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  • South Africa’s ‘Prophet of Doom’ condemned

     

    In a Facebook post, self-proclaimed prophet Lethebo Rabalago claims a pesticide called Doom can heal people.

    The company that produces Doom warned of the risks of spraying the substance, while a government commission urged anyone affected to lodge complaints.

    But the pastor has defended his actions, telling the BBC he is using unconventional methods to heal people.

    The country has seen a wave of practices where church members have been subjected to unorthodox rituals to receive healing.

    In photos circulating on Facebook and Twitter, Mr Rabalago, who runs the Mount Zion General Assembly in the Limpopo province, is seen spraying the insecticide directly into the eyes and various body parts of his congregants.

    He told the BBC’s Nomsa Maseko in Johannesburg that he had sprayed the face of one woman because she had an eye infection and claimed the woman was “just fine because she believed in the power of God”.

    He also claims the spray can heal cancer and HIV.

    “Doom is just a name, but when you speak to it to become a healing product, it does. People get healed and delivered through doom,” a post on the church’s Facebook account reads.

    Testimonies of people who have supposedly been healed by Doom have also been posted on the Facebook page.

    In another interview, , the pastor is heard saying: “The truth is, Doom can heal people in the right way.”

     

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  • The Weeknd is helping U of T resurrect a lost Ethiopian language

     

    Giving back: The Weeknd, whose parents emigrated from Ethiopia, donated $50,000 toward the course

    Along with Greek, Hebrew and Arabic, Ethiopia’s Ge’ez is considered one of the world’s oldest Semitic languages—but you’ve probably never heard of it.
    Michael Gervers, a professor in the department of historical and cultural studies at the University of Toronto, believes it’s important to resurrect it. “The entire history of Ethiopia is in this language,” he says. “Everything written up until 1850 was written in Ge’ez, so we have 2,000 years of textual material that people don’t have access to.” It was replaced by Amharic as Ethiopia’s official language.

    In 2015, Gervers started a fund to create an Ethiopian studies program at U of T, setting a goal of $200,000 and donating $50,000 of his own money. The dean’s office matched that donation; and this year, so did Abel Tesfaye—the Toronto-born, Grammy-winning R&B singer professionally known as The Weeknd, whose parents immigrated to Canada from Ethiopia in the 1980s.
    Tesfaye promoted the cause to his more than four million Twitter followers. “Sharing our brilliant and ancient history of Ethiopia. Proud to support the studies in our homie town through @UofT and @bikilaaward,” he wrote.

    READ: University of Toronto | Toronto, Ont. | Founded 1827
    U of T will offer a Ge’ez language course starting in January, making it the first post-secondary school in North America to do so. Eventually, the university hopes to offer undergrad and graduate programs that focus on Ge’ez and Ethiopia’s culture and history.
    Gervers believes Ethiopia has been ignored due to a European influence on academics. Since the country was never colonized (except for a brief occupation by Mussolini’s fascists) not many people know of its original language. “It was outside of the gambit of colonial Europe,” he says. “And, as a consequence, you can go to any African studies program—with the exception of the University of Toronto—and you won’t find Ethiopian studies.”

     

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  • WikiLeaks: Sheikh Agreed to Pay Bill $2 Million Per Trip to Ethiopia

    Clinton Foundation aide says ‘unless Sheikh Mo has sent us a $6 million check, this sounds crazy to do’

    A top Clinton Foundation official expressed reservations about former President Bill Clinton contacting a Saudi Arabian and Ethiopian billionaire to thank him for offering a plane ride to Ethiopia — unless it would mean a seven-figure donation.

    According to a briefing memo contained in an email chain released by WikiLeaks, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Al-Amoudi of Midroc had pledged to donate $20 million over 10 years to the Clinton Health Access Initiative. But an economic downturn caused the sheikh to delay payments. The health program did not receive payments in 2010 or 2011.

    “Unless Sheikh Mo has sent us a $6 million check, this sounds crazy to do.”
    In an email released by WikiLeaks Monday, Clinton Health Access Initiative CEO Ira Magaziner suggested in November 2011 that Clinton call the sheikh.

