Don't Torpedo The Dam, Full Speed Ahead For Ethiopia's Nile Project
By Gregory Warner
I once met a popular spoken word poet in Ethiopia who was asked by a government official to write a poem about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. (He politely explained that he didn't do poetry about infrastructure.) But it's not surprising that Ethiopia would like to inscribe this dam into the Ethiopian epic.
When completed, the Renaissance Dam promises to be the largest hydro-electric project in Africa. Funded without help from America or the West, the "renaissance" in the dam's title refers to a 70-year-old vision of Africa rising on the strength of its own abundant resources. Independence and self-reliance in the so-called "dark continent" begins with electricity.
But since Ethiopia began construction in 2011, Egypt has spun the dam as a threat. Egypt's way of life depends on the Nile River. Former president Mohammed Morsi once warned that every drop of water stolen from the Nile would be defended by a drop of Egyptian blood.
Singapore's visionary Mr Lee Kuan Yew inspires followers in Africa - including Ethiopia and Rwanda
NAIROBI/KIGALI (Reuters) - Few world leaders transform their own nations, let alone create a model that dozens of other countries seek to emulate. Singapore's Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who died this week aged 91, did both.
The economic miracle he masterminded is regularly cited by world leaders. And for many poorer nations in Africa and elsewhere, the Asian state offered lessons that were not imposed by institutions such as the World Bank or cooked up by former colonial powers.
Rwanda has come as close as any in Africa to emulating Singapore's rags-to-riches rise, though not in the same spectacular style - annual per capita income is still roughly 100th that of the Asian state's.
The landlocked nation of 10 million people boasts years of sturdy economic growth, pristine streets and donor praise, although critics of President Paul Kagame's government say gains have come at the cost of political freedom. "Beating the odds is a challenge we Rwandans and Singaporeans share," Mr Kagame told Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the son of Mr Lee, on a visit to the Asian state in 2008, calling it "an inspiration for us in Rwanda".
Ethiopia: Noted historian and scholar Dr. Yosef A. A. ben- Jochannon dead at age 96
The short list of Afrocentric historians and scholars was shortened March 19 with the passing of Dr. Yosef Alfredo Antonio ben-Jochannan.
Respected, beloved and acclaimed throughout the Black community, Dr. Ben died at age 96.
To those familiar with his perspective on Africa and his enlightened teachings about all things Egyptian, he was the acclaimed Egyptologist to fact-check details pertaining to the history of Black people throughout Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
Reputedly born Dec. 31, 1918 in Puerto Rico to a mother — Julia Matta — from that Caribbean island and an Ethiopian father – Kriston ben-Jochannon, the scholar claimed birthright in Ethiopia. Reportedly, shortly after his birth, the family moved to St. Croix, Virgin Islands, where he grew up.
What has been undisputed is that Dr. Ben was educated in Puerto Rico, Brazil, Cuba and Spain.
After earning a number of degrees in civil engineering, cultural anthropology and Moorish history he immigrated to the United States in the early 1940s.
How he emerged the go-to authority on Egypt, stems from his focus on studies about the Nile Valley, ancient civilizations and their impact on Western cultures. And while he talked with conviction about Cleopatra, the Sphinx, pyramids, and Kemet, he also walked the classical path for decades, guiding hundreds through educational tours to the region.
Ethiopia: Friends decry insanity claim by defendant in Seattle woman’s brutal slaying
Defense attorney suggests alleged killer may not be competent to stand trial
Family and friends of slain 24-year-old Biftu Dadi packed a Seattle courtroom Wednesday to catch a glimpse as the man accused of killing her pleaded not guilty.
Attila Richards is alleged to have fatally stabbed Dadi on March 9 in the back of an SUV parked in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood. King County prosecutors say he then drove around as she bled to death before arriving at a state mental hospital, where he tried to check himself in.
More than 100 people packed the downtown courtroom as Richards, 29, entered his plea. It was a large crowd for a small man; skinny and standing 5 feet, 7 inches tall, Richards wore chains and the red scrubs that are standard issue at King County jail.
Addressing King County Superior Court Judge Bill Bowman, Richards’ attorney Evan Oshan was quick to raise questions as to his client’s sanity. Speaking after the hearing, Mergia Sonessa called that claim “absurd.”
Sissi Warns Ethiopia to Maintain Consensus on Nile Dam
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi addressed his hopes and concerns about sharing waters of the Nile River while addressing the Ethiopian parliament Wednesday, during his first official state visit to Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is building Africa’s largest hydropower dam, using waters of the Nile.
Sissi said he understands the need for Ethiopia to develop, but warned that conflict should be avoided when utilizing resources and seeking progress.
He says your Egyptian brothers also have the right, not only to development, but also the right to life itself. And to live in safe haven on the banks of the River Nile.
Ethiopia says that the $4 billion dam will not affect Egypt’s access to Nile water. The energy produced from the dam is to be used for Ethiopia’s domestic market and for export to countries in the region.
Sissi's speech comes two days after he signed an agreement on the Nile with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
No details were released but the agreement is believed to focus on resolving misunderstandings between Nile countries, causing no harm to one another and promising to work out detailed procedures in the near future.
Sissi called on leaders of all Nile countries to work together on reaching a consensus about the waters.
He says, "one that allows us to overcome the differences and outstanding points in the Nile Basin Initiative Framework Agreement, for it to include all the basin countries and to address all their needs."
Tensions between Ethiopia and Egypt rose after Ethiopia started dam construction in 2012. Although most of the Nile’s water originates in Ethiopia, an old colonial-era agreement gives Egypt the right to over 80 percent of Nile water.
Ethiopia’s dam, named the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, is now about 40 percent completed
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