EPRDF to run uncontested in Harari The only two opposition parties in contention for the seat of the Harari Regional State Council announced their withdrawal from the upcoming elections paving the way for the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to run uncontested.
The Harari People’s Democratic Party (HPDP) and Harari Democratic Organization (HDO) announced their withdrawal citing harassment and uneven playing field.
“The situation in the region is very difficult for the opposition party to participate in the election and hence we have decided to withdraw,” Bule Abdulahi, representative of HPDP in Addis Ababa, told The Reporter.
The representative said the party has been communicating its grievances in letters to the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) to no avail.
“The board failed to respond to our demands and did not provide us a lasting solution but only empty promises,” Bule said.
Similarly, Abdi Sebri, president of HDO, also explained to The Reporter that his party’s decision to withdraw from the fifth general elections scheduled to be conducted on May 24, 2015.
“The decision to withdraw is due to mounting pressures from the administrators of the region. Currently, it is very difficult for the oppositions to participate in the election because there is no freedom and equal opportunity for all,” Abdi told The Reporter.
Read More at the Reporter
Ethiopian cargo qualifies for EU security regulation The Ethiopian Airlines cargo hub in Addis Ababa qualified for the new European Union cargo security regulation called the ACC3.
Following the interception of explosives on board a UPS freighter aircraft in 2010, the European Union (EU) introduced a new cargo transport security regulation which demands carriers that operate cargo flights to the EU to get their hubs inspected and validated by independent validators. The regulation requests African carriers that have direct flight to the EU to have their cargo hubs validated by an independent security inspectors by July 2014.
In a written response to The Reporter, Ethiopian confirmed that it is now ACC3 complaint. Ethiopian cargo hub was audited by an independent validator approved by the EU last March. Ethiopian recently acquired the validation certificate valid for five years until 2019. “ET Cargo is a designated air cargo and mail carrier operating to the EU,” Ethiopian said.
At the International Air Transport Association (IATA) annual cargo Media Day held at the headquarters of IATA in Geneva, Switzerland on December 9, Glyn Hughes, IATA’s global cargo head, told The Reporter that African carriers are having problems in meeting the deadline. “We know that a number of African carriers asked the EU for an extension,” Hughes said.
The EU did not yet enforce the legislation. It pushed the deadline from July 2014 to January 2015. “There are a number of African airlines that have a direct flights to the EU. That means each of the stations need to be independently validated by EU endorsed validators to make sure that the security program is in place.” IATA’s responsibility is to raise awareness among all IATA members and to provide assistance and guidance. “But we can't force them. Meeting the deadline is incredibly important. The EU could ban them and that is not good for Africa's economy,” Hughes said.
Read More at the Reporter
UDJ launches election campaign dubbed “2007 for Change”
Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ), one of the prominent opposition parties in Ethiopia, launched on Tuesday its election campaign strategy dubbed “2007 for Change” ahead of the upcoming national and regional elections.
Daniel Tefera, Zekarias Yemanebirhan and Asrat Abreha, heads of external affairs, party affairs and public relations of the party, respectively, announced the inauguration of the campaign strategy at a press conferences held at the head quarter of the party located in the Kebena area.
Daniel Tefera told The Reporter that the campaign is the last step in the range of activities such as demonstrations and public meetings that the party has been doing across the country in preparation for the upcoming election. Voices of the millions for free and fair election, the current theme of party's movement, is also the latest in the series of the leading mottoes and thematic focuses of past activities such as voices of the millions for freedom, voices of the millions for land ownership and voices of the millions for prisoners of consciousness.
He said that the primary aim of this activity will be to enlighten the society about the upcoming national and regional elections and the need to vote to shape the future of the country for the better.
The campaign will be conducted in various cities of the country through a number of town hall meetings and peaceful demonstrations and at the same time by using various social and other forms of media to disseminate its massage across the country, Daniel added.
Read More at the Reporter
Ethiopia says bond will not finance GERD
Ethiopia will not spend a penny of the one billion US dollar it generated through the Euro bond to finance the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Sufian Ahmed, Minister of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED), told journalists on Tuesday.
