who spearheaded a widely known – and controversial – bid to run the dotafrica top level domain, and Dr. Dawit Bekele, regional director of the internet society (ISOC). ICANN’s fellowship program has also recently enabled a handful of young academics to attend its public meetings held across the globe, which has in turn opened doors for them to join stakeholders groups within ICANN, mainly the Non Commercial Stakeholders Group of the GNSO.

There is much progress to be made regarding the state of internet policy making in Ethiopia. Internet policies and legislation are increasingly being outpaced by developments in the ICT field. There remain many areas of internet policy, such as government surveillance, that are presently untouched by the current legal and policy framework. For example, a number of emerging government electronic surveillance practices were recently unveiled by Human Rights Watch. These reports document a range of surveillance tools actively being used by the government without any clear policy framework or oversight mechanisms.

This state of affairs makes clear the need to lay out a requisite legal and policy framework that respects the rights of citizens while ensuring transparency and accountability within government processes for all internet activities. This need is more urgent than ever due to developments at the regional level in Africa. Recently, the African Union (AU) adopted a broad cyber convention that covers three major areas of internet law and policy: cybercrime, personal data protection and electronic commerce. Ethiopia, as an important member of the AU, will most likely adopt the convention in due time, which makes it an opportune time for Ethiopian policy makers to gear up to the real task of internet policy making. Adopting the convention will have to be preceded or accompanied by the requisite leveling of the internet policy and legal landscape so that rules of the convention can be harmoniously integrated. Readiness is also desirable at this stage, particularly in terms of implementing laws, policies, and institutions, as well as readiness for professionals who will have to put these rules and policies into effect.

Notes
1. Proclamation to Provide for the Definition of Powers and Duties of the Executive Organs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Federal Negarit Gazeta, Proclamation No. 691/2010, Art 10 (1(a)) [deleted] Art 24.

2. Information Network Security Agency Re-establishment Proclamation, Federal Negarit Gazeta, Proclamation No. 808/2013, Art 6(2).

3. Note that MCIT is obliged under Art 24(1(h)) of Proclamation No. 691/2010 to coordinate all stakeholders for the creation and proper implementation of country code top level domains.

Kinfe Michael Yilma was formerly a lecturer-in-law at Hawassa University Law School in Ethiopia. He received his Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from Addis Ababa University with great distinction in July 2009 and his Master of Laws (LLM) degree in Internet Law from the University of Oslo in December 2012. He also studied Internet privacy at the University of Oxford, Oxford Internet Institute in 2012. His earlier research and teachings focused on the Ethiopian tax law regime on which he produced a number of articles published in reputable journals. He recently devotes his time on researching and writing on the intersections of human rights and technology. He particularly writes on the interplay between privacy and the Internet.

Driving through Jinka, Ethiopia (video)

Friday, October 17th, 2014

http://www.mereja.com/video/watch.php?vid=f0456eecb

Ethiopian-American professor in Texas running for U.S. Senate

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Mohammed TahiroProminent Ethiopian-American Professor Mohammed Tahiro has filed all necessary paperwork with Texas Secretary of State to run for US Senate as a write-in candidate in…

Protest planned in Pennsylvania over sentencing in abuse of adopted Ethiopian children

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh PA) – A member of the Allegheny County Children, Youth and Families advisory board is organizing an event Friday to protest what she considers a lenient sentence for a former Franklin Park couple accused of abusing their adopted Ethiopian children.

“My personal calling is advocating for the most vulnerable children,” said Joanna Huss, who runs a public relations firm.

She is angry about the sentences received by Douglas and Kristen Barbour, who prosecutors said withheld food from the 6-year-old boy they adopted and forced him to lie in his own urine, and allowed the 1-year-old girl, who ultimately sustained a brain injury, to remain untreated for fractures she suffered.

The couple pleaded no contest to endangering the welfare of children. Douglas Barbour pleaded to two misdemeanor counts, with an agreement with prosecutors for a sentence of probation. Kristen Barbour pleaded to two felony counts, and her sentence was left up to the court.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning ordered Douglas Barbour to serve five years’ probation and sentenced his wife in the standard recommended guideline range — originally setting the penalty at six to 12 months alternative housing. But her attorney, Robert E. Stewart, filed a motion for reconsideration, saying that if she were forced to serve that sentence there would be no one at home to care for the couple’s two biological children because her husband works.

On Friday, the judge modified the sentence, requiring Kristen Barbour to serve her sentence at the Mercer County jail, but with work release. She will be allowed to leave the jail five days a week to go home and care for her children but report back each night.

