Saturday, January 31, 2015

Reflections: A musical legend

I first heard of Emahoy Tsege-Mariam Gebru from my nephew in California asking if I knew about an Ethiopian nun living in Israel. I was intrigued.

Something of a cult figure in music circles, she had been sequestered for the past 30 years in the Ethiopian convent in Jerusalem.

Her story reads like a movie script and the more I researched the more dramatic it became. Born in 1923 into an aristocratic family with close connections to Emperor Haile Selassie, she and her sister were the first Ethiopian girls ever sent to school in Switzerland. She was aged six. Everything was new and strange – the language, the weather, the food and the people.

Four Ethiopians injured in South Africa attack

 Three foreign nationals were shot and injured and a fourth was assaulted in their shop in Nsuze near Dundee, KwaZulu-Natal police said on Friday.

“Last night, 29 January 2015 at about 7:30pm four Ethiopians were in their shop at Bhamshela area at Nsuze when they were attacked by four armed suspects,” said Major Thulani Zwane in a statement.

“Three of the foreigners were shot and wounded and the fourth was badly assaulted by the suspects.”

The attackers fled with an undisclosed amount of money.

The injured victims were taken to hospital.

A case of attempted murder and business robbery had been opened.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ethiopia says new railway to Djibouti to start in early 2016

Jan 28 (Reuters) - Ethiopia expects to open a new railway line linking the capital Addis Ababa with the Red Sea state of Djibouti in early 2016, a project at the centre of plans to create new manufacturing industries, the head of the state railways said.
The 700-km (450-mile)line is being built at a cost of $4 billion by China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) and China Civil Engineering Construction (CCECC). Ethiopia is seeking to have 5,000 km of new lines working across the country by 2020.
"By October 2015, a considerable portion of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti project will be finished," Getachew Betru, chief executive of the Ethiopian Railways Corporation, told Reuters, adding trains would run soon after. "We will start early 2016."
In addition to the Djibouti line, two others are being built across the country which are among a range of big infrastructure investments that also include new roads and dams to produce hydro-electric power.

South Sudan's Salva Kiir 'in hospital in Ethiopia'

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has been rushed to hospital in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, after becoming ill, an official has told the BBC.
Mr Kiir suffered from nose bleeds, the official said. Further details of his condition are not available.
His hospitalisation has delayed a summit of regional leaders called to discuss the conflict in South Sudan, the official said.
Mr Kiir, 63, has led the country since its independence from Sudan in 2011.
He held talks in Addis Ababa on Wednesday with rebel leader Riek Machar to end the civil war which has killed thousands of people and displaced more than 1.5 million since December 2013.

Ethiopia Bloggers to Enter Pleas in Terrorism Case Next Week

(Bloomberg) -- Ethiopian bloggers accused of plotting acts of terrorism will probably enter pleas next week after a court accepted amended charges from the prosecution.
The Federal High Court accepted most of the charges against 10 bloggers and journalists, Ameha Mekonnen, a defense lawyer for the writers, said on Wednesday from Addis Ababa, the capital. The defendants will enter pleas on Feb. 3, he said by phone.
Nine of the accused were detained in April and charged under a 2009 anti-terrorism law that the U.S. and United Nations said criminalizes legitimate dissent. The prosecution has said that the group participated in the planning of a plot with the U.S.-based Ginbot 7, which is classified as a terrorist organization in Ethiopia.
In November, the court rejected earlier charges and asked prosecutors to present more specific and clear accusations.
“They’ve said now it’s sufficiently clear but for us it’s not yet clear at all,” Mekonnen said.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ethiopia's women vow to turn tide of violence, rape and murder

Justice for Hanna was launched after the murder of 16-year-old Hanna Lalango, who was repeatedly raped after being abducted in Addis Ababa. Photograph: JusticeForHannah

The low social status of Ethiopian women lies at the root of violence against them and the tragic cases of two teenagers have galvanised female activists in their efforts to tackle it

Tejnesh Leweg’neh, a 15-year-old from Ethiopia’s mountainous northern Shoa region, was abducted by three men on her way to market in October. They tried to force her to agree to marry one of them. She refused, and, a day later, they pushed her off a cliff. Now Tejnesh is paralysed from the waist down.
That same month, 16-year-old Hanna Lalango, from Ethiopia’s cosmopolitan capital, Addis Ababa, was abducted by a group of men from a minibus on the outskirts of the city. She was raped over several days and died in hospital about a month later from her injuries. Five men have been convicted and are awaiting sentence for the attack. Hanna reportedly identified her assailants before she died.
Both these crimes were brought to light by an energised network of mostly female Ethiopian activists trying to advance women’s rights and reduce sexual harassment in the Horn of Africa country.
“What united us is we believe this is our problem, it’s our responsibility to change this,” says one of them, Selam Mussie. “We all are Hannas – this could have been any of us.”
Mussie, an administrator at the International Community School in Addis Ababa, is part of the Justice for Hanna campaign.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Russian icon museum showcases Ethiopian art

CLINTON – The items on display in the Museum of Russian Icons have become legendary, part of the largest collection in North America.

