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  • Terrorist threat forces TV's Kathryn to cancel Great Ethiopian Run

    OPERATION Transformation host Kathryn Thomas was forced to pull out of the Great Ethiopian Run after al-Shabaab terrorists threaten to sabotage the charity event.

    Kathryn (34) was due to travel to Africa last week and run 10k to raise money for Self Help Africa.

    But the Carlow native had to cancel her flight after the charity advised participants not to travel for the run.

    She told the Herald: "I've travelled to Ethiopia and to Addis Ababa before and I think it's a great place and city -- I've always been happy and felt safe travelling there.

    "But the al-Shabaab terrorists were responsible for the Westgate Mall attacks in Nairobi, so the organisers had to take things seriously.

    "Ethiopia has been on high alert since those two suicide bombers accidentally blew themselves up before Ethiopia's World Cup qualifying match against Nigeria."

    Kathryn added organisers were particularly conscious after the Boston Marathon bombings earlier in the year. "They really had to alert participants to the danger and advise them not to travel," she said.

    ALERT

    "The event wasn't cancelled but Self Help Africa had to warn everyone about it."

    Despite the alert, several Irish participants made their way to Ethiopia.

    The hard core marathon men and women ran a different race in Hawass, several hours south of Addis Ababa, and dubbed it The Alternative Great Ethiopia Run.

    Kathryn added: "I'm delighted the other participants ran an alternate race and the event was a success despite everything.

    "It was obviously a disappointment. It's the biggest run in the city -- over 40,000 take part -- but these things happen and safety is always a priority."

    Kathryn is currently down in Cork filming the next series of Operation Transformation. But despite being in a different continent, she made sure to make a contribution to the 10K run.

    So she threw on a pair of sneakers and hit the pavements in the south.

    She revealed: "We did a 10k run down in Cork to make up for it.

    "I was going to run it on the same day but I was travelling so did it the following day."

    Source: independent.ie

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  • Over 50,000 illegal Ethiopian workers sent home from Saudi Arabia

     

    Addis Ababa (AFP) - Ethiopia has flown home over 50,000 citizens in Saudi Arabia after a crackdown against illegal immigrants in the oil-rich state, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

    "We projected the initial number to be 10,000 but it is increasing," foreign ministry spokesman Dina Mufti told AFP, adding that the final total once the mass airlift ends is now expected to be around 80,000.

    Ethiopia started repatriating citizens living illegally in Saudi Arabia after a seven-month amnesty period to formalise their status expired on November 4, sparking violent protests between Saudi police and Ethiopian migrants preparing to leave the country.

    The Ethiopian government said three of its citizens were killed in clashes.

    Dina said the government is spending $2.6 million (1.9 million euros) on the repatriation programme to bring citizens home, the majority women.

    Ethiopia has said relations with Saudi Arabia remain "sisterly", with Dina saying the government's main priority was to bring citizens home.

    "We are focussing on the repatriation... we have not evaluated that one, we have not assessed that," he said, referring to Ethio-Saudi ties.

    Large numbers of Ethiopians -- often women seeking domestic work -- travel to the Middle East each year looking for jobs.

    Around 200,000 women sought work abroad in 2012, according to Ethiopia's ministry of labour and social affairs.

    The International Labour Organisation (ILO) said many face physical and mental abuse, low pay, discrimination and poor working conditions.

    Reports of mistreatment of Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia has sparked outrage in Ethiopia.

    In an emotional speech this month, Ethiopia's Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom said the government was in "around the clock crisis management" mode trying to bring citizens back.

    With 91 million citizens, Ethiopia is Africa's most populous country after Nigeria, but also one of the continent's poorest, with the majority of people earning less than two dollars a day.

    Around 27 percent of women and 13 percent of men are unemployed, according to the ILO.

     

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  • Interview: “An uninformed society is better than a misinformed one”

    Negeri Lencho (PhD) is an assistant professor of journalism and communication at the post-graduate school of journalism, Addis Ababa University.

    He sat down with The Reporter’s Yemane Nagish to oversee the ups and downs of Ethiopia’s practice on journalism, on which he did his PhD.

    The Reporter: How do you see journalism in Ethiopia, it appears to rest at two extreme ends?

    Negeri Lencho: I think there is a debate on whether journalism is a specific profession, like a medicine. It is quite different when looking at its precise nature. Medicine could be similar here and in America, or anywhere else in terms of a profession, but journalism differs from place to place according to the land’s politics and socio-economic issues. It looks after the land. In Ethiopia, democracy is still in its infancy and the society is also divided, in language, culture and perception. Since the profession is used to serve the people it should never be done in the way that it is done somewhere else. It should go in line with the situation here. Nevertheless, there should also be common trends, and principles that we need to share with others. For instance, there should be objectivism that governs the profession, even if the way we practice it is different. This is one of the issues that some people would like to talk about when it comes to professionalism, but it should be seen that we are dedicated to render comprehensive, quality and unbiased information.

