Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Prisoner Wossen Assaye may be in 2nd stolen car

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (WUSA9) -- Fairfax County police say they have found the first car that prisoner Wossen Assaye stole during his escape from INOVA Fairfax Hospital early Tuesday morning, but now he has stolen a second car.
U.S. Marshals, the FBI and Virginia State Police are now helping in the search for Assaye.
Someone spotted the stolen silver Toyota Camry on Monterey Drive, which runs between Cindy Lane and Oak Court in Annandale later Tuesday morning. Police found that car and are now looking for Assaye in another vehicle, a 2008 gray or silver Hyundai Elantra with Virginia license plate XTU-5024.
The car was last seen at Monterey Drive and Rt. 236. It could possibly be heading for northbound I-495 at Route 236.
Assaye is still on the loose. Police describe Assaye as a black male, 6 feet 1 inches tall and 170 pounds.When Assaye escaped he was wearing a light blue hospital gown and may be armed with a handgun. He was not wearing shoes.
Police say he may be with his girlfriend, whose name has not been released.
Wossen Assaye was able to take a gun from a private security guard and flee from a room at Inova Fairfax Hospital at 3 a.m. Tuesday, according to Fairfax County police. One shot was fired during the struggle, but no one was injured.

Escaped prisoner Wossen Assaye search puts Va. hospital in lockdown

An accused bank robber being treated at a Virginia hospital grabbed a security guard's gun and fled in his gown and bare feet early Tuesday, authorities said. The hospital was locked down while police hunted for the fugitive.

The prisoner, identified as Wossen Assaye, overpowered the guard at Inova Fairfax Hospital at about 3 a.m. ET, NBC Washington reported. A shot was fired during the struggle, but nobody was injured, authorities said.

In the hospital, staff members were hiding in back rooms and hallways, NBC Washington reported. Police in Fairfax described Assaye as armed and dangerous. They warned people in the area to be alert to their surroundings.
Kent Knoff, who works at a nearby Exxon station, told NBC News that roads were closed around the hospital. "There are police cars everywhere," he said.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Rock Star Bob Geldof Spearheads U.S. Private-Equity Push Into Ethiopia

KKR, Blackstone, Paul Tudor Jones help drive investment as Africa makes historic shift from aid to trade

 ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia—A generation ago, this African nation was a magnet for Western charity. Today, some of America’s richest deal makers are delivering something new: investment.
A number of high-profile investors have recently shown up here. KKR & Co., the New York-based private-equity firm, last summer bought control of a rose farm, Afriflora, for about $200 million, its first investment in Africa. Blackstone Group plans to build a $1.35 billion pipeline to bring gasoline to the capital, Addis Ababa. Hedge-fund manager Paul Tudor Jones is backing a $2 billion geothermal power project.
The investors are following in the footsteps of Irish punk rock singer turned activist Bob Geldof, whose Live Aid concerts 30 years ago this summer raised about $145 million for the victims of a devastating Ethiopian famine. Mr. Geldof now chairs 8 Miles LLP, a London-based private-equity firm that invests in Ethiopia. 8 Miles raised a $200 million fund in 2012; Mr. Geldof put in a few hundred thousand dollars.

“They don’t have to die in vast numbers before we pay attention,” Mr. Geldof said in an interview. “The potential rewards in Africa are far greater than anywhere else.”

Ethiopia Plans to Introduce Secondary Bond Markets Next Year

(Bloomberg) -- Ethiopia will develop a secondary market in government and corporate bonds next fiscal year to expand the country’s fundraising options, a central bank official said.
The National Bank of Ethiopia will create the market in the year ending July 7, 2016, Yohannes Ayalew, vice governor of monetary stability, said in an interview Sunday in Addis Ababa, the capital.
“Rather than resorting to central bank borrowing the government can use this instrument to finance most of its” requirements, he said. “The equally important reason is corporations and new investments can get alternative means of issuing bonds and financing their needs.”
Ethiopia sold $1 billion of Eurobonds for the first time in December. The Horn of Africa country has capital controls and, as a result, foreigners will continue to be excluded from trading in the country’s domestic debt, Yohannes said.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Samuel Yirga - Random Acts

Kenyans in fear as Ethiopian troops invade villages

Residents of Sololo are living in fear after heavily armed Ethiopian forces crossed border to hunt down members of the outlawed Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).
Since Tuesday, the forces have been combing the area and already, there are claims locals have been roughed up. Residents of Waye-Goda, Anona and Damballafachana (DF) are said to have suffered the wrath of the Ethiopians who allegedly beat them up and confiscated their phones. Sololo Deputy County Commissioner Raphael Muiruri told The Standard that more than 300 Ethiopia soldiers have reportedly crossed over into the district. “They (soldiers) were reported in Anona, DF and Waye-Goda. Reports suggest that the foreign security forces are hunting OLF,” he said. The administrator added: “Residents are living in fear and we are concerned as a Government.”

Ethiopia's Legese wins Berlin half marathon

Birhanu Legese (right) crosses the finishing line ahead of Kenya's David Kogei to win the Berlin half-marathon on March 29, 2015 ©Soren Stache (DPA/AFP)
Ethiopia's Birhanu Legese won the Berlin half marathon on Sunday as African runners dominated the top ten finishers in the men's race.
Legese came home in a winning time of 59 mins 45 seconds having held off the challenge of Kenya's David Kogei, who finished just a second behind, and fellow Kenyan Abraham Cheroben, who crossed the line three seconds back in third.
In the women's race, Kenya's Cynthia Chepchirchir Kosgei won in one hour, 10 mins and 52 seconds with compatriot Elizeba Cherono second at four seconds back and Sweden's Isabellah Andersson in third at 39 seconds back.
1. Birhanu Legese (ETH) 59min 01sec
2. David Kogei (KEN) 59:46
3. Abraham Cheroben (KEN) 59:49
4. Richard Mengich (KEN) 59:59
5. Abraham Kipyatich (KEN) 1:00.03

