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  • Attacks on WHO candidate are defamatory, ‘colonial’, Ambassador says

    Addis Ababa, May 18, 2017 (FBC) - The African Union (AU) delegation to the United Nations came in outspoken numbers to a press briefing yesterday to express unshakable support for the Ethiopian candidate to be the next head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

    Asked about recent allegations in the press about Tedros’ part in a coverup of cholera epidemics in his country, the African ambassadors said those were defamatory allegations, done in desperation by a nervous competing candidate.

    Without citing which of the other two candidate that might be, an African ambassador said such attempt at destabilising the candidate reflects a “colonial mentality.” Tedros, as he is known, was not at the press briefing.

    The election is expected to take place on 23 May, the second day of the annual World Health Assembly (IPW, WHO, 12 May 2017).

    Described by a group of African ambassadors as being in best position to implement needed reforms at the WHO, and having a unique mix of scientific and diplomatic skills, Tedros was also said to be the best choice for the WHO. The ambassadors explained they are on a campaign to support Tedros, and are approaching other ambassadors.

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  • Teddy Afro’s New Album Holds Fast to His Vision of a Diverse, Yet United Ethiopia

    Ethiopian singer Tewodros Kassahun’s most anticipated and highly promoted studio album was released to great fanfare at the beginning of May, 2017.

    More popularly known as Teddy Afro, his latest album — his fifth — comprises 15 songs of tribute and love that touch on issues of solidarity, reconciliation and the hope of living collectively in a diverse country. The album also includes a song with lyrics in a coded language, which is being interpreted by some as a rebuke to his detractors.

    Ever since he caught the public’s attention with his debut album in early 2001, Teddy Afro has been a household name in Ethiopia. He is a melodic singer and prolific songwriter. “Ethiopia”, a single that appeared on his new album, racked up millions of views on YouTube as soon as it was released. His album attracted sales of up to 15 million Ethiopian Birr — a feat that no other Ethiopian singer has ever managed to accomplish — which is telling commentary on his popularity.

    The recurring theme in Afro’s albums, is the need to nurture countrywide harmony, unity, and love which transcend ethnic and religious boundaries in his beloved Ethiopia.

    Expanding upon this foundation, this latest album solidifies this message, both in thematic content and lyrics. While the album is mainly an Amharic language pop music offering, some segments of lyrics are inserted into his Amharic songs from other Ethiopian languages, such as Afan Oromo, Tigeregna, and Sidama, which all reflect the singer’s philosophy and interests.

    He blends his version of reggae with Ethiopian beats, styles, and instruments. His deployment of the sound of mesenqo, a single-stringed Ethiopian bowed lute, which he mixes delicately with acoustic guitar, bass guitar and drums — while he sings in Amharic and Afan Oromo on one of the tracks — is a great example.

    The response to Afro’s album has been mixed. Teddy’s fans and detractors either apotheosize or admonish him based on his fame, his lyrical perspective — even his album’s cover art.

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  • Beware of fraud related to the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery!

    The Embassy of the United States of America in Addis Abeba told DV applicants to be aware and take care of the fraud activities by individuals.

    The only way to find out if you have been selected for the 2018 DV Lottery is to check the status of your application starting May 2 at 7pm local time.

    The Embassy wishes all applicants success in the process, and urge everyone to protect themselves from fraud.

    If ANYONE contacts you claiming you have been selected, IT’ S FRAUD.

    If anyone asks you for money to apply for the DV Lottery, IT’S FRAUD.

    The DV Lottery is a random selection, if anyone claims they can help you get selected for money, IT’S FRAUD.

    If some says you have been selected for the DV Lottery, but you did not apply, IT’S FRAUD.

    https://www.dvlottery.state.gov

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  • PM HAILEMARIAM: ANNOUNCED THE CANCELLATION OF A PLAN TO CONSTRUCT THE RAILWAY IN THE NORTHWEST ETHIOPIA

    Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced the cancellation of a plan to construct the railway in the northwest Ethiopia.

