The oldest known stone-tipped projectiles have been discovered in Ethiopia. The javelins are roughly 280,000 years old and predate the earliest known fossils of our species, Homo sapiens, by about 80,000 years, National Geographic reported.
These javelins are some 200,000 years older than previous examples of similar weapons, suggesting that modern humans and their extinct relatives had the know-how to create these sorts of complex thrown projectiles much earlier than often thought.
Scientists investigated stone tools unearthed at the Gademotta Formation on the flanks of an ancient, large collapsed volcanic crater in central Ethiopia’s Rift Valley. “Today, the area represents a ridge overlooking one of the four lakes in the vicinity, Lake Ziway,” said researcher Yonatan Sahle, an archaeologist at the University of California, Berkeley. Read more…
Scientists deployed monitoring equipments on two Ethiopian volcanoes that would provide real-time tracking of eruptions and forgo repairs of seismic equipment.
A team led by scientists from the University of Bristol in England, placed ground based GPS monitoring equipment that will measure movements in two volcanoes within the East African Rift, Alutu and Corbetti, 250 kilometers south of Addis Ababa.
A large hammer drill, powered by three car batteries, was used to drill a hole into the hard rock for the antenna pin, which needed to be perfectly straight for the GPS antenna to record the satellite signals properly. The antenna was set on the pin and aligned and connected to the recorder, which collected a GPS signal from the satellites every 15 seconds. The equipment is connected to the battery and solar panels and waterproofed and protected with a fence. Read more…
A violent attack on a tea plantation leased by Indian-owned Verdanta Harvest Plc Officials in Ethiopia’s western Gambella region, has renewed concerns over the country’s policy of leasing out large tracts of land to international investors, according to a report in The Hindu newspaper.
The newspaper reported that on October 20, unidentified individuals destroyed buildings and machinery worth approximately $140,000 in Gambella. It was reported that locals set the plantation on fire “on account of destroying the rich forest resources”, a claim denied by the company. Community leaders in Gambella did not comment on the attack, but rights groups have warned that a policy of leasing out 42 per cent of Gambella’s land and resettling over 30,000 agro-pastoral communities is the likely cause of the unrest.
In 2011, for instance, armed gunmen killed five workers on a farm developed by a Saudi Arabian company. All land in Ethiopia belongs to the state, giving the government unusual leverage in its dealings with local communities. Read more…
Ethiopian Airlines has increased fares on its domestic flights up to 200% to counter higher operating costs caused by a weak birr. The latest round of fare increases comes ahead of the November to April touristic season in Ethiopia, scaling up so high abruptly. Officials at the airlines say prices in the past were cheaper because they were heavily subsidized by the state.
The one-way fares rise on all domestic routes including Addis Ababa to Baher Dar to 3027 Birr ($158) from 1090 ($57); Addis Ababa to Lalibela to 3124 birr ($163) from 1333 ($70), Addis Ababa to Aksum flights to 5009 birr ($261) from 1422 birr ($75), Addis Ababa to Mekele to 4432 birr ($231) from 1320 birr ($69), Addis Ababa to Arba Minch to 3181 birr ($166) from 1225 birr ($59) and Addis Ababa to Gondar to 3772 birr ($197) from 1210 ($63).
The national carrier had for years adopted a subsidized rate on its domestic flights to promote tourism and local travelers. The subsidy program has drawn steady criticism — namely from airlines administrators, who say it wastes money by providing what amounts to luxury travel to tourists who enter the country using other commercial airlines.
On their part, tour companies are protesting vehemently saying the increment is exorbitant, abrupt and not fair. They said that they were not approached by the airline to discuss about the increment.
A top official of the national carrier, said, “This is not a new thing that we suddenly implemented; the regulations of the airline states that subsidized prices are for the locals.”
((All the exchange rates are in based in today’s, October 31, 2013, rate.)
An international heritage group has placed 67 sites, monuments and landmarks on its 2014 World Monuments Watch list this year — a list that includes one of Ethiopia’s late Axumite churches, Yemrehanna Kristos.
Yemrehanna Kirstos is a built–up church under a huge basaltic cave located at about 42 kms northeast of Lalibela, on a mountain ridge with an altitude of 2681 meters, set in a spectacular landscape of juniper trees, predating the famous nearby rock-hewn churches of Lalibela by almost a century. Read more…
Ethiopian film director and writer, Melie Tesfaye may be criminally charged for defamation charge for her film that mixes the spirit and witchery, Phelama. The charge against her Amharic film was brought by the little-known Geda-inspired religious institution, Bafa Abayu Geda Andinet. Melie had been taken to Maekelawi, Central Prison and was released on bail last week. The film’s actors are due to give evidence in the coming days.
