February 27, 2014 (World Bulletin) — A long drawn out patent row between Ethiopia and the Netherlands concerning teff – a highly nutritious ancient grain variety – has made headlines in Ethiopia, but a local official is worried that not only teff is in danger of being “looted.”
“A great many genetic resources of Ethiopia are in perpetual danger of being looted,” Aweke Shiferraw, communication director at the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office, told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview.
Shiferraw has been ringing the alarm for months, calling for due attention to protect Ethiopia’s unique flora and make good use of its genetic resources.
Teff is indigenous to Ethiopia, where it accounts for one quarter of total cereal production. It is believed that teff originated in Ethiopia between 4000 BC and 1000 BC. Read more…
USAID, UC Davis, and EIAR collaborate on international research program to benefit farmers
For Immediate Release
February 25, 2014, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (USAID)—The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the University of California Davis (UC Davis) launched the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Climate Resilient Chickpeas housed at the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR). The 5-year, $4 million genetic research program will create more and stronger varieties of chickpea to increase smallholder farmer productivity. Read more…
February 23, 2014 – UDJ and AEUP held a large protest rally this morning in the city of Bahir Dar. One of the messages the protesters voice is their outrage over the recent ethnic slur against the Amhara people by Alemnew Mekonnen, a senior official of the ruling EPRDF/TPLF junta.
UDJ Suspension from MEDREK
Another interesting development is that MEDREK on its 9th Congress held in Finfinnee yesterday, February 22, 2014, unanimously suspended UDJ (Unity for Democracy and Justice) for undermining the activities of MEDREK and unanimously accepted the Sidama Liberation Front as a new member.
February 22, 2014 (BBC News) — Urban hyenas are becoming a dangerous problem in the Ethiopian capital, where they attack rough sleepers.
It is late evening in Addis Ababa. Stephen Brend, a zoologist with the Born Free Foundation, is driving me to the airport to catch a flight back to London.
“Have you got time for a ten-minute detour?” he asks, as we passed the British embassy. “Of course,” I reply.
So he turns off the road and up a dirt track between some rough shacks and a collection of battered old jalopies that passes for a taxi rank in Ethiopia’s capital. Read more…
February 22, 2014 (The Reporter, Pro Ethiopian government website) — This week the hijacking of an Ethiopian Airlines plane, flight number ET-702, and the first officer behind the hijacking, Hailemedhin Abera, have dominated the news.
After it was revealed the mainstream and social media have been speculating as to why he did it. Reasons include doubts about his mental health up to resilience against injustice and oppression. Some compared him with the former Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP) leader, Berhanemeskel Redda, who hijacked an airplane, while others said that he was a troubled individual. Family members have responded on social media, like Facebook and Twitter, that their brother is a good man and not a criminal. Regarding these speculations and other pertinent issues, Tibebeselassie Tigabu of The Reporter spoke with Endalamaw Abera (MD), the oldest brother of Hailemedhin. Excerpts: Read more…
Sidama National Regional State | February 20, 2014
Kukkissa, Our Reporter from Sidama Capital, Hawassa
‘Imprisoning the weakest groups of criminals leaving key players makes no change in Sidama land and beyond’
The unsettling situation unfolding in Sidama region is becoming worse than it’s even been since TPLF led regime assumed power in June 1991. The discontents between the regime’s regional/Sidama Zone authorities who are labouring day and night to implement their and their federal bosses’ anti-Sidama policy on federalising Sidama capital city which has been vigorously rejected by the Sidama people of all walk of life on one hand; ongoing Sidama nation’s constitutional quest for regional self-administration on the other- makes the situation so complicated and profoundly difficult. To date the regime’s illegal and non-representative cadres are plotting against the rights of the Sidama nation -seriously undermining their own constitution which states otherwise. Read more…
February 19, 2014 (World Politics Review) — When Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia’s leader of more than 20 years, died in August 2012, many anticipated significant and potentially destabilizing change. Past political transitions in Addis Ababa had been violent and settled at the barrel of the gun, so the precedents were worrisome. Meles’ eulogies emphasized his individual brilliance and his personal role in bringing development to the modern Ethiopian state. What would happen with the strongman gone? Could the strong and effective authoritarian developmental party-state engineered under Meles’ leadership sustain itself without him?
Instead of instability, the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) quickly moved Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn into the leadership spot without public drama or fuss. Meles’ Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) remains the party’s guiding policy document, and key initiatives such as the Grand Renaissance Dam are moving forward steadily. Ethiopia was never a one-man dictatorship, but was characterized by a strong authoritarian ruling party with deep links among the security forces, regional administrations, mass organizations and party-affiliated enterprises. The EPRDF is key to understanding Ethiopia’s stability and the regime’s ability to remain in control of a diverse country of some 90 million, divided into a complex set of ethnic groups, in a poor region that suffers terrible levels of conflict. Read more…
February 14, 2014 (Voice of Russia) — The Ethiopian government used a new Italian surveillance program to hack into computers of their own journalists located in the US and Europe. A new report by Citizen Lab have confirmed the speculations regarding the Ethiopian government hacking into the computers of Ethiopian journalists in the US and Europe.
