Friday, February 27, 2015

British support for Ethiopia scheme withdrawn amid abuse allegations

Department for International Development will no longer back $4.9bn project that critics claim has funded a brutal resettlement programme

The UK has ended its financial support for a controversial development project alleged to have helped the Ethiopian government fund a brutal resettlement programme. Hundreds of people have been forced from their land as a result of the scheme, while there have also been reports of torture, rape and beatings.

Until last month, Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID) was the primary funder of the promotion of basic services (PBS) programme, a $4.9bn (£3.2bn) project run by the World Bank and designed to boost education, health and water services in Ethiopia.

Where Rimbaud Found Peace in Ethiopia

The Arthur Rimbaud Cultural Center, a merchant's home now dedicated to the poet and his time in Harar.
In December of 1880, the mercurial French poet Arthur Rimbaud entered the ancient walled city of Harar, Ethiopia, a journey that had involved crossing the Gulf of Aden in a wooden dhow and 20 days on horseback through the Somali Desert. Several years before, the author of the prose poems “A Season in Hell” and “Illuminations” had abruptly renounced poetry and embarked on peregrinations that would take him around Europe, Asia, the Middle East and, finally, Africa. At age 26, Rimbaud accepted “a job consisting in receiving shipments of bales of coffee” with a French trading firm in a thriving corner of what was then called Abyssinia.
Then as now, Harar was a market town threaded with steep cobblestone alleys that wind between high limestone and tuff walls. Today those walls are painted with geometric designs in green, white, pink and blue. As one strolls down the narrow, mazelike streets lined with single-story dwellings, the city, fortified and enigmatic, feels closed off. Donkeys carrying bundles of firewood wait patiently for their owners near the crenelated entrances of the city’s historic gates. In the densely populated Old City, there are over 180 mosques and shrines, some dating to the 10th century. Occasionally one comes upon open-air markets where spices, khat leaves and coffee beans are sold in huge sacks.
Rimbaud arrived in Harar “sick and completely helpless,” according to his employer, Alfred Bardey. He rented a rough, clay-walled house with a thatched reed roof. The man credited by many with reinventing modern European poetry would reside in this preindustrial Ethiopian city for nearly five years, during three distinct periods between 1880 and 1891, the longest time he ever stayed anywhere as an adult. It was a life he had visualized years before he began his travels. “I sought voyages, to disperse enchantments that had colonized my mind,” the 19-year-old author wrote in “A Season in Hell,” a hallucinatory collection of nine poems that had been published seven years before his arrival in Harar, featuring a narrator who rages at, and then roams, the world. “My life would always be too ungovernable to be devoted to strength and beauty.”

The plight of Ethiopian migrants in Somalia

In search of a better life, many Ethiopians migrate to Somalia but face xenophobia and hostility from the locals.

 Bossasso, Somalia - Ankles deep in brown canal water, freshly plucked green weeds in both muddy hands, Abdi Muse Kalon cannot stop grinning. He says life here has given him a second chance - a better chance.
Risking his life, Kalon walked for more than four months from Ethiopia to get to Bossasso, a port city nestled next to the Red Sea in Somalia's northeast.
Kalon is one of at least 10,000 Ethiopian migrants who have crossed over from neighbouring Ethiopia and settled on the southern coast of the Gulf of Aden in the past five years, according to local authorities.
"It was not easy to get here, not everyone makes it. People die of starvation and thirst on the way here. And even wild animals can kill you. I'm very lucky," Kalon told Al Jazeera.

He first tried his luck to come to Bossasso in 2009. With wages low and jobs hard to come by back home, Kalon saved enough money and boarded a boat in search of greener pastures. Oman was his final destination, but soon he was picked up by authorities in the Arab sultanate and sent back.
Unhappy with what life in Ethiopia offered him and his family, he decided Somalia was his next destination.

A cold welcome

Kalon and thousands of his countrymen are leaving one of the fastest growing economies on the African continent for a country that until recently was considered a "failed state". This part of the Horn of Africa country has been spared the worst of the two decades-long civil war, and has had relative peace for the last 10 years.
But with seven out of 10 of Somali youth unemployed, the presence of these mainly economic migrants has caused tension. Residents want them out, by force if necessary.
The local government is leading the efforts to send the Ethiopians back. New strict laws have been put in place to curb the influx of migrants.

