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  • Night Club Diplomacy by Gaslight

    South Sudan's government and rebels have moved to the unusual setting of an upmarket nightclub in an hotel in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, to continue talks aimed at brokering a ceasefire.

    <p">Some delegates were unhappy with the poor lighting and excess noise at the Gaslight nightclub, according to sources close to the talks. <p">The delegates had to change venue as the previous venue was assigned to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is currently visiting Addis Ababa at the end of his first tour of Africa. <p">According to the BBC the Gaslight, in the grounds of the five-star Sheraton hotel, is arguably the most opulent in Addis Ababa's thriving nightclub scene. <p">The talks are conducted during the day, when the dance floor is not in use. <p">Negotiations started over three weeks ago in Ethiopia but the warring parties have reached a stalemate as rebel leader and former Prime Minister Riek Machar demands the release of 11 political prisoners accused of attempting a coup. <p">The government  proposed to shift the peace talks to the United Nations compound in Juba, capital of South Sudan enabling the 11 prisoners to attend the negotiations and then return to custody. <p">However, rebel delegates appeared to have rejected the proposal. <p">The release is a precondition before a ceasefire is agreed. <p">Death on the Nile <p">More than 200 people fleeing fighting in the city of Malakal, Upper Nile State died in a Nile ferry accident. <p">"The reports we have are of between 200 to 300 people, including women and children. The boat was overloaded," army spokesman Philip Aguer told the AFP news agency. <p">Heavy fighting was reported in Malakal as the rebels laid siege to the town. <p">The rebel-held city of Bentiu, the capital of oil-rich Unity State, was recaptured by government forces on Friday. The rebels said they made a "tactical withdrawal" from Bentiu to avoid civilian casualties. <p">Government troops have been also advancing on the town of Bor, the last state capital still in rebel hands, according to an army spokesperson. <p">Obama has recently warned that US would stop sending aid to South Sudan, unless a ceasefire is signed. <p">China has also expressed its concern for the ongoing fighting. <p">The conflict started when current South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, who is an ethnic Dinka, accused his former and vice-president Machar, an ethnic Nuer, of an attempted coup in December. <p">Machar denied the allegations and in turn accused the president of planning a violent purge. <p">The accusations sparked violence between the two tribal groups and escalated quickly into an ethnic conflict, which has caused the death of over 1,000 people and left thousands uprooted.

    source: ibtimes

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  • CNN: Five African wines making a splash

    For something very different, but very traditional, Tej is an East African honey wine, primarily consumed in Ethiopia. The white wine, which can be either sweet or dry depending on the amount of honey used, also includes Gesho, which is a buckthorn shrub native to the Horn of Africa nation.

    Harry Kloman, an expert on Tej and Ethiopian cuisine, said that there are very few, if any, wineries that produce Tej as the wine tends to be homemade or served in a “Tej Bet,” a bar that specializes in the wine.

    Araya Selassie Yibrehu is one of the producers to have mastered the art of Tej brewing over the years. He said: “Unlike other wines my Tej and Tej-based wines are all ‘happy drinks’ that have a delicate taste and are thirst quenching. It’s a great stimulating aperitif and complement to most dishes or desserts.”

    Read more from CNN

    For something very different, but very traditional, Tej is an East African honey wine, primarily consumed in Ethiopia. The white wine, which can be either sweet or dry depending on the amount of honey used, also includes Gesho, which is a buckthorn shrub native to the Horn of Africa nation.

    Harry Kloman, an expert on Tej and Ethiopian cuisine, said that there are very few, if any, wineries that produce Tej as the wine tends to be homemade or served in a “Tej Bet,” a bar that specializes in the wine.

    Araya Selassie Yibrehu is one of the producers to have mastered the art of Tej brewing over the years. He said: “Unlike other wines my Tej and Tej-based wines are all ‘happy drinks’ that have a delicate taste and are thirst quenching. It’s a great stimulating aperitif and complement to most dishes or desserts.”

    - See more at: http://www.tadias.com/01/11/2014/cnn-five-african-wines-making-a-splash/#sthash.HQdkQlP0.dpuf

    For something very different, but very traditional, Tej is an East African honey wine, primarily consumed in Ethiopia. The white wine, which can be either sweet or dry depending on the amount of honey used, also includes Gesho, which is a buckthorn shrub native to the Horn of Africa nation.

    Harry Kloman, an expert on Tej and Ethiopian cuisine, said that there are very few, if any, wineries that produce Tej as the wine tends to be homemade or served in a “Tej Bet,” a bar that specializes in the wine.

    Araya Selassie Yibrehu is one of the producers to have mastered the art of Tej brewing over the years. He said: “Unlike other wines my Tej and Tej-based wines are all ‘happy drinks’ that have a delicate taste and are thirst quenching. It’s a great stimulating aperitif and complement to most dishes or desserts.”

    - See more at: http://www.tadias.com/01/11/2014/cnn-five-african-wines-making-a-splash/#sthash.HQdkQlP0.dpuf

    For something very different, but very traditional, Tej is an East African honey wine, primarily consumed in Ethiopia. The white wine, which can be either sweet or dry depending on the amount of honey used, also includes Gesho, which is a buckthorn shrub native to the Horn of Africa nation.

    Harry Kloman, an expert on Tej and Ethiopian cuisine, said that there are very few, if any, wineries that produce Tej as the wine tends to be homemade or served in a “Tej Bet,” a bar that specializes in the wine.