Other cultures, however, have icons in their traditions, and through April 18, icons from the African nation of Ethiopia will be featured in an exhibit called "The Vibrant Art and Storied History of Ethiopian Icons."

The exhibit features 60 icons and artifacts, most borrowed from a private collection in Europe. At least one featured icon may remain behind, as museum founder Gordon Lankton eyed it as a possible addition to the museum's collection.

The icons are very different from the Russian styles.

Influences from Europe and the Middle East combined with Ethiopian culture create a different look, exhibit curator Marc Loerke said.

Sisi Goes to Addis Ababa

On one of the last occasions an Egyptian president visited Addis Ababa, he got no further than the road from the airport: In 1995 the motorcade of President Hosni Mubarak came under fire from Egyptian jihadists. Mr. Mubarak was saved by his bulletproof car, his driver’s skill and Ethiopian sharpshooters.

After that, Ethiopian and Egyptian intelligence officers worked together to root out terrorists in the Horn of Africa, contributing, along with pressure from the United States government, to Osama bin Laden’s expulsion from Sudan in 1996. But that was the limit of their cooperation.

Egypt and Ethiopia have otherwise been locked in a low-intensity contest over which nation would dominate the region, undermining each other’s interests in Eritrea, Somalia and South Sudan. A quiet but long-sustained rivalry, it is one of those rarely noticed but important fault lines in international relations that allow other conflicts to rumble on.

Can Ethiopia’s Resource Wealth Contribute to its Growth and Transformation?

ADDIS ABABA, January 26, 2015 – Ethiopia has averaged a 10.7% economic growth rate over the last 10 years, more than double the annual average of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, which was around 5.2%. However, despite having a huge potential to contribute to Ethiopia’s economy, the development of oil, gas, and mineral resources are not among the key drivers of the country’s growth.

Although the country has geological potential for the discovery of new, sizeable oil, gas and mineral deposits, most of its extractive industry is still in its infancy stage. Currently, there is one large-scale gold mine in operation, while a growing number of large mining projects are under development and exploration for oil and natural gas is intensifying after significant discoveries in neighboring countries. Ethiopia also has an extensive and unique artisanal mining sector; the government estimates there are around 1 million miners, making it an important source of job creation, and an important source of foreign currency.

''In 2012, the Ethiopian mining sector accounted for 19% of the country’s exports revenues- mainly from artisanally mined gold- while in comparison, coffee, Ethiopia’s largest export commodity, generated 26% in export revenues.''
                                                                               World Bank Group Washington, DC, 2014
                                                              Strategic Assessment of the Ethiopian Mineral Sector

The report notes that resource wealth can potentially have a positive impact on the social and economic development of Ethiopia if the industry is developed and managed in a sustainable and transparent manner, following international good practices.

Confessed armed robber Solomon Teklie fools witnesses with race-changing mask

Ethiopian Solomon Zemichael Teklie fooled witnesses with his incredibly realistic white latex mask
ALL of the witnesses — including his victims — described the suspect as “white” but this confessed armed robber was actually wearing an incredibly convincing race-changing mask.
A Canadian court heard that Solomon Zemichael Teklie carried out a carjacking and two bank robberies before police pulled him over and arrested him — all in the space of 37 minutes.
He has pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery.
“I don’t know where this mask was made, I don’t know where it came from, but it’s uncanny how much it looks like a real person,” Edmonton crown prosecutor Carrie-Ann Downey said.
“It was so realistic that each witness on this file thought that Mr. Teklie was white. He is not white.”
Teklie began his January 2014 crime spree by holding a pellet gun to the head of Caroline Ombago in a shopping mall carpark before forcing her from her Honda Civic at about 11am.
In her victim impact statement, Ms Ombago said she had believed the gun was real and the event had left her sleepless and so fearful she had to leave town.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Illegal immigrants from Eritrea and Sudan caught in Thurrock

THREE lorry drivers have been arrested after 43 suspected illegal immigrants were detained in Thurrock and Suffolk within four days of each other.

All the drivers had come to England through Dover.

A total of 39 males from Eritrea were detained, along with four from Sudan.

Essex Police contacted immigration officials to report 18 men (four from Sudan, the remainder from Eritrea) were arrested on suspicion of being illegal immigrants in Thurrock. A 44-year-old lorry driver from Sheerness was also detained.

First time lucky for Ethiopian Merga as he wins Hong Kong Marathon

Hong Kong debutant from Ethiopia heads back to Addis Ababa US$65,000 richer after taking men's title
Te barricades were back out on Hennessy Road in Causeway Bay on Sunday, but there were no Occupy protesters around. Instead, they were keeping a large crowd off the streets, allowing Ethiopia's Sentayehu Merga Ejigu to race to victory in the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon.
Breathing down his neck were countryman Fikre Assefa Robi and Kenyan Robert Kipkorir Kipchumba, but Merga, a first-time competitor, wasn't to be denied a well-deserved victory as he continued a long African dominance in the men's marathon to win in two hours and 13 minutes.
There was a surprise in the women's race, as North Korean Kim Hye-gyong held off a powerful contingent of Africans to win.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ethiopian shop owner shot and killed in Khayelitsha

The 30-year-old shop owner was gunned down during a robbery in iLitha Park this morning.

