Ethiopia’s elections are just an exercise in controlled political participation

No sign of flagging … an Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front election rally in Addis Ababa. The party's lengthy period in office is likely to be extended.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           No sign of flagging … an Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front election rally in Addis Ababa. The party’s lengthy period in office is likely to be extended. Photograph: Tiksa Negeri/Reuters

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Ethiopia: Voters being forced to cast ballots ahead of election day

SMNE Press Release
May 14, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – The Ethiopian National Election is on May 24, 2015, less than two weeks away, but the authoritarian regime, under the control of the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) for the last 23 years, appears to be panicking. The political mood of the Ethiopian people is feistier than ever as they see the election to be a totally controlled process, hardly worthy of their participation. Yet, even despite the scrupulous closing down of all political space, the EPRDF is obviously still scared and has come up with a new plan to further protect themselves from the vote of the people, even while pretending otherwise. Continue reading

A Place Where Names Shouldn’t Count for Much

By Teshome Abebe*
May 17, 2015

I begin this essay by paying tribute to the men who perished in the hands of the cowardly, ignorant, despicable, and abhorrent criminals who murder men and women and enslave children for political gain in search of power. Though their aim was, in part, to provoke inter and intra-religious antagonism and conflict in Ethiopia, they must have discovered, to their surprise, that in matters of peace and war, Ethiopians do not have a history of begging for mercy. In the spirit of the age-old Ethiopian tradition, the young men who perished never begged for mercy knowing fully that those who plead for it never get it. Continue reading

U.S. State Department issues Ethiopia Travel Alert

U.S. State Department issues Ethiopia Travel Alert

 Source; State Department

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Ethiopia of the upcoming elections scheduled for May 24, 2015. U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution and remain abreast of the security situation throughout the electoral period. This Travel Alert expires on June 30, 2015.

The State Department recommends U.S. citizens maintain a high level of security awareness during the electoral period and avoid political rallies, polling centers, demonstrations, and crowds of any kind as instances of unrest can occur. Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Although there have been no specific incidents of violence targeting U.S. citizens, U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution and stay current with media coverage of local events. Election results are scheduled to be announced June 22, 2015.

During previous elections, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) required all diplomats and international organization staff living in Addis Ababa to receive an official pass from the MFA if they planned to travel outside of Addis Ababa during the election season. While not in effect this election, the U.S. Embassy continues to urge U.S. citizens to be aware of election sensitivities. We especially recommend avoiding public polling stations on the day of the election, including schools and other public buildings. In Addis Ababa alone there will be nearly 1,600 polling stations – roughly one polling station for every kilometer.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Ethiopia enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at travel.state.gov. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. Consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you do not have Internet access, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to enroll directly.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Ethiopia. For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website.

The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa is located at Entoto Street, P.O. Box 1014. The Consular Section of the Embassy may be reached by telephone: +251-111-306000 or e-mail at consacs@state.gov, and is open Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. For after-hours emergencies, U.S. citizens should call +251-111-306911 or 011-130-6000 and ask to speak with the duty officer.

 

Sudan’s Bashir reelected with 94% of vote

  By Abdelmoneim Abu Idris Ali
April 28, 2015

Khartoum (AFP) – Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir was re-elected with more than 94 percent of the vote, results showed on Monday, despite international war crimes charges and a poll marred by low turnout and an opposition boycott.

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Sudan’s President Omer al-Bshir delivers a speech following his re-election for another five-year term, on April 27, 2015, in Khartoum (Photo AFP/Ashraf Shazly)

 

 

 

The opposition rejected the result as a “joke” after the electoral commission announced the figures securing another five-year term for Bashir, 71, after the election held earlier this month. Continue reading

Earthquake slams Nepal; devastating loss of people, history

Kathmandu, Nepal (CNN)Rescue crews and residents in Nepal early Sunday began the desperate search for survivors after a magnitude-7.8 quake near the capital of Kathmandu a day earlier flattened homes, buildings and temples, causing widespread damage across the region and killing more than 1,800 people.

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Glenn Beck: Why Do American Christians Care More About Memories Pizzeria Than Christians Beheaded by ISIS?