From a Djibouti refugee camp to sanctuary in Canada

Hailu Gebre made it out of Djibouti's Ali Addeh refugee camp and made a home in Canada. Then he helped another family get out. 
Completely isolated and cut off from communication networks, the Ali Addeh refugee camp slumbers in Djibouti’s desert.
Near the borders of Ethiopia and Somalia, this is a place of continual conflict. And of harsh weather.
“It is no place to live,” says Hailu Gebre, describing strong gusts of August wind blowing through the camp, ripping tents from the ground. He recalls a friend getting tangled in a tent’s fabric, the force of the wind sweeping him up and then dropping him to the ground — and to his death.
Gebre, now 45, immigrated to Canada on Sept. 11, 2000, after being sponsored by the Canadian government. He had lived in the Ali Addeh refugee camp for seven years, having been forced to escape his native Ethiopia to avoid imprisonment and, possibly, execution, because as a student he had opposed the government during the Eritrean conflict.
He has vivid memories of the camp’s unbearable heat. “If you put an egg outside during the summertime,” he says, “the egg will cook.”

Saturday, March 28, 2015

With big projects, Ethiopia shedding famine stereotype

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia’s planned new airport on the outskirts of the capital is still years from becoming a reality but Tewodros Dawit can already envision how grand it will look.
“The airport we are planning to build is going to be huge. Very huge,” Tewodros said one recent afternoon as he examined project plans in his office in Addis Ababa. “It will be one of the biggest airports in the world. I don’t know what other countries are planning in this regard for the future but no country has created this much capacity so far in Africa.”
Ethiopia, once known for epic famines that sparked global appeals for help, has a booming economy and big plans these days. The planned airport is one of several muscular, forward-looking infrastructure projects undertaken by the government that have fueled talk of this East African country as a rising African giant.
Addis Ababa increasingly looks like an enormous construction site, with cranes and building blocks springing up in many corners of the city. Britain, long a source of charitable aid for Ethiopia, announced last month that Ethiopia’s growing economy means the time has come for “transitioning support toward economic development to help generate jobs, income and growth.”
Over the last decade Ethiopia’s economy has grown at an average of 11 percent, more than double the rate for sub-Saharan Africa, according to U.N. figures. The growth is fueled in part by huge public expenditure on energy and infrastructure projects that make the country attractive to long-term private investment. The projects are being funded mostly through loans obtained from partners such as China, India and the World Bank.

Gidey gets Guiyang gold in first international race

Junior women's winner Letesenbet Gidey at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Guiyang 2015 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Ethiopian cross-country trials winner Letesenbet Gidey took an impressive junior women's victory at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Guiyang 2015 in her first international race outside of Ethiopia on Saturday (28).
Gidey led her team to a clean sweep of the individual medals as she sped to victory over the final metres in 19:48.
It is the first time since Meselech Melkamu won the junior race in 2004 that the Ethiopian women filled that podium and they were also easy winners of the team competition.
As the 101 runners from 28 countries stormed off for first race of the day, it was initially the Kenyans who took charge of the leading pack.
At the front, heading down the first big dip on the opening 2km lap were three Kenyans, Winfried Mbithe, Gladys Kipkoech and world youth and Olympic youth steeplechase champion Rosefline Chepngetich, with only one Ethiopian in sight.

Haji defends Ethiopian honour to win junior men's title in Guiyang

asin Haji wins the junior men's race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Guiyang 2015 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Yasin Haji finished second at the Ethiopian Trials at the Jan Meda International Cross Country in February but he had the beating of his compatriots – and the rest of the world – in the junior men’s race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Guiyang 2015 on Saturday (28).
Back home, the 19-year-old is a member of the Federal Police sports club – the same club as Ethiopian greats Tirunesh Dibaba, Sileshi Sihine and Derartu Tulu – and Haji unleashed a fearsome sprint finish which his aforementioned club mates would have produced at their pomp.
Although prominent in the leading bunch, the Kenyan team didn’t start as quickly as their team-mates in the junior women's race but they were nevertheless well to the fore through the first lap, which was completed in 5:48.
On the second lap, the Kenyans were the only country to boast a full complement of six runners in the leading group which was principally led by Geoffrey Korir and Alfred Ngeno.
The twists and undulations on the 1980-metre course made it difficult to maintain a consistent pace – and one muddy corner in particular caused mainly runners to slip and lose their footing – but the overall tempo remained consistent through the first two laps in 11:43, with the second one timed at 5:55.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Ethiopia eyes gas production, exports by 2017 - PM

By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA, March 27 (Reuters) - Ethiopia expects to start producing and exporting natural gas from under-developed reserves in its southeast by 2017, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said on Friday.

Several firms have already acquired licenses to explore more than 40 blocks throughout Ethiopia in the past four years, the vast majority of them in the southeastern Somali Region.

"Studies show the existence of natural gas reserves in several places, and they will all be gradually developed," Hailemariam told a press conference in the Ethiopian capital.

Officials from the mines ministry say the Calub and Hilala fields in the Ogaden Basin have deposits of 4.7 trillion cubic feet of gas and 13.6 million barrels of associated liquids, both discovered in the 1970s but not yet exploited.

Three men become first in New York history to be sentenced to prison for selling khat

Khat is a amphetamine-like chewable that has been used in Yemen and other countries for centuries, but is illegal in most of the Western world.

 For the first time in New York history, peddlers of a euphoria-inducing plant called khat will be sent to prison after three leaders of an international distribution ring cut plea deals, prosecutors said Thursday.

Khat kingpin Yadeta (Murad) Bekri, 24, will serve three years behind bars and his U.S.-based managers Ahmed Adem and Bayan Yusuf, both 32, will serve two years as part of an agreement with the state’s Attorney General.

They were charged with 14 others last June for running the global operation that imported khat mostly from Kenya and Ethiopia through UPS and stored it in Rochester, Brooklyn and Queens. It was then delivered to local distributors.

The amphetamine-like chewable has been used socially in Yemen and other countries for centuries, but is banned in most of the Western world.