    Araya Selassie Yibrehu is one of the producers to have mastered the art of Tej brewing over the years. He said: “Unlike other wines my Tej and Tej-based wines are all ‘happy drinks’ that have a delicate taste and are thirst quenching. It’s a great stimulating aperitif and complement to most dishes or desserts.”

    - See more at: http://www.tadias.com/01/11/2014/cnn-five-african-wines-making-a-splash/#sthash.HQdkQlP0.dpuf
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  • Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia dam talks 'successful'

    Khartoum (AFP) - Water ministers from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on Monday "successfully" held talks on an Ethiopian dam project, Sudan's minister said, after Egypt's objections delayed formation of a committee to implement expert advice.

     

    Cairo fears the Grand Renaissance dam project could diminish its water supply.

    "We have addressed a significant part of the issues on the follow-up of the implementation of the recommendations of the international panel of experts," Sudan's Water Resources and Electricity Minister, Muattaz Musa Abdallah Salim, said in a brief statement to reporters after the talks which lasted several hours.

    At a meeting in Khartoum last month, ministers from the three nations failed to agree on the composition of the committee which would follow through on expert recommendations about the Grand Renaissance project, Sudan's Foreign Minister Ali Karti said earlier.

    The experts' report has not been made public, but Ethiopia has said it confirms that the impact on water levels is minimal.

    Cairo had sought more studies about the dam's effect on its water supply, which is almost entirely dependent on the Nile.

    Egypt wanted international representatives on the committee but Ethiopia preferred national delegates, Karti said after the ministers' first meeting in early November.

    "We the ministers... have concluded the second meeting successfully," Salim said.

    Asked whether that meant the differences over the committee had been resolved, Ethiopian minister Alemayehu Tegenu told AFP: "Almost, yes."

    Sudan's minister Salim said "the remaining issues" would be addressed in Khartoum during talks from January 4-5.

    Salim headed to Monday's meeting immediately after his mid-day swearing-in as a new member of President Omar al-Bashir's reshuffled cabinet.

    Ethiopia began diverting the Blue Nile in May to build the 6,000 MW dam which will be Africa's largest when completed in 2017.

    Egypt believes its "historic rights" to the Nile are guaranteed by two treaties from 1929 and 1959 which allow it 87 percent of the Nile's flow and give it veto power over upstream projects.

    But a new deal signed in 2010 by other Nile Basin countries, including Ethiopia, allows them to work on river projects without Cairo's prior agreement.

    Both Sudan and Egypt have not signed the new Nile Basin deal.

    Sudan, like Egypt, relies on Nile resources but has said it does not expect to be affected by the Grand Renaissance project.

    On Wednesday Sudan and Ethiopia inaugurated a cross-border electricity link which an analyst said aims to strengthen Khartoum-Addis Ababa ties after tensions with Egypt over the dam project.

    State media in Khartoum said Sudan will initially buy 100 MW from Ethiopia through the 321-kilometre (199-mile) line.

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  • BBC: The man who taught Mandela to be a soldier

    In July 1962, Col Fekadu Wakene taught South African political activist Nelson Mandela the tricks of guerrilla warfare - including how to plant explosives before slipping quietly away into the night.

    Mr Mandela was in Ethiopia, learning how to be the commander-in-chief of Umkhonto we Sizwe - the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC).

    The group had announced its arrival at the end of 1961 by blowing-up electricity pylons in various places in South Africa.

    Then on 11 January 1962, Mr Mandela had secretly, and illegally, slipped out of South Africa.

    His mission was to meet as many African political leaders as possible and garner assistance for the ANC, including money and training for its military wing.

    And to be moulded into a soldier himself.

    During this trip, he visited Ethiopia twice and left a deep impression on those who met him during his stay in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

    Read more from BBC

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  • Ethiopia and Eritrea: Brothers at war no more

    The relationship between Eritrea and Ethiopia is arguably the most important and volatile in East Africa. The fall-out between the former brothers-in-arms initiated a two-year-long border war in 1998, which claimed around 100,000 causalities, cost billions of dollars, and continues to serve as the main source of regional instability in the Horn of Africa.

    The fighting was brought to an end with the signing of the Algiers Peace Agreement and establishment of the Ethiopia-Eritrea Border Commission (EEBC) in 2000. However, Ethiopia's refusal to implement the rulings of the EEBC prior to negotiations and Eritrea's insistence on an unconditional and immediate demarcation of the border, have locked the two governments in an intractable stalemate.

    Despite the official cessation of hostilities in 2000, Ethiopia and Eritrea continued their war through proxies by supporting various rebel movements throughout the Horn of Africa. In this way, they have been fuelling conflict and instability in each other's countries as well as the wider region.

    Thirteen years after the Algiers Peace Agreement, domestic conditions in both states and the regional geopolitical equation have undergone substantial changes.

    Ethiopia lost its long-time strongman, Meles Zenawi, in 2012. There are strong indications that Eritrea is also very likely to see the departure of its own leader, President Isaias Afwerki, in the near future. Moreover, Ethiopia has been experiencing robust economic growth and political stability over the last decade, a development that has also coincided with a significant weakening of its regional adversaries. 

    The political standoff between Ethiopia and Eritrea has very much been tied to the role, interests and historical experiences of particular individuals and circles that hail from one generation - the Marxist-Leninist student movements turned guerrilla fighters in the 1960s and 1970s. With the political and generational changes that are taking place in both countries, a normalisation of relations between these two states might take place in the not so distant future.

    Read more from Aljazeera

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