Zimbabwe deports 179 Ethiopians

Zimbabwe has deported 179 Ethiopians who illegally entered into the country in October last year, state media reported Wednesday.
The 179 Ethiopians, aged between 15 and 28, pleaded guilty to contravening the country’s immigration laws when they appeared before Harare Magistrate Tendai Mahwe this week, the Herald newspaper reported.
 The magistrate warned and cautioned the group before handing them to the immigration department for immediate deportation.
The Ethiopians, who pleaded to be granted asylum, claimed they were running away from political violence back home.

Boeing to sell Terrible Teen B787s to Ethiopian

Boeing (BOE, Chicago O'Hare) is reportedly in talks with 10 separate buyers concerning the sale of early-model B787-8s, commonly referred to as "Terrible Teens" in the parlance of our times.

Informed sources told Bloomberg news that among the buyers are Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa) which is reportedly in advanced discussions regarding eight jets. The Ethiopians were among the first operators of the Dreamliners on its commercial début in 2012.

As previously reported, Air Austral (UU, St. Denis de la Réunion) has ordered two Terrible Teens with the contract signed on February 6 the Réunionaise press says. Deliveries of msn 34510 and msn 34491 are, however, now due in May and October 2016.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ethiopians fined 50,000 for illegal stay

Prospects for greener pastures in South Africa turned ugly for one hundred Ethiopians yesterday when they were fined Sh50,000 each or face one year in jail.

The foreigners cried in court immediately their interpreter, Mr Dima Abdulkadir, explained to them the judgment by Makadara Senior Principal Magistrate Victor Wakumile.

The magistrate ordered that they be repatriated to Ethiopia after serving their sentence.


While taking plea, some appeared weak and could hardly walk. One was carried by his colleagues, who said he was starving.

Kenya Police Arrest 101 Ethiopian Men

Kenyan police said Tuesday they arrested 101 Ethiopian nationals suspected of traveling illegally through Kenya on their way to South Africa.

The suspects appeared before Magistrate Victor Wakumile but were not charged because they did not understand English and there was no Amharic interpreter. Wakumile postponed the case to Wednesday when an interpreter would be available.

The Ethiopians were arrested Monday night along with three Kenyans suspected of trying to sneak the men across borders, said Noah Katumo, the head of Kenya's Special Crimes Prevention Unit.

Katumo said the men arrived at a three-bedroomed house in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, in small groups. They had intended to continue the journey to South Africa.

Through UN-backed project, Ethiopian marmalade will soon hit shelves at ‘Eataly’

Members of the cooperative of women in Ethiopia whose cactus pear marmalade will soon reach Italian tables. Photo: FAO/Filippo Brasesco
25 February 2015 – Next time you feel like some cactus pear marmalade from Ethiopia but can’t make it to the town of Mekelle, check out the shelves of Italian gourmet food store Eataly.
Thanks to a partnership between the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Eataly to support family farmers around the globe, a cooperative of women in Ethiopia are now ready to ship their 4,000 jars of jam to Rome, where they will soon reach the shelves.
“The success story in Ethiopia illustrates what FAO is aiming to do on the ground: empowering women farmers to generate extra income and improve their livelihoods,” the agency said in a press release.
“The result: better food and nutrition, stronger local economies, and small businesses that will be able to thrive on their own once FAO’s intervention ends,” it adds.

Ethiopia plans to revive biodiesel production

Ethiopia is an unlikely setting for a revived “food versus fuel” debate. As a country once overwhelmed by famine, it may seem odd that the Ethiopian government would be in favour of anything associated with food security risk. But the case for biofuels in Ethiopia is strong and it’s growing stronger.
Like many countries, the Ethiopian government was eager to realise the potential of jatropha, a biofuel crop with “green gold” credentials, ten years ago. Opinions soured in 2007 and 2008 when the global food price crisis struck and biofuel production was identified as one of the root causes. This, coupled with disappointing jatropha harvests, prompted a swift exit by Ethiopia’s biodiesel developers.
The government is keen to revive interest in biofuels and is pinning its hopes on the private sector to finance new projects. It is offering tax holidays and free land leases for up to seven years to biofuels developers. According to Nadew Tadelle who runs the recently created biofuels private enterprise unit at the Ministry of Water and Energy, the government hopes biodiesel production may reach 450m litres a year within the next five years, up from virtually zero currently.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Spy cables reveal African Union assassination threat in Addis Abeba

Documents show S African and Ethiopian agencies in crisis, suspected Sudan, amid reported 2012 plot to kill AU chief.