    How do you see the impact of democracy and development on the profession?

    There is a huge impact indeed. There is no common consent among the media and state regarding the revolutionary democracy that the country has witnessed so far. This type of democracy has a massive impact on the ownership of the media. And, of course, it is different from the western world. In America and Britain the media is not under government control because of the type of democracy they follow. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is financed by the government in Britain but it’s managed by a neutral board. Since the media in Ethiopia is state-controlled it represents the parliament, and the management is also appointed by the parliament, so it is absolutely different from the BBC, which belongs to the general public in Britain. In our case, need the government and private media to serving the public better. And it may be meaningful as well that the parliament is representative of the general public.

    Do we have media that belongs to the general public here?

    I can answer yes if the state doesn’t interfere in the editorial policy. However, it doesn’t sound so when the state is involved in the nomination and appointment of management to influence the editorial board. It should be free all the way. And recruiting and positioning journalists should be another concern. If they are in favor of the state, the media is subject to be state-controlled. I asked those journalists hired by the state media how they differ from the privately hired ones, and the difference was visible. “Since we are in the government media we have to promote developmental polices, and that is all about what to do,” they replied. So, it looks pretty paralyzed, and they tend to be a mouth piece for the government, or like a spokesperson for the government, since their editorial policy is to carry out state policies and strategies.

    Those who responded said that they are not compelled to produce media-oriented stories, such as investigations, as their editors are not interested. “We are encouraged at the editorial meeting, but they are unaccepted when they come up,” they said. We rarely see investigative programs on Ethiopian Television (ETV),which is unsatisfactory as those on the board are specifically chosen. They do not want to do these programs because of the budget, knowledge and capacity it requires. They tend to put themselves as developmental journalists, focusing on economic development to insure peace and prosperity.

    Read more from thereporterethiopia

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  • 32,000 illegal Ethiopians to be deported by November end

    Saudi Airlines intends to charter 70 flights to deport around 32,000 Ethiopians until the end of November.

    Around 40 flights have already left Riyadh and Jeddah to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa since Nov. 12, said Abdullah Al-Ajhar, assistant general director of public relations in Saudia.

    “The next stage will be implemented as of today and will last until the end of November. This phase will oversee the transportation of 32,000 Ethiopians back home.”

    He said Saudia has been assigned with providing reservations for violators and renting additional carriers if the need arises.

    Saudia is prepared to secure additional flights to transport violators to their country. He said there is no shortage of flights so far.

    Col. Badr bin Saud Al-Saud, public relations director for the Makkah Province police, said the Shumaisy center is not directly involved in receiving or deporting violators.

    He said the center only receives persons arrested for violating residency rules. Al-Saud said that expats with no identification papers are asked about their nationalities and that representatives from their consulates are called to meet and identify them. He said there is a special ward for each nationality.

    After fingerprinting the violators and capturing digital images, more photos are taken and given to the consulates, which issue special travel documents for the persons in question.

    Violators are then deported at the expense of the Kingdom. Violators, however, will not be deported if the consulates do not issue travel documents. Consulates have cooperated with authorities so far, he said.

    The center has headquarters that receive representatives from foreign consulates. These representatives are working around the clock to issue travel documents for their nationals. A representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinates between these representatives and security authorities.

    Source: arabnews

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  • Supermodel Liya Kebede Connects Traditional Ethiopian Weavers To New York's Hottest Boutiques

    Liya Kebede isn’t out to build a fashion empire. "As much as I want it to be humongous," says the Ethiopian super model, "there’s a limit to how big it can get." That's because Lemlem shirts, scarves, and dresses are designed in New York, but made from handwoven materials crafted by traditional weavers in Kebede's home country. That said, "humongous" may be a relative term: Lemlem’s products are already available at boutiques around the world from Manama, Bahrain to Jackson, Mississippi, and at large retailers like Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bloomingdale's.

    The clothing line provides employment for practitioners of a centuries-old tradition that was facing extinction. "I visited an area of these incredible weavers that we’ve always had in Ethiopia who make incredible work but don’t really have the space to sell their clothes anymore," Kebede says in this week's episode of Innovation Agents. "It’s one thing to donate money. It’s a whole other thing to give an opportunity for someone to make his own money." And that's how Lemlem--which means "to bloom" in Amharic--was founded five years ago.

    Source: fastcompany

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