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  • Al-Shabab claims responsibility for Somalia bombing

    At least 13 people have been killed and several others wounded in two suicide blasts in the central Somali town of Galkayo, according to a Somali health official.

    The first vehicle explosion on Sunday targeted the local government headquarters; the second targeted emergency services at the scene of the first blast.

    "There were two huge bombs. The first one was a truck bomb, followed a minute or so [later] by another car bomb. My brother was injured at the scene," Halima Ismail, a local resident, told Reuters news agency.

    Al-Shabab, the armed group fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu, claimed responsibility for the blasts.

    The UN mission in Somalia condemned Sunday's explosions. "Terrorist attacks will not stop 2016 electoral process," UNSOM said via its Twitter account.

    Somalia is scheduled to hold elections later this year.

    The attack comes in Galkayo comes just days after Somali security services captured a wanted al-Shabab commander there.

    US-trained commandos called Danab arrested Abdulah al-Sudani and four other suspected fighters.

    Source: Agencies

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  • Nigeria beat Honduras to win bronze

    Nigeria won the bronze medal in men's football on Saturday with a 3-2 victory over Honduras.

    A sparse crowd in the Belo Horizonte stadium saw the Central Americans launch a late comeback but it was not enough to cut the deficit after Nigeria went 3-0 went up in 56 minutes.

    Sadiq Umar got the first goal after 34 minutes and his namesake Aminu Umar doubled their lead two minutes into the second half.

    Sadiq Umar scored his second and Nigeria's third seven minutes later when he controlled another good pass from their captain John Obi Mikel and hammered home from 15 yards (13.7m).

    The goal appeared to have guaranteed victory but Honduras came back into the game and threated to win their first Olympic football medal.

    Antony Lozano got one back after 70 minutes when he headed home a cross from the right and then four minutes from time Marcelo Pereira rose among a pack of players to nod home a free kick.

    But it was not quite enough and the Nigerians secured their first medal of the Rio games. Brazil take on Germany in the gold medal match later on Saturday.


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  • South Sudan opposition leader Machar seeks safety in neighboring DRC

    South Sudan's opposition leader, Riek Machar, is in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, the United Nations said on Thursday, several weeks after he withdrew from the capital, Juba, during fierce fighting with government troops.

    The world body said its peacekeeping mission in the DRC became aware of Machar's presence in the country on Monday and contacted the Congolese government, which then asked the mission to pick up Machar. That operation took place on Wednesday, U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters in New York.

    "Riek Machar has been handed over to the authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We're not in a position to confirm his location," Haq said.

    A spokesman for the DRC government, Lambert Mende, denied it had been in touch with any party on helping the former South Sudanese vice president, but Haq said Machar was removed from an area close to the border with South Sudan.

    "We can confirm that an operation was undertaken by MONUSCO (U.N. mission) on humanitarian grounds to facilitate the extraction of Riek Machar, his wife and 10 others from a location in the DRC in support of the DRC authorities," Haq said, adding MONUSCO was considered the best-suited party to move Machar safely.

    A statement issued by the leadership of the SPLA in Opposition (SPLA-IO) said he had left on Wednesday to a "safe country within the region".

    Machar led a two-year rebellion against forces loyal to his longtime rival, President Salva Kiir, before the two sides reached a peace deal in August 2015. Under the deal, Machar returned to Juba in April to resume his role as vice president.

    But fighting flared last month, leading Machar to withdraw with his forces from Juba around mid-July.

    Opposition spokesman James Gatdek Dak, writing on his Facebook page, said opposition fighters had "successfully relocated our leader to a neighbouring country where he will now have unhindered access to the rest of the world and the media."

    Machar had sustained a leg injury from weeks of walking in the bush but not serious enough to require medical attention, Gatdek Dak said.

    Since the July fighting, Kiir has sacked Machar from his post and appointed Taban Deng Gai, a former opposition negotiator who broke ranks with Machar, as vice president.

    The United Nations told Kiir any political changes must be consistent with the peace deal, which stated that the vice president must be chosen by the South Sudan Armed Opposition.

    Source: Reuters

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  • Kana: To See Or Not To See?

    Kana Tv is the new addictive coolade in town, and everyone can’t stop drinking.


    There is a lot of discussion on this very subject. The social media is usually blazing with a fire of criticism or praise. From those that support it to those that think it is damaging- and at the far end of the spectrum, to those few that think it is a small piece of a big conspiracy theory, everyone has a lot to say. This is my own take. It is somehow an attempt to harmonize the two most popular views on the matter. Kana is not a savior of the Ethiopian entertainment industry. Kana is not an instrument of the Illuminati to control the Ethiopian public. The situation is neither black nor white. It is grey.

