Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Recent CU-Boulder grad to head to Ethiopia for research project

                              A research project will introduce the recent alum to her roots

U niversity of Colorado alumnus Semira Kassahun has been working overtime ever since she graduated with a Bachelor's degree on Dec. 16.

While many recent graduates take time off to enjoy the holidays, Kassahun is making the final preparations for a two-month trip to Ethiopia early next year.

Kassahun is anxiously awaiting final approval of the research proposal she has been working on for the past two years.

"I'm almost ready, minus packing and a plane ticket," Kassahun said.

Kassahun said it has been a dream of hers to work in public health since high school. She said research in Ethiopia would be a giant step in the right direction.

Once approved, Kassahun will travel to a hospital in Ethiopia where she will gather and analyze data pertaining to the relationship Rickets disease has to the mortality rate in children less than 5-years-old.

Kassahun said she can currently only work with data, but when attending medical school, she'll have the ability to develop research into something more tangible that could possibly save lives.

"I have thought about opening clinics around the world and serving underprivileged kids in underdeveloped countries," Kassahun said. "I know my dreams are big but I can narrow them later. For now, I just want to serve people who are under served."

Weldu Weldeyesus, an instructor at CU, said Kessahun has overcome the challenges that come with international research projects quickly. He said her passion for public health is obvious and guides her determination.

"She has always been interested in the area of public health and in conducting research that would have some practical implications in alleviating -- if not eradicating -- an existing problem," Weldeyesus said. "I envisage a bright future for Semira."

Andrea Iglesias, licensed psychologist, worked with Kassahun at CU's Counseling and Psychological Services department. Iglesias said Kassahun's leadership qualities were evident, especially while working with students.

"I think what strikes me the most about Semira, is her genuine care of others and desire to find ways to offer her support and encouragement to help others thrive, while also being invested in her own learning and growth," Iglesias said.

Kassahun said her involvement with programs like CAPS reinforced her plans for the future.

Besides her research, Kassahun said she's excited to visit the country where her parents were raised and where much of her family remains.

Kassahun has never been to Ethiopia and has never met her grandparents or many of her aunts and uncles.

"I'm just so excited to visit there and meet my family," Kassahun said. "It fit my research well and being able to reconnect with my background and my culture is really exciting."

Kassahun should know by mid-January when she will be leaving for Ethiopia, but until then she said she is still trying to get used to being a graduate instead of a student.

"It's still weird not having homework to do," Kassahun said. "I still feel like a student for now, but I'm sure I'll be too busy with research to think about it soon."

Economic growth has made the developing world less dependent on aid

A new generation of leaders, business friendly policies, technology, the spread of peace, and strong demand for natural resources have helped Africa to withstand the global downturn

The Mercato, the commercial hub of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Ethiopia's economy grew by 7.5% in 2011

I celebrated New Year's Day 2011 in Ethiopia, where we lived for three years. Ethiopia is humming with the optimism and energy of a fast-growing country, creating more jobs, sending more children to school, expanding healthcare, and providing electricity, clean water, sanitation and roads.

Ethiopia's economy grew by 7.5% this year, and it is not the only country in Africa to boast a high growth rate. Africa has been the fastest growing continent of the past decade. The emergence of a new generation of leaders, the end of the continent's debt crisis, business-friendly policies, new technologies, the spread of peace, and strong demand for natural resources have helped Africa withstand the global downturn.

Steve Radelet, a former senior fellow at the Centre for Global Development, has documented the emergence of 17 African countries in which total income is growing by more than 5% a year – increasing average incomes by 50% in 13 years. That growth is attracting businesses and investors from Africa and abroad, and the continent's middle class is expanding. By 2015, about 100m African households will have incomes greater than £2,000 a year, roughly as many as India today.

And as they grow, developing countries are becoming less dependent on aid.

At the start of 2011, we did not expect a year in which so many people would be able to claim their rights and freedom. The Arab spring has moved many of us, but should not have surprised us. Better government has spread across Africa and the Middle East, defying outdated assumptions in the west. Thirteen African countries held national elections in 2011, four leading to a change of government; there will be 13 more in 2012. South Sudan gained its independence after a largely peaceful referendum.

