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  • 100 USA Visas per Year for Ethiopia. Donald Trump Signs Executive Order

    The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has signed an executive order placing a quota on the number of visas to be issued by the United States Embassy in Addis Ababa to Ethiopians.

    The executive order, which bans seven countries from visiting the United States granted Ethiopia only 100 visas per year. This means that the embassy is entitled to issue visas to only 100 lucky applicants yearly until may be a new government takes over to make changes to such laws.

    Also, Ethiopians who hold dual nationality will be banned from entering the United States if their other passport is from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen — the seven Muslim-majority countries “of concern”.
    A lot of attention has been on the temporary visa ban on citizens of the seven Muslim-majority countries, but the impact on Ethiopians is far more than previously thought.

    United States visas to the lucky 100 people would be valid for only three months as a clause in the order requires reciprocity.

    Section 9 of the Executive Order states: “The Secretary of State shall review all nonimmigrant visa reciprocity agreements to ensure that they are, with respect to each visa classification, truly reciprocal insofar as practicable with respect to validity period and fees, as required by sections 221(c) and 281 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1201(c) and 1351, and other treatment. If a country does not treat United States nationals seeking nonimmigrant visas in a reciprocal manner, the Secretary of State shall adjust the visa validity period, fee schedule, or other treatment to match the treatment of United States nationals by the foreign country, to the extent practicable…”

    Given that the Trump order takes immediate effect, Ethiopians holding valid long term US visa are most likely to be affected.

     Source: USA Television


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  • “Ethiopia doesn’t detain journalists,” Negeri Lencho

    These days Negeri Lencho, Ethiopia Minister of the Government Communication Affairs Office, is making the rounds at various media houses: BBC, Deutsche Welle, VOA, foreign-based ruling party friendly media, EBC are just to mention but a few. 

    As the new kid on the block in the cabinet of PM Hailemariam Desalegn, Dr Negeri is creating an impression that he is open to all who seek his attention. In comparison to his combatant predecessor, Negeri is plain and soft spoken, devoid of party lingo, and above all professor of journalism at Addis Ababa University. What better preparation for the post!

    However, the one thing he lacks most is the information itself. He could barely come up with a conclusive answer about his former colleague at the AAU when he was arrested shortly after a trip to Brussels. Lawyers and activists fared far better, concerning Dr Merera Gudina’s arrest, than the central figure entrusted with communicating state information. At the VOA interview, he even dared to say the “government was protecting Dr. Merera.” It’s anybody’s knowledge who sought protection from whom.

    After hours of interviews given to the aforementioned media, there is hardly a revelation or some kind of breakthrough that is worth mentioning. Instead his understanding of the incarceration of journalists is clearly a cause for concern, if not outrage.

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  • Ethiopia accepts S. Sudan’s request to close rebel offices

    The Ethiopian government has accepted a request by South Sudan government to shut down all offices belonging to its armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) loyal to ex-first vice president-turned rebel leader, Riek Machar in Addis Ababa.

    “Our relations with the countries in the region are increasingly improving to the better. The visit of the first vice president, General Taban Deng Gai, has made a significant improvement in the relations with our neigbouring countries. Now Ethiopia has accepted in principle to close down all the offices run by individuals are still loyal to Riek Machar,” a presidential source knowledgeable of events said Saturday.

    “They have also agreed to not allow these elements to not carry out their activities in Addis Ababa,” added the source.

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  • Ethiopian Opposition Leader Arrested for trespassing state of emergency rulings

    Awramba Times (Addis Ababa) –Ethiopian security agents have arrested Merera Gudina  (PhD), chairman of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress today.  Merera was arrested at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport while returning back to his home country from abroad.

    Reliable sources disclosed to Awramba Times that the cause for Merera Gudina’s arrest is trespassing the state of emergency rulings.

    During his recent appearance at the European Union parliament, along with Dr. Berhanu Nega and athlete Feyissa Lelissa, Merera Gudina has requested the European union to put pressure on the government of Ethiopia.


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  • Ethiopia’s internet crackdown hurts everyone

    The government has targeted the mobile data connections that the majority of Ethiopians use to get online. Internet users have also been unable to access Facebook Messenger and Twitter, with a host of other services also rendered unreliable. 

    This has impacted everyone: from local businesses, to foreign embassies, to families, as well as the extensive and vital international aid community.

    “Non-governmental organisations play crucial roles in developing countries, often with country offices in the capitals, satellite offices across remote regions, and parent organisations in foreign countries,” said Moses Karanja, an internet policy researcher at Strathmore University in Nairobi.  “They need access to the internet if their operations are to be efficiently coordinated.”

    The Ethiopian government has been candid about the restrictions being in response to year-long anti-government protests in which hundreds of people have died.

    It has singled out social media as a key factor in driving unrest. Since the beginning of October, there has been a spike in violence resulting in millions of dollars’ worth of damage to foreign-owned factories, government buildings and tourist lodges across Oromia Region, initially ground zero for the dissent.

    “Mobile data will be permitted once the government assesses that it won’t threaten the implementation of the state of emergency,” government spokesman Getachew Reda – who has since been replaced – told a 26 October press conference in Addis Ababa.

    The Oromo are the country’s largest ethnic group, constituting 35 percent of the country’s nearly 100 million population. They have historically felt ignored by successive regimes in Addis Ababa. In August, similar grassroots protest broke out among the Amhara, Ethiopia’s second largest ethnic group. The ruling EPRDF is portrayed by opponents as a narrow, unrepresentative clique that refuses to share power.