Ms. Huss said she felt sickened by the sentence imposed. The protest at noon on Friday in the Allegheny County Courthouse courtyard is designed to bring attention to sentencing guidelines in Pennsylvania for crimes against children, generally, and to what she feels is an “injustice” in the Barbours’ case, specifically.

Amie Downs, a spokeswoman for county CYF, had no comment.

The protest is being conducted in Huss’ role as a private citizen, she said.

“I want people who have read about this to stand up,” Ms. Huss said. “Children who are abused — if there is a light sentence for the perpetrator, it’s no deterrent.

“It sends a message that we as a society don’t care.”

Source: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/north … 1410150178

No confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola in Ethiopia – U.S. Embassy

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Message for U.S. Citizens: Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Update – Information and Resources
Oct. 15, 2014

The U.S. Embassy would like to provide an update to our August 12, 2014 Information Message for U.S. Citizens regarding the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

Ethiopia continues to have no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola.

The Embassy is aware of erroneous media reporting regarding suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola in Ethiopia. Ethiopian government officials have also recently dismissed such rumors. U.S. Embassy officials, including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), continue to maintain a close working relationship with the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health and the Ethiopian Public Health Institute in both preparation and prevention of EVD.

The U.S. Embassy would like to again point U.S. Citizens traveling or residing in Ethiopia to consult online resources to best educate themselves about EVD. Visit both the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) websites for this specific information via the links below:

CDC Ebola Website – http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/

16 staff members of Doctors Without Borders infected with Ebola; Liberia’s transport minister quarantined after her driver died

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

ebola outbreak intensifies SIERRA LEONE (ASSOCIATED PRESS) — A Sierra Leone soldier has tested positive for Ebola but he is not a member of, and had no contact…

Hobo Traveler in Awasa, Ethiopia (video)

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

http://www.mereja.com/video/watch.php?vid=2a23436d8

Gebru Asrat and his politics

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

By Yilma Bekele The honorable Ato Gebru Asrat has written a very fat book that is five hundred pages long. I am assuming that the purpose of the book was to present himself as a person of vision and to show us his leadership ability to show us the road to the future. Unfortunately, he […]

Urgent actions for ending tyranny in Ethiopia

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Pro-democracy forces should prepare the society in advance for an orderly transition to democracy. The dictatorial structures — the TPLF junta’s economic, political and social infrastructure — will need to be dismantled through a coordinated civil resistance campaign. The constitutional and legal bases and standards of behavior of a durable democracy will need to be built urgently, now, today.

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Prepared by Ethiopian Review Research Center

SoleRebels Silicon Valley is now Open

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

After a few days of delay SoleRebels opened its first US store in the Valley Fair Mall, in Silicon Valley, California this month. Shoes that are proudly made in Ethiopia are now displayed at this high end mall.

This is the first of its kind for an African footwear company to open it’s store in the Silicon Valley.

I urge all Ethiopians to support this home grown Ethiopian jewel by visiting the store.

I stopped over the weekend and bought 2 pairs. The shoes are very trendy, very light and comfortable. I guess that’s why they call it, Walk Naked.

I would be going for more.

Let us all walk naked on SoleRebels shoes.

The Ginbot 7 – Shabia destructive alliance – Discussion on Ethiopiawinet Radio DC

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

http://www.mereja.com/video/watch.php?vid=9b7d7fc55

How practical is civil resistance in a poor country like Ethiopia?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Brother Elias,

How practical is civil resistance and disobedience in a poor country like Ethiopia that is ruled by a repressive regime? The regime owns or controls the majority of the economic sectors leaving no other alternative for the mass.

On one of the narrative I read in Ermias legesse’s book, he pointed out that Meles clearly understood that the people of addis ababa can not and will not mount a disobedience that can last more than 2 weeks since they don’t have enough money or food stockpiled for such events. He was right on the money.

Also, a synchronized and determined disobedience require quite a lot of strong and learnt men. In a country where everyone dies to sit on one chair (leadership), how is it possible to produce hundreds of thousands selfless men?