When the year began, we did not know the rains in east Africa would fail. But in contrast to the 1980s, in today's Ethiopia drought no longer means famine. Unlike its neighbour Somalia, there has been no repeat of the TV images of starving people in Ethiopia. That's because, with the help of foreign donors, it has put in place early warning, food reserves and distribution systems, and a safety net that supports the poorest families in their own communities.

As developing countries have become more integrated into the world economy, and less dependent on aid, so their interests have changed. The most important international events for developing countries this year were the repeated failures of European leaders to put in place a credible plan to save the euro, the G20's decision to put the world trade talks out of their misery, and modest progress at the Durban talks on climate change. These will all have more impact on developing countries than gatherings of the "development set" at World Bank meetings, the UN general assembly or the Busan forum on aid effectiveness.

But while progress has been good, it is not yet fast enough. Hundreds of thousands of people in the Horn of Africa will have spent Christmas in refugee camps, and about a billion people will go to bed hungry on New Year's Eve.

In the years ahead, the Centre for Global Development in Europe will be working with policymakers, researchers and academics to find evidence-based, politically savvy ways for rich countries and powerful institutions to help developing countries lift themselves out of poverty. Our focus is on the world's efforts to promote shared growth, protect our environment, reinvent our financial system, clamp down on international corruption, encourage and share innovation, reduce inequality and entrench peace.

For affluent and developing countries alike, these are the aspirations for 2012.

Swedish journalists jailed for 11 years in Ethiopia

An Ethiopian court on Tuesday sentenced two Swedish journalists to 11 years in jail for supporting terrorism and entering the country illegally.

"The sentence should be punishment of 11 years imprisonment," Judge Shemsu Sirgaga told the court in the Amharic language through a translator.

"This sentence should satisfy the goal of peace and security," he added.

Reporter Martin Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson were arrested in Ethiopia's Ogaden region on July 1 in the company of rebels from the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) after entering Ethiopia from Somalia.

Both Swedes showed no emotion at the sentencing, according to an AFP reporter in the court.

Prosecutors last week at the verdict called for a maximum sentence of 18 years and six months in prison.
The conviction attracted a barrage of criticism from rights groups and Sweden.

Both journalists admitted contact with the ONLF and to entering Ethiopia illegally, but rejected terrorism charges including accusations they had received weapons training.

Following their conviction, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said Schibbye and Persson were innocent and should be set free.

The two said they met ONLF chiefs in London and Nairobi before meeting with about 20 members of the group in Ethiopia, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the Somali border.

Persson said their meeting the ONLF contacts had been for professional reasons only, as part of their investigation of the activities of Swedish oil company Lundin Oil the two were to report on.

The ONLF has been fighting for independence of the remote southeastern Ogaden region since 1984, claiming they have been marginalised from Addis Ababa.

Last month, charges of participating in terrorism were dropped for lack of evidence. 


Ethiopian Jazz: Thrilling Music That You Should Hear

 Contemporary Ethiopian musicians reinvigorate traditional jazz stylings for new audiences in America and Addis Ababa.

During the second half of the 20th century, cosmopolitan Ethiopians were delighted to see jazz giant Duke Ellington receive their country's Medal of Honor from Emperor Haile Selassie. At the same time, by contrast, a Berklee College of Music-trained Ethiopian jazz legend, Mulatu Astatke, who fused jazz and funk with his country's folk and Coptic Church melodies, was unknown in the United States.

In the 1960s, as the tastes of American jazz fans shifted from bebop to avant-garde, Ethiopian musicians were establishing a tradition whose compositions are just reaching American ears. Why did it take so long for this riveting, emotionally charged music to arrive?

Ethiopian musicians like Astatke, singer Alemayehu Eshete, and guitarist and arranger Girma Beyene have devoted their lives to blending Ethiopia's traditional five tones per octave, or pentatonic scale, with Western chords. Listening to the music they have produced shows the variety of influences on their approach to jazz.