CAPE TOWN – An Ethiopian shopkeeper has been shot dead in Khayelitsha.

The 30-year-old was gunned down during a robbery in iLitha Park this morning.

The police's Frederick van Wyk said the circumstances surrounding the shooting are under investigation.

It’s not yet clear whether the murder is linked to this week's looting and violence in Gauteng.
Three people have been killed in the violent unrest that initially started in Soweto but then fanned out to other areas in Gauteng.

Friday, January 23, 2015

'Ethiopia's media crackdown is bad news for Africa'

Without a free press in Addis Ababa, Africans are being locked out of the important decisions being made in their de facto capital, writes Simon Allison
It’s not easy being a journalist in Ethiopia. In fact, it’s nearly impossible, according to a new 76-page Human Rights Watch report that documents the scale of the state’s censorship apparatus. As a journalist, it makes for highly disturbing reading.

“Ethiopia’s government has systematically assaulted the country’s independent voices, treating the media as a threat rather than a valued source of information and analysis,” says Leslie Lefkow, the organisation’s deputy Africa director.

“Ethiopia’s media should be playing a crucial role in the May elections, but instead many journalists fear that their next article could get them thrown in jail.”

The authors of the report spoke to 70 Ethiopian journalists, many in exile, who painted a dismal picture of the state of Ethiopian media. The government exerts control in many different ways – some subtle, some quite the opposite.

Constant fear

Ethopians run riot at record Dubai Marathon as Hayle and Mergia claim gold

It was yet another day of dominance for Ethiopian athletes at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon as little known Lemi Berhanu Hayle and the sublime Aselefech Mergia swept the board in the world’s richest marathon.
Just 20 years old, Berhanu left some of the biggest names in long distance running trailing and in warm weather conditions clocked a world leading time of 2:05:28 to win by 24 seconds from 2013 Dubai and Boston champion Lelisa Desisa. Deribe Robi completed an-all Ethiopian podium with a time of 2:06:06. Ethiopia’s superstar Kenenisa Bekele dropped out beyond the 30km mark, appearing to suffer from a leg injury.

In the women’s field, Aselefech Mergia celebrated her 30th birthday in style with a perfect comeback, winning the most thrilling finish in the history of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon.

The Ethiopian, who had taken time off competition to have a baby, returned to the marathon for the first time since the summer of 2012, winning in 2:20:02. In a duel right to the line, reigning World Half Marathon Champion Gladys Cherono was beaten by just one second on a superb marathon debut, while fellow Kenyan Lucy Kabuu was third in 2:20:21.

Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, a record field of more than 25,000 runners entered the marathon, the 10km Road Race and the 4km Fun Run on a day that saw the event beamed to millions of homes across the world.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Reporters Without Borders is happy to learn of the release on bail of six Eritrean journalists who had been held since a wave of arrests in February 2009.

They are Bereket Misghina, Yirgalem Fisseha Mebrahtu and Basilios Zemo of Radio Bana, Meles Negusse Kiflu, who worked for Radio Bana and Radio Zara, Girmay Abraham of Radio Dimtsi Hafash and Petros Teferi.

“We are delighted to learn of the release of these six journalists, which is an exceptional development in the terrible conditions prevailing in Eritrea, said Cléa Kahn-Sriber, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Africa desk. At this point, we don’t have additional information about the circumstances of their release or their state of health. We will obviously follow the situation closely.”

At least seven other journalists who were rounded up in February 2009 – Mohammed Said Mohammed, Biniam Ghirmay, Esmail Abd-el-Kader, Araya Defoch, Mohammed Dafla, Simon Elias and Yemane Hagos – were released on bail in March 2013.

Experts Rank Ethiopia's Coffee Among Best

ADDIS ABABA—Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride.

International coffee experts travel the world to find the best tasting cup. They keep coming back to Ethiopia, where importers like Morton Wennersgaard say the climate produces quality coffee beans.

“You have different ancient varieties referred to as Ethiopian heirdom. They are grown in places with perfect soil, perfect altitude, and micro climates that are really suitable for coffee processing, such as drying and things like that,” he explains.

Finding the best beans is a matter of taste, literally. The intense process is known as cupping - tasting and comparing coffee from different roasted beans, grading and then pricing them.

Coffee labs

But before international experts come to taste, coffee beans go through analysis in small coffee labs, where Helen Assefa describes the process.

“When the coffee comes to the lab, we assess the coffee quality first by recording the details. Then we weigh the moisture level and we screen the beans for analysis. After that we grind the coffee beans and taste the samples. At the end we check for defective beans," Assefa explains.

