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  • A Wake-up Call for Ethiopia and Eritrea: Crisis Group Issued a Report on Recent Tserona Incident

    A 12 June clash between Eritrea and Ethiopia comes as the Horn of Africa’s two most implacable rivals face a crossroads.

    As Asmara seeks ways out of its long isolation, and Addis Ababa seeks to maintain and expand its role on the global stage, they and their partners would be wise to turn this new outbreak of violence into an opportunity to seek a compromise settlement to their long-running border dispute. Otherwise the risk remains of sinking into a destructive new round of conflict in which both would lose.

    Details are hazy and contested, but the fighting near the border town of Tserona appears to be the most serious conventional military engagement for some time. Despite the impression of a frozen conflict since the 1998-2000 war that killed an estimated 70,000 people, there have been at least eight significant flare-ups since 2011, often involving rebel groups sponsored by one or the other of the two belligerents. Indeed, one theory for the Tserona clash is that it is a response by Addis Ababa to an armed action by the Asmara-linked Ginbot 7 group in southern Ethiopia in May.
    Still, Eritrea has not always been at daggers drawn with Ethiopia, from which it won independence in 1991, especially since both post-1991 governments were led by former rebel fronts that had (mostly) fought together during the 1970s and 1980s. Recent shifts in Eritrea and Ethiopia’s international and regional standing, and relative internal vulnerabilities, may offer opportunity to end the two-decades-long estrangement.

    Border Impasses

    The international community has done very little to push for a resolution of the border issue since 2008, mostly because neither side has appeared to believe it is in their interest to pursue it.

    Both sides actions’ have blocked international efforts to end the dispute, despite the Algiers Agreement of 2000 that ended hostilities with both parties’ agreement to binding international arbitration. The Ethiopia Eritrea Boundary Commission (EEBC) ruled in 2002 awarding gains to and extracting losses from both sides, but, in what proved the biggest obstacle to peace, awarding of the original trigger-point of Badme to Eritrea.

    Ethiopia refused to implement the ruling without further consultations. Eritrea refused to talk before action on implementation. Faced with losing diplomatic good will in 2004, Ethiopia offered a “Five Point Plan” for negotiations and normalisation of relations; on justifiable legal grounds, but with less diplomatic finesse, Eritrea refused. In late 2007, after Ethiopia had ceased its cooperation with the EEBC, it declared a virtual demarcation and dissolved itself. In 2008, facing increasingly hostile Eritrean deployments in the Temporary Security Zone patrolled by the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), that too wound down operations.

    Diplomats put the dispute on the back burner as other imperatives for regional peace and stability demanded attention, including the resolution of the Sudanese civil war, the Darfur conflict, the independence of South Sudan and attempts to reestablish formal government in Somalia. Nevertheless, Ethiopia and Eritrea’s rivalry has played a complicating role in all of these processes, crises and conflicts.

    Even worse, Eritrea’s frustration toward what it perceived as the international system’s failure to pressure Ethiopia into implementing the 2002 border ruling led it to take unilateral initiatives to keep its rival on the back foot. This is reported to have included assistance to the Somalia’s Islamist extremist and al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab. Global opinion soon branded Eritrea as a regional spoiler. The international community slapped on sanctions in 2009, included Eritrea in the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea in 2010 and then established a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights in 2014; its latest report condemning Eritrea’s “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations” was published a week previous to the Tserona clash.

    Asmara’s Wilderness Years

    From 2009, Eritrea was regionally and diplomatically isolated by the sanctions regime, its own decision to “suspend” itself from East Africa’s regional peace and security organisation, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and its parallel absence until 2011 from the new African Union, based in the capital of its Ethiopian rival.

    Internally, losses in the 1998-2000 war triggered a downward spiral. High-ranking officials who criticised the conduct of the war were incarcerated without trial and systemic internal repression became the norm. The country remained on a war footing and the already shaky economy nose-dived. Mandatory and prolonged national service (beyond the official eighteen months) for those aged between eighteen and 40 became an integral part of the state regulation of daily life.

