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  • American researcher killed by protesters in Ethiopia

    Sharon Gray, a UC Davis postdoctoral researcher in the university's plant biology department, was killed Tuesday in Ethiopia when the vehicle she was riding in was stoned by protesters, university official said. Brady Lab, Department of Plant Biology and Genome Center, University of California Davis.

    Sharon Gray, 30, was in the East African nation to attend a meeting related to her research, according to the university.

    Andy Fell, a university spokesman, confirmed that Gray was the American woman who was reported killed when stones were hurled at her vehicle on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, on Tuesday.

    The U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia issued a statement saying a passenger van was hit by rocks late Tuesday afternoon and that “one of the passengers, a U.S. citizen, was struck by a rock and subsequently died from her injury,” several overseas media outlets reported.

    Crowds have attacked other vehicles since a stampede at a weekend protest killed at least 55 people, according to news reports. The protests have centered on land and political rights in Ethiopia.

    Another member of the plant biology department who was traveling with Gray was not injured and is headed home, university officials said.

    Siobhan Brady, an associate professor of plant biology at UC Davis and head of the Brady Lab, where Gray worked as a postdoctoral fellow, said by email Wednesday night that she was in transit from Addis Ababa to San Francisco. She was unavailable for comment.

    University officials said Gray was attending a meeting in Ethiopia to discuss the next steps in a project she was involved in with the Netherlands Institute of Ecology and other charitable organizations.

    She had been at UC Davis since 2013, Fell said. He said Gray’s husband is also a university employee.

    “Even in tragedy, we hope that we all can find some comfort in the wonderful work Sharon was engaged in that will better the lives of so many around the world,” Ken Burtis, the university’s acting provost, said in a statement posted on the UC Davis Graduate Studies’ Facebook page.

    The university’s plant biology department posted a memorial page on its website with dozens of photographs of Gray at

    Gray received her doctorate in plant biology in 2013 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which she also attended as an undergraduate. Her research focused on studying the effects of a buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere on crops such as soybeans and tomatoes.

    The U.S. State Department is assisting in returning Gray’s body to her family.


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  • Ethiopia declares official mourning after stampede

    Protests continue in Oromia after 52 people killed in a stampede after police fired tear gas and warning shots [Reuters]

    Ethiopia has declared three days of national mourning after a stampede at a religious festival in Oromia, which started after police fired tear gas and warning shots, killed at least 50 people.

    The Government Communication Affairs Office said in a statement that flags across the country and at Ethiopian embassies and consular offices would be lowered to half-mast starting from Tuesday, the state news agency reported.

    "The country declares the mourning following the death of people who lost their lives because of the violence instigated by anti-peace elements," the government said.

    Oromo opposition leaders say the stampede was sparked by police firing tear gas and shooting in the air to disperse people at the festival. Sections of the crowd had started to shout anti-government slogans and make anti-government gestures, according to media reports.

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  • 52 people die in stampede at Irrecha celebration

    Addis Ababa, October 2, 2016 (FBC) –The Oromia Regional State said 52 people have died in stampede at the annual Irrecha celebration in Bishoftu town today.

    Because of the evil acts masterminded by forces who are irresponsible for the people and culture of the Oromo people, a violence had occurred at the celebration which attracted participants from across the country and abroad, the regional state said in a statement.

    The government had tolerated and made the highest precaution, however, “these forces disrupted the celebration disrespecting the people and the Aba Gadas,” it said.

    As a result, 52 people have died in a stampede, the statement said.

    The statement added that the people have died because of stampede, not by a measure taken by security forces as erroneously reported by some media outlets, it said.

    The regional state extended its deepest condolences for all who died in the stampede as well as wished their families and people of the regional state consolation.

    The regional state further said it would stand along with and provide all the necessary support for families of the victims.

    The regional state, in partnership with the people, will strengthen the efforts it launched to make the Gada system recognized worldwide.

    The regional state finally called on the public to denounce such acts which harm the benefit and culture of the Oromo people.

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  • EU, US authorities press charges against intruders into Ethiopian Embassies

    Countries hosting Ethiopian embassies have begun filing charges against Ethiopians who trespass the vicinities of the embassies in those countries.

    Ethiopian protesters in U.S. and Europe have repeatedly stormed embassies in those countries.