Kenenisa Bekele Bringing New Weapon to Dubai Marathon: Experience

The track superstar learned plenty from his 2014 marathons to help him in Dubai.

Double Olympic and world championship track star Kenenisa Bekele will still be a relative newcomer to the distance when he runs the Dubai Marathon on Friday, but he’s no stranger to mastering new challenges. And if his racing history and that of former marathon world record-holders Paul Tergat and Haile Gebrselassie are any indication, the 32-year-old Bekele could be coming into his own at the 26.2-mile distance.

In 2001, the Ethiopian was a junior champion and a senior 4K medalist at the world cross country championships, but had less success on the track. The following year, he won both senior titles in cross country; while on the track, he had a personal best of 13:13.33 for 5,000m from 2001 (he ran 13:26.58 in 2002).

That all led him to question his abilities on the oval.

“It was a bit challenging,” Bekele recalled in a recent interview. “A decade ago, when I was young and hadn’t accumulated much experience, I think that based on what others said, I wondered about it: When some people said I wasn’t suited to the track, only to cross country, and when my track results were repeatedly not good enough, the thought, ‘Is this true? Am I really not good on the track?’ used to enter my mind. But it’s something that changes with hard work.”

WDR3 of Germany featured Ethiopian Traditional Music Live-Listen Here

Bielefeld Wednesday concert of the musical cultures of live music from the coffee highlands - a simple sound world of 5-tone scale, globally estimated precisely because of their conservative rigor.
Non-Arab nor a colored poppy African-world beat, but genuinely African music of Azmaris.

These are the traditional Ethiopian troubadours. Like their medieval European colleagues, she sang the exploits of the powerful, and paying for, and those women beauty. Even the dance they played: with lyre and lute painted spit.

Today, in the urban scenery of Addis Ababa and most of metropolitan districts of the Ethiopian Diaspora to contemporary forms of music are electrified with Azmaris.

Martha Teferra takes over as krar singer worthy of the artistic heritage of the legendary Asnakech Worku. Dejen Manchilot sees itself as impromptu Sängerpoet from the milieu of the traditional honey wine bars. And the krar Collective from London maintains a modernized world music diaspora Azmari style.

"Wednesday concerts of music cultures" in Bielefeld:

Live from the Rudolf-Oetker-Halle

Martha Teferra Mekonnen - vocals, shell lyre krar
Dejen Manchelot - spit sounds Masenqo

Krar Collective:
Assefa - Voice
Temesgen Zeleke - E-krar
Girum Bagashew - percussion

Presented by Barbara Wrenger

Editor: Mr. Fuhrmann
(Translated with Google Translate)

SBS Radio Interview with Surafel Wondimu

Surafel Wondimu, a Researcher at the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, AAU and a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota talks about Historiography, mythology, culture, and performance arts.

Ethiopia 'decimates' free press: rights group

The Ethiopian government is stepping up oppression of independent journalists ahead of national elections due in May, a leading rights group said in a report on Thursday.

"Ethiopia's government has systematically assaulted the country's independent voices, treating the media as a threat," said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

State-owned radio, television and newspapers dominate Ethiopia's media landscape while independent journalists face threats, intimidation and harassment, said the group.
"The ruling party has treated the private media as a threat to its hegemony, and is using various techniques to decimate private media, independent reporting, and critical analysis, with drastic results," said the report, titled "Journalism Is Not a Crime".

Since the last polls in 2010 at least 60 Ethiopian journalists have fled into exile and 19 have been locked up, the report said.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Eritrean Catholics to get their own Church in break with Ethiopians

Pope Francis has established a new Eastern Catholic Church for Eritrea, the first since the early 20th century, in what may be a move to ease the position of Catholics in the country.
Roman Catholicism is one of the four religions tolerated in Eritrea, along with the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Evangelical Lutheran church and Islam.
Until now, the four Eritrean 'eparchies', or dioceses, have been part of the Ethiopian Catholic Church. However, the Vatican announced on Monday that they will now come under the authority of an Eritrean metropolitan archbishop, the present Bishop of Asmara, Menghesteab Tesfamariam.
Establishing the Eritrean Catholic Church as a separate jurisdiction may be calculated to improve its standing in the eyes of the government of Eritrea, which has fought a series of bloody wars with its more powerful neighbour Ethiopia including a long struggle for independence.
The Eritrean government has been accused of horrendous human rights abuses. According to Human Rights Watch, it is one of the most closed countries in the world and is characterised by "indefinite military service, torture, arbitrary detention, and severe restrictions on freedoms of expression, association and religion".

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Kenya’s Paul Tanui and Ethiopia’s Hiwot Ayalew captured respective victories at the 32nd Cross Internacional de Italica – the third Spanish leg of this season’s IAAF Cross Country Permit series – on Sunday (19) on a pleasant but windy day.