    President Isiais Afewerki, a guerrilla leader once lionised by international opinion, looked increasingly belligerent and autocratic in power, with ill-health doing little to improve his humour in public. A growing number of young people chose to leave in search of economic opportunity, as in the rest of the Horn. In Eritrea’s case, youth were particularly anxious to avoid national service and used well-developed paths for refugees and diaspora forged during the 30-year independence struggle..

    BRIEFING | Eritrea: Ending the Exodus?

    Ethiopia, meanwhile, was riding high. It had suffered a post-war political crisis which split the regime’s core Tigrayan People Liberation Front in 2001; disputed elections in 2005 that led to violent protest and repression; a pervasive closure of political space including restrictive legislation on non-governmental organisations. But Addis Ababa also managed to retain international support for its development agenda in support of the poor; its contribution to peacekeeping in the region; and robust action in Somalia that fit with the U.S.-led global “war on terror”.

    Latterly, Addis Ababa also delivered impressive economic growth. In Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia had an international star, who, with an experienced diplomatic cadre, made sure national interests chimed with those of the international community. The country sustained this balancing act even after his death in 2012.

    Eritrea’s luck turns

    In the last few years, the pendulum has swung back in Eritrea’s favour, and – against expectations – the government has used the opportunity to regain status in the Horn that it had so completely lost to Ethiopia. Proof of support to Al-Shabaab has not been forthcoming for several years. While links with other rebel groups continue, they don’t threaten international interests. Most importantly, its dire economic isolation – despite continuing sanctions – has eased.

    Revenues have been helped by the large Bisha mine, which began producing gold, silver, copper and zinc in 2011. But even though many hopes for self-reliance were staked on the new business, external factors were more important. The European Union and its member states, anxious to assist the regime in stemming the flow of migrants toward the Mediterranean, have offered renewed development assistance of €200 million in late 2015.

    Then the Huthi-takeover of Yemen and the Saudi-led alliance to oust them suddenly made Eritrea’s long and adjacent Red Sea coast extremely strategic. Money that the president had periodically extracted from certain Gulf states was suddenly offered in greater quantities. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) reportedly spent hundreds of millions of dollars to lease the port of Assab, mothballed since the border-conflict ended its sole function as Ethiopia’s main entrepot. The leadership will feel vindicated that their strategic patience has paid off, and President Isiais, despite reports of emergency medical interventions abroad, survives as leader.
    Ethiopia – at least compared with when Prime Minister Meles was the regional first among equals – is struggling to maintain the unqualified support of the international community. Though it continues to play a vital role in regional mediation and security – including in South Sudan and Somalia – and its economy is still viewed with admiration, the longstanding criticism of its dirigiste approach to economic development and intolerance for political opposition is increasingly heard.

    Prime Minister Haile-Mariam Desalegn, who occasionally makes reformist noises and whose background as a non-Orthodox Christian from a small “southern” ethnic group is testament to Meles’s vision of a new Ethiopia, leads more collectively but without the intellectual fizz and decision of his mentor. The ruling party is unusually open about its internal disagreements, corruption is a growing problem, and drought and famine have returned.

    Ethnic Oromo protests that began last November and rumbled on for several months were clumsily contained; they were only half-heartedly blamed on Eritrea, an allegation that no one really believed. Ethiopia’s well trained and armed military probably knows that delivering a decisive blow against Eritrea may fatally damage the regime and risk (another) complicated civil war on its doorstep. A policy of robust containment has been pursued instead, but that looks increasingly difficult to sustain.

    Tserona’s Wake-up Call

    Given the reversals of fortune, and Ethiopia’s regular warnings that it would take action against Eritrea if it perceived a threat, the Tserona incident should not have come as a surprise. That it should have alarmed domestic and international observers alike is recognition that this particular fault line is not dormant and that recent seismic shifts of the plates of regional power make it particularly unstable right now.

