Friday, January 20, 2017

Donald Trump's Africa Policy: Three Priorities by By Kelsey Lilley

In his landmark speech to the Ghanaian Parliament in 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama declared his support for democracy and good governance in Africa, remarking, “Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.” The Obama administration subsequently made democracy and governance a cornerstone of its Africa policy. Despite a number of setbacks, the continent witnessed a key peaceful democratic transition after Nigeria's country's 2015 presidential election, and the incoming President Muhammadu Buhari noted the “vital” U.S. role in supporting those elections.

But the new administration will have to answer hard questions about how the U.S. balances its national security interests on the continent with a professed desire for strengthening African democracy and governance. In Ethiopia, a key U.S. counter-terror ally in the region, the government imposed a state of emergency following widespread anti-government protests, which came just a year after President Obama lauded the country—in which no opposition MPs hold seats in parliament and activists regularly deride the constriction of political space—as a democracy.

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Opinion: Trump's foreign policy on Africa is likely to be non-existent

By Peter Vale
For example, I don't think he is going to be very interested in what is happening in Somalia or Ethiopia or in other parts of Africa where there may be conflict. Trump hasn't got a great capacity for detail, so at best he will live by macro assessments.
The other break with tradition is that it's impossible to predict who he will chose as his assistant-secretary of state for Africa. As a follower of foreign policy over the past 40 years it has been possible, in nearly all instances, to know who the new incumbent is likely to be. Examples include Chester Crocker, Hank Cohen and Susan Rice. Now with Trump, we simply have no indication.
With this in mind I think it is really important for African countries, including South Africa, to be very conscious, constructive and conspicuous in their choices of ambassador. These appointments will be crucial in opening the doors to the new Trump administration. The worst that African countries can do, however difficult it will be politically, would be to show their displeasure and hold their noses.

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Ivanka Trump’s Shoe Factory Is Moving From China To Ethiopia Because Labor Costs There Are Much Cheaper

The billionaire tycoon has frequently accused China of stealing US jobs through unfair trade practices and currency manipulation, while simultaneously relying on the country to make Trump-branded goods. But the kind of work that goes into making such products may never return to America, says the president of major footwear producer Huajian Group. Zhang Huarong, speaking in his office in the southern factory hub of Dongguan, said: ‘Some manufacturers can’t even survive in China any more.’

His company has made about 100,000 pairs of Ivanka Trump-branded shoes over the years, according to spokesman Liu Shiyuan. In August it filled an order for 20,000 pairs, just weeks after Trump accepted the Republican nomination, with a speech in which he vowed to bring jobs back to the US. Trump said he planned to impose a 45 per cent tariff on Chinese-made goods.

Mr Zhang said he can hire five Ethiopians for the price of one Chinese worker. That is why the company is building a ‘light industrial city’ shaped like a woman’s shoe in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, he said. The sprawling campus will feature factories, dormitories, a hotel and a hospital, all bounded by a replica of the Great Wall.

According to the Daily Mail, Ivanka’s company refused to comment for their story.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Egypt: Consolidating Repression Under al-Sisi

(Beirut) – Public criticism and peaceful opposition to the government remain effectively banned in Egypt, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2017. Security forces routinely tortured detainees and forcibly disappeared hundreds of people during 2016.

Having jailed tens of thousands of political opponents since the military’s removal of former President Mohamed Morsy in 2013, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government in 2016 took unprecedented steps to criminalize human rights work and cripple independent civil society groups.

“President al-Sisi’s government is consolidating and escalating repression,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Absent strong responses from the international community, authorities will continue to squeeze the space for exercising basic freedoms into nothing.”

In the 687-page World Report, its 27th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth writes that a new generation of authoritarian populists seeks to overturn the concept of human rights protections, treating rights as an impediment to the majority will. For those who feel left behind by the global economy and increasingly fear violent crime, civil society groups, the media, and the public have key roles to play in reaffirming the values on which rights-respecting democracy has been built.

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Nutella Maker Fights Back Against Cancer-Causing Claims

Palm oil?? is that not the one the Ethiopian government forced Ethiopian to eat a few years back? some Ethiopians became cripple?

The maker of Nutella is fighting back against a finding by food safety officials in Europe that palm oil used in Nutella's chocolate-hazelnut spread could pose a potential cancer risk.

"Ferrero wants to assure its consumers that Nutella and other Ferrero products that contain palm oil are safe," Ferrero, the Italian company behind Nutella, told ABC News in a statement Thursday.

Ferrero has been defending its popular Nutella product since a report from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) indicated palm oil can create carcinogens when processed at temperatures above 393 degrees, as is the case with Nutella.

The company described to ABC News the steps it says it takes to lessen any potential risks from processed palm oil.

"When palm oil, produced and processed to minimalize the presence of these contaminants, is refined correctly, it contains a lower level of contaminants than other vegetable oils that have been treated at excessive temperatures," the statement read. "This case applies to the palm oil used by Ferrero, who for years has been able to significantly reduce the levels of contaminants in its palm oil compared to conventional palm oils available on the market, similar to the levels found in other vegetable oils that have been processed properly, in line with EFSA's parameters.