Secret intelligence documents leaked to Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit reveal that spies in Addis Ababa were alerted to a plot by "an unnamed state" to kill a top African Union diplomat.
Ethiopian agents later accused Sudan of involvement in the plan to assassinate African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who had previously served as South Africa's foreign minister.


Dlamini-Zuma allegedly faced "an eminent threat" to her life in the Ethiopian capital which also hosts the headquarters of the African Union in October 2012, just days after she was appointed.
The documents show that South African and Ethiopian intelligence agencies had been unprepared for the threat, for which they blamed Sudan. The agencies admitted they did not have enough time to "neutralise the operation" or apprehend those involved.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Ethiopia, Chad Finance Ministers Among Candidates for AfDB Chief

(Bloomberg) -- Three African finance ministers are among eight candidates in the running to replace Donald Kaberuka as president of the African Development Bank.
Ethiopia’s Sufian Ahmed, Chad’s Kordje Bedoumra and Cristina Duarte from Cape Verde have been nominated for the position, the lender said in an e-mailed statement on Friday. The other candidates include Nigerian Agriculture Minister Akinwumi Adesina and Mali’s Birama Boubacar Sidibe, who is vice president of operations for the Islamic Development Bank.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ermias Amelga Returns to Addis Abeba

Government guarantee lasts a year provided he addresses woes of disgruntled clients and shareholders
Ermias T. Amelga, Ethiopia`s self exiled real estate mogul, has made a dramatic return to Addis Abeba this week, people close to him disclosed to Fortune.

The embattled businessman, who has now been elevated to a status of “too important to fail,” has been signaling his return to Addis where he will have to face thousands of disgruntled homebuyers who made advances to Access Real Estate (ARE) S.C. and other companies under his flagship investment firm, Access Capital Services S.C., as well as angry shareholders.

Arriving on Thursday morning, February 19, 2015, Ermias went straight to his mother`s home, according to a person close to him.

Genzebe Dibaba Smashes 5000m Indoor WORLD RECORD XL-Galan 2015



Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba ran the third world indoor record * of her career when she clocked 14:18:86 for 5000m at the XL-galan meeting in Stockholm, an IAAF Indoor Permit meeting, on Thursday (19).

Dibaba took more than five seconds off the previous mark of 14:24:37 set by her compatriot Meseret Defar on the same track in 2009.

In 2014, Dibaba set world records indoors over 1500m and 3000m as well as a world best over two miles.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

C’ttee presents interim report on Ethiopian cargo plane crash

Poor visibility resulting from bad weather condition was a contributory factor to the crash of the Ethiopian Air cargo plane at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) on January 10, a report of a committee tasked to investigate the incident has said.

In its preliminary report presented to the Minister of Transport, Mrs Dzifa Attivor, in Accra yesterday, the Ethiopian Air Cargo Plane Accident Investigation Committee did not, however, state the leading cause of the accident.
The 16-page report only cited poor visibility due to the weather as a contributory factor.
The Chairman of the committee, Captain Samuel Thompson, who handed the report over to the minister, said the final report would be ready by May, this year.


A Boeing 737 400 Ethiopian Airline aircraft with registration number ET-AQV and operated by ASKY from Lomé to Accra, skidded off the runway on January 10, 2015, resulting in extensive damage to the aircraft.

Ethiopian nationals injured in South Sudan grenade attack

Three Ethiopian businessmen were on Wednesday severely injured after unknown assailants hurled grenades at their shops in South Sudan's Jonglei state.
The trio is reportedly recovering at Bor Civilian Hospital in Jonglei.
According to reports, the three were attacked while sitting in front of their shop near a local market at night.
Somebody came with a hand grenade and threw it at them
The attack came at a time when foreign businesspeople in Jonglei say they are no feeling longer safe operating in the region.
"Last year three Ugandans and one Kenyan were killed in the market. We were promised that such attacks will not take place again" said Isah Mbalangu, a representative of foreign business people in the region.

Kenya: Mombasa Detectives Arrest 11 Ethiopian Aliens Enroute to South Africa

By Nancy Agutu
Police detectives arrested eleven Ethiopian aliens on Tuesday night who were headed to South Africa from Likoni in Mombasa county.

The aliens were arrested in Soweto village where they were harboured in the house of Abdi Wahab Hussein.

Hussein is believed to have housed the suspects illegally without informing the police.