BY SAMUEL SMITH , CP REPORTER

glenn-beckIn his Monday program on TheBlaze TV, popular conservative commentator Glenn Beck criticized American Christians for giving an outpouring of support to Christian-owned businesses that are being attacked for their beliefs while doing nothing to rally in support of Christians who’ve been beheaded for their faith by the Islamic State.

Before making his point, Beck played a clip of the ISIS video, which was released on Sunday, that showed the beheadings of 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya. Beck then asked why it is that most Christians in the U.S. don’t care about the barbaric killings of their brothers and sisters in Christ.

Beck found it weird that when the Christian owners of Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, received death threats for saying that they would not serve a gay wedding, there was an overwhelming amount of support and charity given by other Christians. But, when Christians in Libya were beheaded by ISIS because of their faith, Christians in America looked away and did not seem to care.

“When we talked about a Christian pizza parlor just the other day, Christians responded in large numbers when Christian-owned businesses are threatened for their beliefs. Here people are getting executed,” Beck stated. “Shouldn’t the response be exponentially greater when Christians are literally being beheaded and crucified, children being raped and killed every single day? Why is the response so muted? I don’t have an answer. I have this question and I cannot find an answer that I am comfortable with.”

Beck said he can understand why people in other parts of the world don’t care about ISIS’ persecution of Christians, but he can’t figure out why Christians in America are so apathetic toward it.

Beck further explained that Christians in China and the Middle East have become so desensitized to violence toward Christians that it has become a normality in their lives, and it makes sense that they don’t care as much. He also explained that Europe has become so immersed in multiculturalism that Europeans are afraid to speak out against Muslim acts of violence toward Christians.

“I guess I can kinda see how the rest of the world doesn’t react to this. But I don’t understand us. It is not an excuse [that] Christianity just isn’t their thing,” Beck asserted. “That can explain the lack of major action from all of them but what is our excuse?”

In trying to answer his own question, Beck reasoned that since the Christians that have been featured in ISIS’ publicized mass execution videos have been Ethiopian and Coptic, Christians in America don’t identify with them well enough to care about their slayings.

“We don’t know what the Coptic thing is. Are they Christian? Would we care if the victims are Methodists or Baptists or Catholic or Mormon? I guarantee you we would,” Beck said. “Is the president right? If the victims were white instead of Arab or black, would we care more? I thought maybe we are too far removed in our creature comforts here in America that it is not even real to us. And we don’t have the energy to care about something that is happening half of the world away because our world is burning down here.”

Another reason that Beck came up with was that American Christians are “helpless” and don’t know what can be done to prevent more Christians from being beheaded by ISIS.

“The only thing that I come up with that I am comfortable with is that we feel helpless and we don’t know what to do, so we do nothing. … [T]hat is not an excuse, not for Americans,” Beck argued. “Necessity is the mother of invention. We are told all the time that we can’t go to the moon, you can’t do that, can’t have the Internet. We always think our way out of the box. We are told that we can’t do it and we do it.”

The notion that American Christians can’t do anything to help Christians who are at the mercy of ISIS is completely false, Beck contended, explaining that some Americans are already making efforts.

“There are soldiers right now, we have shown you, soldiers, American soldiers, who have joined the fight, not for ISIS but against ISIS. [They are] going over there on their dime, risking their life because they couldn’t take it anymore,” Beck explained. “There are churches who are clothing and feeding the Christians over there. … I don’t buy into the fact that we don’t know what to do.”

Beck also criticized the fact that Americans don’t want to watch the sickening ISIS beheading videos but they will watch graphic TV shows like “The Walking Dead.” He further asserted that it’s important for Americans to watch the ISIS execution videos.

“They will win if we don’t watch it. They want you to look away. They need you to look away,” Beck commented. “Did you hear what he said? ‘We will haunt you even in your dreams.’”

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Bashir cancels Indonesia trip over denial of flight permissions: sources

April 20, 2015 (KHARTOUM)— The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir has canceled his visit to Indonesia on Monday to attend the meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement.

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FILE – The aeroplane of Sudan’s leader Omer Hassan al-Bashir lands at Beijing International Airport June 28, 2011 (REUTERS/Liu Jin/Pool)

Reliable sources told Sudan Tribune on condition of anyonymity that Bashir’s trip was scrapped due to several countries denying him permission to fly over their airspace en route to Jakarta.

The names of these nations and reasons behind their decision were not disclosed. Continue reading