Seven Days Update, Vol. 20 No. 26
Residents in Ethiopia's capital awoke to the sound of a 21-gun salute Tuesday to mark the first year anniversary of the death of long-time ruler Meles Zenawi. The ritual underscores the approach Meles' successors have employed during the last year: a continued lionization of the late prime minister, whose portrait still appears in every public office across the country. Candlelit vigils and the launch of over two dozen parks were organized across the country for the late leader. In the capital a cornerstone for the Meles Zenawi Memorial Museum was laid in a televised ceremony (AP, Aug. 20).
A senior Ethiopian government official said that a device found at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport was not an explosive, as was recently reported by Sudan Tribune and other media outlets. “The device was not an explosive or type of bomb but just a flammable cylinder gas,” Communication State Minister Shimelis Kemal told Sudan Tribune. He added that a counter-terrorism team has been established to deal with the incident. Kemal said the situation is under investigation and no suspect has yet been arrested. Airport authorities also confirmed today that the devices found were gas cylinders (WIC, Aug. 23).
The Unity for Justice and Democracy Party (Andinet) has accused the ruling party of carrying out a media defamation campaign against it., Andinet said the government has been airing a documentary film on ETV to implicate Andinet in the recent assassination of Sheikh Nur in Dessie. It said the government also tried to accuse Andinet of conniving with Muslim extremists in destabilizing public peace and security. The party said the government should stop harassing Muslims immediately (Reporter, Aug. 18).
According to Ethiopian government officials, the Egyptian interim government has been pressing officials in Addis Ababa to stop the construction of the Renaissance Dam along the Nile River. It comes as Egypt finds itself in a messy internal conflict that threatens the stability of the country. “We have been talked to over the past few days by top Egyptian officials who have urged us to stop the dam and they are using the recent clashes in their country as a way of not being seen internationally,” a top diplomat in the foreign ministry told Bikyanews.com It comes after months of meandering over water rights along the world’s longest river. Egypt is concerned that the dam project would damage its ability to deliver drinking water to its over 85 million population (Bikya.news, Aug. 21).
India's gemstone-crafting industry is to invest in the mineral-rich Ethiopia following the east African nation's ban on the export of rough opal. "The companies are known for lapidary (gemstonecrafting) and having them would add value and hence play part to increase export revenues" Tamrat Mojjo, head of artisanal mining at the ministry of mines, told. According to him, the companies that have decided to invest are finalizing the feasibility study and details will be released once this process is complete. India was the largest destination for Ethiopian opal, buying close to 80% of the country's exports last year (IANS).
The government plans to take back the land it has given to the Indian company Karuturi and the Saudi Star of Sheikh Al-Amoudi since the latter has failed to develop the land as per the agreement. In the past 20 years, the government has been providing agricultural land to foreign and local investors expecting them to develop and make good use of the land. It was reported that both companies have failed to honor their pledges to develop the land and engage in production on time (Reporter, Aug. 18).
6.5 million q of grain will be supplied to the market this budget year to stabilize the market, the Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise (EGTE) said. The enterprise has the responsibility to purchase grain from farmers and sell it in local and mainly in export markets to contribute towards the stabilization of markets. In order to discharge this responsibility, the enterprise organized a half-day consultative meeting aimed at providing transparent and quick service for customers and stakeholders. “In order to create a EGTE General Manager, Berhane Hailu, said as part of the efforts to stabilize the market, the enterprise supplied 6 million q of grain to flour factories and beneficiaries in the last budget year (WIC, Aug. 22).
A polio outbreak on the Horn of Africa has spread to Ethiopia. An 18-month old child in the Warder district of Ethiopia is the country's first polio case since 2008. Warder district is just across the border from Somalia, where 108 polio cases have been reported this year. Carol. A Somali refugee camp in Kenya has also seen 12 cases of the paralyzing disease this year. The outbreak began in Somalia in May, when a two year old girl came down with the disease, the country's first since 2007 (VOA, Aug. 22).