Likoni police boss Willy Simba said the aliens were headed to South Africa through the porous Lunga Lunga border.

Israels forced birth control to Ethiopian Jews

The Israeli government has admitted to forcing female Ethiopian Jewish migrants into having contraceptive injections without their knowledge or consent. The women were deceived and told that the Depo-Provera injections were vaccinations and that unless they had them, they would be refused entry to Israel.
World Bulletin / News Desk
The Israeli government has admitted to forcing female Ethiopian Jewish migrants into having contraceptive injections without their knowledge or consent. The women were deceived and told that the Depo-Provera injections were vaccinations and that unless they had them, they would be refused entry to Israel.
When Israel's Ethiopian community became suspicious of a dramatic decline in birth rates, investigations began to determine why. The Israeli government denied any wrongdoing but the health ministry has ordered a complete halt to all gynaecologists administering the drugs.
According to a report in the Atlanta Black Star, the Israeli government deliberately and knowling injected Ethiopian women who were migrating to Israel - the women were told that it was a vaccination, and without it, they would be barred from entering Israel.
Many have called the practice appallingly racist.

Ethiopia's media war

Ethiopian anti-terrorism laws are forcing journalists into exile and prison, a push the government says will secure the nation.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Emahoy Tsegue-Mariam Gebru's Music makes divine buzz in Jerusalem

Gebru accepting flowers from Maya Dunietz after a performance of her music. Photo by Tal Shachar/Jerusalem Season of Culture
How a 90-year-old Ethiopian nun stole the show at the city’s Sacred Music Festival.
 At the recent four-day Sacred Music Festival in Jerusalem, hundreds of music lovers and performers crowded the city’s holy sites to hear the world’s spiritual and religious music traditions.

With top talent from across the globe taking part, no one foresaw that the biggest attraction at the festival – part of the annual Jerusalem Season of Culture – would be a shy 90-year-old nun.

Ethiopian-born Emahoy Tsegue-Mariam Gebru, who has lived in isolation for more than three decades, had the classical world’s music experts abuzz with divine inspiration.
Critics who had come across her recordings before had dubbed her a “musical treasure.” But it wasn’t until the Israeli event that the music world would know how prolific she has been.
Gebru released her first recording in Germany in 1967 and published several other works over the years. An educational non-profit organization named for her – the Emahoy Tsege Mariam Music (ETM) Foundation — teaches classical and jazz music to children in Africa and helps American children to study music in Africa.
Young Israeli musician Maya Dunietz worked for seven months on transcribing Gebru’s compositions into a book format. Following three concerts dedicated to Gebru’s compositions that were the talk of the Sacred Music Festival, Dunietz and a group of Israeli musicians are now working to release a new recording of her music in the coming year, and perhaps even another book of her compositions.

Norway's Yara plans to develop $740m Ethiopian potash mine

Oslo, 13 February 2015: A feasibility study, carried out on behalf of Yara International confirms significant potential to extract potash in the Danakil depression in northeastern Ethiopia.

The independent study identified an annual production of 600,000 metric tons sulfate of potash (SOP) over 23 years from reserves (Kainite, Carnallite and Sylvinite) at Yara`s Danakil concession. The company, which aims to begin mining activities in 3Q, 2018, is now seeking equity partners to develop the project.

The reserves will be mined using solution mining technology. The brine produced at the mining sites will be evaporated utilizing high solar radiation. The harvested salts will be processed and re-crystalized to SOP. Both standard and compacted SOP will be produced.

The product will be trucked 790km to Tadjoura, Djibouti, where the project includes a product storage and handling terminal at the new port currently under construction by the Djibouti Port Authority.

Solomon Georgio Delivered The Ballsiest Late Night Comedy Set We’ve Seen In Years

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Ethiopian capital expands airport, plans new hub to meet growth

* Airport is home to fast-growing Ethiopian Airlines
* Ethiopia wants to make Addis Ababa a world air hub
* Passenger growth seen at 18 percent a year
By Aaron Maasho
ADDIS ABABA, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Ethiopia will complete expansion work on the capital's airport in 2018 to triple the number of passengers it handles from 7 million a year now and will soon pick a site for a new hub to deal with 10 times the number in future, a senior official said.
Bole International Airport, on the edge of Addis Ababa, is home to Ethiopian Airlines, the state-owned national carrier that is ranked the largest by revenue in Africa.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ethiopian Airlines to become the No.1 in Africa in 2015

Ethiopian Airlines is planning a rapid expansion to become a leader in Africa in terms of passenger traffic; the “title” is already acquired in terms of fleet. And its rivals take them for their grade.

