- Police arrest three suspects
Authorities have admitted acting poorly in their efforts to tackle the huge fire that engulfed the busy Mercato market almost two weeks ago. The blaze consumed some 40 shops and five storage facilities, injuring 25 individuals including five firefighters.
The fire broke out on Wednesday December 11 and was the largest in recent history, according to Commander Allene Gebru, director of the Addis Ababa Fire and Disaster Prevention and Controlling Authority. In a press conference held on Wednesday at the City Hall, Commander Allene admitted that the response to the incident which hit Mercato, specifically known as Jonia Tera – a place where cosmetics and food items are sold in bulk – was poorly coordinated, leading to the destruction of many shops and the fire lasting for several hours. The accident could have destroyed half-a-billion birr in assets, the commander revealed, yet the fire remained active until December 13, 2013, to further affect ill-fated shops and stock.
The Commander accused the Ethiopian Electric and Power Corporation (EEPCo) for failing to immediately shut down power transmissions, which made the incident harder for firefighters to tackle. He also blamed the city’s water and sewerage authority for making hydrants near the accident inaccessible. The uncoordinated efforts of the authorities were highlighted, and the incident, according to the commander, was a testing moment for his team and a lesson on how to address future disasters. The commander agrees that the fire has exposed how vulnerable Addis Ababa is to such events; let alone trying to control simultaneous outbreaks.
ET Cargo to go paperless
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) last week announced that Ethiopia’s air cargo market is the fourth fastest growing in the world.
IATA’s Airline Industry Forecast 2013-2017 released at the IATA annual Cargo Media Day held on December 11 in Geneva, Switzerland, shows that Vietnam is expected to be the fastest growing country for air freight volumes over the forecasting horizon with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6 per annum, followed by Bangladesh (5.7 percent CAGR), Brazil (5.5 percent CAGR), Ethiopia (5.3 CAGR) and Peru (5.2 percent CAGR).
Africa is forecast to be the fastest growing region over the forecast period with a growth rate of 4.0 percent CAGR. According to IATA, the fastest growing freight route for Africa is the inter-Africa market (5.3 percent).
Not far behind Africa are the Middle East and Latin America, both with a CAGR of 3.8 percent and the Asia-Pacific at 3.5 percent per annum, followed by Europe and North America at 2.4 and 2.7 CAGR respectively. The report indicates that the five largest international freight markets will be the United States, China, Germany, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates.
Desmond Vertannes, global head of cargo with IATA, told The Reporter that the growing investment coming from Asia to Africa is boosting the air freight business in Africa. “China’s increasing Trade and investment in Africa is a big contributing factor. African exporters are finding new markets. The big contributor is the perishable cargo industry. The perishable industry, the flower, fish industry and the manufacturing industry contribute to the growth of the air cargo in Africa,” Vertannes said.
According to Vertannes, Ethiopia is doing an exemplary work in expanding cargo transport sector. Ethiopian Airlines is acquiring new cargo fleet and building new cargo terminal. He went on to say that expanding the handling facility to greater capacity will help the country’s economic growth. “Lots of African countries can do the same thing. They are enhancing the handling capacity for the air cargo. I congratulate Ethiopian Airlines for pursuing working with their customs authority on e-freight agenda. They have been very good in adopting the e-freight business. We want to encourage other African countries to follow suit. We know that it is happening in Kenya and South Africa. But more countries should join the club.”
There’s a back story behind the African funk that had the whole room dancing on Thursday night at Baby’s All Right, the new club in Williamsburg. Hailu Mergia, the keyboardist leading the band, was playing his first American show since 1991. For the last two decades, he has been driving an airport taxicab in Washington.
Mr. Mergia was a star of Ethiopian music in the 1970s as a member of the Walias Band, which had worked its way to the top of the Addis Ababa club circuit. In 1981, when Ethiopia was ruled by a brutal military dictatorship, the Walias Band came to perform in the United States, and Mr. Mergia and some of the other band members stayed, settling among the many Ethiopian immigrants in Washington.
For a few years, Mr. Mergia led the Zula Band there; after it dissolved, Mr. Mergia studied music at Howard University and decided to start playing the accordion, an instrument that had been used in Ethiopian music of an earlier generation.
