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  • Ethiopian Opposition leader Arrested for trespassing state of emergency rulings

    Awramba Times (Addis Ababa) – Ethiopian security agents have arrested Merera Gudina (PhD), chairman of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress today. Merera was arrested at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport while returning back to his home country from abroad.

    Reliable sources disclosed to Awramba Times that the cause for Merera Gudina’s arrest is trespassing the state of emergency rulings. More updates to come 

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  • Ethiopia’s internet crackdown hurts everyone

    Ethiopia has never been an easy place to operate. But a six-month state of emergency, combined with internet and travel restrictions imposed in response to a wave of anti-government protests, means it just got a whole lot harder.

    The government has targeted the mobile data connections that the majority of Ethiopians use to get online. Internet users have also been unable to access Facebook Messenger and Twitter, with a host of other services also rendered unreliable. 

    This has impacted everyone: from local businesses, to foreign embassies, to families, as well as the extensive and vital international aid community.

    “Non-governmental organisations play crucial roles in developing countries, often with country offices in the capitals, satellite offices across remote regions, and parent organisations in foreign countries,” said Moses Karanja, an internet policy researcher at Strathmore University in Nairobi.  “They need access to the internet if their operations are to be efficiently coordinated.”

    The Ethiopian government has been candid about the restrictions being in response to year-long anti-government protests in which hundreds of people have died.

    It has singled out social media as a key factor in driving unrest. Since the beginning of October, there has been a spike in violence resulting in millions of dollars’ worth of damage to foreign-owned factories, government buildings and tourist lodges across Oromia Region, initially ground zero for the dissent.

    “Mobile data will be permitted once the government assesses that it won’t threaten the implementation of the state of emergency,” government spokesman Getachew Reda – who has since been replaced – told a 26 October press conference in Addis Ababa.

    The Oromo are the country’s largest ethnic group, constituting 35 percent of the country’s nearly 100 million population. They have historically felt ignored by successive regimes in Addis Ababa. In August, similar grassroots protest broke out among the Amhara, Ethiopia’s second largest ethnic group. The ruling EPRDF is portrayed by opponents as a narrow, unrepresentative clique that refuses to share power.

    Ethiopia is not alone in its approach to political unrest. Around the world, as countries become increasingly integrated with online technology, the more autocratic governments are blocking the internet whenever they deem it necessary.

    “The trend appears to be growing because more people are going online and using the internet, often through the use of mobile connections,” said Deji Olukotun of Access Now, which campaigns for digital rights. In 2016, it documented 50 shutdowns, up from less than 20 in 2015.

    “People are enjoying the freedom and opportunity that the internet provides, which enables them to organise themselves and advocate for what they want,” Olukotun told IRIN. “In response, governments are shutting down the net to stop this practice.”

    More Here

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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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  • US election 2016 result: Historic win for Somali-American woman

    A Somali-born former refugee has made history by becoming the first Somali legislator in the United States.

    Ilhan Omar, 34, who wears the hijab, was elected to serve in Minnesota's state house of representatives.

    The Muslim Somali-American woman becomes the highest-ranking Somali elected to office in the US.

    Her election comes just days after US President-elect Donald Trump accused Somali immigrants in Minnesota of "spreading their extremist views".

    Minnesota has the nation's largest Somali community - about 50,000 according to the US census.

    Celebrating her victory, Ms Omar said she would be the "voice for the marginalised" in the state parliament.

    "I think I bring the voice of young people. I think I bring the voice of women in the East African community. I bring the voice of Muslims. I bring the voice of young mothers looking for opportunities," Minnesota Public Radio quoted her as saying.

    Ms Omar escaped from Somalia with her family at the start of the civil war when she was eight years old.

    They lived in a Kenyan refugee camp for four years, before moving to the US and settling in a Somali-American neighbourhood in Minnesota.

     More Here 

     

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