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Ethiopian News

Egyptians Should Abandon their Warning and Focus on Constructive Issues: Dina Mufti

Published: Feb 8, 2014 by fiyori Filed under: Ethiopian News Politics
Ethiopian foreign ministry’s spokesman Dina Mufti said that Egyptians should abandon their futile military, political and economic sanctions threats and diplomatic warnings and instead focus on constructive matters.

He denounced various “unnecessary and useless threats continuously been forwarded by Egyptians politicians and the intelligentsia” since it would not make any difference on the course of events. Dina Mufti said that what is most important for the Egyptians is not incorporating the Nile issue on their constitution; instead to sign the Entebe convention that was signed by most of the Nile basin countries.

Fire Destroys Ethiopian Owned Radio Station in Atlanta

Published: Feb 8, 2014 by bini Filed under: Ethiopian News
When Hussien Mohamed, director of Sagal Radio, went to work last Wednesday, what he saw shocked him: a fire had completely burned down the two-story building housing his station in Atlanta, Georgia.

"Everything is gone," Mohamed said. "Our station was on the second floor, and the whole floor had completely collapsed."

Since Sagal Radio was established 15 years ago, it has offered news and information in six languages — Amharic, Bhutanese/Nepali, English, Karen, Somali and Swahili, serving the refugee community in metro Atlanta and other parts of the state.

Georgia is home to one of the highest refugee populations in the country, many of them centered around the metro-Atlanta area. In 2013, Georgia received about 2,500 newly arrived refugees, a reduction of close to 50 percent from the previous year. The drop came after a request from state leaders that the federal government lower the number of refugees sent to Georgia amid concerns about strained resources.

Sagal Radio’s service-oriented programs have provided many of these new immigrants with the information they need to ease their transition to life in America. It has also become a community center of sorts for those hoping to connect to families back home.

"That studio has been part of my own history since I came to America," said Mohamed, who is a native of Ethiopia. "We built everything, little by little, with our dedication to be of service to our audience. But, when the fire broke [out], I didn't even get a chance to grab a pen from the station. It hurts a lot."

An investigation by the DeKalb Country Fire Department into the source of the blaze is ongoing. A final report has yet to be released. Mohamed says that a day before the blaze, a pipe burst because of the extreme cold weather conditions, leaving the building without heat.

Extreme cold has impacted much of the south, with temperatures well below normal for this time of year. Atlanta has remained just above freezing since almost the start of the year.

Ethiopia’s dams: The risks

Published: Feb 8, 2014 by bini Filed under: Ethiopian News Politics
The focus on Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam project, which has stirred widespread controversy among the Egyptian public in view of its direct detrimental impact on Egypt, may have distracted us from the question of dams and energy generation in Ethiopia in general. However, Egypt objected to some of the dam projects in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia’s energy plans are almost entirely based on capitalising on its many rivers, that flow with varying speeds in various directions, by generating electricity from the dam system that currently exists or that is envisioned for the future. According to studies on Ethiopia’s groundwater resources, there are nine “wet” and three “dry” (subject to draught) water basins. The surveys highlight the potential of the “wet” basins, in particular. The most important of these are: Wabi Shebele, Abbay (the Blue Nile), Genale Dawa, Awash, Tekeze (Atbara River), Omo Gibe, Baro Akobo, Mereb.

In addition, the country has numerous subterranean water basins as well as a relatively large annual rainfall: 590 billion cubic metres on the Ethiopian plateau.

The surface area of the water basins varies considerably. The largest are Wabi Shebele (202,220 kilometres squared) and Abbay (199,912 kilometres squared) and the smallest is Mereb (5,900 kilometres squared). At 53 billion cubic metres per year, the Abbay (Blue Nile) River has the highest annual runoff. Its waters flow across the border into Sudan where they meet up with the White Nile and then continue into Egypt. The Abbay (Blue Nile) contributes about 75 per cent of the waters emanating from the Ethiopian plateau (72 billion cubic metres per year), which is why this river is so important to Egypt and Sudan.

It is their chief source of water, which underscores the magnitude of the risks inherent in any hydraulic project that could obstruct the flow of these waters into Sudan and Egypt. This explains why these two countries need to be fully reassured that any projects on the Blue Nile are thoroughly studied in terms of their impact on downriver nations, why they should require a consensus, and why Addis Ababa must notify Cairo and Khartoum in advance of any hydraulic works entailing the construction of dams and the diversion of the river course for this purpose, in keeping with the risk aversion principle established in the convention on international watercourses adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1997.