Yemen fighting delays Ethiopia flights to Israel

Two Ethiopian Airlines flights denied permission to fly to Israel due to regional security tensions; After long delays, 280 Israelis fly back to country.

Ethiopian Airlines was forced to postpone two flights to Israel on Thursday after it did not have permission to fly on route due to the escalating turmoil in Yemen and in light of information received from security sources. About 280 Israelis who were on vacation in the area were supposed to be aboard the flights, which eventually took off after long delays.
The first flight was scheduled to take off from the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in the afternoon hours, and land in Tel Aviv at 8 pm. The second flight was supposed to take off in the evening and land in the Ben Gurion International Airport at 3 am.

Ethiopian Airlines' Israel Manager Henok Teshager said that the delays were due to regional developments and information obtained from security officials both in Ethiopia and abroad over the past 24 hours. He confirmed that most of the passengers were Israelis, and added that the company places the utmost importance in the safety of the passengers.

"At a time such as this, we should not be thinking about profits, but about safety, which is why the flight was delayed."

Ethiopia ready to shake up Guiyang

Team Ethiopia is confident of a better IAAF World Cross Championships in Guiyang, China on Saturday to improve on the junior men 8km individual title they won last time in Poland.

Their squad of 24 that is a mix of experience and newcomers is ready to take the battle to the other 50 nations taking part, more so, perennial archrivals Kenya.

Ethiopia arrived in Guiyang on Wednesday evening and their revered yellow, green and red clad runners were an attraction when they stepped out on the training track in Guanshanhu Park around the Jinyang Nations Square in Xiaowangtiai.

The class of 2015 is hoping to emulate the example set by their legend, Kenenisa Bekele, who remains the most medalled athlete in the history of the World Cross with 27 in total with an unmatched 12 gold haul as a junior winner in 2001, long/short champion from 2002 to 2006 and 12km senior titleholder in 2008.

New Film on the Italian Occupation of Ethiopia: ‘If Only I Were That Warrior’

Press Release

CPL New York

The idea for If Only I Were That Warrior, took shape in February 2013 when director Valerio Ciriaci and producer Isaak Liptzin attended a panel discussion on the recently inaugurated monument to Rodolfo Graziani organized by the Calandra Italian American Institute at CUNY and Centro Primo Levi NY

The Massacre of Debre Libanos - If Only I Were That Warrior CLIP from Awen Films on Vimeo.

An Italian army general responsible for war crimes and human rights violations in Africa, Graziani was first denounced by the League of Nations and, after the war, brought in front of the United Nations War Crimes Commission. Due to diplomatic reasons, he was never tried. In 1948 an Italian court found him guilty of war crimes but was relieved from serving his sentence because he claimed to have only obeyed orders. Graziani and his actions remained in limbo in the Italian collective memory. The 2012 dedication of the monument sparked international protests and brought his role in history back to the forefront of public discourse.

Discovering Ethiopia through its tradition-rich tribes

A member of the Mursi tribe in Ethiopia's Omo Valley. Photo Credit: erichon/Shutterstock.com
 Ethiopia is not a bucket-list destination for most travelers to Africa. But this country in the Horn of Africa with its archaeological, cultural and natural riches is definitely a rewarding destination.

The country is a mosaic of cultures with diverse ethnic groups, each with their own unique costumes, hairstyles and rituals.  In the South of Ethiopia, in the Omo Valley, travelers can encounter some of the country’s most extraordinary tribes. This is undoubtedly one of the most unforgettable cultural experiences any traveler could dream of; the tribe’s traditions, songs and dances are still as vivid as they have been for hundreds of years. This valley is as close as anyone can come to “untouched” Africa.

The most famous tribe is the nomadic, pastoralist Mursi tribe. When a Mursi woman reaches 20 years old, a slit is made beneath the lower lip and a clay plate inserted. Each year a larger plate is added, stretching the lower lip until it juts out so far that a six-inch plate can be worn and the woman can pull her lip right over her head. This is considered the height of attractiveness: the larger the plate, the more livestock her family will receive when she marries.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Nile River: Balancing interests and rights?

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan sign deal over water dispute and hydro-electric dam.


It is the longest river in the world, and one that has given life to generations of Africans for millennia.
But the Nile has come under increasing pressure in recent years, as growing populations have come to depend on the resource.
For Egypt, the water supply underpins its very existence; for Ethiopia, it is providing a new opportunity for economic development, while Sudan sees both needs and opportunities.
All three have now come together to sign a deal to co-operate over a giant hydro-electric dam being built in Ethiopia, and the sharing of Nile waters.

Beyond Ethio-Jazz: 9 Ethiopian Artists on the World Music Scene

Courtesy Kirubel Assefa
Ethiopia is home to a wealth of promising artists, especially musicians, who look to redefine the quintessential narrative of Ethiopia to more inclusively portray the culture and talent of its people. We look at 9 modern day artists who lend a progressive edge to the country’s music, pushing boundaries and exploring the nuances of its distinct and diverse sounds.
Formal practice of music in Ethiopia is believed to be one of the oldest in Africa - in an interview with Afropop.com, Kay Kaufman Shelemay, a Harvard professor of ethnomusicology and a scholar of Ethiopian music, says 'Ethiopia is the only African country with an indigenous system of musical writing and musical notation'. And just as the history of Ethiopian music is extensive, its modern day adaptations are wide ranging and defies being siphoned into a single category.
The evolution of Ethiopia’s music has had its share of ups and downs, but it has proved to be resilient in adapting to the times. This is evident in the works of visionary artists such as the father of Ethio-jazz, Mulatu Astatke, who promulgated Ethiopia’s mostly pentatonic scale-style music when he established Ethio-jazz as a standalone genre back in the 1970s, proving that Ethiopian grooves can be popular worldwide.


