Monday 21 August 2017
(AFP (eng) 05/26/17)
Ethiopian journalist Getachew Shiferaw was sentenced to 18 months in prison Friday for speaking to a dissident, capping a case that rights groups have called an assault on press freedom. Getachew has been in jail since his arrest in December 2015, meaning he could be released from custody as soon as next week, his lawyer Ameha Mekonnen told AFP. "He shouldn't be convicted at all," Ameha said. Getachew was found guilty earlier this week of encouraging revolt for sending a Facebook message to an Ethiopian dissident who had been convicted in absentia of being involved with Ginbot 7, an Eritrea-linked opposition group which has called for the violent overthrow...
(AFP (eng) 05/26/17)
Entertainment | France | film | festival | Cannes | Zambia | witchcraft Cannes, France | AFP | Friday 5/26/2017 - 14:01 UTC+3 | 615 words by Katy Lee Being accused of witchcraft is no laughing matter in Africa -- but movie director Rungano Nyoni decided a dose of humour was just what was needed to tackle a problem rampant in parts of the continent. Set in Zambia, the sharp satire "I Am Not A Witch" has premiered to strong reviews at the Cannes film festival, taking aim at the blatant sexism behind accusations that overwhelmingly target women. White tourists are seen gawping at women detained in a "witch camp" in the movie, taking pictures of them as if they're...
(AFP (eng) 05/25/17)
An Ethiopian court jailed a former opposition spokesman for over six years Thursday as rights groups urged the UN to press for a probe into a crackdown on anti-government protests. Judges in the capital Addis Ababa imposed a jail sentence of six years and six months on Yonatan Tesfaye, the former spokesman for the opposition Blue Party who was found guilty earlier this month of encouraging terrorism. Yonatan was arrested in December 2015 after writing on Facebook that the government had used "force against the people instead of using peaceful discussion with the public."
(AFP (eng) 05/24/17)
The first African to head the World Health Organization, Ethiopia's Tedros Adhanom, says he aims to replicate his success in turning around his country's healthcare system on the global stage. The 52-year-old's campaign focused on overhauling the UN health agency after its much-criticised handling of the west African Ebola epidemic, and speculation that the United States might cut its funding for the agency. "We live in a changing world, and the WHO must be able to change with it," Tedros said in his vision statement, citing new health threats brought about through globalisation, climate change and unhealthy lifestyles. A specialist in malaria with a doctorate from the University of Nottingham in Britain, Tedros was appointed Ethiopia's health minister in 2005...
(Xinhuanet 05/24/17)
The African Union (AU) has congratulated Tedros Adhanom, the former Ethiopian Minister of Health, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, on his historic win as the first World Health Organization (WHO) Director General from Africa. Adhanom emerged victorious in a tough election against two strong candidates; Sania Nishtar from Pakistan and David Nabarro from Britain, noted a statement from the pan-African bloc later Tuesday. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission, has warmly congratulated Adhanom on his election as the first ever Director-General of the WHO from the African region. "The world has chosen a consummate global health statesman with a strong track record of embedding global public health and health security as a vital cornerstone of human development," said...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/24/17)
When U.S. President Donald Trump and other leaders of the world's seven major industrialized nations gather in Sicily on Friday, they will enjoy a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea, but won't get any glimpse of boats full of migrants. A common sight off Sicily in recent years, the authorities have banned all migrant landings on the island during the Group of Seven Summit for security reasons, telling rescue vessels that pick them up at sea to take them to the mainland during the two-day meeting. Out of sight does not mean out of mind. Italy chose to host the summit in Taormina, on the cliffs of eastern Sicily, to concentrate minds on Europe's migrant crisis and to seek ways...
(AFP (eng) 05/23/17)
The World Health Organization was electing its new leader Tuesday, with the race narrowed to two finalists who have vowed to shake up the fiercely criticised agency. After one round of voting WHO member states eliminated a former Pakistani health minister, Sania Nishtar, several diplomats with direct knowledge of the closed-door result told AFP. That left former Ethiopian health minister Tedros Adhanom and British doctor and UN veteran David Nabarro as the remaining candidates to succeed Hong Kong-born Margaret Chan as the UN's global health boss. A second round of voting was set to begin shortly. Chan's decade-long tenure which ends on June 30 was notably marred by condemnation of the agency's response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa...
