Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Paying for giant Nile dam itself, Ethiopia thwarts Egypt but takes risks

By Aaron Maasho

(Reuters) - Ethiopia's bold decision to pay for a huge dam itself has overturned generations of Egyptian control over the Nile's waters, and may help transform one of the world's poorest countries into a regional hydropower hub.

By spurning an offer from Cairo for help financing the project, Addis Ababa has ensured it controls the construction of the Renaissance Dam on a Nile tributary. The electricity it will generate - enough to power a giant rich-world city like New York - can be exported across a power-hungry region.

But the decision to fund the huge project itself also carries the risk of stifling private sector investment and restricting economic growth, and may jeopardize Ethiopia's dream of becoming a middle income country by 2025.

The dam is now a quarter built and Ethiopia says it will start producing its first 750 megawatts of electricity by the end of this year. In the sandy floor of the Guba valley, near the Sudanese border, engineers are laying compacted concrete to the foundations of the barrage that will tower 145 meters high and whose turbines will throw out 6,000 megawatts - more than any other hydropower project in Africa.

So far, Ethiopia has paid 27 billion birr ($1.5 billion) out of a total projected cost of 77 billion birr for the dam, which will create a lake 246 km (153 miles) long.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dam! White Elephants in Ethiopia?

The Self-made Egyptian and IRN Attorney, spoke out again, it is laughable because he is an Ethiopian! These people do not know what they are doing let God forgive them. I am not sure why he is sabotaging the Ethiopian oppositions, do we Ethiopians listen to this crap? Hell NO! he is supporting the number one Ethiopian enemy, the worst part he is representing the Ethiopian national transitional committee ENTC or whatever you call them, these people are in the day dreaming, they cannot achieve their goal by sabotaging the Ethiopian interest. Or they are under estimating the Ethiopian people conscious. Now I start believing that these people are getting paid from Egyptian government and they do not want any good thing to happen in Ethiopia, as long as their personal financial interest is secured and Dr Alemayehu G Mariam is an Ethiopian Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis



Last week, in a bizarre display of faux outrage and indignation, the regime in Ethiopia unleashed its big “experts” to go after International Rivers, an organization that has been leading the global struggle to protect rivers and the rights of indigenous communities that depend on them for nearly three decades. International Rivers, headquartered in Berkeley, CA., is committed to promoting sustainable use of water and rivers throughout the world. The organization has done extraordinary work in Africa, Asia and Latin America to “prevent destructive dam development, promote effective flood management practices, reform the policies and practices of international financial institutions, and advocate water and energy solutions that are sensitive to human rights and environmental sustainability.”
The regime’s nameless, faceless and conscienceless “experts”, hiding behind the anonymity of “professional Ethiopians well versed with and advising on GERD Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam related issues”, unloaded a torrent vituperative diatribe against International Rivers in the vintage style of their late hate master of name-calling, cheap shots and put-downs, Meles Zenawi. In a hatchet job polemic entitled, “A Proxy Campaign against Ethiopia?”, the “GERD national panel of experts” (“GERD experts”) jumped on International Rivers like a pack of hungry junkyard dogs on a squirrel.

The “GERD experts” took no prisoners in demonizing and hyperbolizing International Rivers. They moaned that International Rivers is “ this self- appointed ‘guardian’ of all rivers of the world, [and] 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.” Whoa! IRN, the Poseidon (the mythical Greek god of seas and waters)!

The GERD experts came out swinging. No more kid gloves. It’s going to be all bare knuckles. “Apart from being amused, the NPOE [National Panel of Experts] 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.” Dam! Can “IRN” do all that? Who could have suspected “IRN” was the world’s “riverine policeman”?

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

The spirit of a pure Christianity: Exploring Ethiopia's stunning subterranean churches

I wake up and don't have a clue where I am. There is barely any light, hardly enough to pierce the curtains. But it's not the gloom or the early start that has left me confused. It's the ear-splitting chanting.

The noise is in no language I've ever heard. Yet the sound is familiar, even if the language is not. I have heard it in Istanbul, the Gulf, parts of Jerusalem. It sounds almost exactly like an imam calling the faithful to prayer.

Yet I am in Ethiopia, the cradle of an ancient form of Christianity, and the hotel at which I am staying is in Lalibela, one of the country's most Christian sites; there are no mosques nearby. So what is going on?

Stepping out on to my balcony, I see the hillside opposite covered with thousands of people dressed in white cotton robes. They are making their way up a series of dirt tracks, their feet throwing up a haze of red dust. The chanting seems to be coming from the hilltop. But there is no sign of a church or indeed any building up there. All that can be made out is the rough outline of part of a giant cross, seemingly carved into the ground.

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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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