Ejigayehu Shibabaw, better known as Gigi, is a boundlessly talented vocalist. Her music, considered revolutionary in breaking away from contemporary Ethiopian music norms, is in-between soul stirring ode and meditative ambience. Gaining recognition at the international level in 2001 for her self-entitled studio album, Gigi quickly became a household name in Ethiopia. Songs on this album prevalently remain anthems of modern Ethiopian music to this day. Ethiopians and music lovers everywhere adore her refreshing twist the classics.

Nevsun Resources Ltd describes reported attack on Eritrea mine as ‘act of vandalism’

Nevsun Resources Ltd. is describing an attack on its Bisha mine in Eritrea as an “ act of vandalism,” an account that contrasts starkly with African media reports saying the mine was bombed by Ethiopan fighter jets.
In a statement released Sunday, Nevsun said vandals caused minor damage to the base of a tailings thickener at the mine during the night shift on Friday, releasing water into the plant area.
But the Ethiopian news site Tigrai Online said it had confirmed a report that the Ethiopian air force bombed the mine on Friday. Sudanese newspaper Al-Sahafa was the first to report that the attack was a military operation from Ethiopia.
“The Bisha gold mine which is about 150 km from the city of Asmara is on fire and a huge fire and smoke can be seen from far away,” the reports claimed.
But Haywood Securities analyst Stefan Ioannou said he believes Nevsun’s account over the online news report. He noted that the company’s shares opened just 3% lower than Friday’s closing price of $4.55 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, suggesting most investors weren’t taking reports of an air strike very seriously either.

Monday, March 23, 2015

IMPERFECT JOURNEY-directed by Haile Gerima with Richard Kapuscinski

IMPERFECT JOURNEY(Ethiopia, 1994, 88 min.), directed by Haile Gerima with Richard Kapuscinski; cinematography by ; produced by the BBC. In English and Amharic with English subtitles.


Famed Ethiopian director Haile Gerima left his native city of Gondor while still a young man, eventually moving to Los Angeles to study film at UCLA and then to make films of his own (including Sankofa, Harvest 3,000 Years, Adwa, all of which have been shown at CFAF). During his absence, his country suffered through the collapse of the Sellassie regime and the nightmare years of dictatorship and war that followed. Following the removal of the Derg from power in 1991, Gerima was commissioned by the BBC to return to record the condition of his people and give a sense of the new Ethiopia.

Full text of 'Declaration of Principles' signed by Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance dam, here seen under construction from a satellite, will be the largest in Africa when it is completed in 2017. Photograph: DigitalGlobe/Getty Images
In an important step towards resolving a long-running dispute over the Grand Renaissance Dam, the leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have signed in Khartoum a declaration of principles as follows

Ahram Online publishes a translated version of the "Declaration of Principles" signed by Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia in a step to put an end to a four-year dispute over Nile water sharing arrangements among Nile Basin countries. Ten principles are outlined in the document signed by the three countries.


Valuing the increasing need of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Republic of the Sudan for their over-border water sources, and realising the importance of the Nile River as a source of life and a vital source for the development of the people of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, the three countries have committed themselves to the following principles concerning the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam:

1. Principle of cooperation:

- Cooperation based on mutual understanding, common interest, good intentions, benefits for all, and the principles of international law.

- Cooperation in understanding the water needs of upstream and downstream countries across all their lands.

2. Principle of development, regional integration and sustainability:

Egypt sets concerns aside to sign Nile dam deal with Ethiopia and Sudan

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, left, with his Sudanese counterpart, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, centre, and the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. Photograph: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters
Despite fears of disruption to the river’s flow, Egypt has agreed to Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance dam, which will generate 6,000 megawatts of electricity

Egypt has agreed to a preliminary deal with Ethiopia on a dam project that Cairo had feared would hamper the flow of the Nile, paving the way for a binding regional agreement that has been years in the making.

The leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan gathered in Khartoum on 23 March to sign the agreement of principles on Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance dam project.

“I confirm the construction of the Renaissance dam will not cause any damage to our three states and especially to the Egyptian people,” Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn said at the signing ceremony.

Egypt, heavily reliant for millennia on the Nile for agriculture and drinking water, feared that the Grand Renaissance dam would decrease its water supply.

However, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Monday that “this is a framework agreement and it will be completed. We have chosen cooperation, and to trust one another for the sake of development.”
He said the final accord will “achieve benefits and development for Ethiopia without harming Egypt and Sudan’s interests”.
 Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance dam, here seen under construction from a satellite, will be the largest in Africa when it is completed in 2017. Photograph: DigitalGlobe/Getty Images

BREAKING: Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan sign declaration of principles to resolve Nile dam dispute

Leaders of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia announce on Monday from Khartoum a tentative solution to disputes over Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance dam 
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have signed a declaration of principles on Monday, in a critical step towards resolving a four-year dispute over Nile water sharing arrangements among Basin countries.
The details of the agreement are expected to be announced later.
"For thousands of years, the Nile water has been flowing with God's order," El-Sisi told hundreds of Nile Basin delegates who gathered in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum for the announcement of a deal.
"We could cooperate and accomplish great things or disagree and hurt each other…we have chosen to cooperate," El-Sisi told the audience to strong applause.
Speaking ahead of Egypt's president, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegan stressed that the Renaissance dam his country has been building to generate electricity for economic development projects would not cause any harm to the Egyptian people.

Ethiopian Abebe Degefa wins rain-sodden Rome marathon

ROME (AP) — Abebe Degefa of Ethiopia won a rain-sodden Rome marathon on Sunday, beating compatriot Bhirhanu Addis.
Degefa won in 2 hours, 12 minutes, 23 seconds, crossing the line nine seconds ahead of Addis. Italian Jamel Chatbi was third with a time of 2:14:04 on his marathon debut.
There was also an Ethiopian one-two in the women's race, with Meseret Tolwalk crossing the line in 2:30:25, 36 seconds ahead of compatriot Fikre Wilke. Italian Deborah Toniolo was third in 2:36:30.
The bad weather conditions didn't keep people away as more than 15,000 runners competed in the race through the capital, while 65,000 people took part in a shorter, non-competitive event.