Astatke traveled to London, Boston and New York in the 1960s, where he heard African-American and Latin jazz to which he added pentatonic scales. This spawned "Ethio Jazz."

Eshete and Beyene created a subgenre called swinging Addis by combining the songs they learned from the Ethiopian Police Band and the Haile Selassie I Theatre Orchestra with the rhythms they heard on the records of Sam Cooke, Nat King Cole and James Brown, brought to Ethiopia by Peace Corps volunteers. As Ethiopian musicologist Simeneh Betreyohannes says, "Most Ethiopian jazz artists did not go abroad; music was their way of traveling."

The result is music that is primeval and present-day. French musical curator Francis Falceto was so entranced by the music's rawness and funky, haunting virtuosity that he has spent 30 years collecting it. The result is a monumental 23-volume series, much of it available on YouTube, called Éthiopiques.
American filmmaker Jim Jarmusch also became infatuated with this particular jazz fusion and used Astatke's albums to score his 2005 movie about loss and redemption, Broken Flowers. Recently, U.S. audiences could hear Astatke's energetic horns and mellow vibraphone sampled in Nas and Damian Marley's lead single, "As We Enter," which debuted on their album, Distant Relatives.

Politics and geography contributed to the music's late U.S. arrival. In the 1950s and 1960s, jazz was considered an American art form, except among Latin jazz fans. Much of the history of jazz in Africa focuses on musicians like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Oliver Nelson, who toured the continent for the U.S. State Department, rather than on Africans creating a parallel jazz movement.

Another reason specific to Ethiopia was the 1974 overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie by a communist military junta. Until that group was ousted in 1991, Ethiopia's popular music was censored, nightclubs were shuttered and only patriotic songs could be recorded. A generation grew up with scant memory of folk music, the root of Ethiopian jazz.

Today's jazz revival in Ethiopia can be attributed to the success of the Éthiopiques series and the popularity of the Addis Acoustic Renaissance Group. Led by guitarist Girum Mezmur, 35, the band performs in Addis Ababa weekly at the packed Club Alize. The group's mission when it rearranges Ethiopian songs from the 1950s and 1960s is to invigorate "a new generation of Ethiopian club goers with melodies of the past."

Members of the band also play traditional instruments like double bass, accordion and mandolin, as well as the kebero, a type of drum, and clarinet to make the old new.

The group, a mélange of novelty and tradition, consists of U.S.-trained Ethiopians, like the smooth double-bass player Henock Temesgen, as well as musicians from 1950s and 1960s, like the mesmerizing Shaleka Melaku on accordion and Ayele Mamo on mandolin. Now Ethiopians can relish a musical tradition that was nearly lost at home, and barely acknowledged in the West.

This music is no passing fancy but a spellbinding style that deserves the critical attention it now receives in the U.S. and Ethiopia. Whether you listen to the curated Éthiopiques or live music in Ethiopian nightclubs in Addis Ababa, Atlanta, Washington, D.C. or Los Angeles, you'll hear a transcontinental exchange of melody, history and culture, and discover one of jazz's greatest innovations.

Want more? Watch and listen to a range of music and a playlist of Ethiopian music videos, and check out the Roha Band's modern approach.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Egypt deports 93 Ethiopians using the country as a transit stop to reach Israel illegally

CAIRO — An Egyptian airport official says the government has deported 93 Ethiopians who entered Egypt with hopes of crossing the Sinai desert into Israel illegally.

The airport official says 42 Ethiopians were repatriated on Sunday and another 51 were sent back home a day earlier.
The official says the migrants crossed into Egypt from its southern border with Sudan two weeks ago. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

Most of the migrants make the long and dangerous journey through Egypt to Israel in search of jobs.

The Israeli government estimates that, since 2006, some 50,000 Africans have illegally entered southern Israel through its 150 mile (250-kilometer) long border with Egypt’s Sinai desert.
By Associated Press

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Ethiopia a marvel of architectural and natural wonders

The famous rock churches of Lalibela in the northern highlands of Ethiopia
 were ordered by King Lalibela in the 12th century.

This is where it all began.