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Here is the link Ethiopian government palm oil import click on the link


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ethiopia: Year of Brutality, Restrictions

Restore Rights, Address Grievances

(Nairobi) – Ethiopia plunged into a human rights crisis in 2016, increasing restrictions on basic rights during a state of emergency and continuing a bloody crackdown against largely peaceful protesters, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2017. The state of emergency permits arbitrary detention, restricts access to social media, and bans communications with foreign groups.

Security forces killed hundreds and detained tens of thousands of protesters in Ethiopia’s Oromia and Amhara regions during the year. Many of those who were released reported that they were tortured in detention, a longstanding problem in Ethiopia. The government has failed to meaningfully investigate security forces abuses or respond to calls for an international investigation into the crackdown.

“Instead of addressing the numerous calls for reform in 2016, the Ethiopian government used excessive and unnecessary lethal force to suppress largely peaceful protests,” said Felix Horne, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Vague promises of reform are not enough. The government needs to restore basic rights and engage in meaningful dialogue instead of responding to criticism with more abuses.”

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In Amharic
(ናይሮቢ ጥር 12፣ 2017) – እ.ኤ.አ. በ 2016 ዓ.ም. ኢትዮጵያ የሰብአዊ መብቶች ቀዉስ ዉስጥ ወድቃለች። ሂዩማን ራይትስ ወች ዛሬ በወጠው የ 2017 ዓ.ም. የአለም ዓቀፍ ሪፖርት ኢትዮጵያ የአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጅ ባወጀችበት በዚህ ወቅት መሰረታዊ መብቶችን በመገደብና ሰለማዊ ሰልፈኞች ላይ የከፈተችዉን ደም አፍሳሽ አፈናን ቀጥላበታለች ብሏል። የአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጁ በዘፈቀዳ ማሰርን ይፈቅዳል፣ ማህበራዊ መገናኛ ብዙሃንን ይገድባል፣ አንዲሁም ከውጭ አካላት ጋር መገናኘትን ይከለክላል።

በዚህ ዓመት የመንግስት የጸጥታ ሀይሎች በኦሮሚያና ኣማራ ክልሎች በመቶዎች የሚቆጠሩ ሰለማዊ ሰልፈኞችን ገድሏል፣ በአስር ሺህዎች የሚቆጠሩትን ዕስር ቤት ኣጉሯል። ታስረው ከተፈቱት ብዙዎቹ በእስር ቤት ዉስጥ ስቃይ አንደደረሰባቸው ታናግረዋል። ይህ እስረኞችን የማሰቃየት ችግር ኢትዮጵያ ዉስጥ ለረጅም ግዜ ሳይፈታ የዘለቀ ችግር ነው። መንግስት የጸጥታ ሀይሎች ያደረሱትን በደሎች በተገቢው መልኩ ለመመርመርም ሆና ለአለማቀፍ ምርመራ ጥሪውች መልስ መስጠት አልቻለም።

’የኢትዮጵያ መንግስት እ.ኤ.አ. በ2016 ዓ.ም. የቀረቡለትን ብዙ የማሸሻያ ጥሪዎችን በአግባቡ ማየትና ማሰተካከል ሲገባው ሰላማዊ ሰልፈኞችን ለማፈን ያልተመጣጠነና አላስፈላጊ ሀይል ተጠቅሟል’’ ብሏል ፌሊክስ ሆርኔ በሂውማን ራይትስ ወች ከፍተኛ የአፍሪካ ተመራማሪ። ‘’የማይጨበጡ የታህድሶ ተስፋዎች በቂ አይደሉም። መንግስት ሁሉንም ትችቶች በሀይል ለማፈን ከመሞከር ይልቅ መሰረታዊ መብቶችን መመለስና ትርጉም ያለዉ ዉይይት ዉስጥ መግባት አለበት።’’ ብሏልፌሊክስ ሆርን

በባለ 687 ገጹ የዓለም ሪፖርት 27ተኛ እትም ሂውማን ራይትስ ወች ከ90 በላይ በሆኑ ሃገራት ያለውን የሰብዓዊ መብት ትግበራ ገምግሟል። በዚህ የማስተዋወቂያ ጽሁፍ ዋና ዳይሬክተር ኬንዝ ሮዝ አዲስ የህዝባዊ አገዛዝ ትውልዶች የሰብዓዊ መብቶችን ጽንሰ ሃሳብ ለመቀልበስ መሻታቸውን ጽፈዋል፤ መብትን የሚያስተናግዱበት መንገድ የብዙሃንን ፍላጎት ለመገደብ ባመቸ መልኩ መሆኑን ጽሁፋቸው ይገልጻል። ከዓለም ዓቀፉ የምጣኔ ሃብታዊ እድገት ትርፍ ተቋዳሽ እንዳልሆኑ የሚሰማቸው ሰዎች እና እየጨመረ ባለው የብጥብጥ ስጋት የሲቪክ ማህበረሰብ ቡድኖች፣ መገናኛ ብዙሃን እና ህዝቡ መብቶችን የሚያከብር ዴሞክራሲ እንዲገነባ አወንታዊ ሚና መጫወት አለባቸው።

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Ethnic nationalism and the Gondar protests

An analysis on what the rising ethnic nationalism among the historically powerful Amhara means for the country's future.