(Bloomberg 05/23/17)
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki denied his country’s deepening relations with Egypt signify plans to disrupt neighboring Ethiopia’s construction of Africa’s biggest hydropower dam. “The claim by the Ethiopian regime that the relation between Eritrea and Egypt is targeting the millennium dam is unfounded,” the Ministry of Information said on its website, citing a May 21 interview with Isaias in the capital, Asmara. Egypt’s government has claimed Ethiopia’s construction of the hydropower dam on the main tributary of the Nile River contravenes colonial-era treaties that grant it the right to the bulk of the river’s water. Ethiopian officials reject the accords as obsolete and unjust.
(Voice of America 05/23/17)
Ethiopia is battling an outbreak of acute watery diarrhea (AWD) that has affected more than 32,000 people. At the same time, Ethiopia's former minister of health, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is a candidate to lead the World Health Organization. The two facts are linked in that critics of Tedros say he has tried to minimize the outbreak by refusing to classify it as cholera, a label that could harm Ethiopia’s economic growth. The WHO's 194 member states will gather in Geneva for a 10-day assembly starting Monday. One of their first tasks is to choose the organization’s next director-general. Tedros is one of three top contenders for the position, along with candidates from Britain and Pakistan. Lawrence Gostin, director of the...
(The Ethiopian Herald 05/23/17)
Ethiopia and World Bank yesterday signed financial agreement amounting to 190 million USD in the form of loan and grant to finance the implementation of the Health Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for Result Program. The program aimed at improving the delivery and use of a comprehensive package of maternal and child health services. The agreement was signed by Finance and Economic Cooperation Minister Dr. Abraham Tekeste and WB Country Director for Ethiopia Carolyn Turk. On the occasion, Dr. Abraham said the agreement is in line with Ethiopia's Health Sector Development Programs/HSDP/ that have always placed emphasis on improving the delivery and use of a comprehensive package of maternal and child health services. The minister indicated that the agreement has also...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/23/17)
Fossils from Greece and Bulgaria of an ape-like creature that lived 7.2 million years ago may fundamentally alter the understanding of human origins, casting doubt on the view that the evolutionary lineage that led to people arose in Africa. Scientists said on Monday the creature, known as Graecopithecus freybergi and known only from a lower jawbone and an isolated tooth, may be the oldest-known member of the human lineage that began after an evolutionary split from the line that led to chimpanzees, our closest cousins. The jawbone, which included teeth, was unearthed in 1944 in Athens. The premolar was found in south-central Bulgaria in 2009. The researchers examined them using sophisticated new techniques including CT scans and established their age...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/22/17)
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa need to get their budgets in order, diversify their economies and look after their poorest people. If they do that, there is no reason why the region cannot have the strong growth needed to meet the aspirations of a young and growing population. That, at least, is the three-pillared prescription from the International Monetary Fund as expressed by one of its top Africa researchers, Celine Allard, in an official IMF blog post and podcast. Allard co-authored the Fund's regional economic outlook, released earlier this month. It found that sub-Saharan economic growth hit only 1.4 percent last year, the lowest level in two decades and well off the 5-6 percent rates normally reached. It was also well...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/20/17)
France will step up the fight against resurgent Islamist militants in north and west Africa and will work more closely with Germany to help the tinderbox region, President Emmanuel Macron said on his first trip outside Europe on Friday. Visiting Mali days after taking office, Macron vowed to keep French troops in the Sahel region until there was "no more Islamist terrorism" there. He said operations would be escalated in response to signs that militant groups were regrouping and uniting. "It is vital today that we speed up. Our armed forces are giving their all, but we must speed up" efforts to secure the Sahel, he told a news conference in Gao, Mali, where he held talks with President Ibrahim...