According to the report, all journalists belonged to the Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT). Read more…
By Michael Roddy
February 14, 2014 (Reuters) – “Angelina Jolie presents” is the first thing on screen in the Ethiopian movie “Difret”, but the true story of a 14-year-old girl’s abduction, rape and trial for killing her abductor speaks for itself.
Shown at the Berlin film festival, it features Hirut, a bright, studious girl who dreams of going to university but whose life becomes a nightmare when she is abducted, as is the custom in rural Ethiopia, by a young man to be his bride.
He beats, rapes and imprisons her in a hut, but she manages to grab his rifle, runs away and while being pursued, shoots him dead.
The twist that will jar Western audiences in this Sundance festival audience award winner based on events that took place in 1996 is that she is charged with murder. From the minute of her arrest the men of her village demand she be killed. Read more…
February 13, 2014
Moderator, Sidama National Regional State Information Network
Various distinct nations & nationalities of this particular region have had their own governances which were led by their own kingdoms long time before today’s Ethiopia Empire’s geo-political entity came into existence. The original peoples whose nations and nationalities inhabited this region involve Kushitic, Nilotic and Omotic indigenous Africans who have got one of the world’s oldest traditional democracies and egalitarian systems. Oromo’s Gaada and Sidama’s Luuwa democracies could be some of these indigenous traditional heritages as are the Kafficho’s, Shakacho’s, Gedeo’s, Wolayta’s, Gamo’s, Burji’s, the Gambela’s and Hadiya as well as numerous others. These all socio-cultural and politico-economic systems of all have been practiced by the peoples of nations and nationalities from time immemorial. Read more…
Hunger is once again threatening vast swathes of Africa because of drought and high food prices. The United Nations has estimated that 14 million are at risk and at the heart of the looming catastrophe is Ethiopia, where over 10 million are in need of emergency food aid. ITN’s Martin Geissler reports, Aug 5, 2013
February 12, 2014 (Business Day Online) — No fewer than 2.7 million Ethiopians may need food assistance in spite of the reported bumper harvest of 231 million quintals of grains in the 2013 fiscal year, a survey carried out by an Addis Ababa based local media reported on Wednesday. Read more…
February 12, 2014 (Survival International) — The United States Congress has acted to prevent its aid to Ethiopia being used to fund forced evictions of tribal peoples in the south west of the country.
The provisions in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill for 2014 represent a slap in the face for USAID, which last month said that ‘there are no reports of widespread or systematic human rights abuses’ in the region.
In fact, tribes of the Lower Omo Valley are being violently evicted from their villages by the government to make way for lucrative cotton, palm oil, and sugarcane plantations whose irrigation will be made possible by the controversial Gibe III dam. Transferred to designated resettlement areas, the once self-sufficient tribes will be left with no access to their livestock or lands and, consequently, will be unable to sustain themselves. Intimidation tactics, such as rape and beatings, have reportedly been used against those who resist resettlement. Read more…
February 7, 2014 (Washington Informer) — For more than seven years, Yonas Biru has been fighting the World Bank.
The Ethiopian native and Silver Spring, Md., resident said he’s learned the hard way the price of being black at the venerable institution.
Biru, a married father of three, says the World Bank dismissed him because he challenged his bosses when they passed him over for a promotion. He was punished, he said, for refusing to accept the racist and discriminatory treatment commonly meted out to blacks by the Bank’s managers and supervisors.
“I came to the U.S. with $12 in my pocket. I had to work at a hotel as a room service waiter to finance my education,” Biru said. “There were some winters when I couldn’t buy shoes because I had to buy books, pay for my education. Now I have no professional identity. They stole it. Read more…
January 27, 2014
Oakland, CA – In a historic move, the US Congress has taken a stance on land grabs-related human rights abuses in Ethiopia. The 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill contains provisions that ensure that US development funds are not used to support forced evictions in Ethiopia.
The bill prevents US assistance from being used to support activities that directly or indirectly involve forced displacement in the Lower Omo and Gambella regions. It further requires US assistance in these areas be used to support local community initiatives aimed at improving livelihoods and be subject to prior consultation with affected populations. The bill goes further and even instructs the directors of international financial institutions to oppose financing for any activities that directly or indirectly involve forced evictions in Ethiopia. Read more…