As the Blue Nile is Ethiopia’s most important river, in addition to being vital to both Egypt and Sudan, it has become a strategic target for every power interested in throwing a spanner into the mechanisms of cooperation between these three countries. It is therefore no coincidence that the UN Reclamation Bureau took 1956 as its starting point for an eight-year study of the Blue Nile basin that, in 1964, concluded with recommendations for 33 hydraulic projects on this river. The most important are the following dams: Fincha Amerti Nesse (FAN), Beles, the Renaissance Dam, Mendaia, Beko Abo and Kara Dodi.

Of these, FAN and Beles have been completed, construction of the highly controversial Renaissance Dam has begun and, of course, planning for the Beko Abo and Kara Dodi dams are in progress. Other dams have been constructed or are envisioned for the Tekeze, Omo Gibe and other river basins. In short, a vast Ethiopian dam network threatens to obstruct the current river flow and regulate it through an array of gateways and turbines in a manner that suits Ethiopia’s purposes at the expense of its neighbours and partners in the Nile River Basin.

Ethiopian Airlines interested in 10 Boeing 777X: CEO

Published: Feb 7, 2014 by bini Filed under: Ethiopian News Business
Ethiopian Airlines interested in 10 Boeing 777X: CEO

(Reuters) - Ethiopian Airlines is in preliminary talks with Boeing (BA.N) that could lead to an order for 10 of the U.S. planemaker's latest model, the 777X, the airline's chief executive said.

"When the 777X comes, as soon as we can get the (production) slots we will be there," Tewolde Gebremariam told Reuters in a telephone interview. "We are discussing with Boeing for about 10 777X," he added - a deal potentially worth $3.8 billion at list prices.

The comments represent a strengthening of Ethiopian's interest in the 406-seat jet after it said last month it was evaluating it but had no immediate plans to place an order. The 777X was launched with record orders at the Dubai Airshow in November.

The airline is expanding its fleet as part of an existing plan to increase revenues five-fold to $10 billion by 2025. It already plans to order 10-20 smaller narrowbody jets and expects to make a decision within three months.

Gebremariam said the Ethiopian flag carrier also wanted to lease up to three more Boeing 787 Dreamliners and would order even more directly from Boeing if they were available. Ethiopian recently restored a Dreamliner to service after a fire on the ground in London's Heathrow Airport, but has said it is satisfied with the performance of Boeing's high-tech jet despite persistent reports of glitches.

Ethiopia a birder’s delight

Published: Feb 7, 2014 by bini Filed under: Ethiopian News
Ethiopia a birder’s delight

Dropped into an exotic foreign world -- that’s what it felt like for me, birding in Ethiopia in recent weeks. My husband and I fulfilled a lifelong dream and finally got to Africa, choosing to tour the peaceful land of ancient Abyssinia because of the many species of birds found nowhere else on Earth.

From the highlands in the north to the Great Rift Valley sprawling down the middle of the country, the terrain was dramatic, the people friendly, the experience fascinating. But getting to know the birds was a culture shock, they were all so new and different. Most of the 500-plus species we saw were ones I’d never heard of before.

Such as hamerkop, a big, chocolate-brown water bird with a head shaped like -- you guessed it -- a hammer. And Abyssinian paradise flycatcher, a black-crested songbird trailing pure white, foot-long plumes as it flits through the trees. Mousebirds have dramatic long tails as well, as do coucals, go-away birds, wood-hoopoes, whydahs and turacos. I loved them all, and found them easy to tell apart compared to a dizzying host of smallish birds that were hard to ID and remember: prinias, cisticolas, eremomelas and weavers, not to mention boubous and puffbacks.

But oh, the starlings. Africa is known for the dazzling plumage of this family of birds, related to the drab European starlings that were introduced, so unfortunately, to North America. Many of Ethiopia’s 18 species of starlings look black from a distance, but catch them in the sun and they’re transformed into glittering jewels -- satiny blue, orange, green, violet. Golden-breasted starlings have their buttercup-yellow underparts set off by a blue head, purple wings and a long dark tail.