In the second century A.D., two young men from Syria landed on the western shore of the Red Sea with a message that would change the world.

They brought the new religion of Christianity to the city now known as Axum, which became the religious center in the country known today as Ethiopia. The prevailing Ethiopian Christian Orthodox Church is one branch of the original Coptic church, which today includes the Egyptian, Armenian and several other living Coptic entities. This quickly spread theology that predated the Byzantine Empire — brought by Roman Emperor Constantine to what is now Istanbul — by about 200 years; it is as alive and powerful now as then.

The Axumite kingdom was one of the ancient world’s great civilizations, with monolithic stone stelae — obelisks in the style of multi-story buildings. One obelisk, stolen during the Mussolini occupation and taken to Italy, was recently returned and repositioned to mark the subterranean tombs of Axumite royals.

The son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon is said to have brought the Ark of the Covenant, containing the first books of the Old Testament, to Axum. It remains there today, preserved in a sanctuary that also houses gold and silver crosses used in holy ceremonies.

Religion pervades daily life in Ethiopia, which is sprinkled with churches in odd and obscure corners, forest groves, mountain tops, villages and towns. A call to prayer is heard several times a day; it is the Christian Orthodox call to Mass — in the original language of Ge’ez. While not spoken now, it is still used in all ancient religious ceremonies. The spoken language of Ethiopia is Amharic, although about 50 others can be heard.

Ethiopian woman leaps to her death in Oman

MUSCAT: A woman leapt to her death from the fifth floor of a building near Barka roundabout on Friday evening.

The victim was identified as an unskilled worker from Ethiopia working as housemaid for the last few months in Barka.

“It happened at around 7:45pm. We heard a noise of something falling near the Bank Sohar branch building. We found the victim’s body on top of a car parked in front of the building. Later, police came and cleared the body from the scene,” an eyewitness said.

Royal Oman Police (ROP) sources told Times of Oman that they have initiated a probe into the incident.

Sources told Times of Oman that the victim was working as a housemaid for the last four months at one of the offices in the building where she leapt to death.

Youth’s body found
Meanwhile, a youngster’s body was found behind one of the garages in Quriyat Souk on Friday. The body was in a decomposed condition and was beyond recognition.

Later, a special team from ROP identified the deceased as a resident of Al Jenin area in the Wilayat of Qurayat.

An ROP source said that they have initiated a probe into the death and they suspect an overdose of drug behind the death.

Sources in the locality told Times of Oman that the deceased had been a drug addict for the last few years and was missing for the last three days.

Ethiopia weighs benefits of foreign 'land grabs'

By Duncan Bartlett
Business reporter, BBC World Service

A new report from the US-based Oakland Institute says that in 2009 alone, foreign investors bought or leased nearly 60 million hectares of land in Africa - an area about the size of France.

Hailemariam Desalegn, the deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, told the BBC the arrangement was an advantage to Ethiopia.

But critics say the process amounts to a series of "land grabs" that deprive Africa of its own natural resources.

Benefits debated

In Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and China are planning to grow more than one million tonnes of rice in Ethiopia and take it back to their own countries.
They are doing deals with the government to acquire large tracts of Ethiopian land, particularly in the western region of Gambella.

The government argues that most of the land is not currently being used effectively and this foreign investment will benefit local communities.

Not everyone agrees.

An Ethiopian who is familiar with the region told the BBC that local people used the land for agriculture, hunting and for gathering fruit in times of famine.

He claimed that people had been bribed by foreign companies to leave their villages, although he was unable to offer evidence of this.

'Big country'
In the past few years, massive amounts of land in Africa have been bought by foreign organisations.

A new report from the US-based Oakland Institute says that in 2009 alone, foreign investors bought or leased nearly 60 million hectares of land in Africa - an area about the size of France.

Hailemariam Desalegn, the deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, told the BBC the arrangement was an advantage to Ethiopia.

But critics say the process amounts to a series of "land grabs" that deprive Africa of its own natural resources.

Foreign companies often pay compensation money to people living on the land they plan to acquire. They also offer them employment and help with more efficient and productive farming processes.