However, both 23-year-olds succeeded in different ways. World cross-country silver medallist Ayalew was tucked behind Kenya’s world 5000m silver medallist Mercy Cherono throughout the race before unleashing her final attack 800m before the finish

By contrast, world 10,000m bronze medallist Tanui secured a memorable win as he led from the gun and was never headed to finally destroy the stiff challenge of Uganda’s Timothy Toroitich’s over the final kilometre.

Cherono sets the pace but Ayalew prevails again

Ethiopia: human rights groups criticise UK-funded development programme

Leaked World Bank report rejects claims from the Bank’s management that no link existed between their programme and villagisation
A major UK- and World Bank-funded development programme in Ethiopia may have contributed to the violent resettlement of a minority ethnic group, a leaked report reveals.

The UK’s Department for International Development was the primary funder of a World Bank-run development project aimed at improving health, education and public services in Ethiopia, contributing more than £388m of UK taxpayer funds to the project.

However, a scathing draft report of the World Bank’s internal watchdog said that due to inadequate oversight, bad audit practices, and a failure to follow its own rules, the Bank has allowed operational links to form between its programme and the Ethiopian government’s controversial resettlement programme.

Poverty in Ethiopia Down 33 Percent Since 2000-PRESS RELEASE

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia January 20, 2015- Agricultural growth was the main driver of poverty reduction in Ethiopia since 2000, according to the World Bank Group’s latest Poverty Assessment. Poverty in Ethiopia fell from 44 percent in 2000 to 30 percent in 2011, which translated to a 33 percent reduction in the share of people living in poverty. This decline was underpinned by high and consistent economic growth.

Since 2005, agricultural growth has been responsible for a reduction in poverty of 4 percent a year, suggesting that the agricultural growth strategy pursued by the Government of Ethiopia has paid off.  High food prices and good weather ensured that increased use of fertilizer was translated into higher incomes for poor farmers with access to markets.  Government spending on basic services and effective rural safety nets has also helped the least well-off in Ethiopia. The Productive Safety Net Program alone has pushed 1.5 million people out of poverty.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Ethiopians Birhanu Gedefa, Yebrgual Arage win 2015 Houston Marathon

As expected, Ethiopia's dominance of the Chevron Houston Marathon continued Sunday with Birhanu Gedefa making a dramatic finishing kick downtown to blow past his countryman Gebo Burka, who had led for much of the race.

Gedefa, who surged to the front about a quarter of a mile from the finish line at Lamar and Crawford Streets near the George R. Brown Convention Center, unofficially ran a personal best 2:08:12. Tolossa, the runner-up in 2012, also posted his fastest time ever, a 2:09:07. Two other men cracked 2:10 under perfect conditions, with temperatures in the high 40s and bright sunshine.

Ethiopians dominate Mumbai Marathon

Ethiopian runners ruled the roost, collecting a bagful of medals in the $360,000 Mumbai Marathon here Sunday.

Tesfaye Abera, making his debut among the men, and women's defending champion Dinknesh Mekash led the charge as Ethiopia dominated the field by winning five of the six medals on offer. Kenyan Luke Kibet denied the Ethiopians a clean sweep by grabbing third place in the men's event.

Both Abrera and Dinknesh, went home richer by $41,000 each.

Abera, 22 and unknown to marathon running, emerged as the surprise by clinching first place (2:09:46) on a not-too-cold morning. Abera, who ran the last stage of the race alone, just missed out on improving the course record (2:09.32) which was set by Ugandan Jackson Kiprop in 2013.

Countryman Dereje Debele finished second (2:10:31) just ahead of Kibet, who clocked 2:10:57 for third position.

Friday, January 16, 2015

KIA accident: Ethiopian plane had flat tyres

The Ethiopian cargo aircraft that skidded off the runway of the Kotoka International Airport, Saturday, developed a flat tyre upon landing leading to the accident, preliminary investigations have revealed.

The Boeing 737 400 aircraft with registration number ET-AQV operated by ASKY from Lomé to Accra, skidded off the runway, causing extensive damage to the aircraft.

The three-member crew on board the aircraft were treated and discharged for various injuries at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra.

A Suite of Contemporary Ethiopian Poetry

For a group of art performances in July 2013 called Wax and Gold organized by the Netsa Art Village, visual artist Mulugeta Gebrekidan presented “Invading Samsung Square” to protest the corporate advertising takeover of Addis Ababa’s public spaces. Click here to watch a video about the performances put together by the artists’ collective.
The lively center of the contemporary Ethiopian performance poetry scene can be found in the capital, Addis Ababa. Scores of young and old poets have approached the writers presented in this issue (Abebaw Melaku, Misrak Terefe, and Mihret Kebede) in the past two years, asking and auditioning to perform with them. According to Eric Ellingsen, whose essay “In the Listenings: The Gold Waxes” appears in the print edition, “Poetry is really considered a force shaping Addis Ababa today, and this group is a bit of a movement. There is nothing else like it.” 
As an online bonus, we present video clips from the Tobiya Poetic Jazz Group’s DVD, which was filmed at the Ras Hotel in Addis Ababa. Misrak Terefe’s long poem is also presented here as a web exclusive.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