In a lengthy statement released on February 9th , 2015, the national airline of Ethiopia which already ranks first on a continental scale in terms of operating devices (70 aircraft), explains that after doubled in size in ten years, it wants to expand its fleet and its network “in order to widen the gap with other leading African carriers. “

The company Star Alliance will launch in effect connections to Tokyo in April and to Los Angeles in June. It will also reactivate the line to Singapore in April.

Ethiopian Airline is currently in partnership with All Nippon Airways, Asiana or Air India regarding Asia and United Airlines in the United States.

Ethiopia’s first post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie looks beautiful and bizarre

CRUMBS TRAILER from Lanzadera Films on Vimeo.

Billed widely as Ethiopia’s first post-apocalyptic sci-fi film, Crumbs, (directed by Spanish-born, Addis Ababa-based director Miguel Llansó) is the story of Birdy and Candy, survivors of a vaguely referenced "Big War" that leaves the world's population in tatters. From the looks of it, Birdy and Candy lead a sad, strange, and terrifying life: they live in a decrepit bowling alley, a rusted spaceship hangs immobile in the sky above, and Birdy has to face off with what appears to be a Power Ranger on horseback. Oh yeah, and Santa Claus makes an appearance. The Hollywood Reporter, which reviewed Crumbs at the Rotterdam Film Festival, gave it a tentative thumbs up, calling it "outlandish and imaginative." IndiePix just picked up the film for distribution in the US and frankly, I couldn't be more excited.

Family of barefoot marathoner sues shoe maker over use of name

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - The family of an Ethiopian runner who famously won an Olympic marathon barefoot is suing Vibram, the maker of a popular line of minimalist running shoes, saying it used his name without permission.

Abebe Bikila, who died in 1973, was a last-minute entrant in the 1960 Olympics in Rome and didn't like the fit of the shoes he'd been provided. Running barefoot over the cobbled streets, he shattered the existing Olympic record, finishing in just over two hours, 15 minutes.

Vibram named some models of its Five Fingers foot-glove style running shoes after him, and even trademarked the name "Bikila" in 2010 as barefoot or nearly barefoot running became more popular in the United States.

But in a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Tacoma, Bikila's son, Teferi Bikila, of Tigard, Oregon, said the company didn't have permission to do so.

Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay bagged Gold in African Continental Championships 2015

The riders at the Confederation of African Cycling Road Championships in Pietermaritzburg were given some respite from the weather on Wednesday for the Individual Time Trials of the Elite Men and Women and it was South African star Ashleigh Moolman Pasio who added a continental champs title to her impressive list of achievements in recent times with Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay claiming the Elite Men’s title.

The men’s Individual Time Trial was just as exciting and with a strong South African contingent the odds would have been in their favour but it was Ethiopian rider Tsgabu Grmay who was the fastest over the two laps to claim the continental crown.

Moolman Pasio went into the Individual Time Trial with the Team Time Trial winners medal already in her hands and added the individual gold to that when she cruised to victory over fellow South African Heidi Dalton and Aurelie Halbwachs who finished second and third respectively.

The Bigla Pro Team rider was happy that she could add another continental gold medal to her impressive record of late and was glad that there was a little bit of a change from the intense heat that the riders had to ride in over the first two days.

Ethiopian leading gang of maid traffickers arrested

The gang involved in trafficking of housemaids in police custody. An Ethiopian woman was leading the group and supplying maids to citizens and expatriates
KUWAIT CITY,  Officers from the General Department for Residency Affairs Investigations arrested a gang led by an Ethiopian woman for housemaid trafficking in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh area.

According to a press statement issued by Ministry of Interior, the arrested gang members included a driver and 12 housemaids. When the department received information from a reliable source about the gang swindling a number of residents of Kuwait after creating an impression that it is affiliated to a domestic labor bureau, a team was formed for investigations.

Ethiopian shop owners shot dead in KZN

Distraught relatives of Getechaw Paulos and Deselegn Daniel in the shop in which they were killed.
Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Safety and Community Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu has slammed the spate of attacks and killings of foreigners in the province after two Ethiopians were shot dead in their shop in Inchanga on Monday.

“We are extremely disappointed and angered by these latest murders.