In 1985, he went into a small studio to record for himself. With the accordion and the studio’s synthesizer, electric piano and drum machine, he overdubbed himself to make what would become an album of instrumentals, “Hailu Mergia and His Classical Instrument.” The classical instrument was the accordion, but its old-fashioned tone was joined by the new electronic sounds. With the unswerving patterns from the drum machine, the music came across as an eerie, isolated rumination on a place and time Mr. Mergia had left behind, with its Ethiopian modes and melodies transplanted to a modern terra incognita.
European Union has given 11.7 million birr as an aid to the Saudi
repatriate Ethiopians. Previously, European Union had given 19.5 million
birr for covering the humanitarian services of repatriates.
It is also
indicated that 95% of the Ethiopian female Saudi repatriates are either
pregnant or have a new born. Currently, the number of Ethiopians who
have repatriated from Saudi reached 135,000; among which 45,000 of them
are female and there are also 230 orphans.
Ethiopian Orthodox Church to
Begin Using Cash Register
'Churchgoers when donating has to ask for a Receipt'
- The ways of collecting donations using donation boxes at unspecified
places, using mat and umbrellas will be prohibited.
Preparations are underway in the Addis Ababa Area’s Ethiopian Orthodox
churches to begin the use of cash register machines for collecting
As described in the Accounting Policy and Detail Rules
document ready to be put to use, the use of cash register and other
modern means have promised to bring transparency and integrity in the
financial atmosphere of the church and help minimize corruption. Once
the procedure is in place successfully in the Addis Ababa area churches,
the same procedures will be put to use on Ethiopian Orthodox churches
throughout the country.
As the indicated in the draft rule, for any donation provided to the
church a receipt (mainly of the cash register) has to be provided
immediately. Churchgoers when donating has to ask for a Receipt the rule
document dictates. All other ways of collecting donations using
donation boxes at unspecified places (especially outside the church
compound), using mat and umbrellas will be prohibited.
The rule also states that the receipt has to be handled and issued by
specified church personnel for the task.
Research uncovers lost African school of painting
Analysis of illuminated gospels suggests that first Christian manuscript art may have come from Ethiopia
Evidence has emerged for a previously unknown school of painting in sub-Saharan Africa that may have been responsible for the earliest Christian paintings in manuscripts. New research suggests that illuminations in two Ethiopian gospels dating back 1,500 years were painted in the ancient kingdom of Aksum, and not in the Middle East, as previously believed.
These illustrations, which include a set of the Evangelists, are evidence of an Aksumite School of painting, says Jacques Mercier, a specialist in Ethiopian art at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. Aksum lies in present-day Eritrea and northern Ethiopia. If Mercier’s theory is correct, it sheds new light on the development of early Christian art.
An early dating for these texts (known as the Garima Gospels, after the monastery that houses them) was first brought to international attention by The Art Newspaper, when we reported the existence of two bound Gospels with parchment leaves carbon-dated to between 330 and 650 (The Art Newspaper, June 2010, p46). They had been assumed to date to around 1100, since no earlier manuscript was believed to have survived in Ethiopia. A second set of small samples of parchment was recently dated by the University of Oxford’s Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art.
The results were announced last month at a conference in Oxford on the Garima Gospels, organised by the Ethiopian Heritage Fund. They confirm the previous results, with a date range of 390 to 570 for the first book of Gospels and 530 to 630 for the second. The middle dates from these two results average out at 530.
It has been assumed that the parchment was prepared and the illuminations created in the Middle East. The pages would then have been taken to Ethiopia, where the text was added in Ge’ez (the local language) by Ethiopian scribes. But Mercier has noticed that scored lines, added to help the scribes writing the text, were also used for the layout of the illuminations. Some of the 28 horizontal lines are visible behind the pink background of the Evangelist Luke, and the upper and lower decorated frames have been painted directly on top of the lines. Mercier argues that if the Ge’ez text was written in Ethiopia, as seems highly likely, then the illuminations must have been made there too. Theoretically, the images could have been painted by a Middle Eastern artist who had travelled 3,000km south, but Mercier argues that it is much more likely that they are the work of an Aksumite artist, copying earlier (lost) images made in the Middle East or Aksum.
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