"Out of the arable land, the amount being sold is only 3%," Mr Hailemariam said.

"Of course it's huge when compared with small countries in Europe, but Ethiopia is a big country."

The area that is being leased is lowland where farmers are not willing to go and plough the land, Mr Hailemariam said.

It is often infested with malaria and the climate makes it unsuitable for small holder farmers, he added.

Food crisis

The other problem facing the country is the rising price of food. Food prices are now 30% higher than they were a year ago, according to government statistics.

The world's worst food security crisis is continuing in the eastern Horn of Africa, a US agency has warned.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network said Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia were in the middle of the world's worst food security crisis.

Large-scale emergency assistance was urgently needed "to save lives and treat acute malnutrition" in the region, the US agency said.

So will selling food abroad lead to more shortages and higher prices? Not according to Mr Hailemariam.

"Small holder farmers feed themselves first and sell when there is a marketable surplus," he said.

"It becomes a problem for the urban poor who have less capacity to purchase food at inflated prices. That is why we as a government allocate certain commodities and subsidise them and in that way we can alleviate some of the problems in the urban area."

የሽብር ወንጀል ክስ ተጠርጣሪዎች ተቀጠሩ

-    ስዊድናውያኑ ጋዜጠኞች ጥፋተኛ ተብለዋል

በሽብር ወንጀል ተጠርጥረው በፌዴራል ዓቃቤ ሕግ ክስ የተመሠረተባቸው እነ ኤልያስ ክፍሌ የክርክር ማቆሚያ ንግግር እንዲያደርጉ፣ እነ አንዱዓለም አራጌ ደግሞ ቀሪ የዓቃቤ ሕግን የኦዲዮና ቪዲዮ ማስረጃ ለማየት ለታኅሣሥ 17 እና 19 ቀን 2004 .. ተቀጠሩ፡፡ ለሁለቱም ተጠርጣሪ ተከሳሾች ለታኅሣሥ 13 ቀን 2004 .. ቀጠሮ የሰጠው የፌዴራል ከፍተኛ ፍርድ ቤት ልደታ ምድብ የወንጀል ችሎት ሲሆን፣ በእነ ኤልያስ ክፍሌ ላይ የመከላከያ ምስክሮችን መስማት የጀመረው ታኅሣሥ 11 ቀን 2004 .. ከሰዓት በኋላ ነበር፡፡

በእነ ኤልያስ ክፍሌ የክስ መዝገብ ክስ የተመሠረተባቸው የመኢዴፓ ሊቀመንበር ዘሪሁን ገብረ እግዚአብሔር፣ የአውራ አምባ ታይምስ ጋዜጣ ምክትል አዘጋጅ ውብሸት ታዬ፣ ሒሩት ክፍሌና መምህርትና አምደኛ ርዕዮት አለሙ ናቸው፡፡

የአምስተኛ ተከሳሽ ርዕዮት ዓለሙ ጠበቃ አቶ ሞላ ዘገዬ፣ የመከላከያ ምስክሮች ከመሰማታቸው በፊት ምስክሮቹ በምን ላይ እንደሚመሰክሩ ባስያዙት ጭብጥ፣ የሽብርተኝነት መሠረተ ሐሳብ ከዓለም አቀፍ ሕጎች አኳያ ለሙያዊ ማብራሪያ በምስክርነት ያቀረቧቸው የቀድሞው የቅንጅት የላዕላይ ምክር ቤት አባል የነበሩት / ያዕቆብ ኃይለማርያም ሲሆኑ፣ በፎቶ የተደገፈ ዘገባ ማቅረብ ከሕገ መንግሥታዊ መብቶች አንፃር ደግሞ ሙያዊ አስተያየታቸውን እንዲሰጡ ያቀረቧቸው የፖለቲካ ሳይንስ ምሁሩ፣ የኦህኮ ሊቀመንበርና የመድረክ ከፍተኛ አመራር / መረራ ጉዲና ናቸው፡፡