The feature film tells the story of a self-proclaimed witch doctor who claims to have the possessing spirits Adal mote, cheats and rapes women on the pretext of exorcising an evil spirit that he claimed possessed them. The plaintiff claims the film used rituals objects considered sacred by the religion for an insult and hate mongering purpose and made fun of the fact that spirits may take possession of people. The prosecutor, who is preparing to file a lawsuit against the producer, says the film hurts the sentiments of the believers and denigrates their religious belief. But the producer said she didn’t know the existence of religious institutions that worship the spirits mentioned in the film.
The film came out two years ago and is available on CD at local stores.
Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora (SEED), a nonprofit organization based in the United States, conferred membership honor for four Ethiopians and a late American congressman for their outstanding contributions in their respective fields. On its 21st annual Award night SEED honored Ras Mengesha Seyoum, Habte-Sellassie Tafesse, Mekdes Zelelew, Prof. Sosina Haile, and the late Congressman Donald Payne as “Honored Members” at an event in Washington D.C. on May 26.
SEED Secretary, Aklilu Demessie told Voice of America Amharic that the personalities were selected for their inspiring academic, social, cultural and scientific success, and they have done so while remaining true to their roots. “We wanted to recognize their steadfast commitment to the pursuit of excellence and to publicly acknowledge their achievements,” Aklilu told VOA. Read more…
As Addis hosts the celebration of 50th Anniversary of the African Union, the image-conscious Ethiopian officials are trying to get call girls off the streets. Witnesses said police have started rounding up all the street girls they could find in areas such Chechnya, Haya Hulet, Kazanchis, Bole. Owners of bars in those areas were told yesterday not to let bar girls leave the establishments. A police team was set up to address vice-related crimes, especially to arrest girls working on street corners.The government carries out such crackdown campaigns against prostitution when high profile meetings take place. Stricter laws are one way to clean up the crime, but it takes more than that to change the image and really turn this area around, said an observer. “It seems this is a futile effort as those women will simply contact pimps and delalas (brokers) to look for clients,” a bar owner in Kazanchis area said.
In Ethiopia, prostitution itself (exchanging sex for money) is not illegal, but the surrounding activities (operating brothels, pimpimg, soliciting sex etc) are illegal. Authorities often turn a blind eye to these activities, ensuring a roaring trade. Women at Risk, a not-for-profit organization based in Addis Ababa estimates that there are 150,000 prostitutes in the capital.
Some say the summit will only give a spurt to the already booming sex industry in Ethiopia which demeans the international image of Ethiopian women.The crackdown for the AU summit includes homeless and jobless people, shoeshine boys who are seen as potential troublemakers.
The African lion is almost always found in savannah or dry forests, but recent photos by the Germany-based Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) document lions in Ethiopian rainforests, according Mongabay.com, an environmental science and conservation news site. Taken in the Kaffa Biosphere Reserve and published in the website, the photos show a female lion hiding out in thick montane jungle.
“Long known to locals, the lions are actually thought not to be permanent residents, but possibly passing through Kaffa Biosphere Reserve in the dry season,” the site said.
Kaffa Biosphere Reserve covers 760,000 hectares of montane rainforest and preserves the last place on earth where wild coffee (Coffea arabica) still grows naturally. The reserve is home to at least 106 woody plants, 100 birds, and 48 mammals, Mongabay reported.
Though not mentioned in this particular website, the BBC documentary film makers also recently filmed a lion population in the Harenna Forest of the Bale Mountains National Park.
The threat of extinction to lions is real.Habitat loss, prey depletion, hunting, poisonings, and conflict with humans have decimated Africa’s lions. Twenty years ago there were 200,000 lions in Africa. Now there are only 25,000-30,000 in the entire continent, of which an estimated 1,000 live in Ethiopia.
Read more about the project at Nabu’s website, entitled “Protecting the Last Cloud Forests of Ethiopia”
Ethiopian-American Daniel Yohannes has been named among the world’s 50 most influential Africans by the prestigious Paris-based The Africa Report Magazine. According to August–September 2012 edition, Daniel is named along with 50 other most influential African personalities.
Daniel was named in the list for making a positive difference globally, leading the independent U.S government foreign aid agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). “Now in charge of a huge aid budget that rewards economic and political improvements in developing countries, Yohannes arrived in the US in 1970 and worked his way to the top of the banking profession. As chief executive of MCC, he is a powerful voice for Africa Washington DC.,” reads the Africa Report magazine.
By linking aid to good governance, the MCC rewards reforming governments on the continent and across the globe, the magazine explained.
Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Yohannes graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a B.A. in Economics and earned an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University. He has more than 30 years experience in banking and economic development. He was nominated as Chief Executive Officer of MCC by President Barack Obama on September 18, 2009, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 20, 2009.
Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi, Ethiopia’s richest man, emerged as the most powerful person in Africa.
Other influential Africans recognized on the list include Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former first lady Grace Machel of Mozambique, the President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, and Mo Ibrahim, Sudan’s former telecom mogul who dragged governance to center stage with prize that rewards former presidents, according to the magazine.