Sunbirds, Africa’s answer to hummingbirds of the Americas, gleam in the sun as well. One of the most gorgeous birds we saw was a male black-bellied sunbird, his dark tummy the only part of his plumage not glittering red, green or blue.

ELEVEN things we love about Genzebe Dibaba

Published: Feb 7, 2014 by bini Filed under: Ethiopian News Sport News
ELEVEN things we love about Genzebe Dibaba

1. The Dibaba dynasty

Genzebe, who turns 23 on Saturday, is the latest member of the Dibaba clan to arrive on the world stage. Big sister Tirunesh – one of the sport’s all-time legends – has won three Olympic and five world gold medals on the track, plus five individual world cross country titles.

Eldest sister Ejagayehu won Olympic 10,000m silver at Athens 2004, and her brother Dejene is a promising 800m athlete. If that wasn’t enough, cousin Derartu Tulu is a two-time Olympic 10,000m champion.

2. Happy in the mud

Like older sister Tirunesh (T-Dibby), Genzebe (G-Dibby) first emerged as a cross country athlete, finishing fifth in the junior race at the Mombassa 2007 World Cross Country Championships, at just 16 years old.

A year later she played her part in a Dibby-double in Edinburgh, when Tirunesh won the senior race and Genzebe won the junior event. Twelve months on, she successfully defended her world junior crown in Amman, Jordan.

3. Junior to senior (seamlessly)

Her track career began over 5000m at the world juniors in 2008. She finished second behind her compatriot Sult Utura, and two years later went one better in Moncton, Canada. By 2009 she’d stepped up to senior athletics, finishing eighth at the world champs in Berlin, aged 18.

4. Moving to middle distance

For the 2012 season, Dibaba stepped down to the 1500m. After breaking too early and earning a disqualification in her first indoor meet of the year in Dusseldorf, she justified her decision to change events by recording a blistering 4:00.13 in Karlsruhe, to climb to fifth on the all-time women’s indoor list. She then won world indoor gold in Istanbul (pictured above).

5. Still the little sis

She’s raced Tirunesh five times in her career, and has yet to beat her, although they’ve only raced once since 2009 (over 5000m in Zurich last year, where Tirunesh came home second and Genze did not finish). We can not wait for their next head-to-head…

6. World record smasher

For a bit of perspective, the stunning 3:55.13 she clocked in Karlsruhe at the weekend hacked over three seconds off the previous indoor 1500m WR mark. The time elevates her to 12th on the all-time 1500m list indoors and out, and is the best time recorded over the distance since 1997.

7. Great indoors

The striking Genzebe has won nine of her eleven indoor races. Her only two non-victories came in Dusseldorf (the disqualification) and Boston, where in 2010 she finished second over 3000m to fellow Ethiopian Kalkidan Gezahegne.

8. Bouncing back from heartbreak

After a successful indoor season, Dibaba emerged as a favourite for Olympic gold. Expectations were high after she opened her outdoor season with a sensational Ethiopian record of 3:57.77 in Shanghai. But a hamstring injury derailed her campaign and she left the London track in agony. It takes a special kind of athlete to come back from that so impressively.

9. Miss Versatile

In 2013, Genze comfortably won her two 1500m indoor races, and clocked a highly impressive 8:26.95 over 3000m to win in Stockholm: the fourth best time ever indoor 3000m. Her outdoor season began with a new 1500m PB in Doha followed by a victory against Olympic 5000m champion Meseret Defar over 12-and-a-half laps in Shanghai.

10. No free lunches

Until recently, Tiriunesh had been coy when talking about her younger sister, often smiling and giggling when the subject of Genzebe was raised. However, at the Eugene Diamond League meeting last year she said this:

“I have been running for a long time. I have four gold medals at the World Championships [she now has five!]. I’m not going to give her a free lunch; she has to compete with me, and she has to beat me.”

UPDATE – 6th February 2014

11. One’s never enough

One world record in a lifetime would be enough for most althetes. But on Thursday 6th February, at XL Galan in Stockholm, Genzebe Dibaba set her second world record in a week.

Her indoor 3000m in 8:16.60 slashed the world record by almost seven seconds. Incredibly, Dibaba covered the final 2000m in 5:27.95 – over two seconds quicker than the world indoor record for that distance, too!


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