“They come at a time when we were convinced that we were making progress in amicably resolving these attacks,” said Mchunu.

Shop owners Getechaw Paulos, 32, and Deselegn Daniel, 30, were both shot in the head.

A relative, Eshetu Zewde, said it had been three months since the two had started working, and he was shocked because they were liked.

Body found in Fredericton fire IDed as Ethiopian man, friend says

Selamneh Techane, of Ethiopia, seemed to disappear about five years ago, according to his friend, Jennifer Zilliac
Selamneh Techane was found in attic of Aberdeen Street house on Sunday, says Jennifer Zilliac

The body discovered in a suspicious house fire in Fredericton over the weekend has been identified as a man from Ethiopia, who seemed to disappear about five years ago, according to a friend.
Jennifer Zilliac, of Oakland, Calif., says she was shocked and heartbroken to learn the body found in the attic of a house on Aberdeen Street on Sunday evening was that of Selamneh Techane.
Zilliac says she received a call from the New Brunswick coroner's office on Monday after identification was discovered on the body. Officials are still using DNA and medical records to confirm the identity, she said.
Fredericton Police Cpl. Sean Clark has said the body was unrelated to the fire and that foul play was not suspected in the person's death.
Zilliac had put up a Facebook site dedicated to finding Techane after he seemed to disappear five years ago. She says he was instrumental in helping her adopt a daughter from Ethiopia in 2005.

'He was loved by so many'

"He was a taxi driver in [Ethiopia's capital city] Addis Ababa and he was connected with people who were adopting children from Ethiopia and connected to everybody," she told CBC News in a telephone interview from her home in Oakland.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Ogaden-Ethiopia Peace Talk may Resume, Ogadentoday says

Ogaden and Ethiopia had agreed to meet in Nairobi again to resume the peace talks that stalled in October 17, 2012, following ONLF's refusal to accept a precondition imposed by Ethiopian negotiation team, which was a violation to initial agreement according to a report by Ogaden Today Press.

The news follows days of fighting in Ogaden region at Sagag District and Suban-balal and Bod'ano, the outskirts of the Southern Ogaden town of Gode.

Representatives from Ogaden Nation Liberation Front (ONLF) and Ethiopia government are already in Nairobi and the talks may resume within this week, Dhanaan Media, a pro-Ethiopian Site said Sunday.

Citing from reliable sources , the site said the talks that will resume this week may end decades of conflict in the Ogaden region since it is different from previous talks because international negotiators intended to participate in and the experiences gained from the past talks.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Ethiopia’s stifled press

February 8 at 8:37 PM

WHILE ENJOYING its status as an international development darling, Ethiopia has been chipping away at its citizens’ freedom of expression. The country now holds the shameful distinction of having the second-most journalists in exile in the world, after Iran. That combination of Western subsidies and political persecution should not be sustainable.
According to a new report by Human Rights Watch, at least 60 journalists have fled the country since 2010, including 30 last year, and at least 19 have been imprisoned. Twenty-two faced criminal charges in 2014. The government closed five newspapers and a magazine within the past year, leaving Ethiopia with no independent private media outlets. With the country headed toward elections in May, the pressure on the media has undermined the prospect of a free and fair vote.
Ethiopia has long been known for its censorship and repression of the media, but the situation has deteriorated in recent years. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the country has since 2009 “banned or suspended at least one critical independent publication per year.” After the death of prime minister Meles Zenawi in 2012, successor Hailemariam Desalegn has tightened the regime’s stranglehold on the press. Even Ethiopia’s rival Eritrea looks better: It released several imprisoned journalists last month.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Ethiopia bets on grand projects in drive for industrial power

(Reuters) - Chinese workers mingle with Ethiopians putting the finishing touches to a metro line that cuts through Addis Ababa, one of a series of grand state infrastructure projects that Ethiopia hopes will help it mimic Asia's industrial rise.
Brought to its knees by "Red Terror" communist purges in the 1970s and famine in the 1980s, Ethiopia has been transformed in the last quarter century, becoming one of Africa's fastest-growing economies.
At the heart of the state's "Growth and Transformation Plan" are railway, road and dam projects to give the landlocked nation cheap power and reliable transport, as well as the metro line - the first urban light railway network in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Djibouti, Ethiopia accuse Eritrea of undermining stability