    Ethiopia, despite slightly changed circumstances, still holds most of the military, economical and political cards. It will take (uncontested) the seat reserved for African states as a non-permanent member of the United Nations security council for 2017-18, meaning sanctions on Eritrea are unlikely to ease.

    However the Tserona incident could also be a wake-up call that after a decade on the sidelines, the stalemate of no peace, no war is unsustainable. The regional and international context is shifting on both sides of the equation. Ethiopia’s enduring friends and Eritrea’s renewed acquaintances should once again try to find a new diplomatic track toward resolving the border issue.

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  • 11 Things Guys Really Hope You Don't Notice During .....x

    1. His O-face. The reason we tend to bury our face in the nape of your neck when we orgasm is because at that moment in time, our face looks like we bit into a lemon while our penis has a seizure. It is something no one needs to see.

     

    2. That weird sweat smell. It doesn't always smell bad in the moment, but then afterward, it's like, "Oh, wait. That's the smell of my wet ass. That's what my damp butt smells like." If you walk into a man's bedroom, and you see a candle, it's because that man's sweaty butt smells weird. It's the only reason that candle is there.

    3. That he hasn't been to the gym in a few weeks. But honestly, we just sit on our phones and play Clash of Clans next to the squat rack anyway, so it doesn't matter.

    4. That he just burped but he played it off by casually mentioning that the house was on fire and you needed to leave. If we've got gas during se, going for the "house on fire" play is really only option we have. If we really like you, we have to actually burn our house down, which, like, sucks.

    5. That he's trying really, really hard not to come too soon. We're doing this for easily 50 percent of the time we're having sex. Hell, I'm trying not to come right now as I write this and nothing is even happening.

    6. That he struggled undoing your bra. I don't care how many bras we've undone in our life, some bras are just difficult. It's even worse if we get cocky and go for the one hand no-look, only to fumble terribly and then ask you to just turn around after 30 seconds of messing with it.

    7. His weird balls. Hopefully, you pretty much just maneuver around them, but if not we pray you don't get a good look. I don't want to body-shame anyone, but I think the general consensus is that everyone thinks balls look weird. It's one of the few things that unify mankind. No matter whose balls they are, they look like the eggs from Aliens.

    8. That part of him, even if it's a small part, thinks that maybe deep down this is some kind of scam. Why else would you be sleeping with us on purpose? Seriously, in what dimension are we perceived as a se...ually viable candidate? I can't speak for every guy out there, but personally, I'm always a bit incredulous when I sleep with someone for the first time. Like, maybe I'm just being distracted while five men carry all the furniture out of my apartment and off into the night.

    9. That he has a bunch of garbage under the bed. Because the second we realized you were coming over, we basically just shoved everything under there.

    10. That he has a bunch of garbage on the bed. We forgot some stuff, so that impressive se.. move we did where we spun you around and then supported your body with only our pelvis? That was only so we could hide a bunch of random crap under the covers.

    11. That you're basically inside a Dumpster. THERE IS GARBAGE EVERYWHERE AND WE HAVE LURED YOU INTO OUR GARBAGE LAIR, PLEASE DON'T LEAVE.

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  • The Case Against Sugar review – an unsweetened attack on diet myths

    A paper by researchers at Imperial College London and two universities in Brazil contends that artificially sweetened beverages, often called diet drinks, are just as big a problem as those containing sugar. There is no evidence they help people lose weight, they say, possibly because people assume they can eat more because their drinks are low in sugar.

     

    The report says the combined factors of what goes into artificially sweetened drinks, how they are consumed, and their environmental impact mean that “far from helping to solve the global obesity crisis [they are] a potential risk factor for highly prevalent chronic diseases”.

    Sugar-sweetened drinks, including sports beverages, have been identified as one of the major causes of obesity. Many countries, including Mexico and France, have introduced sugar taxes to try to reduce consumption, and the UK plans to do so next year.