    It is rare to witness a tectonic shift of… well… anything. Usually, when change happens, it happens in small amounts, accumulating over time to become something worth noticing. It is a rather progressive, slow and mostly a painstakingly time taking process. That is not always the case, though. Change sometimes gets an adrenaline injection. Einstein’s theory of relativity was the tectonic shift of the physics world. “Gangnam Style” was the tectonic shift of the Korean music industry, at least when it comes to being international. Here in Ethiopia too, we have been very lucky to witness such an event.

    We have witnessed a total tectonic shift of the entertainment industry by the emergence of Kana TV.

    People have varying opinions when it comes to Kana, and they are not the least bit afraid to publicly voice them. Some say that it is a savior of sorts that serves as a sizzling shock to awake the rather monotonous film industry. Such people are driven to such a conclusion because they have been tired of the endless dose of lame romantic comedies, which, by the way, look as if they operate from the same “romantic comedy plot book”. To such people, change-ANY change- is welcome. On the other hand, the contenders say that Kana is the worst thing that could have happened to Ethiopia (mind you, not the Ethiopian film industry, but Ethiopia.) They allude to some sort of patriotic love to justify their position. They call it “covert colonialism” of the mind, and that it must be avoided or destroyed at all costs. These are the two most popular views on each side of the “Vs” sign. These are the black and white.

    Here is the grey area.

    Kana is both a welcomed change and an unwelcome one. It is a welcomed change because our film industry is really one monotonous snore. To be honest, there is a fetish like addiction to the romantic comedy genre. It is known that, for a film industry, to stick to one genre is very much a fail proof way to keep progress at bay. To make matters worse, it doesn’t help the fact that film-makers make a minimum attempt to variegate the industry with anything else. You can’t feed your pet the same thing and complain if it abandons you when a much better alternative arrives.

    The Ethiopian public deserves the best, and that hasn’t been provided. It is not from lack of ideas or budgets either, and everyone knows it. It is mainly because the industry has become something anyone can delve into, granted that they have more than a hundred thousand birr. It has become a quick gateway to riches and fame. The public has been consuming the endless dose just because anything that is remotely biased to “entertainment” must be welcomed because a mind devoid of variation is prone to depression, especially amidst tension and so much bad news. Kana is a welcomed change because it saves us from the constant cycle we are on: feeding upon something that is unwelcome, but must be consumed for the sake of sanity.

    To be fair to the other side, Kana is an unwelcome change too. For one, despite providing quality entertainment, it has also crippled those rare film makers that try to break the norm and achieve something great. The ancient Ethiopian saying that says “That which comes for the sinful will also fall upon the saints” seems fitting here. Secondly, the very quick addiction of many has hindered them from doing work, especially at night. It is also not rare to find cases of family fights because children refuse to obey their parents for the sole reason that they might miss a good scene.

    What do we make of this then? Well, perhaps Kana is a necessary evil. Just like anything, it has its own side-effects. The better option is not to petition Kana to close. Ethiopian film-makers must take the crippling as penance for the years of “force-feeding” they have done to the public in the name of entertainment. Once that is done, just like anyone that has sustained an injury, they must take therapy. They must brainstorm. They must write. They must produce something that has the force to divert the public’s eyes from Kana. Then and only then can they make a difference.

    The film industry isn’t dead yet, and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

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  • Budget approval brings Jews in Ethiopia a step closer to Israel

    A member of the Falashmura Jewish Ethiopian community carries her baby on her back before attending the Passover prayer service, in the synagogue in Gondar, Ethiopia. April 22, 2016. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

    Israel’s two year budget earmarks funds for the immigration and resettling of 1,300 Ethiopian Jews

    It has been a while since activists have been campaigning to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel. Now, they are a little closer to their goal, as Israel approves budget last Friday. The Finance ministry has allocated a budget that would enable 1300 Jews to perform Alliah, the return trip to Israel.


    Even though the trip to Israel could resume as early as November 2016, it is said, with a rate of one hundred people per month, the activists are not holding their breath. The reason for that is because there have been many delays before. For instance, the state of Israel approved ninety people to make the trip to Israel three years ago, but they still remain in Ethiopia.

    The state of Israel has been very selective about the whole process. Even though there are around 9000 Jews in Ethiopia, most of them having first degree relatives in Israel, they been denied Alliah for the sole reason of “not being Jewish enough”. That being said, Gezahagn Dereve and Demoz Deboch, youth leaders from Ethiopia’s Jewish community in Gonder who are currently in America on a speaking tour trying to raise awareness, still remain hopeful. Deboch said the decision was a step in the right direction. “But it’s only 1,300, and there are 9,000 Jews,” he said. “The second thing is — they decided, so why not start it today? Why even wait a week? We don’t want to see decisions, we want to see people making aliyah,” he said. “Many times we’ve heard that they’ve said they’re bringing some people, 1,000 people this year, or something like that, but they’re just talking, they’re not doing anything,” he said. “And what is this 1,300? There are 9,000 Jews. Does this mean that my mom can go, but my sister can’t?”