    “CHAI would like to request that President Clinton call Sheikh Mohammed to thank him for offering his plane to the conference in Ethiopia and expressing regrets that President Clinton’s schedule does not permit him to attend the conference,” he wrote.

    WikiLeaks released more of the email chain on Tuesday. Amitabh Desai, director of foreign policy at the foundation, expressed reservations — unless the sheikh had caught up with his financial commitment.

    “Unless Sheikh Mo has sent us a $6 million check, this sounds crazy to do,” he responded.

    But Bruce Lindsey, chairman of the Clinton Foundation’s board of directors, argued in favor of the plan.

    “I think they are hopeful if we do this it will help us get the $6 million,” he wrote. “I think he [Clinton] should call.”

    The sheikh was born in Ethiopia to an Ethiopian mother and Saudi father. He later moved to Saudi Arabia and made a fortune in construction and real estate before buying oil refineries in Sweden and Morocco. He approached the Clinton Foundation in 2006 and proposed donating $2 million to the health program for every year that Clinton visited Ethiopia. The final agreement the parties struck mentioned a payment schedule but did not tie the money to Clinton’s visits to the African country.

    In 2008, the sheikh donated rooms at a Sheraton hotel in Ethiopia and meals for Clinton and a large party for four days — two days longer than originally planned because of aircraft problems.

    According to Clinton Foundation documents, the sheikh contributed $5 million to $10 million, though it is unclear how much of that came after the email exchange.

    The memo laid out strategies for getting the sheikh to cough up the money he owed and detailed discussions with George Salem, the sheikh’s Washington-based lawyer, and Irvin Hicks, a former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia and one of the sheikh’s representatives in Washington.

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  • Ethiopia says 2,000 arrested and released in emergency - AP

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — An Ethiopian official said 2,000 people have been detained and later released under the country's state of emergency that was declared on October 8, 2016. The remarks came amid local media reports that thousands of people are being detained across some parts of the country that have witnessed some of the worst violence in the past couple of weeks.

    "About 2,000 people were arrested and later released after undergoing counseling under the state of emergency," Defense Minister Siraj Fegessa, who oversees the state of emergency, told local reporters on Sunday. He said authorities collected more than 1,500 firearms that had been looted during the violence in the country.

    He declined to say how many people are still in detention but mentioned various military camps and prison facilities where inmates nabbed under the state of emergency are being held.

     Ethiopia's Oromia region has been experiencing renewed unrest following the deaths of dozens of people in a stampede during a religious festival in Bishoftu in early October. Protests have also hit the Amhara region.

    Ethiopia's President, Mulatu Teshome, said on October 10 that the government will address some of the public's grievances and will conduct electoral and political reforms. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is expected to announce a new cabinet on Tuesday, Ethiopia's government spokesman, Getachew Reda, said on Monday.

    On Monday, Human Rights Watch urged Ethiopian officials to promptly repeal or revise all elements of the state of emergency that it said are contrary to international law.

    "Ethiopia's state of emergency bans nearly all speech that the government disagrees with anywhere in the country for at least six months," Felix Horne, Human Rights Watch's senior Africa researcher said. "The state of emergency hands the army new sweeping powers to crack down on demonstrators further limiting the space for peaceful dissent."

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  • Eritrean air force pilots defect to Ethiopia with military plane

     

     

    Eritrean air force pilots, named Mebrahtu Tesfamariam and Afework fissehaye, have defected on Wednesday by flying their military aircraft Zlin-143-102 to Ethiopia’s northern city, Mekelle, sources disclosed to Awramba times.

    This is not the first time for Eritrean air force members to defect to the neighboring nations.

    In 2012, two Eritrean military pilots secretly flew President Isaias Afewerki’s plane to Saudi Arabia where they sought political asylum. A year after this incident, three other members of the Eritrean air force have defected with their fighter jet to Saudi Arabia. In April the same year, another female Eritrean air force pilot sent by the regime to retrieve the stolen jet from Saudi Arabia herself was defected.

    As no Eritrean pilot has yet made his route to Ethiopia, the pilots who defected to Ethiopia today are the first ever Eritrean air force members to make the neighboring Ethiopia a destination of their defection.

     

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