Despite Fast Growth, Ethiopia Still Plagued by Poverty
Ethiopia has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but remains one of the poorest countries at the same time, read more .....
DV Lottery 2014 Registration is starting October 2, 2012
2014 DV Lottery registration is starting on October 2, 2012. The U.S. Department of State has announced that it will launch its annual DV Lottery Diversity Immigrant Visa Program DV-2014 on October 2....
Ethiopia grouped with Nigeria, Zambia and Burkina Faso
The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations draw was already made. The 16 qualified teams now know their fate and have been drawn into four groups of four teams. Read more… ...
PM HaileMariam is assuming Chairmanship of AU
According to Mr Dina, the decision that Ethiopia would hold the organisation’s top job this year was taken two years ago, when it would have been expected that the late prime minister Meles Zenawi would have assumed the role. Read more…
Wife of minister accused in terrorism conspiracy
Habiba Mohammed, wife of former Minister for the Civil Service Junedin Sado, was one of 29 Muslim activists accused of criminal conspiracy to commit unspecified acts of terrorism Read more…
From Civil Engineer to Cab Driver
"I started driving a cab because … after I graduated in 2008 with an MBA I couldn't find a job," he says. Read more...,...
Fresno Man Arrested in 28 Year Old Cold Case Murder
On January 18, 1985, a passerby found the body of the dead woman in the dumpster to the rear of the Bailey Park Plaza and Safeway shopping center at 570 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View, and reported it to police. Eventually the deceased was identified as 21-year old Girmai, who was known to frequent the San Jose area. Read more…
Sunday, June 24, 2012
But, many ask how come the interpretation of the law ended up being far-off? According to legal experts, the phrasing of the draft proclamation should have been more explicit in the sense that it would not have any ambiguous meanings in the end.
“Especially, when a proclamation criminalizes a certain act, the wording should be as precise and as clear as possible,” a lecturer at Addis Ababa University’s Law School, who prefers to stay anonymous, explains. And considering that the law is at its first reading stages, it should take in the response as necessary feedback and improve on it, he says.
Following the announcement of a new legislative bill regarding telecommunications operation in Ethiopia, a wave of confusion and havoc is raging across internet users. Considering the intent of the bill that is to prevent telecom fraud and that it is still in its draft stages, one wonders if the response is really appropriate. Yet again, given past experiences in ratifying legislative bills, especially the controversial ones, the temporary stir about the possible interpretation of the bill could be comprehensible, observes Asrat Seyoum.
For Solomon Alemu, a young entrepreneur and businessman in his mid-thirties, doing business in Ethiopia has come very far since the last few decades. Now, business requires constant e-mail correspondence, internet surfing, checking business related news updates and much more.
In fact, the evolution of social media and various chat and communication mechanisms appears to be the cherry on top for private businessmen in Addis. It is becoming common to correspond with customers and/or suppliers abroad via the internet; and the IP based Skype software which has grown to be very popular in this respect.
Running a small used cars dealership business, Solomon looks worried about the a new draft bill criminalizing telecom and internet based fraud in Ethiopia, which by the way he did not get chance to read. Like his peers, he is a loyal user of Skype that he downloaded on both his smartphone and laptop and uses it for personal and business related matters. But, what appears to worry him is the business aspect.
“I was able to communicate easily with my suppliers in Europe,” he says nervously as he started to ask around looking for a thorough explanation as to the stipulation of the draft bill, if ratified. Unfortunately, few people in the group of friend seemed to agree as to the full interpretation of the draft bill; better yet, there were few who were convinced that the bill has already been passed.
After few minutes of heated debate; however, many inclined to view that it is better to take the safe way out and uninstall the program from their devices.
Partly, the same was true for small circles discussing the matter during the past few weeks in the capital. However, much of the deliberation became ineffective after the announcement by the government, which was made yesterday wiped clean the confusion regarding IP based voice communication. It is not the first time when a draft bill created havoc in Ethiopia. In fact, it looks more frequent these days citing the case of the Urban Land Lease Proclamation, Antiterrorism Proclamation and the Charities and Civil Societies Proclamation. From this instance, however, one wonders why commentators both local and foreign are more sensitive to draft bills in Ethiopia. As thousands of bills make it before the legislature in the US each year, draft bills do not seem to instigate the response that is observed in Ethiopia at present. According to commentators, the recent ordeal could offer some explanation.
The recurrent controversy over draft bills
Nevertheless, experts go far beyond the level of ambiguity or the phrasings of the drafts in explaining the reason behind controversies surrounding draft bills in Ethiopia. In fact, they refer to the level of maturity of the legislative process of the country as being rather reactive to problems than being farsighted.
According to experts, the levels of maturity of legislative process follow three distinctive phases. The less developed or traditional of the three is the customary (Unwritten law) which the society upholds among one another as common practice and value. More evolved from the traditional law is the enactment of laws in response to challenges observed on the ground. According to legal experts, this is known as laws that are regulatory in nature. Whereas, the third phase involves setting the systems and procedures by observing trends and assessing needs before it poses a problem. The last one is better in sense that enactments of laws would be well tailored to alleviate possible problems, before it presented itself as a challenge.
Most recent legislative processes indicate that Ethiopia is at the second stage, the anonymous expert explains. And he argues that the whole purpose of instituting a legal framework in the first place is to shape public opinion into forming a system. It should not be backwards, that it should not be sourced from the behavior and public opinion; which is the basic nature of regulatory laws the like practiced in Ethiopia.