British MPs to visit Ethiopia in bid to secure release of Andargachew Tsige

Mr Tsege has been held in solitary confinement for the past six months
A delegation of British MPs will visit Ethiopia next month in a bid to secure the release of Andargachew "Andy" Tsege, a British father of three who is under a death sentence.
Mr Tsege, 59, a leading critic of the Ethiopian government who came to Britain as a political refugee more than 30 years ago, has been held in solitary confinement for the past six months.
He vanished during a stopover in Yemen last June, during a trip from Dubai to Eritrea, in what campaigners say was a politically motivated kidnapping. Weeks later it emerged he had been imprisoned in Ethiopia.
His precise whereabouts remain unknown.
The Briton, who is the secretary-general of a banned Ethiopian opposition movement, is facing a death sentence imposed at a trial held in his absence in 2009.

Ethiopia Sentences Three Britons to Jail on Terrorism Charges

An Ethiopian court sentenced three British citizens to prison after finding them guilty of trying to establish Islamic rule in the country through acts of “terrorism,” according to a Justice Ministry official.

Ali Adorus was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in Ethiopian prison, while Somalia-born Mohammed Ahmed and Ahmed Elmi were each given jail terms of four years and eight months, Fekadu Tsega, coordinator of the federal center of prosecution, said by phone yesterday from the capital, Addis Ababa.

“They were accused of trying to unconstitutionally change the government and introduce Islamic government in Ethiopia by terrorism,” he said.

Ethiopia, where Christianity dates to about the fourth century and is followed by about 60 percent of the country’s 94 million people, sent troops three years ago into Somalia to help African Union peacekeepers battle al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab. The group has since 2006 been trying to overthrow the government in Somalia and impose Shariah, or Islamic law, there.

Germany investigating killing of Eritrean refugee in Dresden

(Reuters) - A 20-year-old asylum seeker from Eritrea has been stabbed to death in Dresden, a city in the east of Germany at the center of protests against Islam and immigration.
The state prosecutors' office said on Thursday the man was found dead on a street on Tuesday morning. A police spokesman declined to comment but prosecutors said 25 detectives had been assigned to investigate the case.
German media said the man was last seen alive on Monday evening and one paper quoted a local leader in the Left party, Juliane Nagel, urging police to redouble their efforts to determine if racist violence was involved.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said about 100 people had staged a demonstration when the police confirmed that the man, who was not named, was the victim of a violent crime. The paper quoted Mayor Helma Orosz as saying she was shocked by the news.

Genzebe Dibaba to chase world indoor 5000m record in Stockholm

Genzebe Dibaba will take a tilt at the world indoor 5000m record at the XL Galan meeting in Stockholm on 19 February, organisers of the IAAF Indoor Permit meeting announced on Wednesday (14).
The current mark is 14:24.37 set by Dibaba’s compatriot Meseret Defar at the same venue back in 2009.
Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe arena was also where Dibaba ran a world indoor 3000m record of 8:16.60 last year, taking more than seven seconds off the previous record which had also been held by Defar.
It was the second of Dibaba's three record-breaking runs last winter, coming after her 1500m world indoor record in Karlsruhe and before her two miles world indoor best in Birmingham.
To date, no fewer than 15 world indoor records have been set at the Globe Arena.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

In Ethiopia, The 'Hipsters' Have A Unique Style All Their Own

In the Omo Valley of Ethiopia, a community of stylish men and women caught the attention of a photographer.
Alex Franco was struck by the Hamer, Mursi, Banna and Bodi ethnic groups, all of which have what the BBC World Service described as a "hipster cool" kind of style. They dress in elaborate colors, stand in graceful poses, and alter their hair.
"Resilient local traditions are combined with Western fashion in an original, quirky way," the BBC told A+ in an email.
Check out Franco's pictures below, and hear him talk about his experience in the short video above.
Alex Franco is a Spanish-born fashion photographer and filmmaker.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Ethiopian Airlines eyes stakes in Rwanda, Congo carriers

(Reuters) - Ethiopian Airlines [ETHA.UL] is in talks with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to purchase stakes in their carriers and manage them, its chief executive told Reuters.
Discussions with Kigali and Kinshasa follow similar deals with Malawi and South Sudan, part of efforts to become a global carrier and put the airline at the heart of travel in Africa.
Ethiopia's state-owned airline is ranked the largest airline in Africa by revenue and profit by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an the industry body representing 250 airlines that account for 84 percent of global air traffic.

Ethiopian city bans smoking in public places

Addis Ababa (AFP) - An Ethiopian city has banned smoking in public places with fines more than an average monthly wage, the first city in the country to do so, reports said Tuesday.
The decision by the northeastern city of Mekele, capital of the Tigray region, makes smoking illegal in bars, restaurants, schools and hospitals, as well as outdoors in stadiums and during religious festivals.
Advertising tobacco is also banned, Ethiopian media reported.
Fines have been set at $50 for individuals and $150 for owners of bars or restaurants, a stiff punishment in a country where average monthly salaries are less than $40, according to the World Bank.
Ethiopia's parliament last year voted to ban smoking in public places to combat tobacco-related diseases, but the law had not been enforced until now.
Nearly one in 10 young Ethiopians smoke, according to the World Health Organization.