    Previously angered protesters have also briefly took control of Ethiopian embassy in London.

    Extensive and deadly violence has been taking place during anti-government protests in Ethiopia’s Amhara and Oromiya region.

    Tewolde Mulugeta, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told journalists that the ethiopian government is working closely with US and European countries to bring perpetrators to justice.

    Government officials allege that the protests in Ethiopia and elsewhere are being organised by exiled opposition movement such as the US based Ginbot-7 which had long been designated by Addis Ababa as terrorist entity.

    The Ethnic Oromo and Amhara demonstrators however say they are protesting because the government has failed to respect their political and economic rights.

    Tewolde said the western countries are filing charges against the perpetrators in accordance with the Vienna Declaration that provides the premises of a diplomatic mission, such as an embassy, to be protected by the host country from intrusion or damage.

    The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 is an international treaty that defines a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries.

    The Convention provides that the premises of a diplomatic mission are inviolable and the host country must protect the mission from intrusion or damage.

    Contrary to the provisions of the Convention that provides for the invincibility of embassies and missions, Ethiopians in the Diaspora intruded into the compounds and created havoc on the compounds of the Ethiopian embassies in London, Stockholm, Washington and Canberra.

    "Some Diasporas violated international law of immunity of the Ethiopian embassies abroad by intruding into the embassies compounds when they have every democratic rights to present their issues to the embassies in a formal legal manner," Tewolde stated.

    According to the spokesperson, the Australian government has already filed a charge against intruders into the Embassy in Canberra, while the respective governments in London, Stockholm and Washington are processing legal actions against perpetrators.

    The official further said the doors of the Ethiopian government are always open to engage in dialogue with Ethiopians in the Diaspora on the policies and the development strategies of the government based on visible evidences.

    According to Human Rights Watch (HRW) Ethiopian security forces crackdown against protesters has led to the life loss of hundreds of citizens.

    Right groups accuse the Ethiopia security forces of using excessive force to suppress the wave of protests.

    Oromo opposition political parties told sudan Tribune that Dozens of their members including leaders remain jailed.

    Some of the opposition officials were accused of having links with terrorist organisation who wish to destabilize the horn of Africa’s nation.

    Ethiopia has also accused arc-rival Eritrea of backing the havoc by financing and hosting anti-peace elements, an allegation Asmara denies.


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  • Ethiopia scores high marks in Obama's refugee address

    Ethiopia is pleased with the fact that United States (US) President, Barack Obama, has praised Ethiopia's role in hosting and supporting refugees as well as efforts to improve their conditions.

    Ethiopia is currently sheltering more than 800,000 refugees out of the over 65 million people, roughly 1 percent of world’s total population, displaced worldwide.

    The US president was addressing a panel organized on the sidelines of the 71st United Nations General Assembly meeting being held in New York. Ethiopia was mentioned twice throughout Obama’s address.

    According to Obama, the role that countries like Germany, Turkey, Canada, Sweden and Ethiopia are playing in sheltering refugees and helping them with access to humanitarian assistance is exemplary to others.

    ‘‘It’s a test of our international system where all nations ought to share in our collective responsibilities, because the vast majority of refugees are hosted by just 10 countries who are bearing a very heavy burden — among them Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, Ethiopia. Countries that often have fewer resources than many of those who are doing little or nothing,’‘ Obama said.

    He again thanked Ethiopia for bearing the refugee burden despite difficulties, ‘‘I want to personally thank Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Trudeau, and the people of both those countries — because the politics sometimes can be hard, but it’s the right thing to do.  And Ethiopia, which as was noted in the video, bears an enormous burden,’‘ he added.

    At the panel Ethiopia, Canada, Germany, Jordan, Mexico and Sweden shared their experiences in sheltering large number of refugees and activities to improve their conditions.

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalgen said they will continue to provide shelter to refugees and activities to improve their condition.

    He added that as part of its plans, the government is providing the chance for refugees to get access to education and engage in income generating activities including agriculture.

    ‘‘The government is facilitating conditions to make refugees get access to 30 percent of job opportunities to be created in various industrial parks, as part of improving their condition,’‘ he is quoted to have said.

    World leaders are discussing ways of tackling the growing global migration crisis, the biggest migration crisis in which the number of displaced people surpassed those of World War Two, at the 71st UN General Assembly being underway in New York.


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