Sunday, September 30, 2007

Haile owns world marathon record!

Courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit...Haile once again shows us what it's all about. A true Ethiopian hero!

Haile Gebrselassie finally fulfilled one of his biggest dreams: The 34 year-old Ethiopian broke the World record at the real,- Berlin-Marathon, clocking 2:04:26.

Haile - 2:04:26 World Record in Berlin! (IAAF) September 30, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Last call for Hailu Shawel

Opponents received in Washington
Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1222 25/09/2007
The American government has invited Ethiopian opponents to Washington for talks with opposition leaders recently freed from prison. The latter group, led by Ms Birtukan Mideksa (ION 1222), came to the USA on its own steam two weeks ago. All were received at the State Department on 21 September by American officials working on the Africa and Ethiopia desks.

This meeting gathered Beyene Petros, Merera Gudina, the former President Negaso Gidada, Ayele Chemiso (an MP from the legal arm of the CUDP), Lidetu Ayalew, Berhanu Nega, Birtukan Mideksa and Hailu Araya. Their discussions with the American officials concerned how the Ethiopian opposition could adopt a joint political platform so that it could take part in the next elections in Ethiopia with the approval of the Addis Ababa government. They also discussed a strategy to sideline the hard wing of the opposition, consisting of Hailu Shawel and the EPRP, which wants nothing to do with the current EPRDF regime in Ethiopia.

The talks are expected to continue with further meetings with the presence of Bulcha Demeksa, currently passing through Washington. The American Deputy Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer is expected to meet these Ethiopian opponents this week.

This American mediation is consistent with the strategy devised by the US Ambassador to Addis Ababa Donald Yamamoto, intending to isolate Amhara radicals such as Hailu Shawel and the anti-EPRDF forces like the EPRP.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Non-profit, or for-profit?

Present yourself as a bride forced into marriage at age 13, an abused single mother of two who was raised by Jews persecuted in Ethiopia, a soldier in the Eritrean struggle for independence, then add against all odds a doctorate and other degrees to your resume and what do you get? A non-profit, multi-million $$$ fund raising machine, and a con that has all angles covered...So it seemed.

The founder of a nonprofit agency for African refugees here -- an immigrant Oprah Winfrey once named a "Phenomenal Woman of the Month" -- has been arrested on 25 charges of conspiracy, embezzlement, fraud, tax evasion and grand theft.

Nikki [aka Nigisti, Nigistiazeb] Tesfai, a 53-year-old native of Ethiopia [from Eritrea], defrauded the African Community Resource Center of more than $1 million to benefit herself, relatives and boyfriend, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Founder of L.A. refugee agency arrested for fraud (L.A. Times) September 23, 2007

...“She is a woman who saw her chance and took it,” says an East African woman who has worked with Tesfai. “Who would not trust an abused, African Jewish woman who wants to help refugees?

Is the Saint of South L.A. for Real? (LA Weekly) May 20, 2004

Friday, September 21, 2007

The opposition Pentecostals

Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1222 22/09/2007
The welcome certain Ethiopian opposition leaders have had in Washington from their partisans is revelatory of the influence the Pentecostal church holds among their ranks.

The welcome given on 9 September at Dulles Airport (Washington) to a delegation from the Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (CUDP, opposition) led by Birtukan Mideksa was surprising for more than one reason. To begin with, Haile Shawel was not present, nor were any of his partisans, thus illustrating the depth of the split in the CUDP leadership, whose main leaders were freed recently (ION 1220). Secondly, certain opposition supporters prostrated themselves in front of Birtukan – going as far as kissing her feet – and her colleagues Hailu Araya and Shifferaw Gizatchew. This kind of behaviour has not been seen in Ethiopia since the time with the subjects of Emperor Haile Selassie prostrated themselves before him.

For some observers this strange scene at Dulles airport is a sign of the growing importance Pentecostals have in the CUDP leadership. This Protestant church has the wind in its sails in Ethiopia where its followers abstain from alcohol and songs. But until recently it was not involved in politics. Birtukan Mideksa is a "Pente” (as they are called pejoratively by the Orthodox Christians, who are the majority in Ethiopia) as is her Tigrayan companion Marcos Retea, a former lawyer who drafted certain legislation for the current Ethiopian government before defecting to the opposition and taking refuge in Nairobi. Ethiopian Pentecostal adepts now proudly cite the example of Birtukan, the CUDP economist Daniel Assefa, Eyuel Muluneh and others to prove that their Church is now politically active in the opposition.

"Strategic importance" brings $100 million

Hmmm...Could this have anything to do with Somalia?

The United States said Friday it is donating 97 million dollars (69 million euros) to Ethiopia in recognition of the Horn of Africa country's "strategic importance."

US gives 'strategically important' Ethiopia $97 million (AFP) September 21, 2007

Friday, September 14, 2007

Al Amoudi receives award

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi awarded Sheik Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi, the renowned tycoon, late Thursday with the ‘first special millennium golden medal’ for his exemplary deeds for the development of Ethiopia and its people.

Meles awards Sheik Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi with special millennium golden medal (ENA) September 14, 2007

You've got message

Ethiopian Telecom Corporation yesterday resumed its text messaging services, which had been banned during the political unrest that followed the contested 2005 polls.