Ethiopian gov't leader's appearance in Minneapolis sparks loud protest

Abdi Mohamed Omar drew a large Minneapolis crowd, but opponents denounced him.
Spirited voices of protest rang out in downtown Minneapolis Sunday as an Ethiopian government leader prepared to address thousands of local supporters about the economic transformation of his country’s Somali region.
Attendees making their way into Minneapolis Marriott City Center to listen to Abdi Mohamed Omar were greeted with boisterous shouts of “Shame on you” from about 150 people who stood across S. 7th Street toting signs alleging rape and ­genocide in their native country.
Police stood guard outside the hotel. Attendees were required to have tickets to enter.
Inside, Abdullahi Nur, 34, of Minneapolis, who helped organize the speech, said of the protesters’ claims of rape and murder: “It is not there.” But, he added, “the government will protect themselves against rebels.”
Several protesters waved the flag of the Ogaden National Liberation Front, which is fighting for independence in the Somali region of Ethiopia — known as the Ogaden.
The divide within the country is long-standing.

Worshipping at the 'high temple' of Ethiopia's long distance runners

One of Ethiopia’s great runners, Haile Gebrselassie, at the FBK games in 2008. Photograph: Peter Dejong/AP
If you run each level of the Meskel Square amphitheatre you will have run a marathon. Simon Allison joined the dawn runners to attempt the feat
It’s before dawn, but Meskel Square, Addis Ababa’s grand centrepiece, is already busy. The long-haul buses leave from here before the sun rises: 11 hours to Dire Dawa; 12 hours to Bahir Dar; 50 hours to Aksum. In the darkness, lit by a few flickering streetlights and the occasional high beams of passing cars, stand already-weary passengers, their luggage at their feet.
I hide in the shadows, self-conscious. I’m not taking a bus. I’m waiting for the other runners to arrive – the dozens and dozens of Ethiopians who, famously, use the square to train every morning, running back and forth across its vast, semi-circular amphitheatre.
The track starts at the bottom and you work your way up. Running from one side to the other, without skipping a level, you’ll run 26 miles. A marathon.

Al-Sisi in Ethiopia after years of GERD conflict

Egyptian president to give speech before Ethiopian parliament

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is to visit Ethiopia on Monday after years of dispute over the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Al-Sisi will give a speech in front of the Ethiopian parliament, according to state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram, conveying a message emphasising the depth of historical links between the two countries.
The speech will also highlight strengthening and expanding various areas of cooperation between Egypt and Ethiopia.
Al-Sisi is looking to establish new and solid foundations for relations between the two countries, not only for the present but also for future generations.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ethiopia launches 4G mobile service in the capital

(Reuters) - Ethiopia's state-run telecoms monopoly has launched a fourth generation (4G) mobile service in the capital Addis Ababa, aiming to catch up with the high-speed communications available in some east African neighbors such as Kenya and Uganda.

Africa's telecoms industry is booming, with subscribers across the continent totaling almost 650 million in 2013, up from just 25 million in 2001, according to the World Bank.

But analysts say high-speed connections are vital to maintaining growth and supporting the wider economy.

Ethiopia is one of the last African countries to have a state monopoly in telecoms and has lagged some neighbors in rolling out 4G, which offers much faster speeds than 3G, allowing users to browse the Internet more easily and run complex applications.

This Week on the Frontiers: Ethiopia’s Appeal Grows

Ethiopia has been generating a great deal of interest from potential investors. At a PAN Africa Network event in New York this week, panelist John Saunders said U.S. investors on a recent African tour singled out Ethiopia as a country that has positive fundamentals and good investment opportunities. Saunders, a managing redirector at Deer Isle Group, a New York-based broker-dealer, told WSJ Frontiers: “[Investors] are comfortable with their existing Ethiopian exposure and even interested in Ethiopia-specific funds to increase it.”
Matt Vogel, head of emerging- and frontier-market strategy at Dubai-based fund manager Duet, also sees increasing enthusiasm for Ethiopia, although the investment opportunities for public-equity investors are still limited. “People are excited about it. The outlook is great and the prospects for the country’s growth rates are pretty jaw-dropping, but it seems like more of a private equity story right now,” he told WSJ Frontiers in an interview that we will publish next week.

The country still faces considerable challenges, though, says consultancy Business Monitor International, which predicts that Ethiopia will “become increasingly ungovernable” if democratic reforms don’t occur. “Ethiopia will effectively remain a one-party state following the May 24 general election,” BMI says, which will increase the already substantial pressure for reform as well as the potential for politically inspired violence.
Egypt has also been getting more attention — perhaps not surprisingly given the country just held an investment promotion conference. But while significant new investment was announced at the conference, the country’s president revealed that Egypt would need hundreds of billions of dollars more in order to fulfill its potential.

Somalia: Al Shabaab executes ‘Ethiopia spy’

Somalia militant group al-Shabaab has executed a young man accused of spying for the Ethiopian troops in the country.

The man, named Ali Salad Majin, 20, was shot dead in an open public view in firing in a Southern Somalia town, while residents of the district were invited to watch the event as it unfolds.

The execution took place in Galhareer district of Galgaduud region in Central Somalia on Friday evening, where al-Shabaab militants control some of the districts.

Al-Shabaab officials accused him of spying for the Ethiopian troops, who are part of the African Union mission in Somalia.

Ethiopia Burns Entire 6.1-Ton Ivory Stockpile

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – At a ceremony today in the capital, Ethiopia burned its entire 6.1-ton ivory stockpile. The event was held at the Gulele Botanical Garden, close to the headquarters of the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA), where the ivory had been stored.

Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen and officials from the Ministries of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, and from Ethiopia’s Environmental Protection Authority attended, along with ambassadors and representatives from international and national environmental organizations.
Ethiopia joins ten other governments that have destroyed all or part of their ivory stockpiles: Kenya (12 tons in 1989, 5 tons in 2011, 15 tons in March 2015); Zambia (9.5 tons in 1992); Gabon (4.8 tons in June 2012), the Philippines (5 tons in June 2013), the United States (6 tons in November 2013), China (6 tons in January 2014), France (3 tons in February 2014), Chad (1.1 tons in February 2014), and Belgium (1.5 tons in April 2014), and Hong Kong (29.6 tons in May 2014).