In my view, civil disobedience can not be applied to overthrow a government in Ethiopia. It can assist those who are fighting the regime, but cannot guarantee an overthrow and a peaceful transition afterwards

Jimmy the conquistador

Ethiopian journalist convicted for inciting rebellion

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Temesgen DesalegnBy William Davison
An Ethiopian editor is facing as many as 10 years in prison after being convicted of inciting the public against the government…

ENTC Weekly Radio – October 14

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Listen to ENTC radio program – October 14 News, Interviews, entertainment, etc Listen here (mp3) To listen by phone – 213-992-4363

Eritrean voyage to hell – documentary film by French TV

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Each month between 3000 and 4000 young Eritreans flee Eritrea and many of them fall into the hands of evil human traffickers and organ traders, according to the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations for Eritrea, Sheila B. Keetharuth. The following is trailer of a shocking documentary film produced by a French TV, Public Sénat. It will air starting this coming Saturday, Oct. 18. Source: Le Monde

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Teddy Afro arrested

Monday, October 13th, 2014

ቴዲ አፍሮ እስር ቤት ገባ – ከ8 ዓመት በፊት የገዛት እና ሰው ገድሎባታል ተብላ የነበረችው መኪና አሁን ደግሞ ቀረጥ ሳይከፈልባት ነው ቴዲ የገዛት በሚል ምክንያት በገቢዎች እና ጉምሩክ ባለስልጣን ተከሶ መታሰሩ ተዘግቧል ለበለጠ መረጃ ይህን ተጭነው ያድምጡ

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Journalist Temesgen Dessalegn arrested

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Ethiopian journalist and columnist Temesgen Desalegn has been arrested today after a kangaroo court in Addis Ababa convicted him terrorism charges.

ጋዜጠኛ ተመስገን ደሳለኝን ወደ ወህኒ ቤት ተወሰደ ::
‪#‎Ethiopia‬ ‪#‎EPRDF‬ ‪#‎FreeJournalists‬ @pressfreedom ‪#‎miniliksalsawi‬ @cpj

Minilik Salsawi በቀድሞው “ፍትህ” ጋዜጣ ላይ “መጅሊሱ፣ ሲኖዶሱና የአብዮታዊ ዲሞክራሲያዊ ማጥመቂያዎች”፣ “የፈራ ይመለስ” እና “የብሄረሰቦች መብት እስከ መጨፈር” በሚሉ ርእሶች በተለያዩ ጊዜያት በወጡት ፅሁፎች፤ መንግስትን በአመፅ ለመናድ ቀስቅሷል፣ የመንግስትን ስም አጥፍቷል፣ የህዝብን አስተሳሰብ ለማናወጥ ሰርቷል፤ በሚሉ ክሶች ለሁለት ዓመታት የቆየው ክስ ፍርድ ቤት በዛሬው ዕለት ተመስገን ደሳለኝን የጥፋተኝነት ውሳኔ በማሳለፍ ወደ ወህኒ ቤት የተወሰደ ሲሆን ለቅጣት ውሳኔ ለጥቅምት 17 ተቀጥሯል፡፡
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TPLF launches war on Mahibere Kidusan – (video)

Monday, October 13th, 2014

http://www.mereja.com/video/watch.php?vid=326e41943

The Rise and Fall of the “Baksheesh State” in Ethiopia

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

 The rise of the “baksheesh state” in Ethiopia My long time readers by now know that I mint my own words and phrases whenever I find it necessary to convey my ideas and arguments with greater clarity, precision and creativity.  In this commentary I introduce the concept of the “baksheesh state” (beggar state) to examine […]

UDJ elects a new leader

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

The chairman of Union for Democracy and Justice Party in Ethiopia (UDJ), Ato Gizachew Shiferraw, has resigned today at the party’s central committee meeting that was held in Addis Ababa. The central committed expressed its admiration for Ato Gizachew and appreciated the sacrifices he made for the causes that the party is advancing.

Ato Gizachew has demonstrated that he is not only a patriotic Ethiopian, but he is also an honorable man by keeping his word to pass the torch to the younger generation of UDJ leaders.

The UDJ central committee elected Ato Belay Fekadu as the new chairman.

Bale Mountains, Ethiopia (video)

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

http://www.mereja.com/video/watch.php?vid=5f445d1e7

Rare images document centuries-long history of Ethiopians and other Africans in India

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

An exhibition and conference highlight rare images of the contribution of Africans to Indian society.

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Almost a hundred years before Shivaji began to consolidate his empire, Malik Ambar of Bijapur led an army of 50,000 soldiers, many of whom were Marathi cavalry soldiers, against the Mughals. Malik Ambar, who was born in Ethiopia and brought as a slave to India around 1570, was one member of India’s once-thriving community of African immigrants.

Like other Africans in India, he is now only rarely remembered. But a new exhibition and conference in New Delhi, Africans in India: A Rediscovery, seeks to change that.

