Saturday, April 27, 2013

Parking lot manager pleads guilty in theft from Smithsonian

A parking lot manager for the Smithsonian’s air and space museum in Chantilly pleaded guilty Friday to his role in stealing approximately $1.4 million in parking fees during a three-year scheme. The manager, Abeselom Hailemariam, 33, of Alexandria, skimmed as much as half of the cash that attendants stole each day , court records show, and also advised the attendants on when to ease up on the thefts to avoid detection. Hailemariam is the third person to plead guilty in the case in which attendants pocketed the $15 parking fee paid by at least 92,213 visitors to the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. They masked the crime by unplugging counting mechanisms in their booths and doctoring shift reports about lot activity, court records state. Hailemariam was arrested in March at Dulles International Airport where he was returning from Ethi¬o¬pia after five months residing there, court files show. A sealed arrest warrant for him had been issued in late November, according to case files. Hailemariam faces up to five years in prison at his sentencing set for July 19 on his plea to conspiracy to commit theft of public money, prosecutors said. Previously, lot attendant Meseret Terefe, 37, of Silver Spring, received a 20-month sentence and Freweyni Mebrahtu, 46, of Sterling, was sentenced to 27 months after convictions for their parts in the thefts. The federal case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia was investigated by the Smithsonian Office of the Inspector General and the FBI. Source ( Washingotn Post)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pervez Musharraf Arrested in Benazir Bhutto Assassination Case

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has been “formally arrested” for his alleged role in the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, prosecutors say. “Today FIA (Federal Investigative Agency) formally arrested General Musharraf in the Benazir Bhutto case,” AFP quoted prosecution lawyer Chaudhry Azhar as saying on Thursday. Musharraf will remain at his Chak Shahzad farmhouse residence on the edge of Islamabad where he is already under a two-week house arrest over his decision to sack judges during a crackdown on the judiciary in 2007. He is scheduled to appear at an anti-terrorist court in Rawalpindi city near Islamabad on Friday. The arrest of the former military ruler came one day after a Pakistani court refused to extend Musharraf’s bail in connection with the murder of former prime minister. Bhutto was killed in a gun-and-bomb attack in December 2007 as she was leaving an election rally in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. The Bhutto case is the second of three cases against Musharraf dating back to his rule from 1999 to 2008. He is also accused in a case relating to the death of a Baluch leader during a 2006 military operation. Human Rights Watch has called on the Pakistani government to hold Musharraf accountable for widespread and serious human rights abuses committed when he was president. The former army general, who grabbed power in an October 1999 bloodless coup, stepped down in August 2008 as president of the country when his allies lost parliamentary elections in February 2008 and a new government threatened him with impeachment. A year later, he left the country. Last month, Musharraf returned home after nearly four years of self-imposed exile in London and Dubai to run for the parliamentary elections, which are scheduled to be held on May 11. Source ( International Business Times)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Eritrea grounds its air force after a series of defections

The Eritrean government has grounded its small air force after a series of defections by senior pilots over the past year. A friend of mine at Asmara air port told me that all aircraft, including small planes and helicopters owned by the air force, are being prevented from taking off. Recently, two Eritrean pilots had landed the president’s plane in Saudi Arabia and requested political asylum. Just a few days ago, another pilot, who was sent by President Isayas Afewerki to bring back his plane also defected. Saudi newspapers reported that the female captain is seeking political asylum.  Source ( Ethiopian review)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Who said a picture is worth a thousand words?

This is mother Ethiopia, conjuring images and sensations with million words you know and million words you do not know. Love; affection; fondness; infatuation; devotion; passion; ardor; fire; zeal; commitment; obligation; duty; responsibility; sacrifice…and etc.  Take a good look at mother Ethiopia. What do you see and how do you feel? Do you see a picture of million words or, a depiction of million lives of life and love in Ethiopia? Do you have tears of joy in your eyes, seeing how pristine the love of mother Ethiopia is? Or, do you regret having born from a poverty-stricken mother? Did you ever have a mother unlike what you see in this picture; in essence and in spirit? No matter how you answer this question, were you at all ashamed of your mother then?   Read more...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Over 950 woredas, offices benefit from WoredaNet project, says Ministry of information and Technology

Over 950 woredas and government offices were connected by WordaNet project, according to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.WoredaNet is a terrestrial and satellite-based network designed to provide ICT services such as video conferencing, messaging and internet connectivity to the federal, regional and woreda level government bodies. Data Center and Network Infrastructure Team Leader with the Ministry, Maere Mekonnen, told WIC that the woredas and offices connected by the network are located across the country. Initially, only 611 woredas were connected; however, following the due attention paid by the government the entities connected by the project has jumped to over 950, he said. According to him, the WoredaNet is aimed at improving of federal and regional governments’ service delivery to the public.  Source ( Walta information)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ethiopian journalist Reyot Alemu won 2013 WPF Prize