Ethiopia is both a source and transit country for ivory. In 2014, 106 people were arrested in connection with ivory trafficking, nearly all of them Chinese transit passengers apprehended at Bole International Airport, in Addis Ababa.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Deaf Ethiopian immigrant jailed SIX WEEKS while being 'refused access to interpreter' sues sheriff's department

Suing: A U.S. citizen who was born in Ethiopia, Abreham Zemedagegehu learned that he'd been accused of stealing an iPad--an iPad whose owner later found it
  •     Abreham Zemedagegehu was jailed in Arlington County, Virginia in February 2014 and accused of stealing a man's iPad
  •     He says jailers failed to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards by refusing to provide him with an interpreter
  •     The man who accused Zemedagegehu of stealing his iPad soon found it
He knew he was in jail, but he didn't know why.

Eventually, Abreham Zemedagegehu learned that he'd been accused of stealing an iPad — an iPad whose owner later found it. He spent the next six weeks in jail, unable to communicate with his jailers because he is deaf. He described a frightening, isolated experience in which medical procedures were performed without his consent and he feared for his safety.

Zemedagegehu sued the Arlington County sheriff last month in federal court, saying his treatment failed to meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

'I felt like I was losing my mind,' Zemedagegehu said through an interpreter in an interview at his lawyer's office. 'I thought Virginia would give me an interpreter and they said no. That's why I felt lost.'

Zemedagegehu, who is homeless, is a U.S. citizen who was born in Ethiopia. He grew up using Ethiopian Sign Language. He has learned American Sign Language, but he has never learned more than rudimentary written English.

Interview with Atti Worku- How A Former Model Built A Dream School In Ethiopia

Atti Worku, a former computer geek-turned-Miss Universe contestant who graduated cum
laude from Columbia University with a BA in sustainable development, had a dream to help children in her native Ethiopia.

A decade ago Seeds of Africa was merely an idea Worku had to create an educational program in Adama, Ethiopia, and ultimately build what she now calls the Dream School, a school meeting international educational standards for Ethiopian students.

Seeds of Africa Foundation is a community enhancement and development program that seeks to create a sustainable and independent Africa through education, stability and mentoring for gifted, underprivileged youth, so that they may become leaders of change in their continent.

Worku planted the seeds for her dream school back in 2005 by initially starting her organization. By 2008 the program and school was up and running.

Religion and money: is Islamic banking the way forward for Ethiopians?

Rural Ethiopia has a 125,000:1 person-to-bank branch ratio. Photograph: Mercy Corps
What happens when it’s not just a lack of physical banks preventing communities’ access to financial services, but ethical issues too?
Islam is the world’s second largest religion with more than 1.5 billion followers, making up more than 23% of the world’s population. Of these, 650 million Muslims hover at or below the poverty line. But although Islamic-compliant finance is a huge industry globally, when the international community talks about improving access to financial services in developing countries, making services Islamic-compliant is rarely top of the agenda.
Islamic-compliant financial products can take several forms and business models. However, the principles of Islamic finance are universal: you cannot make money off money. No one can charge or pay interest, or invest in items that Islam forbids such as alcohol and gambling.
Although a growing industry globally, within Ethiopia Islamic banking, which is also referred to as interest-free banking, is in its infancy. Around a third of Ethiopians identify as Muslim, making the country’s Muslim population larger than that in Saudi Arabia, Syria or Yemen. Access to finance in Ethiopia is generally very low. Nationally, only 14 % of the adult population has access to formal credit and savings products but this rate drops to 1% in rural areas. And, until recently, there were no financial institutions catering to the large population requiring Islamic-compliant products.

Woman claims Ethiopian cab driver raped, robbed her; DA charges driver with 5 felonies

DENVER — A woman told police she was picked up by a taxi and then kidnapped and raped.
The 22-year-old said that’s what happened to her after she left a bar in downtown Denver. She said the attack happened in late December.
She remembered little besides waking up to the assault and being driven home in a cab by her attack.
The District Attorney charged the suspect, 36-year-old cab driver Hidet Molla, with five felony counts including kidnapping, rape and robbery.
Court documents say that after a night of heavy drinking, the victim in this case was taken to the basement of a house in Green Valley Ranch, instead of being driven straight home from the bar.
Investigators say she was raped and robbed at that house.
She told police she only remembered waking up nearly naked with her attacker on top of her. Making him stop, she asked for a ride home. Investigators say he agreed to do that and he drove her home in the same cab he picked her up in.
The victim wasn’t able to give police much to go on as far as the identity of her attacker or where he took her.
So, they turned to tracking activity outside the bar from “halo” street cameras.
Video recordings led them to the suspect.

59 Ethiopians added to growing number of imprisoned immigrants

SANA’A, March 17—Security forces in Taiz governorate detained 59 Ethiopian nationals attempting to enter Yemen illegally on Monday, days after another 53 were captured in Mocha district.

The migrants were found in areas between the districts of Mocha and Dubab, according to Anees Al-Shamiri, the manager of the security office in Mocha district. He said the group, 27 of whom were women, have been transferred to Taiz Central Prison pending deportation.

On March 10 a task force from the 35th Armored Brigade detained 53 Ethiopian nationals in the governorate. They are also currently being held in Taiz Central Prison.