Dr Sylviane Diouf, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has been working on this exhibition, for some years now, in association with Ken Robbins, who co-wrote a book on African elites in India. The first iteration of the exhibition was in February 2013 in New York.

“We thought it was time for us to look at African diaspora in the Indian Ocean world, which in the Western world, nobody knows about,” said Diouf, whose work as a historian focuses on Africans along the Atlantic. “Our mission was to cover the entire African diaspora.”

One of the most fascinating stories that emerged from the Indian Ocean region, which included Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, India and Pakistan, was that India had African rulers, notables and chief ministers. This was not the case with African diaspora in any other place, she said.

Africans from countries such as Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia began arriving in India as early as the 1300s. Many African women came to India as domestic servants or as concubines. Due to an established trade between India and east Africa, some men arrived as traders and sailors, but an overwhelming majority came to India as slave soldiers. This eventually enabled them to reverse equations and to work their up the social ladder.

“When armies arrived, they needed people to actually manage, if you will, the territories they had conquered,” said Diouf. “Usually what happens in many cases is that when you’re a newcomer, you don’t trust the people who were there before. You think people from outside will be more loyal because they won’t have any family links.”

Instead, some Africans seized power for themselves and turned against those who brought them in, resulting in figures like Malik Ambar, or even the Sidi Nawabs of Sachin and Janjira, the last of whom joined the Indian union only in 1948.

This, however, was not the story of Africans who arrived later in the 19th and 20th centuries, brought in mostly by the Portuguese slave trade from Kenya and Tanzania. Their situation resembled that of their American counterparts far more.

This exhibition revolves around those who were descended from the earlier arrivals. The earliest painting is of an African woman dated around 1600. The prints themselves span various painters and styles across eras around India.

What stands out, said Diouf, is that Africans are represented very realistically. They are not ridiculed or stereotyped, but appeared just as they were.

“In early Europe, we see paintings of African ambassadors, some of whom visited Europe in the 16th century,” she said. “Those are represented in a dignified manner. It is only when we get to slavery in the Americas that Africans begin to be depicted as stereotypes.”

Africans in India: A Rediscovery will run from October 9 to November 4 at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts.

Source: http://scroll.in/article/682635/Rare-im … s-in-India

Cure for Type 1 diabetes imminent after Harvard stem-cell breakthrough

Friday, October 10th, 2014

By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor5:00PM BST 09 Oct 2014

Harvard University has produced the vast quantities of insulin-producing cells needed for transplants

A cure for diabetes could be imminent after scientists discovered how to make huge quantities of insulin-producing cells, in a breakthrough hailed as significant as antibiotics.
Harvard University has, for the first time, managed to manufacture the millions of beta cells required for transplantation.

It could mean the end of daily insulin injections for the 400,000 people in Britain living with Type 1 diabetes.

And it marks the culmination of 23-years of research for Harvard professor Doug Melton who has been trying to find a cure for the disease since his son Sam was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a baby.

“We are now just one pre-clinical step away from the finish line,” said Prof Melton.

Asked about his children’s reaction he said: "I think like all kids, they always assumed that if I said I’d do this, I’d do it,

"It was gratifying to know that we can do something that we always thought was possible.”
The stem cell-derived beta cells are presently undergoing trials in animal models, including non-human primates, where they are still producing insulin after several months, Prof Melton said.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that causes the pancreas to stop producing insulin – the hormone that regulates blood glucose levels.

If the amount of glucose in the blood is too high it can seriously damage the body’s organs over time.
While diabetics can keep their glucose levels under general control by injecting insulin, that does not provide the fine tuning necessary to properly control metabolism, which can lead to devastating complications such as blindness or loss of limbs.

Around 10 per cent of all diabetes is Type 1, but it is the most common type of childhood diabetes. 29,000 youngsters suffer in Britain.

The team at Harvard used embryonic stem cells to produce human insulin-producing cells equivalent in almost every way to normally functioning cells in vast quantities.

Chris Mason, Professor of Regenerative Medicine, University College London, said it was ‘potentially a major medical breakthrough.’

“If this scalable technology is proven to work in both the clinic and in the manufacturing facility, the impact on the treatment of diabetes will be a medical game-changer on a par with antibiotics and bacterial infections,” he said.

Professor Anthony Hollander, Head of Institute of Integrative Biology at the University of Liverpool, added:“This is very exciting fundamental research that solves a major roadblock in the development of a stem cell treatment for diabetes.

“The study provides a very elegant and convincing method for generating functional insulin-producing cells in large numbers.”

Professor Mark Dunne, at Manchester University, added: Overall this is an important advance for the field of diabetes and people with Type 1 diabetes.”