ዓቃቤ ሕግ ባለሙያዎቹ የሚሰጡት ማብራሪያ ከክሱ ጭብጥ ውጭ በመሆኑና የሕግ ትርጉም የሚሰጠውም ፍርድ ቤቱ በመሆኑ እንደሚቃወም በማመልከቱ፣ ፍርድ ቤቱም የጠበቃውን ጭብጥና ምስክሮችን ሳይቀበል በመቅረቱ፣ ሁለቱም ዶክተሮች ሳይመሰክሩ ወይም በቀረበው ጭብጥ አማካይነት ማብራሪያ ሳይሰጡ ተመልሰዋል፡፡

ተከሳቹ የመከላከያ ምስክሮቻቸውን ከማሰማታቸው በፊት በወንጀል ሕግ 142(1) መሠረት የተከሳሽነት ቃላቸውን ሰጥተዋል፡፡

የመኢዴፓ ሊቀመንበር ዘሪሁን ገብረ እግዚአብሔር በሰጡት የተከሳሽነት ቃል፣ በሕግ የተቋቋመና ፈቃድ ያለው የፖለቲካ መሪ መሆናቸውን፣ በሕጋዊ መንገድ እንደሚቃወሙ፣ የተቃውሞ ወረቀት እንደሚበትኑና ይኼም ከፓርቲው ፋይል ጋር የተያያዘ መሆኑን፣ ከውጭ አገር ከአጎታቸው ልጅ ገንዘብ እንደሚላክላቸው፣ ከኤልያስ ክፍሌ ጋር በፖለቲካ መሪነትና የጋዜጠኛነት ግንኙነት እንዳላቸው ተናግረዋል፡፡

ጋዜጠኛ ውብሸት በሰጠው የተከሳሽነት ቃል ጋዜጠኛ መሆኑን፣ በሕገ መንግሥቱ የተፈቀደለትንና በአዲሱ የመገናኛ ብዙኀንና የመረጃ ነፃነትን ለመደንገግ የወጣውን አዋጅ ተከትሎ እንደሚሠራ፣ መከሰስም ካለበት በዚሁ አዋጅ መሠረት መከሰስ እንዳለበት፣ በኢሜል አድራሻ ተለዋውጧል የተባለው ጽሑፍ የትርጉም ስህተት እንዳለበት፣ እሱ ሰኔ 12 ቀን 2003 .. በቁጥጥር ሥር ውሎና 13 ፍርድ ቤት ቀርቦ እያለ፣ ሰኔ 23 ቀን 2003 .. ተጻጻፈ የተባለ ኢሜል እንደ ማስረጃ እንደቀረበበት፣ አባቱ ዓይናቸውን ታመው እሱ ዘንድ ሆነው ሲታከሙ፣ ውጭ አገር የሚኖረው ወንድሙ ስለ አባታቸው ሲጠይቀው ‹‹ኦፕሬሽን እየተደረገ ነው›› ያለውን፣ ጦርነት የሚመራ የጦር ጄነራል ተደርጎ መቅረቡን፣ ኤልያስ ክፍሌ አንድ ጊዜ እንደደወለለትና ጓደኛውም ስለነበር ሁለት ጊዜ በድምሩ 300 ዶላር እንደላከለት ተናግሮ፣ ‹‹ፍርድ ቤቱ ትክክለኛ ፍርድ ይሰጠኛል›› የሚል እምነት እንዳለው በመግለጽ የተከሳሽነት ቃሉን አጠቃሏል፡፡

