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  • Chefe Oromia Summoned for URGENT meeting

    Chefe Oromia (Oromia Council)—the supreme body of the Oromia Regional State—has been summoned to hold its second urgent meeting today and tomorrow in Adama town, the capital city of the regional state, 100km south of the capital, Addis Ababa.

    In its two-day meeting, the Council is expected to deliberate on current issues and is also expected to approve the appointments of various officials to the regional administration.

    Among the appointments, which are expected from the Council, is the election of the President of the regional state to replace Muktar Kedir the outgoing president of the region who was also the chairman of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO). Muktar and Aster Mamo, the erstwhile Deputy Chairwoman of thw OPDO were removed from their positions at the last Council meeting.

    According to the culture of the OPDO, president of the party will assume presidency of the region, in this regard, Lemma Megersa, the newly elected chairman of the OPDO and current Speaker of the Council is expected to assume the presidency of the region. The Council will also elect a new speaker to replace Lemma. 

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  • Human Rights Watch encourages opposition violence in Ethiopia

    We noted last week that Felix Horne, Human Rights Watch’s Ethiopia researcher, has recently been making considerable efforts to push the European Union to use its role as Ethiopia’s main development cooperation partner to force Ethiopia to accept an international investigation into the way the government had responded to recent protests.

    He has been writing articles on the subject, giving interviews to Reuters and, last week, addressing the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights. In all of these, in order to support his demands, he has deliberately given impressions and made claims he knows to be false about recent events, notably the Ireecha tragedy on October 2.

    During his briefing to the EU Parliament subcommittee, Mr. Horne said a “an unknown number of people, possibly hundreds, died during a stampede after security forces used teargas and gunfire to control a tense crowd at the annual Ireecha festival.

    Ireecha is an important cultural event for the Oromo ethnic group and draws millions of people each year to the sacred site at the town of Bishoftu. The deaths have exacerbated pre-existing anger and frustrations throughout Oromia. Since that terrible day, there have been more anti-government protests and destruction of government buildings and properties.” In his earlier interview with Reuters, Mr. Horne carefully ignoring much of the actual evidence that is available (including videos of the event) also suggested that the numbers who died in the tragedy on October 2 were far higher than the official figures, that the stampede which led to the deaths was purely the result of over-reaction by armed security forces to a few protestors shouting anti-government slogans, He added that the government had from the outset been trying to interfere in the organization of the festival.

    There is, in fact, no evidence (though there are a multitude of allegations made over social media) of any more deaths than the official figures of 55 who died, all from being tragically drowned or crushed in the stampede. None of those who died were killed by gunshots, despite Mr. Horne’s claims, as has been confirmed by reports from the hospitals in Bishoftu.

    Mr. Horne claims Human Rights Watch spoke to hospital staff and “it is clear that the number of dead is much higher than government estimates.” No it isn’t. That is merely Mr. Horne’s allegation. He clearly wanted the number to be higher to fit in with his preconceived ideas that hundreds must have been killed, as Human Rights Watch claims, equally arbitrarily, there have been in other protests around the country in recent months.

    It is worth noting that, despite Mr. Horne’s attempts to hint to the contrary by throwing doubt on the comments of doctors and nurses on duty at the town’s hospitals, that all of those who died suffered from being crushed or drowned in ditches and shallow water. No one was shot. Indeed, it is quite clear from the videos that there was no shooting and the police were unarmed. 

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  • World's most dedicated Christians? Thousands climb steep cliffs to reach hidden churches


    The sandstone cliffs of Gheralta in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia, which are 2580m tall, are the home to 35 hidden churches, some of which date back to the fourth century.

    The climbs to reach the churches carved out of solid rock are arduous and involve near-vertical cliff faces at times and steep 300-metre ledges, particularly to reach the Abuna Yemata Church.

    Although tourists occasionally use harnesses and ropes to help with the strenuous climb, the locals do not. 

    The churches, which are located 780kms north of Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Ababa, are visited each Sunday by around 50 people each and when there are religious festivals, this figure can rise to hundreds.

    One of the local guides said: “If people do not come to the church, they have to pray hundreds of times. Everyone does the climb and comes to church, it is easy for us.

    “The locals are used to the climb, we have done it many times.”

    Although tourists can take two hours to reach each church, the locals do the walk in less than half this.

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  • U.S. Warn Citizens to Avoid Non Essential Travel to Ethiopia

    The U.S. State Department urged U.S. citizens on Friday to defer all non-essential travel to Ethiopia because of ongoing unrest that has killed hundreds of people, led to thousands of arrests and prompted restrictions on diplomatic travel.
    The Ethiopian government declared a state of emergency on Oct. 8 and issued a decree on Oct. 15 that permitted the arrest of individuals without court order for some routine activities like attending gatherings and engaging with foreign organizations, the State Department said.

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  • Lucy Academy Launch the First E-Learning Platform in Ethiopia

    By Yonas Amare (Dire Tube News)  Lucy Academy has developed the first electronic learning /e-learning/ system in Ethiopia. The academy who specialized in the engineering field has announced earlier this week it launched the e-learning platform in partnership with Jima University. According to the announcement preparations have finalized to give the e-learning in 23 engineering post graduate programs under six major schools through the new e-learning platform. The academy founder and director D/r Habtamu Melesse said the new online learning platform is expected to begin the program until the coming January. D/r Habtamu added the online learning platform is robust and cost effective than the traditional learning system. He said, internet accessibility in the country could be the main challenge but, the new platform incorporates all kinds of practical and theoretical teaching learning mechanisms including for people who needs special need education.

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