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  • Ethiopian Officials Hit Back at Olympic Athlete Planning London Marathon Protest

    The Ethiopian Embassy in London has hit back at exiled Ethiopian athlete Feyisa Lilesa, who vowed to protest against his country’s government at the London marathon on Sunday.

    Olympic silver medallist Lilesa made headlines last year after he crossed his arms over his head at the Rio de Janeiro marathon—a symbol of resistance Oromo people widely used during anti-government protests last year—as he passed the finish line in the marathon race at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

    The 27-year-old told BBC's Sport Today on Thursday that “blood is flowing” in Ethiopia.

    Speaking to Newsweek, an Embassy spokesperson dismissed Lilesa’s remarks as “fairy tales.”

    “The blood is not flowing,” the spokesperson said. “These are, as usual, unsubstantiated claims, a way to romanticize what happened.

    “He [Lilesa] is entitled to express his opinion, he can say anything. He can return to Ethiopia and no-one would touch him. But the problem is that there are radical people behind this and the diaspora is using him for their own political agenda.”

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  • Egypt to establish military base in Eritrea

    April 17, 2017 (ADDIS ABABA) – The Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO), an Eritrean opposition group, claimed on Monday that the Red Sea nation had allegedly granted Egypt green light to build a military base within the country’s territory.

    Officials from the opposition group, quoting “reliable” sources in Eritrea, claimed Asmara has allowed Cairo to acquire a military base in Nora locality at the Dahlak Island for an indefinite period of time. The agreement, RSADO further said, comes in the wake of last week’s high-level visit of the Egyptian delegation to Eritrea. An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 Egyptian naval forces will be deployed at the planned base, officials from the group hinted.

    As it had long been anticipated and if true, Egypt will be Africa’s first and third Arab country to build a military facility in the reclusive East African nation, currently under United Nations sanctions for arming and financing Al-Shabab, a terrorist group allied with al-Qaeda.

    According to previous U.N reports, Eritrea has already leased its port town of Assab to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to establish military bases to ease their coalition battle against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

    Concerned by Saudi and UAE military presence in Eritrea, Ethiopia warned the two Arab nations against supporting what it said was "Asmara’s long-standing destabilizing agenda against Ethiopia".

    Recently, Egyptian leaders have reportedly been engaged in diplomatic efforts for regional countries including Somalia, Somaliland and Djibouti to grant them military and commercial base in their selected soil. However, none of Cairo’s efforts were reportedly successful, prompting the opposition group to disclose this matter.

    Some Ethiopian politicians argue that Egypt’s growing interest to secure military incursion in the Horn of Africa intends to contain Ethiopia’s massive hydro-power project, which Cairo fears the multi-billion dollar dam project being built along Nile River would eventually diminish historic water shares of the North African nation.

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  • Why are cars so expensive in Ethiopia?

    Owning a car for many Ethiopians - even those with ready cash to spend in one of the world's fastest-growing economies - remains a pipe dream.

    "I have been saving for nearly four years now, and I still can't afford to buy even the cheapest vehicle here," a frustrated Girma Desalegn tells me.

    He has been shopping around for a whole week in capital, Addis Ababa, and has still not found an affordable car.

    He is looking to buy a second-hand car imported from the Gulf states or Europe - but even they are prohibitively expensive because the government classifies cars as luxury goods.

    This means even if a vehicle is second hand, it will be hit with import taxes of up to 300%.

    "I have a budget of $15,000 (£12,300) and had expected that with that I could buy a decent family car.

    "I don't want to buy the Toyota Vitz," he says pointing to a row of small hatchbacks that have now become popular on Ethiopian roads.

    These cost about $16,000 in Ethiopia; in neighbouring Kenya the same car costs not more than $8,000.

    It seems little wonder that Ethiopia has the world's lowest rate of car ownership, with only two cars per 1,000 inhabitants, according to a 2014 Deloitte report.

     

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  • EU, US authorities press charges against intruders into Ethiopian Embassies

     

     

    October 1, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) - Countries hosting Ethiopian embassies have begun filing charges against Ethiopians who trespass the vicinities of the embassies in those countries.

    Ethiopian protesters in U.S. and Europe have repeatedly stormed embassies in those countries.

    Previously angered protesters have also briefly took control of Ethiopian embassy in London.

    Extensive and deadly violence has been taking place during anti-government protests in Ethiopia’s Amhara and Oromiya region.

    Tewolde Mulugeta, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told journalists that the ethiopian government is working closely with US and European countries to bring perpetrators to justice.

    Government officials allege that the protests in Ethiopia and elsewhere are being organised by exiled opposition movement such as the US based Ginbot-7 which had long been designated by Addis Ababa as terrorist entity.

    The Ethnic Oromo and Amhara demonstrators however say they are protesting because the government has failed to respect their political and economic rights.

    Tewolde said the western countries are filing charges against the perpetrators in accordance with the Vienna Declaration that provides the premises of a diplomatic mission, such as an embassy, to be protected by the host country from intrusion or damage.

    The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 is an international treaty that defines a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries.

    The Convention provides that the premises of a diplomatic mission are inviolable and the host country must protect the mission from intrusion or damage.

    Contrary to the provisions of the Convention that provides for the invincibility of embassies and missions, Ethiopians in the Diaspora intruded into the compounds and created havoc on the compounds of the Ethiopian embassies in London, Stockholm, Washington and Canberra.

    "Some Diasporas violated international law of immunity of the Ethiopian embassies abroad by intruding into the embassies compounds when they have every democratic rights to present their issues to the embassies in a formal legal manner," Tewolde stated.

    According to the spokesperson, the Australian government has already filed a charge against intruders into the Embassy in Canberra, while the respective governments in London, Stockholm and Washington are processing legal actions against perpetrators.

    The official further said the doors of the Ethiopian government are always open to engage in dialogue with Ethiopians in the Diaspora on the policies and the development strategies of the government based on visible evidences.

    According to Human Rights Watch (HRW) Ethiopian security forces crackdown against protesters has led to the life loss of hundreds of citizens.

    Right groups accuse the Ethiopia security forces of using excessive force to suppress the wave of protests.

    Oromo opposition political parties told sudan Tribune that Dozens of their members including leaders remain jailed.

    Some of the opposition officials were accused of having links with terrorist organisation who wish to destabilize the horn of Africa’s nation.

    Ethiopia has also accused arc-rival Eritrea of backing the havoc by financing and hosting anti-peace elements, an allegation Asmara denies.

     

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  • HomeSend, Mastercard aim to transform the $3bn remittance industry in Ethiopia

    Remittance service launched with CBE signals evolution of Ethiopian payment ecosystem

    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – September 21, 2016 – HomeSend and the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) today announced a new remittance service at the US-Africa Business Forum, that will allow more than 100 million Ethiopians to send funds directly to any mobile number in the East African country.

    Launched in 2014, HomeSend is a joint venture of Mastercard, eServGlobal and BICS that enables business to business cross-border and cross-network transfers. Consumers can send money to and from mobile money accounts, payment cards, bank accounts or cash outlets, regardless of their location or that of the recipient. It is free for receivers and is accessible to anyone with a mobile number, and empowers the sender to transfer funds at a low cost through the HomeSend secure network of money transfer operators and banks.

    HomeSend will be available in Ethiopia before the end of the year, says Bekalu Zeleke, President of CBE. “At the CBE, we believe that embracing technology is integral to bringing the best possible service to our customers. HomeSend is an example of how, when working with the right partner, like Mastercard, a financial institution can improve the lives of its customers.”

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