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  • China trained Ethiopian light rail train drivers graduate

    Some 126 Ethiopian light rail train drivers who received one year long training in China were awarded certificates on Thursday. The first batch of graduates received the certificates at a ceremony held at the Addis Ababa Light Railway Transit Service. Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Railways Corporation, Getachew Betru said on the occasion the graduates will add impetus to the effort underway to build own railway management system. According to the CEO, the corporation has been working with particular attention on transfer of knowledge and technology in addition to expanding railway infrastructure. State Minister of Public Enterprises, Getachew Mengiste on his part said the effort to create capability in administrating railway projects locally should be made strategic. In line with this, students are receiving training for second degree in railway at the Addis Ababa University, he revealed. 

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  • The changing faces of the El-Nino induced drought

    The Ethiopian government, in collaboration with International Development Partners, is deploying indefatigable efforts to mitigate the effects of the unprecedentedly worst drought that Ethiopia has ever faced over the last 50 years. 

    Some of the localities in the state of Tigray were bone dried because of the drought. As in other areas touched by the drought, the Ethiopian government has been fairly providing humanitarian and relief aids reaching out the people in need in these affected areas.

    Now that the area is drastically recovering from drought by dint of the fair rainfall distribution of the current raining season, moisture and soil conservation works are being made to boost production during the upcoming harvesting season, EBC learnt.

    Despite the challenges of rapid population growth and global climate change effects, the economic achievements procured over the last 25 years have proved the Ethiopian government is better-shaped than ever to withstand such natural disasters. Besides, Green Economy Strategy is at the heart of the country's development policy.

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  • Ethiopian distance runner Feyisa Lilesa

    Ethiopian distance runner Feyisa Lilesa, a silver medal winner at the Rio Olympics, made headlines around the world when he crossed his wrists above his head, making a symbol that has become the rallying cry for protests in the Oromia region of Ethiopia.

    That political gesture put the runner at grave personal risk, and now some in the Ethiopian diaspora want to help him.

    Solomon Ungashe of California is one of the three people who co-sponsored a gofundme account for the runner. Gofundme is an online crowdsourcing platform used to raise money for charitable and personal campaigns.

    Ungashe told VOA the athlete didn't initiate it or ask people to help him, but supporters figured it was necessary and, through the account, they have been able to raise more than $100,000 so far. Separately, they have sent three people who paid out-of-pocket to fly to Rio and provide support.

    "Feyisa did what he did to raise the bigger issue, but again he left everything that he has. This man is a person who apparently lives a comfortable life at home in Ethiopia, and he left all that behind," Ungashe said.

    Ungashe added that the money may be used to pay for an immigration lawyer to help the runner get a visa, as well as to facilitate his move to a new country. Ungashe hopes the runner will choose to resettle in the U.S.

    What’s next

    The silver medalist is now thinking about what is next for him and his family. He said he didn't celebrate much after crossing the finish line because some of his friends are in prison and some are dead.

    Government spokesman Getachew Reda, however, downplayed his concerns, saying the country plans a "heroic welcome" for him and his safety was guaranteed. Reda told a state-affiliated news channel that Lilesa will not face any problems for his political stance.

    "After all, this is an athlete who secured a silver medal for his country," he said, speaking to Fana Broadcasting Corporation.

    Skeptical of safety

    Henok Gabisa, a visiting academic fellow at Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia, said there is reason to doubt the government. He noted that the state-owned TV station in Ethiopia took pains not to show Lilesa's gesture during its Olympic coverage.

    Gabisa does not believe the government statement assuring Lilesa's safety can be trusted. "People who were killed, more than 500 Oromos and Amhara people who were killed, and maimed and imprisoned for showing the same gesture are still being killed. What unique reason do we have that Feyisa is not going to face the same predicament?" he told VOA.

    Ungashe shares similar concerns. He noted that after the government spokesman made the statement, the Oromia regional administration branch of the government — the Oromo People's Democratic Organization (OPDO), a group that supports the national government — used its website to accuse Lilesa of being used by "terrorists, by enemies of peace and enemies of development."