According to the prison’s director, Colonel Mohammed Naef, there are now 224 immigrants being held in the prison.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ethiopia’s Largest Hydro Plant to Produce Electricity This Year

(Bloomberg) -- Ethiopia’s government plans to start generating electricity from its largest hydropower plant, Gibe III, in the second half of the year if annual rains sufficiently fill its reservoir, Water and Energy Minister Alemayehu Tegenu said.
The wet season from June through August should allow the state-owned Ethiopian Electric Power Office, or EEPO, to begin producing 187 megawatts of electricity from one of the 10 turbines installed at Africa’s tallest dam, he said by phone on Tuesday from Addis Ababa, the capital. The dam is 243 meters (797 feet) high.
“Gibe III will start power generation after the rainy season,” Alemayehu said. “It will be this year.”
The 1,870-megawatt capacity Gibe III is the latest of four large-scale Ethiopian dams built by the government since 2004 to supply nascent manufacturing industries and produce surplus electricity to sell to neighboring countries. Ethiopia is seeking to capitalize on its hydropower-generating capacity of 45,000 megawatts, which the World Bank ranks as Africa’s second-largest after the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ethiopian oil marketer sees $5 bln refinery within 10 years

Tadesse Tilahun (left) CEO of the National Oil Company waking together with Essete GabrielAdd caption

By Wendell Roelf
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Ethiopia's leading private oil marketer plans to build a $5 billion refinery within ten years to meet the growing demand for refined products in a region experiencing fast economic growth.
A refinery could compete with imports from India, the Gulf and beyond, and also help African countries extract more value from their own oil discoveries.
Eastern Africa is the latest frontier in the global hydrocarbon hunt after gas discoveries off Tanzania and Mozambique and oil finds in Uganda and Kenya.
Tadesse Tilahun, the chief executive of National Oil Ethiopia, said the final decision to build a refinery producing between 200,000 to 300,000 barrels per day was yet to be taken.
"It is a firm plan because oil demand is growing in Ethiopia... about 10 percent each year from the annual consumption of 3 million cubic metres and in the next 10 years we expect that to double," he told Reuters at an African oil refining conference in Cape Town.

South Sudan's Kiir shrugs off UN threat of sanctions

By Denis Dumo
JUBA, March 18 (Reuters) - South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Wednesday dismissed the threat of U.N. sanctions after the Security Council passed a resolution this month that set up a framework for introducing punitive measures.
Kiir also told South Sudanese at a rally in Juba that the government was ready to continue fighting rebels if they preferred war, comments likely to frustrate African mediators and Western powers trying to end more than a year of conflict.
The United States and others have shown increasing annoyance with Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar, the former deputy president, whom they blame both for putting personal political ambitions above the need for peace in the world's newest nation.
"The threat of sanctions has been waved in my eyes ... but I cannot be threatened with that," Kiir told thousands of supporters in Juba's Freedom Square, the site of its independence celebrations in mid-2011.
Kiir said he appreciated foreign efforts to bring peace to but said he was "disappointed" that some of the international community had focused on sanctions "rather than encouraging the peace building process".

Meet Chef Chane, Ethiopia's Version Of The Infamous 'Soup Nazi'

Customers line up, waiting to order from Chef Chane in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He runs his restaurant like a fiefdom, dispensing food and insults majestically from the kitchen, which doubles as a serving station.
I didn't travel all the way to Ethiopia just to meet a character out of the sitcom Seinfeld.
But when I heard Ethiopians describe a particular popular restaurant called Chane's, I couldn't help recognize a resemblance, in its owner and lead chef, to the famously brusque soup man.

Just like his New York doppelganger, the 71-year-old Chef Chane runs a restaurant with its own unwritten rules. Rule No. 1: Come on time. Lunch is served only from 12 to 1 and he always runs out of food. Rule No. 2: Don't ask for a menu. You'll eat whatever dish the chef decided to cook that day. Rule No. 3: When you step up to the counter and face the imperious chef in his tall white hat, don't, whatever you do, hold up the line. When I arrived at his restaurant — in the Kazanchis neighborhood of Addis Ababa — well before the noon open, I found the line already 40 long, snaking inside a crumbling courtyard across from a bunch of new high-rises. In the line, Nebiat Mebea is prepping his girlfriend, Kehalit Nikusei, for her first visit, like Seinfeld preps Elaine. He warns her that the 71-year-old Chef Chane might suddenly berate his assistant when the spongy sourdough, called injera, isn't placed perfectly on the plate. Or he'll tell talkative customers to "praise God and eat!" (In super-polite Ethiopian culture, this apparently equates to "shut up and get out of my kitchen.") "He's mean in a good way!" says Nebiat, with a grin. (Ethiopians go by their first names.)

The US and Germany are in a battle for an 18-year-old soccer phenom

(Michael Regan/Getty Images)Gedion Zelalem, the 18-year-old Arsenal youth player who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in December, has been called up by Germany's under-18 national team.
Zelalem was born in Germany but lived in the Washington, D.C. area from ages 9 to 15, when he entered the Arsenal academy. He played on German youth teams growing up, but declined an invitation to play for Germany's under-17 team in 2014.
It's unknown if he'll accept the invitation to play for the under-18 team.
Zelalem is regarded as one of the most promising youth prospects in England. He has appeared in the FA Cup and a Champions League game, but has yet to debut for the first team in the Premier League.
The U.S. is in the process of filing an exception with FIFA that would make him eligible to play for the U.S. immediately. US Soccer president Sunil Gulati told ESPNFC he hoped the paperwork would be done by April.
FIFA requires naturalized citizens to live in a country for five years after age 18 for them to play for the national team. An exception — which FIFA has granted liberally in the past, ESPNFC reports — would allow him to bypass that rule and play right away.
Soccer writer Ives Galarcep speculated on Twitter that the German under-18 call-up could be a ploy to make FIFA think twice about approving the exception:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Eritrea: UN-mandated inquiry finds ‘very clear patterns’ of human rights abuses

Mike Smith, Chairperson, Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea, speaks to the press after presenting his report to the 28th Session at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré
16 March 2015 – A four-month United Nations investigation into the human rights situation in Eritrea has found “very clear patterns” of violations and abuses, according to a report delivered today at the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva.
“Most Eritreans have no hope for their future,” said Mike Smith, Chair of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea, which despite not being granted permission to visit Eritrea, collected testimony from more than 500 members of the Eritrean diaspora.
Presenting the Commission’s interim report, Council, Mr. Smith said that in Eritrea national service is universal and of an indefinite duration. From the age of 17, Eritreans could expect to spend their lives in national service, struggling to live on less than two dollars a day.
Meanwhile, the Government has curtailed basic freedoms to the extent that, “individuals feel that they have hardly any choice with regard to the main decisions in their lives: where to live, what career to pursue, when to marry or who to worship,” he noted in a news release on the report.
For Eritreans, Mr. Smith said, “detention is an ordinary fact of life, experienced by an inordinate number of individuals – men and women, old and young, including children.” Detention centres range from official to the unofficial, located above ground or underground. Some have metal containers where prisoners are kept in extreme heat.
“Once in one of them, there is a likelihood that you will be subject to torture to extract a confession or to simply punish behaviours,” he added.