(Xinhuanet 05/19/17)
Ethiopia's state owned air carrier Ethiopian Airlines (ET) is to start flights to Chengdu, the capital of China's southwest Sichuan province, on May 22, adding its roster of destinations to the world's most populous nation to five. Chengdu is known to be a tourist hotspot in China with attractions including giant pandas and Sichuan's historic artifacts and culinary tradition. In a statement sent to Xinhua on Thursday, Ethiopian Airlines says it plans to inaugurate the new destination in the presence of China's Ambassador to Ethiopia La Yifan, ET's CEO Tewolde Gebremariam and Abadula Gemeda speaker of Ethiopian Parliament at a ceremony on Sunday. ET currently has four destinations, being Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province,...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/19/17)
When rich countries wrote off billions of dollars of African debt in 2005, they hoped governments would think twice about borrowing again in costly foreign currencies. Over a decade later, most sub-Saharan African countries still rely on U.S. dollar-denominated debt to finance their economies. Some investors say this is sowing the seeds of future debt crises if local currencies devalue and make dollar debt repayments more expensive. Aside from South Africa and Nigeria, governments have not yet done enough to develop capital markets that would have allowed them to raise more money in their own currencies, investors say. United Nations trade body UNCTAD estimates that Africa's external debt stock rapidly grew to $443 billion by 2013 through bilateral borrowing, syndicated...
(Xinhuanet 05/18/17)
China's Dongfang Electric Corporation will build a 120-megawatt (MW) wind farm in Ethiopia's Somali regional state, an Ethiopian official said Thursday. In a statement sent to Xinhua, Bizuneh Tolcha, Public Relation and Communication Director at the Ethiopia Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE), said the Ethiopian government expects the project to be started by July. "The wind farm project is expected to need 18 months to finish, cost about 257 million dollars to construct with 85 percent of the funding coming from the China's Export-Import Bank and the rest from the Ethiopian government," he said. According to the ministry, pre-construction work is already undergoing at the site of wind farm, which when completed will be the fourth wind farm...
(Addis Fortune 05/18/17)
The deal comes just a month after the bank approved 645 million dollars In the midst of the drought, the World Bank (WB) has approved a quarter of a billion dollars as additional finance for the fourth productive safety net program (PSNP IV) and health care services. This deal comes just a month after the bank approved 645 million dollars to reinvigorate the logistics sector, implementation of water supply and sanitation projects and to attain national quality infrastructure projects. The first loan, approved on May 2, 2017, is to scale up the fourth productive safety net program to the prolonged drought in the country. Launched a decade ago, the PSNP provides regular food or cash transfers to food insecure people...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Steinhoff International Holdings NV plans to list its African assets separately as the acquisitive retailer seeks a new prize for shareholders following this year’s failed merger talks with Shoprite Holdings Ltd. The company said Wednesday it will seek to list businesses including clothing retailer Pepkor and furniture chain JD Group Ltd. on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, about 18 months after moving its primary listing to Frankfurt from the South African commercial hub. The new business could be worth as much as 60 billion rand ($4.5 billion), said Evan Walker, a money manager at 36one Asset Management in Johannesburg, although the valuation could also be as low as 40 billion rand depending on how much debt Steinhoff puts into the vehicle...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Gay and lesbian Africans who fled abuse in their home countries face a "culture of disbelief" which makes their experience of seeking asylum in Britain traumatic, a Nigerian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights (LGBT) campaigner said. Aderonke Apata, 50, who fled persecution in Nigeria, said the practice of assessing Africans' sexual orientation claims based on Western standards was problematic. "They expect an LGBT person to have used sex toys, to go to gay clubs," Apata, an asylum seeker who founded African LGBT charity, African Rainbow Family, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Apata has been trying to claim asylum in Britain for 13 years, but her case was refused several times after a judge ruled that she was pretending to be...
(AFP (eng) 05/16/17)
A judge in Ethiopia's capital on Tuesday found a former opposition spokesman guilty of encouraging terrorism with a series of anti-government Facebook posts. Yonatan Tesfaye was arrested in December 2015 after writing on the social media platform that the government had used "force against the people instead of using peaceful discussion with the public." While Yonatan's lawyer and defence witnesses argued the former spokesman of the opposition Blue Party was exercising his right to free speech, judge Belayhun Awol ruled the comments "exceeded freedom of

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