Amba Giorgis, Ethiopia - Etenesh* sits alone on a worn cow skin in her mud-walled home in Amba Giorgis, a small Ethiopian market town in the northerly Amhara region. Her husband, a merchant, was arrested early in November, due to his alleged participation in anti-government protests over the last few months.

"He was taken to a military camp," says Etenesh, a mother of two who sells coffee to farmers from her shack. "I know that because he called me twice."

She does not know when, or if, he will come back, but she does know that life without the family's primary breadwinner is tough. "It's just me now, trying to provide for my kids."

Talk of arrests is prevalent in Amba Giorgis, which is part of the North Gondar district experiencing clashes between armed farmers and the military.

On the edge of town, government soldiers man a new checkpoint. They moved into a road construction camp, following the declaration of a sweeping state of emergency on October 8 in response to the unrest among Ethiopia's two largest ethnic groups: the Oromo, who make up around one-third of the population, and the Amhara.

On July 31, residents of Gondar, which is around 700km north of the capital, Addis Ababa, came out to demonstrate amid a long-standing territorial dispute with the neighbouring Tigray region. During Ethiopia's transition from a unitary to a federal state in the early 1990s, some Amhara claim they lost territory to Tigrayans when the country was restructured along ethnolinguistic lines.

The demonstrations have been used as a platform to voice discontent over alleged government repression of the Amhara as well as to promote a budding ethnic nationalism among them. The Amhara are the second-largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, constituting 27 percent in the country of nearly 100 million people.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Ethiopia’s political troubles are going to test its beneficial China relationshi

Nearly three months into the state of emergency declared by Ethiopia, the atmosphere on the streets of its bustling and impressively modern metropolis and capital, Addis Ababa, feels tense.

At 2,355 meters above sea level, the climate is pleasantly mild most of the year. Its broad thoroughfares are studded with magnificent cultural attractions. These are infused with the glow of an ancient yet resilient civilisation that could withstand both Jesuit and Wahhabi encroachment.

Yet, at present, tourists are understandably few and far between. There have been reports of hundreds of deaths in districts surrounding the capital in recent weeks. But these have been played down as an exaggeration by prime minister Heilemariam Desalegn.

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Trekking the Simien Mountains: Inside Ethiopia’s dying World Heritage Site

In the busy market town of Wossen, an entourage of a hundred curious children followed us past small roadside shacks selling everything from garish blankets to vegetables and jelly sandals. Jostling to be at the front of the throng, some wanted to stroke my arms, puzzled by my freckles. One little boy burst into tears when he saw me. “I think you might be the first blonde woman they’ve seen,” my guide explained.

There were plenty of “firsts” on this new trek in northern Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains. Aptly described by Homer as “chess pieces of the gods,” the Simiens are majestic: a vast cauldron of deep ravines and gorges, towering pinnacles and rock spires, and fascinating wildlife found nowhere else on Earth.

Driving through the National Park, we passed gelada monkeys sitting calmly by the roadside, with golden manes like lions’ billowing in the breeze. Walia Ibex, giant mountain goats with impressive, arching horns, rushed away as we approached. So did the world’s rarest canid, a shy Ethiopian wolf — only around 400 survive in the country’s highlands.

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Monday, January 9, 2017

Why all these British Media talked about this crap, these girls did not get anything from this investment anyway and the Ethiopian bureaucrats maybe have all the benefits of this investment anyway

An NGO that uses music and radio to spread awareness about girls’ rights in Ethiopia has lost its UK aid funding after a negative press campaign.

Girl Effect, which created a five-piece girl group, Yegna, described by the Daily Mail and the Telegraph as Ethiopia’s Spice Girls, said its aims had been “wilfully misrepresented”.

It says Yegna is a multi-platform brand, not merely a girl group, that addresses issues such as early forced marriage, violence and barriers to education through a radio drama, music, talkshows, and a YouTube channel.

The shadow international development secretary, Kate Osamor, said headlines describing the group as simply a pop band were “sensationalist” and the money supplied to the group was part of a much wider campaign that was ignored in the reports.

“Sensationalist, headline-grabbing stories of waste and corruption have become an ever increasing staple of British newspapers over recent months,” Osamor said. “No policy, project or programme designed to improve the lives of destitute and marginalised people around the world seems exempt from rightwing media criticism.”

She said aid should not be “one size fits all according to what we in the west think is what is needed”.

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