Djibouti and Ethiopia on Saturday accused neighboring Eritrea of undermining regional stability. In a joint statement, Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn called on the international community to "take serious steps against the Eritrean government to prevent it from undermining stability in the region." The Eritrean government could not be reached for a comment.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Ethiopia launches mobile money schemes to extend banking reach

By Edmund Blair
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopian banks and microfinance firms are launching mobile money services, helping reach swathes of the population that now have little access to branches or services, the mobile technology providers and banks said.
The launch of the services, which allow customers to make payments or receive money via a mobile that is linked to a bank account, mirrors technology used in other African nations that has drawn millions of people into the financial system.
Netherlands-based BelCash is offering a technology called helloCash, while MOSS ICT, mainly owned by an Ireland-based firm, is rolling out M-Birr in the nation of 96 million people.
In both cases, Ethiopian banks and institutions will offer the service to customers and hold the cash deposited, in line with government policy that bars foreign firms or banks from investing in the financial sector or the telecoms industry.

Ethiopian Shade Coffee Is World's Most Bird Friendly

Ethiopian coffee farmer Awol Abagojam and his son Isaac harvest their product near the village of Choche, much the same way their ancestors did a thousand years ago.
A new study found high biodiversity on traditional coffee farms.

Shady coffee plantations in Ethiopia, where coffee has been grown for at least a thousand years, hold more bird species than any other coffee farms in the world, new research shows.
The research suggests that traditional cultivation practices there support better bird biodiversity than any other coffee farms in the world.
In Ethiopia, coffee is traditionally grown on plantations shaded by native trees. These farms boasted more than 2.5 times as many bird species as adjacent mountain forest, according to a study slated for publication February 11 in the journal Biological Conservation.
"That was a surprise," says study co-author Cagan H. Sekercioglu, a biologist at the University of Utah and a National Geographic Society grantee. Further, "all 19 understory bird species we sampled in the forest were present in the coffee farms too, and that just doesn't happen elsewhere."
Other studies have shown that shade coffee farms provide better bird habitat than full-sun plantations, but the effect may be more prominent in Ethiopia because farmers there tend to use native trees instead of the exotic species popular elsewhere.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Ethiopiyawi: the new African hand-me-down sound

In Ethiopia, a forward-thinking network of artists are uniting traditional folk and chopped-up beats with whatever equipment they can get their hands on

In downtown Addis Ababa, most nightclubs have a disappointingly generic, western playlist. But on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital, you’ll discover a throng of exciting local producers throwing their own impromptu parties and packing out muggy backstreet bars. Meshing street musician samples and traditional folk sounds with UKG and Burial-inspired beats, they call the movement Ethiopiyawi electronic.
Music equipment is notoriously costly and difficult to get hold of in this part of the world but, recently, modern software like Ableton, along with MIDI controllers and hand-me-down drum machines have become more readily accessible. As a result, scene linchpins Endeguena Mulu (AKA Ethiopian Records) and Mikael Seifu (AKA Mic Tek) are offering their studios and equipment for use to local kids. They encourage them to absorb what they hear around them, while at the same time drawing upon the electronic patrimony of the UK and US. And rather than elevating the EDM sound, they prefer the twitching rhythms of Kode9 and Flying Lotus.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Marsabit politicians accused of importing Ethiopians for 2017 polls

Chiefs and village elders in Marsabit County have been accused of aiding foreigners from Southern Ethiopia to get Kenyan identity cards. Intelligence sources in the county indicate that the chiefs and elders, who are crucial members of their respective vetting committees, are allegedly used by rival politicians to help foreigners get the vital document. The chiefs and elders help other national government officers to vet those seeking IDs. Senior members of the committee include Assistant County Commissioners, Deputy County Commissioner, an officer from the National Intelligence Service and Registrar of Persons or their representatives.

Ethiopian refugee Zelalem Gemmeda wins entrepreneur of year prize

Zelalem Gemmeda has emerged as a leader at West Side Bazaar.
Zelalem Gemmeda arrived in Buffalo in 2005 as a refugee from Ethiopia. The mother of two had to slowly rebuild her life, eventually opening Abyssinia Ethiopian Cuisine in the West Side Bazaar two years ago.

That business, its growth and Gemmeda’s overall resilience have earned her the inaugural entrepreneur of the year award from the Westminster Economic Development Initiative. She will be honored Friday during the organization’s annual Winterfest fundraiser at Foundry Hotel and Banquet on Elmwood Avenue.

The award, sponsored by Rich Products, includes a certificate and a $500 prize.