Friday, December 23, 2011

12 Ethiopians dumped in Lake Malawi

By Karen Msiska
MALAWI, SOUTHERN AFRICA — Twelve Ethiopians believed to have been illegally crossing into the country via Lake Malawi from Tanzania were dumped in the lake after dying of hunger, police have said quoting the other immigrants.
About 106 Ethiopians set off for Malawi on boats in what is a sign of desperation to get out of Ethiopia and arrive in Malawi but only 94 were intercepted by police at Sanga in Nkhata Bay Monday night.
“The dead bodies were dumped in the lake randomly as they did not die at the same time,” said Nkhata Bay police spokesperson Martin Bwanali in an interview on Tuesday.
He said the 94 Ethiopians have been charged with illegal entry into the country contrary to Section 21(36) of the Immigration Act, and that figure takes the number of illegal entrants arrested around the area to 183 over the past week.
He said police have also arrested a Malawian identified as 36-year-old William Banda from Chanthomba Village in TA Mankhambira’s area on suspicion that he has been coordinating movement of the illegal entrants by providing them with information on security presence on docking areas.
“Our investigations indicate that the boat the group was travelling on was dumped on the lake after those operating them got information that police officers were waiting for them in the area,” added Bwanali.
“We arrested Banda and told him to keep telling the group to dock but they responded by saying that they had information that he had been arrested. The transporters dumped them and are believed to have returned to Tanzania.”
He said the group was met by some fishermen who noticed that the group could not converse in English or any local language and pulled their boat to land.
Banda has been charged with aiding and abetting human trafficking.
Police say most the Ethiopians immigrants are now taking advantage of Tukombo’s closeness to the hills and the lake which allows them to quickly get into the bushy hills after docking. Police arrested 89 of them in the area last week.
Source: The Daily Times

Malawi court convicts 90 Ethiopians

A court in Nkhata Bay, Malawi, has found over 90 Ethiopians guilty of illegal entry into the country four days after they hang out off shore Lake Malawi to elude police security.

The immigrants have since been fined K4,000 each or if they fail to pay the amount, go to jail for two months each.

Prison authorities in Nkhatabay have since raised fears of congestion at the district prison which has a capacity of 280 if the 94 Ethiopian illegal immigrants are eventually jailed.

Eight of the Ethiopians died of starvation on Lake Malawi where they camped for four days as they tried to elude security to illegally get ashore.

Police say the Ethiopian illegal immigrants, close to 100, were in a boat belonging to a Tanzanian national.

Nkhatabay police spokesperson Sergeant Martin Bwanali says 94 of the Ethiopians have been arrested for illegal entry into Malawi.

“They were forced to stay on the Lake for four days after being tipped by their Malawian agents that police were waiting for them on the shores,” said Sergeant Bwanali.

Sergeant Bwanali said police had prior information on the questionable visit by the aliens.

“Police officers were strategically deployed on the shores of the lake around the area to monitor what was happening,” he said. The Ethiopians were, however, tipped by their Malawian agents that police were monitoring them.

“The strangers then decided to remain on the lake for four days. In the process, eight of them died of starvation and were disposed off right in the lake,” said Sergeant Bwanali.

The tragedy, police suspect, forced the group to show up on the shore where they met local fishermen who sold them off.

The 94 Ethiopians are aged between 20 and 40.

The influx of illegal immigrants has often worried local authorities as they over-stretch government resources and causes security hazard as their backgrounds are not known.

It is generally believed that Ethiopians, Somalis and people from DRC find Malawi a soft security spot in their quest to travel to South Africa where they long to find a better life.

There is a rise in cases of illegal immigrants into Malawi.

Officials from the Immigration Department say close to 3,000 cases were recorded in 2011.

The arrests are being attributed to alertness of officials and routine security operations.

The increasing cases of illegal immigrants are blamed on porous borders Malawi has.

Ethiopians, Somalis, Burundians, Rwandese, Indians, Pakistanis and now Chinese nationals make up the majority of illegal immigrants found in Malawi.

Source: ZodiakMalawi

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ethiopian NYU Student Wants to Convert Dog Poop into Fuel

