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Ethiopia aid diverted for arms in 1980s

An investigation by the BBC has revealed that millions of dollars in famine relief aid money, including the money raised from the charity supergroup Band Aid and the Live Aid concert held by Bob Geldof was “siphoned off” by Ethiopian rebels to buy weapons.

Live Aid at Philadelphia

One rebel said that at least US$ 95 million (£63 million) from – Western governments and private charities – was diverted into rebel coffers.

This was also noted in a declassified Central Intelligence Agency assessment of the famine situation titled, Ethiopia: Political and Security Impact of the Drought, in which the report states, “Some funds that insurgent organizations are raising for relief operations, as a result of increased world publicity, are almost certainly being diverted for military purposes.” Read More…

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5 Million Ethiopians in need of food aid

The United Nations has estimated that about 4.8 million people in Ethiopia will need 529,148 tons of emergency food aid worth approximately US$270 million in the first half of next year.

“Despite the collaborative efforts of the government and humanitarian partners to address ongoing humanitarian challenges in Ethiopia, humanitarian needs are expected to remain,” read a statement on the UN official website. Read More…

Ireland and Norway donate emergency aid relief to Ethiopia

Ireland has pledged €1.35 million in emergency aid to Ethiopia, in order to help quell the ongoing food crisis in the country.

According to figures by the Ethiopian government released on Friday, the number of people needing food aid in the country is 6.2 million.

Irish Minister of State for Overseas Development Peter Power said that he was “deeply concerned” about the figures.

Ethiopia appeals for food aid for over 6 million

The government of Ethiopia has appealed the international community for food aid for 6.2 million people that it says are in danger of starvation.

Mitiku Kassa, the Ethiopian State Minister for Agriculture, said that the country needs about 159,000 tonnes of food aid, worth US$121 million, between now and the end of the year. Read More…

Ethiopian troops will leave Somalia

A foreign ministry spokesperson has announced that all Ethiopian troops will withdraw from Somalia by the end of this year.

Two years ago, Ethiopia sent out thousands of soldiers to Somalia in an effort to help the government oust Islamists from the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

Under the deal, African Union troops will replace Ethiopian troops withdrawing from the cities of Mogadishu and Beledweyne, while the Somali government and ARS will create a police force 10,000-strong.

UN requests US$700 million in aid for East Africa

The United Nations has called for wealthy donor nations to donate US$700 million (£382 million or 484 million) in emergency aid for Eastern Africa to prevent widespread famine. Since the start of 2008 the number of people living in hunger has almost doubled to seventeen million in the area, the UN claims.

According to UN emergency releif co-ordinator John Holmes, food levels are dangerously low in much of Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Northern Kenya and Uganda. The area, known as the ‘Horn of Africa‘, has seen drought, war and high food prices all worsen the situation. Holmes has warned that the levels of those in need could rise still further.

A total of $1.4 billion is to be raised for the period from now to the year’s end, but at least $716 million of that remains to be found. “We may need significant funds after that period – this is not the end of the story,” warned Holmes. Read More…

10 million year old ape found in Ethiopia

Researchers say that new, ten million-year-old fossils found in Ethiopia, prove that the theory that humans may have evolved from a species of great apes eight million years ago, may not be true, but that humans may have split from apes as long as 10.5 million years ago.

At least nine fossilized teeth, one canine tooth and eight molars, of a previously unknown species of apes found in Africa were discovered by a team of researchers from Ethiopia and Japan who then compared the 3-D make up of the teeth to other fossils that date back as far as 8 million years and found that the fossils are likely a “direct ancestor” of apes currently living in Africa and that the new ape fossils were that of a species of gorilla who ate mostly plants high in fiber.

Current fossils and research say that the evolutionary split from apes to humans occurred at least eight million years ago. The new fossils say that the split may have happened as long as 10.5 million years ago.

“Based on this fossil, that means the split is much earlier than has been anticipated by the molecular evidence. That means everything has to be put back,” said researcher at the Rift Valley Research Service in Ethiopia and a co-author of the study, Berhane Asfaw.

Despite the finds, other researchers are not convinced that the findings are correct.

“It is stretching the evidence to base a time scale for the evolution of the great apes on this new fossil. These structures appear on at least three independent lineages of apes, including gorillas, and they could relate to a dietary shift rather than indicating a new genetic trait,” said a Professor at the London Natural History Museum in the United Kingdom, Peter Andrews who also added, “but the fossil evidence for the evolution of our closest living relatives, the great apes, is almost non-existent.

Researchers have named the newly discovered species Cororapithecus abyssinicus whose remains were found in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, the same place where the remains of Lucy were discovered in 1974.