Stone-tipped spears predating humans discovred in Ethiopia

November 27, 2013 Leave a comment

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 monitor activity at Corbetti and Alultu

November 25, 2013 Leave a comment

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…

Indian-owned farm attacked in Gambella

November 5, 2013 1 comment

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…

Domestic air fares skyrockets

October 31, 2013 2 comments

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.)

Yemrehanna Kristos among endangered landmarks

October 12, 2013 1 comment


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…

The fuelwood carriers of Addis Ababa

October 10, 2013 1 comment

I had an article published by the Mail and Guardian’s Voices of Africa, on the subject of fuel wood carries of Addis Ababa.

More than 15 000 women in Addis Ababa make their living from illegally collecting fuelwood from the protected eucalyptus grove atop Entoto Mountain. Every day they travel around 30km to collect and carry branches, twigs and leaves. They sell the fuelwood door-to-door, on street corners or in the many open markets in the city.
Amarech Dorota (52) has been collecting fuelwood for the past twenty years. After her husband died, she had to single-handedly provide for her kids, two of whom are now in high school. “It was challenging to feed the children, so I had to go to the forest every day except on Sundays,” she says.
Dorota is little over five feet tall, sturdily built, with deep wrinkles on her face and hands that testify to a hard-working life. She has no tools so she uses her hands to pull the branches. Once she’s collected enough, she carries the weighty load on her back, strapped to her body by a harness made of cloth which runs over her shoulders and across her chest, and uses a stick for support.
Read the rest of the article here.

Meeting Fekrou Kidane in Paris

October 8, 2013 Leave a comment


During a seven-day trip to Paris, I came across someone I could recognize while dinning at an Ethiopian restaurant one night.Shyly, i asked him if he was Fekrou Kidane. He admitted that he was. When I asked him whether he would give me an interview for this article, he graciously invited me to his apartment on the following day.
The 78-year-old Ethiopian who had a distinguished career in the local sport and Olympic world has been living in Paris since 1976, although frequently travelling to other parts of the world. He lived in Lausanne Switzerland for 12 years where he was serving as a senior official of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). He is now advising the president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), working from home doing email and Skype video conference. Find the full story here.