“Regulatory laws are punitive in their nature,” he argues, and that is partly why, the response from the public is exaggerated and defensive at times. “Almost all of the bills being sourced from the executive body are formulated mainly to overcome its administrative problems and the tendency of the public to perceive it as being coercive is much higher, he concludes. Source ( Reporter)
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Saturday, June 16, 2012
A new law in Ethiopia criminalizes the use of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services such as Skype or Google Talk, the latest in this East African country's increasingly tough Internet restrictions. Getting caught can carry a prison term of up to 15 years, the severity of which is perhaps meant in part to deter Ethiopian web users from trying to simply get around the ban, for example with proxy servers.
The two commonly cited explanations for the law are "national security" (read: tough to monitor) and to protect the Ethiopian government's state-owned telecommunications service. Ethio Telecom is a monopoly, and much-despised for its expensive calling rates, especially internationally. Skype and Google Voice provide cheaper, or often free, ways to place calls. Ethiopia's Internet penetration rate is the second-lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa, but the country's economy is booming, its cities expanding, and its middle class growing.
Those factors tend to coincide with higher rates of Internet access -- both because more people can afford it, and because internal migration (moving from a town to a city to find work, say) make long-distance communication more important -- but not yet here. Criminalizing a popular Internet service isn't likely to do much to make Ethiopia more wired, nor will it likely attract many of the foreign investors who are otherwise blanketing Africa and accelerating its rise.
Ethiopia's odd ban, and the draconian punishment for violators, is in some ways symbolic of the rising African power's challenge: to continue its growth into the new Ethiopia -- wealthier, freer, more peaceful -- and leave the old, autocratic, militarized, Ethiopia behind. Government officials may or may not have had anything more than Ethio Telecom's profit margins in mind when they implemented this new law, but whatever the motivation, it is symptomatic of the tension in Ethiopia between the new ways and the old.
Africa's second-biggest country by population, Ethiopia has had a tough few decades. It was devastated first by a brutal 17-year civil war, exacerbated by outside meddling when it became a Cold War proxy fight, that ended only in 1991. As with so many civil wars, it weakened the economy greatly and filled the government with whoever could best enforce order. The country began to democratize, then fell back again during a 1998-2000 border war with neighboring Eritrea.
The past decade of peace and stability has allowed Ethiopia's economy to flourish, with an amazing, almost China-like growth rate of 8.4 percent annually from 2001 to 2010, making it the world's fifth fastest-growing economy over that period. It's estimated to continue growing at 8.1 percent annually from 2011 through 2015. But Ethiopia has also been re-adopting its old, China-style political restrictions, including crackdowns on political dissent (a 2010 Economist Intelligence Unit report announced it had started classifying Ethiopia as "an authoritarian regime" as it has become "a de facto one-party state"), free speech, and, yes, Internet freedom.
A recent Reporters Without Borders investigation found that Ethiopia had started blocking access to the Tor Network, a popular tool for using the Internet anonymously, something the NGO says is only possible with "Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), an advanced network filtering method" that is "widely used" by countries "such as China and Iran ... to easily target politically sensitive websites and quickly censor any expression of opposition views." Al Jazeera English, in reporting the VoIP service ban, noted that the Ethiopian and Chinese governments recently held a "media workshop" conference in the former country's capital, where "Internet management" was allegedly among the topics discussed.
The new Ethiopia is a much better place than the war-torn Ethiopia of the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and early '90s. But the bad habits of the old Ethiopia -- declaring pro-democracy parties such as Ginbot 7 to be a "terrorist organization," say, or imposing jail terms for using Skype so that people will stick to the easily monitored state-monopoly services -- are still around. Source ( the Atlantic)
Sunday, June 10, 2012
It was, therefore, no surprise that Shabab was defiant in the face of a new US manhunt.
"I can assure you that these kind of things will never dissuade us from continuing the holy war against them," posted Fuad Mohamed Khalaf (bounty: $5 million) on a propagandist website.
He then referred to an incident in Koran, when a bounty of 100 camels was offered on the prophet Mohammed. The US President was then priced at one tenth of that.
Perhaps reflecting Shabab’s view of women, Hillary Clinton fetched an even lower reward: “10 hens and 10 roosters.”
Despite the fighting words, Shabab has suffered a series of setbacks in its quest to turn Somalia into an Islamist land. A coalition of the government, the African Union and Ethiopian troops has recaptured several key settlements and bases from the hardline Islamists since the turn of the year. Source ( Russia Today )
Friday, June 8, 2012
Friday, June 1, 2012
“I ran a good race till the last lap. I felt good but I manifestly didn’t have the speed to compete against my rivals. That’s life. I am not disappointed,” added Gebrselassie, whose epic defeat of Kenyan great Paul Tergat at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, his second Olympic title, is one of the great finishes of all time. Indeed for the ever cheerful Ethiopian great it is to be his last track race. The ‘spikes’, it is finished for me. I am 39. I have failed to qualify for the Olympics. And there is a very strong younger generation in Ethiopia now. “I tried to qualify for my fifth Olympics. And I don’t regret trying to do so. I simply came up against stronger rivals on Sunday.” Tariku Bekele and Leleisa Desisa Benti finished first and second respectively — with the former posting the best time in the world this year of 27min 11.70sec — to book their tickets for London. “These next months, I will devote solely to marathons and half marathons. In three years, I envisage a political career. I would like to become a member of parliament.” Said Gebersellaase. Source ( AFP)