    The Premier made the controversial statement in a town hall meeting in Adwa town last Monday.

    PM Hailemariam said: “A railway is expensive. It costs about 4 million dollars per kilometer in a plain ground. In the mountainous northern Ethiopia, it costs about 7-8 million dollars per kilometer”. It wasn’t clear how those figures were calculated.

    Therefore, Hailemariam said he is uncertain when a railway route might reach the area. Yet, he advised the audience to focus on development, “as your city grows, the train gets closer”. At one point, he suggested it might not happen ”in our lifetime”.

    Hailemariam’s statement, however, contradicts the official line of the government.

    The 10-years plan unveiled by the government unveiled in 2010 aimed to build 4,780 km National Railway Network.

    According to that plan, the first phase consisted the construction of about 1,800 km railway line in four routes: Addis Ababa to Djibouti, Addis Ababa to the southwestern Bedele, Awash (near Addis Ababa) to Hara Gebeya(Woldya) to the northern city Mekelle, and Hara Gebeya to Assayta to Djibouti.

    The second phase was to connect Jimma to Dima (South Sudan border), Ijaji to Nekemet to Assosa to Kimuruk, Mekele to Shire, Fenote selam to Bahir dar to Wereta to Woldia, Wereta to Azazo to Metema and Adama to Indeto to Gassera to Ginir.

    However, by 2015, when the first phase was supposed to be completed, the Ethiopian Railway Corporation could only report the near-completion status of the Addis Ababa – Djibouti route, while construction contracts for the Awash – Hara Gebeya(Woldya) – Mekelle and the Hara Gebeya – Assayta railway lines were awarded.

    The causes of the under-performance were said to be low institutional capacity and lack of financial sources.

    The government quietly downsized its ambitions to 1545 kilometers in the plan for 2016-2020 period. The plan document stated the target for the current period would be “the completion and operationalization of the networks began in the previous plan period and making preparations to launch construction of new railway projects”.

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  • Donkey slaughter house opens in Bishoftu

    Ethiopia is to export donkey's meat, following the start of operations at a slaughterhouse in Bishoftu (Debrezeit) town, 48Km east of Addis Abeba. Shandong Dong, a donkey slaughterhouse, has just opened after 80 million Birr, according to media reports.

    The company will export the meat to Vietnam and the skins of the donkeys to China, which will be used to manufacture medicines.
    The factory was torched down by protesters in Bishoftu/Debre Zeit town a few months ago.

    Another donkey abattoir is being constructed by Chinese investors in Assela, Arsi, Oromo region of Ethiopia, the newspaper added.
    China has turned its face to Africa for its donkey demand, which is attributed to the increased demand of donkey’s in China, especially for its skin, according to media reports.

    In Niger, some 80,000 donkeys have been exported to China in 2016, compared with 27,000 in 2015. In Burkina Faso, donkey traders sold 18,000 animals to international buyers in the first quarter of 2016, up from just 1,000 for the same period last year.

    In Kenya, a donkey abattoir opened in April last year in Naivasha to cater for the burgeoning Chinese market.

    But this thriving export market is not without considerable drawbacks for local people. In Niger, the price of donkeys has risen from 34 to 147 USD, a huge rise for farmers and merchants who need to buy donkeys to maintain their livelihoods. Officials are also worried that the demand for exports will decimate local donkey populations. In response, the government has banned donkey exports.

    Burkina Faso implemented similar regulations last year. In Ouagadougou, the situation was reportedly discussed twice in cabinet meetings before ban on donkey’s meat was announced.

    In South Africa, meanwhile, the surge in demand has led to a rise in cruelty towards, and theft of, donkeys. In a statement released this month the National Council of Societies for the Protection of Animals (NSPCA) said it was “horrified to confirm that donkeys are the latest victims of the trade in animal parts ‘for medicinal purposes’ to the far east. Donkeys are being rounded up, stolen, then transported and brutally slaughtered for their skins.”

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