    "So who do you believe?" Ungashe said.

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  • Hailemariam Desalegn Decries Use of Social Media to Spread Messages of Hate and Bigotry

     As much as social media offers a digital platform to improve exchange of information and enhance popular participation, its attendant negative impacts simply cannot be ignored, Hailemariam Dessalegn, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, told the United Nations General Assembly today.
    “In fact, we are seeing how misinformation could easily go viral via social media and mislead many people, especially the youth,” he said in his address to the annual general debate, adding: “Social media has certainly empowered populists and other extremists to exploit people’s genuine concerns and spread their message of hate and bigotry without any inhibition.”
    On other global challenges, he said international peace and stability is facing greater risks with the rise of geo-political tensions and the growing threats posed by “all shades” of terrorist groups. Moreover, the global economy has not yet rebounded from the financial crisis.
    Further, “it is critical to underline one critical matter which is usually given short shrift, both by the media and others. It is simply hypocritical to deny that some of our countries have been targets for destabilization activities carried out with no accountability by people and groups who have been given shelters by states with whom we have absolutely no problems,” he stressed.
    It is under these challenging circumstances that countries are striving to implement the new UN transformational agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals, and, obviously, he said, there are no easy solutions to these complex issues. “The situation is much more pronounced specially for least developed countries like us which are making every possible effort to […] escape from the poverty trap.”
    “We believe our vision is right and we are determined to get there. Whatever challenges and shortcomings we may have, we don’t have difficulty owning up to them and we will make every- possible effort to deal with them in close consultation, cooperation and participation of our people,” Prime Minister Dessalegn said, noting that there is no better testimony for the resolve Ethiopia had shown in this regard than the way it had handled this past year’s devastating El-Nino.
    At the same time, he said Ethiopia could not simply “wish away” the challenges it is facing. Indeed, they need collective and coordinated responses “and we are always ready willing to continue to contribute positively in close partnership with others in our region and beyond in tackling these challenges.”
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  • Ethiopian Premier League (EPL) fixtures of the 2016/17

     The fixtures of the 2016/17 Ethiopian Premier League (EPL) season were announced on Thursday at Capital Hotel and Spa.
    The announcement ceremony and the drawing of lots were conducted in the presence of federation officials, representatives and managers of participating clubs and former players. Ahead of the announcement, the representatives deliberated on issues ranging from referees’ decisions to player transfers. They approved a different system for the upcoming premier league season. In that regard, the number of clubs that will be promoted to the premier league was decreased to 3, with winners of the super and leagues advancing along with a winner of the playoffs between the second placed teams.
    Elsewhere, clubs’ representatives raised their concerns regarding registration fee for clubs taking part in the league. The federation accepted the concern and said that it will reconsider the decision. The league is scheduled to start play on October 30, 2016 with the dates for fixtures to be announced in the near future.
    In the opening week reigning EPL champions St. George FC will entertain Arba Minch FC, while second-placed Ethiopian Coffee will play against Dedebit FC. In another match, third-placed Adama City FC will face Dire Dawa City FC.
    In the 2015/16 EPL season, the Horsemen were crown champions for a record 13 times. The Horsemen ended the league with 55 points, Ethiopia Coffee followed with 45, while Adama City and Dedebit managed to collect 44 and 39 points, respectively.
    Dedebit forward Dawit Fekadu finished the season with 14 goals, one goal behind Taffese Tesfaye of Adama City. 
    Week one EPL fixtures
    Saint George vs. Arbaminch City (Addis Ababa)
    Sidama Coffee vs. Fasil City (Yirgalem)
    Ethiopia Coffee vs. Dedebit (Addis Ababa)
    Wolaita Dicha vs. Defense (Boditi)
    Hawassa City vs. Addis Ababa City (Hawassa)
    Jimma Aba Bunna vs. Electric (Jimma)
    Woldia City vs. Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (Woldia)
    Adama City vs. Dire Dawa City (Adama)
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