Wednesday, April 16, 2014

30 years after Ethiopia famine, Valley of Death blooms

The vivid green landscape was once known as Ethiopia’s “Valley of Death”.

Now, as a mango tree glints in the sunlight beside him, farmer Desta Beletew looks across the fields and describes the transformation. “You didn’t see trees like this, not even the grass, it was just bare fields. People were dying by the road,” he says, reflecting on the deadly famine of 30 years ago, which prompted the Live Aid concerts and one of the world’s greatest ever humanitarian relief efforts.

“Everyone was thirsty, thin, very weak — not strong like now. It was difficult to guess that it could be better. But now the bad times won’t come back.”

Mr Beletew’s confidence is reflected by the variety of crops growing around him in Ethiopia’s Antsokia Valley.

As well as mangos, his farm now produces papayas, oranges and bananas, as well as more traditional local crops such as teff — a type of cereal — onions, sorghum and maize. Bee hives hang from three of his trees, while sheep and chickens provide further income.

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Ethiopia: Gunmen Kill 9 on Bus in Ethiopia Near Dam Project

******Ethiopian government must take these Egyptian mercenaries seriously******

Ethiopian officials say that attackers fired on a public bus in the country's west, killing nine people and wounding seven.

Redwan Hussein, a government spokesman, said Wednesday that the attack took place in the Banishangul Gumuz region, an area that has an increased security presence to protect construction of the country's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Egypt views as a threat to the flow of the Nile River.

Unknown gunmen fired early Tuesday on a public bus that was carrying 28 residents. The region has seen previous attacks by a rebel group that laid down arms last year after 17 years of protests.

Hussein said authorities had not yet made any arrests but were pursuing suspects.


Nile dam study fails to stem the tide of Egyptian indignation towards Ethiopia

Claim and counter-claim has attended the delayed publication of a report on the likely impact of the Grand Renaissance dam

The opening sentence of Egypt's new constitution describes the country as the river Nile's gift to Egyptians. It is a grand claim, but one that helps explain Egypt's indignation at the ongoing construction of a blockage on the Nile, thousands of miles upstream: the $4.7bn (£2.8bn) Grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam (Gerd).

Egyptians have long maintained that Ethiopia's dam project will dangerously deplete its water stocks – about 95% of which are derived from the world's longest river. A year ago, a former Egyptian water official boldly claimed that the Gerd might deprive Egypt of up to 10bn kilolitres, devastating roughly a million acres of farmland along the shores of the Nile.

"Then you might cross the Nile on the back of a camel," the former head of Egypt's National Water Research Centre said at the time, in what were highly contested claims.

Egyptian politicians have used such claims to portray the dam as a threat to national security, and have occasionally made ambiguous statements about the possibility of military action. For their part, the Ethiopian government sees the Gerd as a crucial developmental goal – a 6,000 megawatt source of surplus electricity that they could sell to foreign countries to boost their economy.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

A Proxy Campaign against Ethiopia? -Response by GERD National Panel of Experts

International River Network (IRN): “GERD Panel of Experts Report: Big Questions Remain, Monday, March 31, 2014”

For so many years now the IRN, International River Network, this self-appointed “guardian” of all rivers of the world, has been leaving no stone unturned in its effort to subvert Ethiopia‟s efforts to develop its water resources and lift its vast and growing population out of poverty. This is manifested most glaringly in its incessant negative campaign against the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), initiated from the very first days when the idea of water resources development on the Abbay was floated, including even through the Nile Basin Initiative.

Apart from being amused, the NPOE so far had chosen to ignore IRN‟s anti-Ethiopia lobbying which is driven by an ideological, if not fanatical-messianic mission to “protect [the world‟s] rivers and … to stop destructive dams”. IRN is accuser, police, judge and jury all rolled into one. IRN determines for countries, particularly for developing and poor countries like Ethiopia, how to do water resources development projects the “right” way. For these “backward” countries, IRN is the high priest that communes with God the Almighty and determines what is the most environmentally appropriate, most efficient and economical, and most beneficial for local, national and regional not only flora and fauna but also human communities too. What paternalism!!

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Eritrean Refugees at Risk..... it is not easy being Eritrean?

Hundreds of thousands of Eritreans have fled a repressive dictatorship since 2001. Their small northeast African country, which has a population 4-5 million and was once touted as part of an African “renaissance,” is one of the largest per-capita producers of asylum seekers in the world.

Many languish in desert camps. Some have been kidnapped, tortured, and ransomed—or killed—in the Sinai. Others have been left to die in the Sahara or drowned in the Mediterranean. Still others have been attacked as foreigners in South Africa, threatened with mass detention in Israel, or refused entry to the United States and Canada under post-9/11 “terrorism bars” based on their past association with an armed liberation movement—the one they are now fleeing.

It’s not easy being Eritrean.

