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  • World on way to 'generation free of AIDS', says UN chief

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says "the world has delivered" on its AIDS goals, with 15 million people receiving HIV treatment (AFP Photo/Tony Karumba)

    Addis Ababa (AFP) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday the world was headed for a "generation free of AIDS", after UNAIDS reported a 35 percent drop in new HIV infections from 15 years ago.

    "The world has delivered. We have achieved and exceeded the... goals regarding AIDS. We have 15 million people on HIV treatment. We are on the way to a generation free of AIDS," Ban said in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, where he is attending a global development summit.

    According to the UNAIDS report released on Tuesday in Geneva, there have been remarkable strides since the advent in 1996 of anti-retroviral drugs, which suppress the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

    Though not a cure, the therapy creates a virtuous circle. The less the virus is in circulation, the less likely it is that people become infected.

    Although new HIV infections declined to two million in 2014 against 3.1 million 14 years ago and the number of new infections has noticeably decreased or remained stagnant, UNAIDS warned spending has plateaued and called for more to be done to roll back the virus.

    There are currently 36.9 million people living with HIV around the world. Around March this year, 15 million of them were accessing anti-retroviral therapy.

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  • 3rd Int’l Conference on Financing for Dev’t kicks off in Addis

    Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the Global Civil Society Forum held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the eve of the opening of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

    World leaders are meeting in Ethiopia's capital from Monday for a development financing summit presented as crucial for United Nations efforts to end global poverty and manage climate change by 2030.

    The objective of the five days of talks, the third summit of its kind after talks in Monterrey in 2002 and Doha in 2008, is ambitious: laying out the ground rules for a fairer world of inclusive, low-carbon growth.

    Concretely, that means deciding how to fill a colossal annual investment gap in key sustainable development sectors for developing nations - estimated at up to $2.5 trillion annually according to the UN's trade and development body UNCTAD.

    This in turn will enable the world body to push ahead with its 2015-2030 Sustainable Development Goals, which are due to be formally adopted in New York in October. There are 17 in all, ranging from ending poverty to providing universal access to sustainable energy.

    The choice of Ethiopia as summit host highlights the importance of the issue for Africa, a continent which counts 33 out of the world's 49 least developed countries, according to AFP.

    Having brought millions out of poverty and having invested heavily in infrastructure and key public services, the country is seen as a model for development.


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  • 'Live Aid did nothing for me' says poster child of Ethiopian famine

    Madonna and Birhan Woldu danced onstage at Live 8 in 2005 - Photo: Getty

    An Ethiopian woman who became the face of Sir Bob Geldof’s Live Aid campaign says she can’t support her family and has been made a recluse by the fame.

    Birhan Woldu, now 34, became the “poster child” for the Ethiopian Famine after she was filmed on the brink of death near a food station in the north of the country.

    20 years later, she was brought on stage by Sir Bob at 2005’s Live 8 concert in London’s Hyde Park as an example of the success of the campaign.

    He told the crowd: “She had 10 minutes to live 20 years ago. Because of Live Aid 20 years ago…last week she did her agricultural exams in the school she goes to in the northern Ethiopian highlands.

    “She is here. Don’t let them tell you that this doesn’t work. Look at this beautiful woman.’

    But she says the fame thrust upon her by the high profile appearance has forced her underground - and that the Live Aid campaign did “nothing” for her.

    She told the Guardian: “For me, personally, Live Aid has done nothing. I am branded as the symbol of Live Aid due to the image of the 1980s.

    "My stories are well documented and have reached the skies. But I live underground. The state I am in at this moment is miserable. I do not have a job and I cannot support my family on my own.”

    Birhan’s school fees were paid by Canadian journalist Brian Stewart - whose crew made the film that made her the face of the famine.

    She worked as a nurse for 10 months after graduating from University, but has been unemployed since.


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  • US President Barack Obama to visit Ethiopia on African tour

    Barack Obama will become the first sitting US president to visit Ethiopia, the White House says.

    Mr Obama will travel to the capital Addis Ababa in late July to meet with the Ethiopian government and African Union leaders.

    The president will be in Kenya before that on a previously announced trip, visiting his father's homeland for the first time as leader.

    He has previously visited Ghana, Egypt, Senegal, Tanzania, and South Africa.

    The US leader will participate in a global entrepreneurship summit while in Kenya.

    In Ethiopia, he will discuss how to "accelerate economic growth, strengthen democratic institutions, and improve security," White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.

    Source: BBC

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  • High-ranking Ethiopian-Israeli police officer defends cops

    In a stark departure from the onslaught of stinging criticism recently leveled against the Israeli Police as racist, a senior Ethiopian officer said on Wednesday that, although improvements must be made to mend badly frayed relations, he stands with the beleaguered force. 

    DEPUTY COMMANDER Itbak Avraham says the Israel Police has prepared him, as it trains all police, to give the best possible service to all citizens.. (photo credit:ISRAEL POLICE)

    In a lengthy Facebook posting, Itbak Avraham, deputy commander of the Sadot police station in central Israel, said that while not perfect, the nation’s police force is highly trained and must be supported.

    “As someone who is part of the organization for many years – as someone who served in various units and functions – it is important to stress that the Israeli Police has prepared me, as it trains all police, to give the best possible service to all citizens,” he wrote. “It has excellent policemen, who are all are equal before the law.”

    Still, Avraham said that the police, and the government, must prioritize how to improve its treatment of Ethiopian citizens.

    “There is no doubt that both the police and the State of Israel must consider how they can improve the treatment of the Ethiopian community, and give it top priority,” he wrote.

    “We must examine the claims of the community in depth, and provide fairness of transparency in order to produce useful solutions.

    We must fight to increase the trust between members of the community and the Israeli police.”

    Equally important, Avraham stressed, is that demonstrators cease turning to violence as a means of expressing their outrage.

    “Violence, vandalism, and the assaulting of police officers by some of the demonstrators must be condemned,” he wrote. “Violence is not our way, and I condemn it, regardless of who enables it.”

    Avraham concluded by stating that he believes the police will continue to serve society to the best of its ability, while noting that he will personally uphold the highest standards, and fight any racism he encounters.

    “I, and others like me, will continue to shatter racism and prejudice through personal excellence in our fields, without any self-pity,” he wrote. “Hopefully, we will get the desired change.”


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