    Many manufacturers are looking to boost sales of drinks containing artificial sweeteners in order to escape the levy. Such products already account for 25% of the global soft drinks market.

    Prof Christopher Millett, senior investigator at Imperial’s School of Public Health, said: “A common perception, which may be influenced by industry marketing, is that because ‘diet’ drinks have no sugar they must be healthier and aid weight loss when used as a substitute for full-sugar versions. However, we found no solid evidence to support this.”

    The paper, published in the journal PLoS Medicine, is a commentary on the research done so far into artificially sweetened beverages promoted as healthier alternatives and the impact on weight.

    It says the evidence does not suggest they help with weight loss, although they probably do not cause people to put on weight. Some studies show no weight loss; others show a small loss, but those studies were not always well done and were often funded by the soft drinks industry, the authors say.

    Maria Carolina Borges, the first author of the study, from the Federal University of Pelotas, in Brazil, said: “The lack of solid evidence on the health effects of ASBs [artificially sweetened beverages] and the potential influence of bias from industry-funded studies should be taken seriously when discussing whether ASBs are adequate alternatives to SSBs [sugar-sweetened beverages].”

    The paper argues that “given their negligible nutritional benefits and potential detrimental health impacts”, the environmental impact of manufacturing artificially sweetened drinks should be taken into account. It takes 150-300 litres of water to make one litre of drink, it says, and there is considerable solid waste and cumulative chemical pollution.

    Prof Carlos Monteiro, a co-author, from the University of São Paulo, said: “Taxes and regulation on SSBs and not ASBs will ultimately promote the consumption of diet drinks rather than plain water, the desirable source of hydration for everyone.”

    The British Soft Drinks Association dismissed the paper. Its director general, Gavin Partington, said: “Contrary to the claims made in this article, scientific research shows that low-calorie sweeteners, such as those found in diet drinks, help consumers manage their weight as part of a calorie-controlled diet.

    “At a time when we are trying to encourage people to reduce their overall calorie intake it is extremely unhelpful that products that contain no sugar, let alone calories, are demonised without evidence.”

    He added: “It’s worth bearing in mind that the UK soft drinks sector is the only category in which sugar is consistently falling year on year – over 17% since 2012.”

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  • Donald Trump to Arrest Mugabe And 6 Other African Leaders Within A Month. Read Shocking Details.

    American president Donald Trump has, on his first official day in office, reiterated that he will be coming for what he calls “corrupt African leaders” and it is his “first thing on the list”. Speaking from his official residence , The White House, Donald Trump said he is going to make sure he puts behind bars the president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe and South African president Jacob Zuma. Also on his list is Swaziland King Mswati III, Omar Al-Bashir, President of Sudan, José Eduardo dos Santos, President of Angola , Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea and Yoweri Museveni President of Uganda. According to him, “I promised to deal with corrupt leaders and I will make sure within my first month in office, these 7 corrupt and evil men are brought before the International Criminal Court. For example, the guy from South Africa, Jacob, he faced over 700 charges but got convicted of none. That will not happen under my watch” iMZanzi reported. Last year, the US business icon Donald Trump’s statement was conceived as a notice to Mugabe and Ugandan President, of what their fate will be if he becomes the President of the United States of America. While addressing war veterans in a speech in Washington, Trump warned the other dictators across the globe who want to die in power, that it’s just a matter of time before they face justice for their crimes. “I want to reiterate here before America’s greatest heroes that I will not condone any dictatorial tendencies exhibited by dictators around the world especially the two old men from Zimbabwe and Uganda.” Mugabe responded “Recently that madman that wants to be American President said he’ll arrest some African Presidents including my brother Yoweri and myself and lock us in his imaginary prison should he become American President” “May I state here that Trump will never take us anywhere because we Africans are the strongest and fearless in the universe. I wish everyone to Know that I have nothing to fear and I want to tell the world that Hitler’s descendant (Trump) has taken after him and he is about to do his worst should the people of America make a mistake of electing him” President Mugabe said.

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