Ethiopian Airlines pilot found guilty of hijacking his plane

Hailemedhin Abera Tegegn
(Reuters) - An Ethiopian Airlines pilot has been convicted in absentia of hijacking his own plane and flying it to Geneva, 13 months after he surrendered to police there and sought asylum.
The high court in Addis Ababa issued its ruling on Monday and said it would sentence Hailemedhin Abera Tegegn on Friday. If he ever returns to his home country he could face up to 20 years in jail.
Hailemedhin, second-in-command on the Feb. 17, 2014 flight to Rome, took control of the aircraft when the main pilot left the cockpit for a toilet break, Swiss police said.
He then sent a coded signal announcing he had hijacked his own plane.
With the jet on the tarmac, an unarmed Hailemedhin scrambled down an emergency rope and surrendered to police without harming the 193 passengers on board the Boeing aircraft, 139 of them Italians, 11 Americans and four French.

Monday, March 16, 2015

IOM repatriates 71 irregular Ethiopian migrants

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) – Tanzania, together with the Tanzania Immigration Department last week facilitated the voluntary repatriation of 71 Ethiopian migrants.

The migrants had been detained in Iringa, Ubena and Morogoro prisons for entering Tanzania irregularly.

The migrants, some of whom have been here for as long as two years, expressed their gratitude to finally be able to join their families.

Since early 2014, the IOM has voluntarily repatriated 721 stranded migrants. This has been made possible through generous funding from the government of Japan, through the ‘Voluntary Return Assistance to Migrants in Tanzania’ project, which has now come to an end.

63 runaway Ethiopians nabbed in Dodoma

POLICE here are holding 63 illegal immigrants suspected to be from Ethiopia and a Tanzanian driver after the arrest at Kidoka village in Chemba District on Saturday.

The Dodoma Regional Police Commander (RPC), Mr David Misime, said here that one illegal immigrant, who was identified only as Tajiru aged between 25 and 30 died during the arrest jointly carried out by police and villagers.

“We’re holding 63 illegal immigrants and the driver who was transporting them using a truck make of Fuso with registration number T 353 AYW,” said the RPC.

Mr Misime named the driver as Othman Mtekateka (45), who is a resident of Ilala in Dar es Salaam Region. “The suspects were found aboard the truck on their way to Mbeya Region,” he said.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

EM investors need Ethiopia on their shortlist

By Anders Heede of BDO

Many emerging markets, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, have seen solid GDP growth in the past decade driven mainly by natural resources. But with falling commodity prices and Chinese demand dwindling, those with overly resource-dependent economies are being caught. Companies seeking to invest in emerging markets should be on the lookout for those countries that have invested in diversifying their economies. That will often mean having Ethiopia on their shortlist.

In 2012, Ethiopia was the 12th-fastest growing economy in the world, according to the World Bank. Hefty state-led investment has kept the economy of Africa’s second most populous nation growing at more than 8 per cent a year for over a decade. More than that, it has become Africa’s fastest-growing non-oil economy. The government’s focus on value-added activities has bolstered its transformation towards a diversified economy and, as a result, it is attracting the attention of ambitious businesses and investors alike. How has it solidified its position and what are the opportunities for businesses?

Pattern Language: Richard Renaldi Documents Sartorial Flair in Ethiopia

While in Ethiopia this winter, photographer Richard Renaldi was struck by the sartorial flair of the locals. “People know how to drape clothes here,” he toldVogue. “It seems instinctual. Something I don’t quite intuitively understand how to do myself seems so natural to Ethiopians.” With his keen eye for color, Renaldi began to document the bright mixture of fabrics and prints he spotted on the street. “It makes New York City’s obsession with wearing black seem even more drab.” Here, a survey of Ethiopian style through Renaldi’s lens.
 Read More

More than 75% of Ethiopians live without electricity

he International Energy Agency is out with an in-depth analysis of Africa's energy sector. One key theme? There are 620 million people in sub-Saharan Africa who don't have any electricity at all — and fixing that could require burning a lot more fossil fuels:
These numbers are from 2012, and the 620 million in Africa made up about half of the 1.2 billion people worldwide who didn't have electricity in their homes that year. Here are 9 key points from the IEA report:
1) In some ways, the picture has improved over time. Back in 2000, just 23 percent of sub-Saharan Africa had electricity. In 2012, it was about 32 percent. But the population is growing so rapidly that the total number of people without power has increased.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Video shows missing Ethiopian born Amira Abase and UK teens at Turkey-Syria border

(CNN)A video purportedly shows three British schoolgirls preparing to cross the Turkish border last month into Syria, where the teens are believed to have traveled to join ISIS, a Turkish TV network reported Friday.

If authentic, the video would represent the first publicly released images showing the girls at the Turkey-Syria border.

The video, released by Turkish TV network A Haber and distributed by Reuters, shows three warmly dressed females who resemble the missing teens standing with luggage outside a car and talking to at least one man who is helping them with the bags.


The footage purportedly was recorded February 19 in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep, just north of Aleppo, Syria, A Haber reported. Two days before, East London classmates Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15, boarded a Turkish Airlines plane from London's Gatwick Airport to Istanbul without their families' knowledge, according to British police.

"Put your bags. ... Hurry, don't stop here," a man says in the video.