Ethiopia's economy raises Heineken's hopes for beer market growth

Heineken is betting on Ethiopia's rising incomes to fuel rapid expansion of the beer market in Africa's second most populous country.
Ethiopia's average annual beer consumption of some five litres per capita is about half the average level for sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa, offering scope for expansion among the population.
Heineken's African and Middle East regional president Siep Hiemstra said in an interview on Monday that Ethiopians were used to fermented drinks and also grew barley, used in beer making.
"It's a country, where as a brewer, you believe you should be there ... One can expect that there will be rapid expansion of the brewing industry," he said.
Ethiopia's economy is expanding at about 9 percent per year, sturdy growth that led to its debut one billion US dollars Eurobond being oversubscribed last month.
The world's major brewers have turned to emerging markets such as Africa for growth because consumer spending in Europe is sluggish and the United States offers only limited expansion opportunities.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Inside Ethiopian Running - Haile Gebrselassie, Keninisa Bekele, Meseret Defar and Tirunesh Dibaba


FOREX Africa: Is 2015 Ethiopian Birr’s Time To Shine?

As a frontier market, the countries of Africa represent both tremendous opportunities and tremendous risks. On the risk side of the ledger are all the usual complications of international trade and investment compounded by the problems inherent in a developing, emergent continental market consisting of 54 countries and 1.1 billion people – it’s a lot to keep track of.
Luckily, the ups and downs of the African currency markets aren’t one of them if you know where to look. To help with that, AFK Insider has compiled all the news you need to know now in order to slim down your currency risk in the week ahead. Let’s see what’s happening out there.
From Band Aid to Investor Darling
Early last month Ethiopia marked a remarkable milestone in its history. Thirty years ago the country was in the grip of a deadly, mostly man-made famine caused by civil war and government mismanagement.

Sisi to meet Ethiopia’s patriarch, church delegation

Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is set to meet Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarch Mathias I on Monday, the presidency’s spokesman said.

Mathias I came to Egypt early Saturday with a large delegation for a six-day visit after an invitation from Egypt’s Pope Tawadros II, Ahram Online reported.

The Egyptian and Ethiopian churches mediated negotiations after spat between the two countries over the Grand Renaissance Dam Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile.

Mathias I met with Egypt’s Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab Saturday.

Egypt rejects Ethiopia dam storage capacity

Egypt's irrigation ministry says the current capacity of the Renaissance Dam will negatively affect its water share
Egypt has objected to the storage capacity of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam, currently under construction, which it fears will negatively affect its Nile water share.

Alaa Yassin, spokesperson on the Ethiopia dam issue for Egypt's irrigation ministry, called for decreasing the dam's capacity, currently set at 74 billion cubic metres, saying this will have an adverse effect on Egypt’s water supply.

Yassin stated, according to state news agency MENA on Sunday, that his country's "studies" on the dam have shown that the capacity is "unjustified" and "technically unacceptable."

In October, Ethiopia said it had completed 40 percent of the construction necessary for its $4.2 billion dam project, adding that the first stage of the dam will be operational from June 2015. The 6,000 megawatt dam, set to be Africa's largest, is expected to be completed by 2017.


Police officers in central region of Dowa recently intercepted and arrested 40 Ethiopian nationals and a Malawian national for allegedly assisting them to enter into the country illegally.
Wise Upambo, a Malawian national aged 21 and the Ethiopian nationals were intercepted by the law enforcers during a sweeping exercise held in the district.
Reports reaching FaceofMalawi indicate that the illegal immigrants were travelling in a three tonner Mitsubishi Canter registration MC 5278 that was later impounded by the enforcers.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Atlanta man pleads guilty to Ethiopian adoption fraud scheme

An Atlanta man who previously ran an adoption agency pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to his role in a scheme involving children from Ethiopia, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

James Harding, 55, admitted that between 2008 and 2009, he and his co-conspirators submitted fraudulent documents to the State Department to facilitate adoptions of Ethiopian children by U.S. parents, according to Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell and U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles of the District of South Carolina. Harding was employed as the international program director for International Adoption Guides Inc. at the time of the crimes.

Ethiopian killer maid gets death sentence

A penal court in Taif has sentenced an Ethiopian maid to death for killing her woman sponsor with an ax.
The woman has launched an appeal against the verdict, according to a report in an online publication on Wednesday. The incident, which occurred in 2013, saw the maid strike her sponsor eight times on the head as she prayed Dhuhr in her house in Musailat village in southern Taif.

Ati bin Attiya Al-Qurashi, spokesman of Makkah Police, said investigations revealed that the maid, who is in her 30s, committed the crime with the intention to steal. A sum of SR7,000 was found in her possession when she was arrested.