"Wishing you a happy Ethiopian Millennium. And now the SMS service is launched," read a message sent to all users.

SMS service resumes in time for Ethiopia's Millennium (Business Report) September 14, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Happy New Millennium!!!

Ethiopia (GMT+2) has this minute entered the third millennium (Sept. 12). May the years ahead bring lasting peace and prosperity.

Video: Fireworks in Addis Ababa

Unprecedented support for Ethiopiques

Mulatu Astatke's soundtrack from the movie Broken Flowers has revived Ethiopia's glorious jazz era. Do yourself a favor and order The Very Best of Ethiopiques. You'll wonder how such great music faded from the scene, and where those great artists are today.

With 15 reviews and 5 major features to date the stunning Ethiopiques best of release is already setting records as one of the best received albums in Union Square Music's history. To find out more check ethiopiques and our very special ethiopiques fan site. And to hear what all the fuss is about check out our ethiopiques sound medley.

Union Square Music News August, 2007

Forgotten archive goes on display

From Emperor to Military Dictator: Shemelis Desta’s Ethiopian Archive 1963-1982 opens at London’s Photographers’ Gallery on 13 September.

In pictures: Ethiopia's forgotten archive (BBC) September 11, 2007

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Ethiopia's Brain Drain: Rich robbing the poor

Ethiopia is unique in Africa having successfully resisted colonial invaders, but a new version of Scramble for Africa has been slowly devastating the nation. If you've never quite grasped the magnitude of the problem, then get this. Apparently, there are more Ethiopian doctors living in city of Chicago than those staying in Ethiopia. Western countries have been actively draining Africa's brain trust at the worst possible time, with no reimbursement for years spent training these professionals. According to the head of the World Bank's Global HIV/AIDS Program, Ethiopia has only 1 medical doctor per 100,000 people. A recent report by the World Health Organization in its 2006 World Health Report gives a figure of 1936 physicians (for 2003), which comes to about 2.6 per 100,000. Many educated professionals ranging from medical staff, university faculty and research academics are leaving Ethiopia for better economic opportunities in the West. This is a Millennium challenge the government needs to highly prioritize. It's futile to invest in more universities and provide free education, if the end result is transfer of graduates to wealthier nations.

..."There are more nurses from Malawi in Manchester than in Malawi, and more Ethiopian doctors in Chicago than Ethiopia," according to European Parliament member Gladys Kinnock, quoted in an IPS agency report.

...A 2005 report by Save the Children and Medact estimated that Britain had saved £65m in training costs for doctors and £38m for nurses it had taken from Ghana alone since 1999.

Related articles:
Rate of Ethiopia Brain-Drain Alarming - Study (Daily Monitor) September 2, 2007
Report shows brain drain cost country dearly (Africa Monitor) April 29, 2007
The Global Effects of the Brain Drain on Health Care Systems (Georgetown Journal of Health Sciences) March 15, 2006
Reversing the Brain Drain In Ethiopia (David H. Shinn) November 23, 2002

Smelling of Roses

Ethiopia is now Africa’s second largest flower exporter after Kenya, with its export earnings growing by 500 per cent over the past year.

This has left Kenya stunned, given that five years ago, the Horn of Africa country was doing less than $20 million of exports compared with the East African giant’s $300 million.

...It is now estimated that Ethiopian flower exports could generate an about $300 million in just another two-three years.

Ethiopia’s flower sector outgrows Kenya (The East African) September 9, 2007

D.C.'s divisions cloud Millennium festivities

...The Washington region, the U.S. hub for Ethiopian immigrants, will attract thousands of Ethiopians from across the country for the nation's biggest millennium events. On deck is an explosion of concerts, lectures and celebrations that are meant to show off Ethiopia -- but that also lay bare the community's deep political cleavages.

Millennium Festivities Expose Deep Rifts (Washington Post) September 9, 2007

Friday, September 07, 2007

"Millennium" in Amharic = "Menem Yellum"

The list of planned Millennium events cancelled by EPRDF continues to grow. Other than the postponed Great Ethiopia Run, Teddy Afro's concert at Ghion Hotel and TAAAF organized Millennium day music festival at Meskel Square have all been axed. Unless one can spare 1000-1500 Birr for festivities hosted by Hilton Addis or Al Amoudi's MIDROC, the average inhabitant of the city will be under a self-imposed curfew.

...With the schedule of events changing and security concerns in the capital, many Ethiopians say the celebrations — which include a concert with tickets that cost what an average Ethiopian earns in two months at nearly $170 — are beyond their reach.

Coptic millennium celebrations fall flat for some Ethiopians (The Associated Press) September 7, 2007

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Lucy exhibit draws record crowd

Lucy’s Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia triumphs despite all attempts by critics and some politically motivated opportunists to dissuade the world from experiencing Ethiopia's historical and cultural history.

Brad Levy, director of customer service, estimated that 12,000 to 14,000 people will see the exhibit today through Monday. He said advance sales for the opening weekend already are 25 percent higher than they were for the museum's last blockbuster, Body Worlds, which went on display in February 2006.

..."What people are saying is that they are appreciative the Ethiopian people are sharing this exhibit with them," he said.

Houston's newest (and oldest) visitor attracts about 1,000 (Houston Chronicle) September 1, 2007
Watch Lucy's Legacy TV Spot