The most horrifying of their misfortunes—the kidnapping, torture, and ransoming in Sinai—has generated attention in the media and among human rights organizations, as did the tragic shipwreck off Lampedusa Island. But the public response, like that to famine or natural disaster, tends to be emotive and ephemeral, turning the refugees into objects of pity or charity with little grasp of who they are, why they take such risks, or what can be done to halt the hemorrhaging.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Presidential hopeful Mansour 'will declare war on Ethiopia,' ban alcohol, social media

Al Arabiya, Staff Writer
Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Mortada Mansour, one of three candidates running for the presidential election in Egypt, said he would wage war against Ethiopia if it continues building a Nile river dam and threatened to shut down social media websites, the state-run Al Ahram Online reported.

During an interview on the privately-owned al-Hayah TV channel, Mansour addressed Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam, a thorny subject between Cairo and Addis Ababa.

Although stressing he would seek international assistance to resolve the dispute between the two states, he warned that he would be willing to go to war to protect Egypt’s share of Nile water, Al Ahram Online reported.

“Nile water is the source of life in Egypt and I will not allow anyone to diminish our share of it,” he said.

Egypt relies heavily on the Nile for its water and images of the construction of the Renaissance Dam released last May led to public anxiety in the country of 80 million.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Egypt presidential hopeful threatens to use force over Ethiopian dam

Somebody needs to remind this guy that we live in the 21st Century, Egyptian needs to resolve their internal issue the last thing Egyptian needs is not war and I just want to remind these people do not start the war that you will never win

April 6, 2014 (WASHINGTON) – A potential candidate for the Egyptian presidency announced today that he will order the use of military force against Ethiopia if the latter does not suspend the construction of the Grand Renaissance dam.

n announcing his presidential bid at a press conference on Sunday, lawyer Mortada Mansour said that “water for Egypt is Egypt’s life”.

“There” are signed international conventions ... There are two agreements, one in 1929 and the other in 1959 to regulate water usage between Egypt and Sudan,” Mansour added.

The controversial figure, who was elected last week as head of Cairo’s Zamalek Club, accused Israel of standing behind the Ethiopian dam project and dismissed popular initiatives to resolve the dispute with Addis Ababa.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

US aid to Egypt used for terrorism: Ethiopia official

By MGoth
A Member of Ethiopia’s largest opposition party UDJ blamed Egypt’s financial assistance to al Shabab militants in Somalia for spreading terrorism in the horn of Africa. According to MP Girma Seifu of the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party, American aid to Egypt is being diverted to finance terrorists in Somalia as Cairo seeks to weaken Addis Ababa and stop construction of the Ethiopian Dam.

“American taxpayers should demand answers from the Obama administration on why billions of their money is going to a country that funds terrorism in East Africa,” said Mr. Girma. According to a New York Times report on June 6, 2013, several Egyptian government officials were secretly taped discussing ways to increase funding for militants in East Africa in order to destabilze upstream Nile basin countries.

MP Girma cited several United Nations (UN) weapons Monitoring Group’s evidence that show Egyptian arms support to Somali militants, some of whom have killed western tourists in East Africa. The UN document states that Egypt is also providing “intensive military and ideological training” to al Shabab, the same active group with terrorists like Abu Mansoor Al Amriki who was on FBI’s Most Wanted terror list.

The Ethiopian opposition MP said he is calling on all the Ethiopian Diaspora in America to unite and “take legal action” and inform their local US congressmen.

The MP also said Egypt and creditors blocking finance for the dam project is a “crime against the poor people of Ethiopia.” He urged the World Bank (WB) and IMF not to give in to “corrupt”Egyptian lobbyists who are blocking the loans for the Ethiopian mega dam. The official asked the West to help Ethiopia build the infrastructure needed to feed itself instead of making the country forever dependent on food aid.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Is this the most farcical use of taxpayers' money ever: Ethiopian gets legal aid from UK - to sue us for giving aid to... Ethiopia!

* The farmer claims aid is funding a despotic one-party state in his country
* Alleges regime is forcing thousands from their land using murder and rape
* Prime Minister David Cameron says donations are a mark of compassion
* If farmer is successful, Ministers might have to review overseas donations

An Ethiopian farmer has been given legal aid in the UK to sue Britain – because he claims millions of pounds sent by the UK to his country is supporting a brutal regime that has ruined his life.

He says UK taxpayers’ money – £1.3 billion over the five years of the coalition Government – is funding a despotic one-party state in his country that is forcing thousands of villagers such as him from their land using murder, torture and rape.

The landmark case is highly embarrassing for the Government, which has poured vast amounts of extra cash into foreign aid despite belt-tightening austerity measures at home.

Prime Minister David Cameron claims the donations are a mark of Britain’s compassion.

But the farmer – whose case is set to cost tens of thousands of pounds – argues that huge sums handed to Ethiopia are breaching the Department for International Development’s (DFID) own human rights rules.

He accuses the Government of devastating the lives of some of the world’s poorest people rather than fulfilling promises to help them. The case comes amid growing global concern over Western aid propping up corrupt and repressive regimes.

If the farmer is successful, Ministers might have to review major donations to other nations accused of atrocities, such as Pakistan and Rwanda – and it could open up Britain to compensation claims from around the world.

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