Ethiopia's first hotel goes ablaze

The wooden structures of the two-story hotel, built in 1898, engulfed in fire from the inside as firefighters are trying to put it out

World Bulletin/News Desk

Itegue Taitu Hotel, Ethiopia’s first ever hotel, has gone ablaze, with no casualties reported, an Anadolu Agency correspondent reported Sunday.

The wooden structures of the two-story hotel, built in 1898 according to its official web page, engulfed in fire from the inside as firefighters are trying to put it out, according to the reporter.

No details have so far come out from the Addis Ababa firefighting department or police on the cause of the fire.

Ethiopia, phone home: Space observatory sees country’s future in the stars

First such telescope in Ethiopia kick-starts astronomical interest, enabling economy to reap benefits of technology
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — When Eyoas Ergetu was a child, he became interested in space science but couldn’t find anywhere to study it. He went on to become a mechanical engineering graduate student at Addis Ababa University, where he studies. And, now 24, he has managed to find an outlet for his thwarted celestial interests, thanks to Ethiopia’s first space observatory, the Entoto Observatory and Research Center.
“It’s very exciting to be working here,” he said beside one of the observatory’s two 1-meter telescopes, each of which weighs 6 tons and cost about $1.5 million.
The observatory sits atop the Entoto Mountains strewn with eucalyptus forest overlooking the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. It has already opened its doors to researchers and students, and by the end of January, its two telescopes are expected to be declared fully functional by a panel of scientific inspectors.
At the same time, a feasibility study is well underway for construction of another space observatory at Lalibela, home to Ethiopia’s famous rock-hewn churches.
These observatories will kick-start space science technology in Ethiopia — an important boost to development, those involved say, as the technology has applications in myriad areas in the public and private sectors.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Eyayu Fanges- One-person show by Girum Zenebe


Ethiopia: Ethiopian Airlines Cargo plane crashes in Ghana

Ethiopian Airlines Cargo Plane (Boeing 737-400) at the crash site at Accra Airport, Ghana. Photo Credit: AviationSafety
An Ethiopian Airlines cargo plane crashed on Saturday overshooting the runway at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana.

Early reports claim that three crew members injured on board the cargo plane have been rushed to the 37 military hospital in Accra.

The Corporate Communications Officer of the Ghana Airport Company, Newman Quartey said though the victims survived the incident, they had to be rushed to the hospital for medical attention, according to media reports from Ghana.

New doctor will return home to aid women's health in Ethiopia

CHICAGO - Dr. Gelila Goba hasn't forgotten where she came from.
Instead of joining a comfortable practice in the U.S. after completing her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University, Goba instead will be caring for patients in her native Ethiopia, where in many communities light and heat qualify as luxuries.
After she graduates in May, Goba plans to move back to Ethiopia to implement a new initiative that she hopes will improve the state of women's health in the desperately poor country of 90 million.
"A lot has been given to me," said Goba, during a break at Prentice Women's Hospital at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago. "I must make sure that I use those gifts wisely."
The program is a partnership between Northwestern and Mekelle University in Ethiopia. It provides medical education, clinical training and research in sub-Saharan Africa, where acute doctor shortages and women's health continue to be vexing problems.
In Ethiopia, the maternal mortality rate is twice the global average, and the rate of death from cervical cancer is almost seven times higher than in the U.S., according to the World Health Organization. The entire country has about 220 OB-GYNs nationwide - roughly the same number as Northwestern Memorial alone, according to university officials.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Fidel Odinga's widow, Lwam Bekele, breaks down eulogizing her late husband


Ethiopia launches school program to treat parasitic worms

(Reuters) - Ethiopia is launching a national initiative in schools this year to treat children at risk of infection from parasitic worms, mirroring a program in Kenya which has improved child health and school attendance, a charity involved said.

Ethiopia aims to treat at least 80 percent of children at risk from parasitic worms by 2020, Evidence Action said.

The Horn of Africa nation, ravaged by famine in the 1980s, has received international praise for the way it has improved its national health system, notably via community programs.

The country of about 96 million people has more than 10 million children at risk for schistosomiasis, caused by a parasite found in contaminated lakes or other freshwater sites, and 18 million children at risk from soil-transmitted helminths, parasitic worms, the U.S.-based charity said.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Ethiopian immigrant goes missing on first day of school, spends night in vacant house

17-year-old Beth Eliso, a recent immigrant from Ethiopia, went missing on her first of school after getting lost while walking home for lunch.
 A teen who immigrated to Canada from Ethiopia just last month had a terrible first day of school in the Winnipeg area this week, becoming badly lost trying to find her way home and spending the night in a vacant house.

Seventeen-year-old Beth Zeleke Eliso decided to walk home during her lunch hour Monday, but quickly lost her way. Rather than seek help, she wandered the streets for hours, trying to find the way back to school and looking for anything familiar.

"In my mind, I knew my house. Where is my house? And so I think: I can go back,” Eliso explained to CTV Winnipeg in broken English.