Imprisoned Ethiopian journalist Reeyot Alemu is the winner of the 2013 UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. Ms Alemu was recommended by an independent international jury of media professionals in recognition of her “exceptional courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression.” The Jury took note of Reeyot Alemu’s contribution to numerous and independent publications. She wrote critically about political and social issues, focusing on the root causes of poverty, and gender equality. She worked for several independent media. In 2010 she founded her own publishing house and a monthly magazine called Change, both of which were subsequently closed. In June 2011, while working as a regular columnist for Feteh, a national weekly newspaper, Ms Alemu was arrested. She is currently serving a five year  sentence in Kality prison.  The UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize was created in 1997 by UNESCO’s Executive Board. It is awarded annually during the celebration of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, which will take place this year in Costa Rica.  The Prize honours the work of an individual or an organization which has made a notable contribution to the defence and /or promotion of freedom of expression anywhere in the world, especially if risks have been involved. Candidates are proposed by UNESCO Member States, and regional or international organizations active in the fields of journalism and freedom of expression. Laureates are chosen by a jury whose members are appointed for a once renewable three-year term by the Director-General of UNESCO.    Source (UNESCO)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, Rita Jeptoo of Kenya win divisions of Boston Marathon

In his second race at the 26.2-mile distance, Desisa finished five seconds ahead of Kenya's Micah Kogo to earn $150,000 and the traditional olive wreath. Gebregziabher Gebremariam of Ethiopia was third, with American Jason Hartmann matching his 2012 finish by coming in fourth. Rita Jeptoo of Kenya won the women's race earlier for her second Boston victory. Jeptoo, who also won in 2006, finished in 2:26:25 for her first victory in a major race since taking two years off after having a baby. About two hours after Desisa crossed the finish line, two bombs went off near the finish line — killing at least three people and injuring more than 140. Read more…

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Marathon Explosion Witnesses: Smoke, Trampling, 'Like a War Zone'

Eyewitnesses at the Boston Marathon described the ground shaking beneath their feet, smoke and "a lot of chaos" this afternoon when explosions killed two people and injured dozens. Rachel Sibley, 22, was 50 feet from the finish line waiting for a friend to cross.   "All of a sudden I heard this bang that sounded like a cannon," she said. "You could see people looking up at the sky like there were fireworks, like a celebratory bang. The whole crowd waited for a moment, and then the second one went off. It was terrifying and absolute chaos.
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ethiopian girl reportedly guarded by lions

She was beaten repeatedly before she was found June 9 by police and relatives on the outskirts of Bita Genet, Wondimu said. She had been guarded by the lions for about half a day, he said. “They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest,” Wondimu said.“If the lions had not come to her rescue, then it could have been much worse. Often these young girls are raped and severely beaten to force them to accept the marriage,” he said. Read more

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Erteria: Air force Captain who had a mission to retrieve presidential jet is seeking political asylum.

Captain Rahwa Gebrekristos deserted to Saudi Arabia after being sent to the kingdom last week on assignment to retrieve a presidential jet that had been waiting for return following the defection of another two air force pilots last year.However, like her two former colleagues, Yonas Woldeab and his deputy Mekonnen Debesay, who secretly flew president Isaias Afewerki’s plane to Saudi Arabia last October before defecting, Gebrekristos is also claiming asylum. Opposition sources allege that Eritrean authorities are secretly consulting with their Saudi counterparts to deport the 34-year-old pilot. She is currently being held at a police station in the western city of Jizan until Saudi authorities decide on her fate.An Eritrean opposition official told Sudan Tribune that if Gebrekristos is deported she could face torture or other inhuman treatments, as well as a long-term prison sentence or even the death penalty.Under Eritrean law, military members who defect are considered traitors, a crime punishable by death. Nessredin Ahmed, the spokesperson for foreign affairs at the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organisation (RSADO), called on the international community to apply pressure on the Saudi government not to deport Gebrekristos, saying she is in need of protection. The one-party state, which has been led by Afewerki since gaining independence in 1993, has among the world’s worst records on human rights and press freedom.The country is Africa’s foremost jailer of journalists and is also known by right groups as a “giant prison”, with the tiny nation home to up to 10,000 political prisoners. Source (Sudan Tribune)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sudan Basher orders release of all political prisoners

"I announce today my decision to release all political prisoners," Bashir told parliament. "I also renew a commitment to create a climate to hold a national dialogue with the other political forces." Bashir, in power since 1989, did not say when and how many prisoners would be released. Rights groups have accused the government of holding an unspecified number of dissidents since the security services cracked down hard on small protests against austerity measures unveiled by Bashir last year.  Read  more….