Professor Elaine Fuchs, of Rockefeller University, described the findings as "one of the most important advances to date in the stem cell field".

"For decades, researchers have tried to generate human pancreatic beta cells that could be cultured and passaged long term under conditions where they produce insulin.”

A report on the work is published in the journal Cell.

Source http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/scie … rough.html

Former Eritrean information minister Ali Abdu presents his case

Friday, October 10th, 2014

I, Ali Abdu Ahmed, of C04/415 Brunswick Road, Brunswick West, in the state of Victoria, ex-Minister for Information in Eritrea, make the following declaration under the Statutory Declaration Act 1959;

1. Until very recently I was the Minister of Information, the official Spokesperson of my country, and a special advisor to the President of the State of Eritrea. I joined the Ministry in 2000, and prior to that I was the Ambassador to Germany and also the Vatican, Austria and Belgium in 1999. I was also the Vice-President of the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students from 1995 until 1999.

2. My political differences with the Eritrean regime date back to the year 2007 and they are centered around its policy towards Somalia; its endless conscription of Eritrean youth into a form of modern slavery; its creation of a two-tier system of privileged and dispossessed citizens; its arming of civilians including elderly men and women; the illegal extortion of 2% tax on Eritrean Diaspora; and the fact that I was being told by the Eritrean people, particularly those young Eritreans, that I was the “next in line”, the “next President of Eritrea” – this aroused deep suspicion of me in the mind of the President.

Continue reading here.

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Walking in Awasa, Ethiopia (video)

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

http://www.mereja.com/video/watch.php?vid=e242e220d

Marriage proposal to Mighty Awash and HMD comes to the US.

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Marriage proposal to Mighty Awash and HMD comes to the US. By Yilma Bekele Our elders know how to tell a story. The way they do it could be compared to like pealing an onion, you have to go thru so many layers to get to the heart of the matter. Even then it requires […]

The Ethiopian Civil Resistance Campaign strategy has 2 parallel commitments

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

The Ethiopian Civil Resistance Campaign’s vision is to build a truly democratic system in Ethiopia and to guarantee that the country is firmly founded on the freedom of all of its citizens and on the equality of its peoples, where respect for justice and human rights prevail. In support of this vision, the Ethiopian Civil Resistance Campaign strategy has two parallel commitments:

1. Removing tyranny through a coordinated nation-wide civil resistance campaign, and
2. Bringing democracy through all-inclusive transitional government established in exile to prepare the ground work, before the regime is overthrown and avoid chaos in the country.

The following exhibit articulates these two commitments.

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Prepared by Ethiopian Review Research Center

Ethiopia: Obang Metho condemns ‘Life Grabs’ and the Second Scramble for Africa

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Speaking at MRG’s London office as part of a nationwide tour, Executive Director of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia, Obang Metho, sheds light on the systematic violation of indigenous land rights by Ethiopia’s autocratic regime, resulting in the alleged torture and imprisonment of those who resist. And although this is happening in a […]

Video evidence of attempted murder at Woyanne embassy

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

http://www.mereja.com/video/watch.php?vid=c8cd25408

Police seek help to find Ethiopian woman missing in Texas

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

DALLAS, TX – Family members are still searching for any clues to the whereabouts of Almaz Gebremedhin, 42, a Collin County, Texas, woman who has been missing since last week.

The local Ethiopian community is also rallying support and has raised money for a reward, which will be offered to anyone offering a significant tip to police that brings Gebremedhin home.

The Wylie Police Department said Gebremedhin has not been seen since Thursday at 5 a.m. as she left her home in the 1500 block of Windward Lane in Wylie to head to her job at a nursing home.

“Four days, no sign of her car — we are in the dark. I am in the dark,” Gebremedhin’s husband Sisay Zelelew said Monday.

The two have been married for 16 years and have two children, ages 10 and 8.

Zelelew says he’s known his wife since she was 16 when the two were living in their native Ethiopia.
“She’s a near perfect person,” he added.

Zelelew said he knew something was very wrong when his children’s school called him, informing him his wife had not picked up the children.

When he called the nursing home to see if she was busy at work, co-workers told him she’d never shown up for her shift.

She is 5 feet tall, 134 pounds, and has black hair and brown eyes. She was wearing scrubs when she disappeared.

Her vehicle — a silver 2004 Chevrolet Ventura van with the license plate CVZ-8041 — is also still missing, according to Wylie police.

Anyone with information should call Wylie Police Department at 972-442-8171.

Source: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/communit … -woman.ece