    Ethiopia is not alone in its approach to political unrest. Around the world, as countries become increasingly integrated with online technology, the more autocratic governments are blocking the internet whenever they deem it necessary.

    “The trend appears to be growing because more people are going online and using the internet, often through the use of mobile connections,” said Deji Olukotun of Access Now, which campaigns for digital rights. In 2016, it documented 50 shutdowns, up from less than 20 in 2015.

    “People are enjoying the freedom and opportunity that the internet provides, which enables them to organise themselves and advocate for what they want,” Olukotun told IRIN. “In response, governments are shutting down the net to stop this practice.”

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  • Former gov’t spokesman Getachew Reda appointed as head of the justice and legal research office

    Getachew Reda, the former Minster of the Government Communication Affairs Office (GCAO), has been assigned to lead the Justice and Legal System Research Institute(JLSYRI). The institute was previously led by Zadig Abrha, who was Getachew Reda’s student at Mekelle University. Before leading the Communication Affairs Office, Getachew was formerly an aide to Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

    Established  in 2015, the Justice and Legal System Research Institute reviews existing laws with a view to revising and consolidating them. It also publishes and distributes legal information.

    Before he joined the Prime Minister’s Office, he took up the position of Director-General of the Public Diplomacy and Communications Directorate-General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He had previously been Director of the Media Communications department and from 2008, an adviser in the Ministry, writing for the Ministry’s online publication ‘A Week in the Horn’, preparing speeches and documents.

    Before joining the Ministry, Getachew was a lecturer in law at Mekelle University from July 1998- March 2008.

    Getachew was born June 8, 1974 and took his LLB degree at Addis Ababa University, Faculty of Law, and an LLM at the University Of Alabama School of Law, Tuscaloosa.

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  • Board announces 11,000 detained individuals Due to Political Issue

    The State of Emergency Inquiry Board announced of 11,607 individuals suspected of inciting political unrests in different parts of the country which resulted in the destruction of private and public properties had been detained.

    Tadesse Wordofa, chairperson of the Inquiry Board, told journalists on Friday that the Command Post had arrested 11,607 suspects, currently held in six detention centers and military camps around the country. Out the total number, 347 detainees are women, Tadesse noted.

    According to the chairperson, 1174 peoples were detained in the Awash area of Oromia region, some 300km southeast of Addis Ababa. The detainees in this center were mainly brought from Addis Ababa as well as Eastern and Northern Shoa areas of Oromia.

    A total of 4,329 peoples were detained in Tolay military camp located some 350km west of Addis Ababa. Tadesse noted the detainees in this center were rounded up from Eastern Oromia, mainly from the Arsi area, and Western Oromia, mainly from Wollega.

    A total of 3,048 suspects, largely from the East and West Harerge regions of Oromia, are detained in Zeway Federal Prison facility while another 2114 suspects, mostly from Gedeo area were also reported to be held in Yergalem Aposto military camp, located in Yergalem town of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State, the chairperson indicated.

    He added 532 suspects arrested in the Amhara Regional State, chiefly from the South and West Gondar areas, were detained in a facility found in Bahir Dar, while 410 suspects arrested from various districts in Addis Ababa are held in different facilities found in the capital.

    Tadesse said all the suspects are above 18 with the majority being the youth, farmers and traders.

    “No foreign citizen has been arrested so far,” he revealed.

    The Inquiry Board was due to disseminate a list containing the names of the detainees to all regional states starting from yesterday. All the regions are required to post the list in public places so that the families of the detainees can easily identify their whereabouts, Tadesse explained.

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  • Suspects in recent violence surrendering, handing over looted arms: Command Post

    Following the joint efforts carried out by the public and the Command Post established to oversee the implementation of the state of emergency, suspects in the recent violence have been surrendering and handing over looted arms.Accordingly 93 bandits have surrendered in north Gondar zone, Amhara regional state.Similarly, bandits in Dembidolo town and Sedo woreda in Kelem Wolega zone, Oromia regional state, have handed over to security forces about 70 arms they looted from various areas.

    Moreover, 110 people who had been the key actors and coordinators of the violence in Kelem Wolega zone have been detained based on the tips obtained from the public. The Command Post has continued hunting the remaining culprits.

    Among the forefront actors in the violence and property damage occurred in west Arsi zone, Oromia Regional State, 450 suspects in Shashemene and 670 suspects in west Arsi zone have been arrested and investigation is underway.

    Similarly, of the 162 arms ransacked from west Arsi zone, including Shashemene, about 88 arms have been recovered by the efforts of elders and by the looters themselves. Efforts are also underway to recover properties stolen from government, individuals and development institutions.

    The Command Post also managed to recover 32 of the arms looted in west Guji zone. Based on the information provided by the public, some 302 suspects have been detained in the zone. About 20 suspects are also negotiating with elders to give their hands. 

    Some 92 modern and outdated arms and 8 pistols were recovered from Adama, Bora, Lome, Liben Chikula, Adea, Boset and Adami Tulu woredas in east Shoa zone.

    Of the 513 arms looted in Oromia Regional State in general, about 384 arms have been recovered so far, it was noted.

    In a related development, 13 businesspersons have been arrested for trying to quit service by closing their shops in north Gondar zone, Amhara Regional State. Moreover, 13 suspects have been arrested for secretly calling for strike. Three teachers were also arrested for trying to obstruct the teaching learning process by abandoning school.

    Of the 35 businesspersons detained for trying to deny service by closing their shops in Bahir Dar town, six have been released after the necessary investigation. The Command Post is investigating the remaining 29 businesspersons.



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