Melody Kelemu

GREENWICH VILLAGE — Growing up in Ethiopia, Melody Kelemu always had dogs, a lawn where they could walk around by themselves and gardeners who took care of any mess man’s best friend left behind.
When she moved to the city to start college at New York University, the Neuroscience and Environmental Studies major watched as residents cleaned up after their dogs every day, and began to wonder how the waste could be put to better use.
Now the 21-year-old junior is applying for an NYU grant to put machines into dog parks that would turn waste into energy to power lamps — including in Washington Square Park.
“It gives people a greater sense of satisfaction to know that you are doing something great while at the same time using something from your dog,” said Kelemu, who lives on the Lower East Side.
Kelemu’s plan, dog owners would collect dog waste in a specially made biodegradable bag and toss it into a methane digester — a hermetically sealed tank where the dog feces are broken down by anaerobic bacteria. Methane gas is released in the process, fueling a gas-burning lamppost in the park.
The digester has no smell and can accommodate waste from as many as 200 dogs per day. It takes waste from approximately 10 dogs to fuel a lamp for one hour, she said.
The device consists of two tanks, the second of which will be used to hold overflow waste. Kelemu said she would like to get other NYU students on board to maintain the machines.
Kelemu is applying for a $20,000 Green Grant from NYU’s Sustainability Task Force to cover the initial costs of the project. She said she plans to build the digesters herself, at a cost of $2,000 each, and the rest of the money will pay for maintenance and the production of biodegradable bags.
She said she’ll build the machine out of a water storage tank and scrap metal.
Kelemu would like to place a digester in the dog run on the south side of Washington Square Park and in the Mercer-Houston dog park, at the northwestern corner of Mercer and Houston streets.
She hopes to install the machines inside area dog runs by the summer.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ethiopia Convicts Swedish Journalists of Supporting Terrorism

Pedestrians walk past the Federal High Court building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 1, 2011.

Two Swedish journalists arrested in the company of rebels in Ethiopia's restive Ogaden region have been found guilty of supporting terrorism. The case is attracting wide attention from international human rights and press freedom groups.

Reporter Martin Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson appeared stunned as Ethiopian High Court judge Shemsu Sirgaga pronounced them guilty of aiding a terrorist group and entering the country illegally.

They face a maximum of 18 years in prison. Sentencing is set for next week.

The two Swedes were arrested June 30 in Ethiopia's Somali region while traveling with rebels of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), which is fighting for regional autonomy. The region has been off-limits to most outsiders for years while government troops carry out what human rights groups allege is a harsh counterinsurgency campaign against the ONLF.

Schibbye and Persson admitted entering Ethiopia illegally from Somalia, but denied supporting the rebels. They told the court they were investigating a Swedish firm allegedly involved in oil exploration in the conflict zone.

The case is being closely followed in Sweden because of the firm's ties to Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.

In reading the verdict, Judge Shemsu told the pair he accepted their claim to be journalists, but said it was hard to believe they could be impartial while breaking the laws of a sovereign country.

The verdict surprised the large contingent of foreign observers, diplomats and Swedish journalists who had been following the trial. Ingrid Dahlback of the Swedish news agency TT said the weight of evidence had raised hopes that the defendants would be found not guilty of supporting terrorism.

“I thought the judge would at least take some of the arguments from the defense, but as it seems he went almost only on the prosecutor's line," said Dahlback. "So it's very bad news for the Swedish journalists, and I would say it's bad news for freedom of the press.”

An ashen-faced Swedish ambassador to Ethiopia, Jens Odlander, said the next move would be up to authorities in Stockholm.

“This is very disappointing,' said Odlander. "We have to analyze the situation.”

The reaction from Stockholm was swift. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt issued a statement saying the journalists were on a legitimate assignment and should be freed immediately. He said his government was already in high-level contact with Ethiopian officials on the matter.

Mats Larsson, who covered the trial for Sweden's mass-circulation Dagens Nyheter newspaper, says the verdict would likely have domestic political repercussions.

“There's been a big discussion in Sweden about the role of the Swedish foreign minister," said Larsson. "There are accusations that he has seen these two guys as left-wingers in the wrong part of the world and that this was their own fault that they came into this situation. And the result of this trial is a disaster for the Swedish government and for the relatives and for the two Swedish journalists and for freedom of speech in the world.”

The verdict also sparked condemnation from human rights and press freedom defenders. Amnesty International called the two journalists “prisoners of conscience," and said it sees no evidence they were supporting the ONLF.

The media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders earlier sent a letter to the United Nations accusing Ethiopia of muzzling dissent.

Eight Ethiopian journalists are also currently on trial on terrorism-related charges - three in person and five others in absentia. Some of them could face the death penalty if convicted.