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  • US State Department Issued Travel Alert to Ethiopia


    The State Department alerts U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling in certain regions of Ethiopia due to anti-government protests, some of which have involved violence. Associated disruptions in telephone and internet services have hampered the U.S. Embassy’s ability to communicate with U.S. citizens in Ethiopia. This Travel Alert expires on February 18, 2017.


    Since November 2015, anti-government protests, mainly in the regional states of Amhara and Oromia, have resulted in violent clashes between demonstrators and government security forces. Internet, cellular data, and phone service have been sporadically restricted or completely cut off prior to and during some of the protests, impeding the U.S. Embassy’s ability to communicate with U.S. citizens.

    Protests are likely to continue, and could spread to other parts of the country, including the capital, Addis Ababa. U.S. citizens in Ethiopia should increase their level of situational awareness, continuously assess their surroundings, evaluate their personal level of safety, and avoid demonstrations and large gatherings.

    For further information:

    Source:The State Department

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  • Amb Taye briefs Addis-based Africa Ambassadors on current affairs


     State Minister Ambassador Taye Atske-selassie on Friday briefed Addis-based African Ambassadors on current situations in the country, particularly on the recent protests in parts of Oromia and Amhara Regional States.

    The series of unrecognized demonstrations in parts of Oromia and Amhara had legitimate concerns, Ambassador Taye told the diplomats.

    He said the legitimate concerns of the protestors were lack of good governance, slow and sluggish government response towards public concerns, and a huge number of unemployed youth.

    There was also a considerable gap in creating public awareness and consensus with regard to the constitutional federal arrangement and a growing demand for more improved facilities which clearly sprang from the government's unreserved effort in creating strong and demanding society whenever there is a lag in the service, Ambassador Taye said.

    However, these legitimate questions were taken over by anti-peace elements, he noted; the demonstrations were openly marked with violence and an act of lawlessness which amounted to loss of lives.

    In both cases, demonstrations were funneled through the aid of social media and other media outlets infamous for pouring extremist agenda, the State Minister added.

    With regard to the ongoing government efforts in responding to the situation, Ambassador Taye noted that the government is conducting series of peace and development conferences in all regions.

    The ambassadors on their part commended the government for preparing such briefings which had helped them clearly understand the difference between what the media propagate and the reality on the ground.

    Ambassador Katendea from Uganda said unemployment is a common problem in Africa but which is always subject to manipulations from anti-peace elements if African governments could not be cautious.

    Asked whether there was a need for a third part to investigate the situation the State Minister stressed, "The government has constitutional obligation and a home-grown mechanism to carry out an independent, impartial and thorough investigation."

    Source: MoFA

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  • AU mission vows to help Somalia hold successful polls

    (EBC; August 18, 2016)- The Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Wednesday vowed to help Somalia hold successful elections slated for September and October and called for support from the international community.

    The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, Francisco Madeira, said a successful electoral process will not only be a victory for Somalia but also the pan-African body and the international community.

    Madeira, who is also the head of AMISOM, said that the political progress in Somalia was testament to what can be achieved through cooperation among members of the international community in tackling terrorism as a global threat and not an isolated problem in Somalia.

    AMISOM forces have been helping the Somali government battle the militants which carry out periodic attacks mostly in the country.

    He reiterated that AMISOM will work together with the Somali National Security Forces to ensure the electoral process is successful.

    Madeira said the AU would provide training to members of Somalia's Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team and send observers for the elections.

    Somalia is preparing to hold indirect elections in September and October which will culminate in the election of a new president who will lead the country in the next four years.

    Source: Xinhua

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  • 66th session of WHO Regional Committee kicks off in Addis

    (EBC; August 19, 2016) - The 66th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa (RC66) Kicked off on Friday at the United Nations Conference Center (UNCC) in Addis Ababa.

    The five-day conference which brought together health ministers and various countries in the WHO Africa region as well as other representatives of continental and international organizations to share experiences on a range of public health issues in Africa.

    Regional oral health strategy 2016-2025, regional strategy for health security and emergencies, and multi-sectoral action for a life course approach to healthy ageing are among the core thematic agendas in the conference.

    The Regional Committee, comprising health ministers from the 47 countries in the Region, is the Governing Body of WHO in the African Region.

    Source:EBC NEWS 

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