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  • Ge’ez 101 at the University of Washington

    It’s an important language for the study of late ancient Christianity and early Islam. It’s the language of some of the earliest Judeo-Christian writings.  Its vocabulary can be found throughout the Quran.  Yet the classical language Ge’ez is little known beyond the Horn of Africa and taught at just two universities in the Western world. Make that three — the University of Washington offered Ge’ez 101 for the first time this spring.

    Hamza Zafer, assistant professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, expected a handful of students to sign up when he offered this obscure classical language. Instead the class filled to capacity, with 30 students enrolled within days and more on the waiting list. Four graduate students with a scholarly interest in Ge’ez signed up, but the rest had more personal reasons for enrolling. “Most of the students are children of immigrants from the Horn of Africa — Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea,” says Zafer. “Many of them grew up in Seattle exposed to Ge’ez in their communities, since Ge’ez is a living liturgical language in the Ethiopian and Eritrean orthodox churches, much like Latin was the liturgical language in Roman Catholic churches.”

    Those students include bioengineering major Jerusalem Kifelew, who grew up hearing Ge’ez in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and business pre-major Fethawit Musye, who heard it in the Eritrean Orthodox Church. “When my friends and I heard Ge’ez was being offered as a class at UW, we were really excited because we actually had a chance to learn more about the language we grew up hearing,” says Musye.


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  • Indonesian textile industry facing competition from Ethiopia

    A textile shop on Jalan Pintu Air in Central Jakarta. (JP/Jessicha Valentina)

    The government's effort to lure textile manufacturers away from China to the archipelago is facing a rising threat from East African country Ethiopia, which is offering companies a competitive cost structure.

    Under an agreement with the United States, namely the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Ethiopian exports are not limited by duties and quotas, said Indonesian Textile Association (API) chairman Ade Sudrajat in Jakarta on Wednesday.

    The country also has cheap labor and cheap electricity, as low as 4 US cents per kilowatt hour, he added.

    "China’s textile manufacturers are shifting their production overseas due to increased labor costs and air pollution. We want to attract them here. But some are already moving to Ethiopia," Ade said during a discussion on the textile industry.

    According to data from the Ethiopian Investment Commission, 124 foreign investors have expressed an interest in the Ethiopian textile sector, 71 of which are from China.

    Meanwhile, according to data from the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), investment realization in the Indonesian textile industry in 2016 decreased by 7.3 percent to Rp 7.55 trillion compared to 8.14 trillion in 2015.

    Foreign investors only contributed 42.5 percent in 2016, the lowest in six years.

     "Some of our members have actually already invested in Ethiopia," Ade said.

    Source: thejakartapost

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  • Kenenisa criticises IAAF’s proposal

    Addis Ababa, May 3, 2017 (FBC) –Ethiopian distance runner, Kenenisa Bekele, joined a number of athletes to speak out against the new rule proposed by IAAF wiping out world records set before 2005.

    The proposal outlines radical new criteria for determining official records.

    In order to be recognized, records must be set at specific, approved events, by athletes who have undergone a preset number of doping tests in the months prior.

    Furthermore, all athletes will be required to have a control sample of their blood stored for up to ten years for re-resting purposes.

    Since the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) only began storing such samples in 2005, under the new criteria, all records set before that year would de facto be rendered obsolete.

    According to the new rule, Kenenisa’s 5000 meter time of 12:37.35 set in 2004 and 10,000 meter time of 26:17.53 set in 2005 are at risk of being wiped out.

    When asked by Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) to comment on the plan, Kenenisa said the proposal “is not appropriate.”

    “The problem comes from IAAF’s weakness. It is not the athletes’ faults,” he said.

    Kenenisa further said he is ready to voice his concern and ‘protest’ against the proposal.

    UK’s marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe yesterday hit out at the new proposal.

    Radcliffe, who broke the women's marathon record in 2003, said the proposal was "disrespectful to those athletes whose marks are iconic in history."

    "It's unfair to make those clean athletes suffer again at the hands of cheats, because during our careers, we have had to compete against people that we have heavily suspected or known were cheating," she said.

    Source: FBC

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  • Ethiopian dam creates waves

    By years’ end, one of the world’s largest dams will begin filling up, affecting the fate of millions of people as it does so.

    Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam on the upper reaches of the Blue Nile has been six years in the making, and is a project of staggering proportions. It will create a lake 150 square kilometres in size, produce electricity equal to a third of the UAE’s energy output and has cost 10 billion Ethiopian birr (Dh1.59bn) so far.

    The Grand Renaissance Dam on the upper reaches of the Blue Nile in Ethiopia has been six years in the making. Getty Images

    It will also ensure a steady supply of water. Ethiopia’s fate has been to be remembered as a country of recurring drought, spawning a mini-industry of aid organisations dedicated to feeding its people in time of need.

    "The Renaissance dam which we are constructing by joining hands together is among the list of mega projects in Africa and the world, becoming a source of our national pride," the Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn said at a torch lighting ceremony in Addis Ababa last month, according to the local media agency Ezeda.

    The torch will be carried around the country for the next 12 months to celebrate the dam’s progress, and to thank the public for their support. According the Ethiopian government, more than 1bn birr has been raised from the sales of lottery tickets, music concerts and bonds – all by ordinary citizens.

    Reviving Ethiopia’s economy has been the prime goal of the government, following the disastrous rule of the Derg, a military junta during the 1980s. It was the Derg’s legacy that resulted in images of starving children coming to represent a once-proud country. This is something the current administration is working to change.

    By 2020 Ethiopia aims to increase its export revenue to US$16 billion, up from the current $3bn. The country has already started attracting manufacturers from China and elsewhere. Political stability, economic certainty and its proximity to the Arabian Gulf make it a choice destination for exporters.

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