Following the much publicized debut sovereign bond issue by Ethiopia, Sufian, the master-mind behind the international bond project, announced this week the list of projects and planned investments activities that finances raised in the bond market would be earmarked for, while underscoring none of it will be dedicated to the construction of GERD, a mammoth hydro power project under construction at a cost of 4 billion dollars.
“The public and the government are the only sources of finance for the GERD. By no means, will there be foreign financing for the flagship dam project,” he told journalists.
According to the finance minister, the hard currency raised from the bond market will mainly be dedicated to finance industrial zones that the country has envisaged to establish in different parts of the country.
The government has been preparing itself to establish several industrial zones in various locations in the country, Sufian said, adding that these zones will be very essential in attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and easily return their investment cost to repay the debt.
Apart from this, finalizing the huge sugar factories that the government has already started a few years back and stretching power transmission lines in some parts of the country are part of the list of investments that are identified to get financing from the bond.
In connection to that, Sufian also announced that Ethiopia has concluded its debut bond offering and subsequent sales on December 5 in the US by securing the full one billion dollar at an interest of 6.625 percent for 10 years.
According to the minister, the country’s debut bond offered in Europe and the US has obtained 2.64 billion dollar or a 264 percent over subscription mainly coming from funds managers such as sovereign fund and pension funds. US investors have bought 70 percent of the bond leaving the remaining 30 percent to European investors, Sufian told the press.
Read More at the Reporter
UN probe uncovers targeting of civilians, abductions and sexual violence in South SudanBy Elias Meseret, Dire Tube Correspondent
In a report issued today, the Human Rights Division of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has said there is reason to believe that at least 11 civilians were killed and several other serious rights abuses were committed during an attack by opposition forces on Bentiu, the capital of Unity state, in October this year.
Investigations into the incident are ongoing but the report offers preliminary findings on allegations that the attack on Bentiu was accompanied by the deliberate targeting of civilians by armed elements and that women were abducted by opposition forces and subjected to conflict-related sexual violence.
“Reports of such gross human rights abuses are all too common in the current conflict and involve all sides,” stated the report. According to its preliminary findings, “(opposition) forces committed gross human rights abuses and serious violations of international humanitarian law which may amount to war crimes.”
UNMISS human rights officers conducted 21 interviews with victims, witnesses and other sources in the aftermath of the 29 October attack, visiting the incident sites and retracing the alleged sequence of events.
Multiple testimonies received by the investigators alleged that civilians sheltering in a Catholic church were beaten with sticks before eight male civilians were shot and killed and two wounded. Several witnesses also reported that two women and a six-month-old baby were killed in their homes by opposition forces near a Catholic church in the Dere neighbourhood of Bentiu.
During their visit to the sites, human rights officers observed graves where victims were allegedly buried, as well as unburied bodies. Officers also compiled a list of 14 names of women who were allegedly kidnapped by opposition forces during the brief occupation.
Miss World ditches 'sexist bikini round' after 63 yearsThe Miss World beauty pageant will no longer feature a swimsuit competition.
The iconic ‘bikini round’, where contestants from around the world pose in swimsuits, has been ditched by the organisers after 63 years.
Miss World’s chairwoman Julia Morley, 74 (wife of it's British creator Eric) told Elle magazine: “I don’t need to see women just walking up and down in bikinis. It doesn't do anything for the woman. And it doesn’t do anything for any of us.
“I don’t care if someone has a bottom two inches bigger than someone else's. We are really not looking at her bottom. We are really listening to her speak.”
In 1951, the first Miss World winner, Sweden’s Kiki Håkansson, was crowned on stage while wearing a bikini.
Since then, the swimsuit round has been a major part of the beauty pageant. In 2001, organisers took the decision not to conduct it on stage, but instead do a private photo shoot so contestants no longer had to parade in front of the live audience.
It was renamed the ‘beach fashion’ round and has happened in this way every year since, apart from in 2013 when it was cancelled so as to not offend Muslims in Indonesia, where the pageant was being held.
Feminists, such as the handful protesting outside the pageant's final in London last week, have previously criticised the swimsuit round for being "sexist" as it objectifies women.
Read More at Telegraph
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