"The thing that lies at the foundation of positive change, the way I see it, is service to a fellow human being." - Lech Walesa

Saturday, 16 March 2013

UNDP 2013 report ranked Ethiopia 173rd out of 187 countries in human developmet

(VOA) The United Nations Development Program has released its 2013 Human Development Index. Despite recent economic growth, Ethiopia is still near the bottom of the index.

Ethiopia ranks 173 out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index 2013, unveiled by the United Nations Development Program, UNDP, on Friday.

The Index is part of the Human Development Report that is presented annually and measures life expectancy, income and education in countries around the world.

Since 2000, Ethiopia has registered greater gains than all but two other countries in the world - Afghanistan and Sierra Leone. But it still ranks close to the bottom of the Index.

However, Samuel Bwalya, an economic advisor for UNDP, says that not only the ranking is important.

“I think what matters in the index is how you’re moving, your own human development progress within the country, so you’re moving from 0.275 to 0.378, that movement is what matters," said Bwalya. "It means that your country is making progress in human development. Now the ranking depends on how other countries are also faring.”

Friday, 15 March 2013

Ethiopia uses Ginbot 7 pictures to plant spyware in computers

This post describes the results of a comprehensive global Internet scan for the command and control servers of FinFisher’s surveillance software. It also details the discovery of a campaign using FinFisher in Ethiopia used to target individuals linked to an opposition group. Additionally, it provides examination of a FinSpy Mobile sample found in the wild, which appears to have been used in Vietnam.

Summary of Key Findings

  • We have found command and control servers for FinSpy backdoors, part of Gamma International’s FinFisher “remote monitoring solution,” in a total of 25 countries: Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, Qatar, Serbia, Singapore, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam.
  • A FinSpy campaign in Ethiopia uses pictures of Ginbot 7, an Ethiopian opposition group, as bait to infect users. This continues the theme of FinSpy deployments with strong indications of politically-motivated targeting.
  • There is strong evidence of a Vietnamese FinSpy Mobile Campaign. We found an Android FinSpy Mobile sample in the wild with a command & control server in Vietnam that also exfiltrates text messages to a local phone number.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

From Ethiopia to Vietnam, researchers map reach of German-made government spy software

A Canadian research center said Wednesday that it haidentified 25 different countries that host servers linked to FinFisher, a Trojan horse program which can dodge anti-virus protections to steal data, log keystrokes, eavesdrop on Skype calls, and turn microphones and webcams into live surveillance devices.
Citizen Lab, based at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs, said that Canada, Mexico, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Serbia, and Vietnam were among the host countries newly identified in Wednesday's report. That alone doesn't necessarily mean those countries' governments are using FinFisher, a program distributed by British company Gamma International, but it is an indication of the spyware's reach.
Morgan Marquis-Boire, the report's lead author, said his goal was "to show the proliferation of this type of active intrusion and surveillance." In telephone interview, he said that the world of government surveillance was changing and urged journalists, aid workers, and activists to take note.
"It's not just phone tapping," he said. "It's installing a backdoor on your computer to record your Skype conversations and go through your email."

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Counter Extremism with Freedom in Ethiopia

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
Ethiopia charges 29 Muslims under anti-terror law

Georgetown Journal of International Affairs — Counter Extremism with Freedom in Ethiopia, March 11, 2013

The following appeared in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs on March 11, 2013.
From Somalian anarchy to Eritrean and Sudanese tyranny and civil strife, the Horn of Africa has long been a turbulent region. A notable exception has been the nation of Ethiopia.
That might be changing.
From December 15 through December 19 of last year, I was in Addis Ababa heading a delegation from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). We met with a wide range of people, from the American ambassador to Ethiopian government officials, religious leaders and nongovernmental human rights and interfaith representatives.

Tamagne Beyene: Ethiopian Hero

by MeKonnen H. Birru, PhD
Artist Tamagne Beyene Ethiopian Hero
The thing about a hero, is even when it doesn’t look like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, he’s going to keep digging, he’s going to keep trying to do right and make up for what’s gone before, just because that’s who he is.
Joss Whedon
A hero is a defender. A hero is a protector. A hero is a rescuer. The legendary Ethiopian writer Dr. Haddis Alemayehu (1902 – 2003) portrayed Gudu Kassa as a ‘hero’ in his classical work Fiqir Iske Meqabir (Love Unto Grave’. Gudu Kassa (Kassa Damte) was a nobleman by birth but refused all for the sake of his progressive ideas. He fought for individual liberty and freedom. He became a defender of his people, not his class, nor his race, nor his family power. He fell in love and married a working class woman while he was a noble because he saw love in her, nothing else. To him and so many millions of Ethiopians, love is the essence of life and the root of every particle, motion, foundation, liberty, freedom and expression. Love is our Ethiopian culture and our norm. And now these three remain; faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Do not encourage Ethiopia-phobia

by Mahmoud Ahmad
Saudi Gazette
The recent phenomenon of Ethiopia bashing in our country’s media is turning a wee bit malicious. I was surprised at the recent media campaign against Ethiopian nationals, who have been singularly targeted by the media for all the ails afflicting the country.
The recent phenomenon of Ethiopia bashing in our country’s media
According to many media reports the Ethiopian nationals are the main source of all problems. They are the ones breaking into homes, manufacturing and distributing liquor, selling weapons, involved in assault and rape cases and many other things that cause discomfort to citizens and residents alike.
The campaign, which virtually alleges that most Ethiopians are in the Kingdom illegally, is in many ways just vilifying one particular section of humankind. The campaign, as if the problem of sneaking these illegals through the border happened only two weeks ago, is also unjustified.
First of all I would like to clear one thing. Any person sneaking through the border illegally should be arrested and deported; it is within the country’s right to do so and I want to make it clear that no one is questioning the action of the government if these illegals are arrested.
But ironically the border, which is manned vigilantly by our security forces, is made porous by greedy citizens or residents, out to make a quick buck for themselves. If these people had the moral courage to battle this scourge, then the security forces job would become much easier.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Rumors of Water War on the Nile?

by Alemayehu G. Mariam
The Grand Renaissance Dam or the grand dam (de)illusion?Dam War of Words
Late last month, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid Bin Sultan fired a shot across the bow from the Arab Water Council in Cairo to let the regime in Ethiopia know that his country takes a dim view of the “Grand Renaissance Dam” under “construction” on the Blue Nile (Abbay) a few miles from Sudan’s eastern border.   According to Prince Khalid, “The [Grand] Renaissance dam has its capacity of flood waters reaching more than 70 billion cubic meters of water… [I]f it collapsed Khartoum will be drowned completely and the impact will even reach the Aswan Dam…” The Prince believes the Dam is being built close to the “Sudanese border for political plotting rather than for economic gain and constitutes a threat to Egyptian and Sudanese national security…” The Prince raised the stakes by accusing the regime in Ethiopia of being hell-bent on harming Arab peoples. “There are fingers messing with water resources of Sudan and Egypt which are rooted in the mind and body of Ethiopia. They do not forsake an opportunity to harm Arabs without taking advantage of it…”

Sunday, 10 March 2013

The price of the so called war on terror on journalists in Ethiopia is high

The case of the US vs Bradley Manning

Why have the US media shied away from covering the source of the WikiLeaks material yet gouged on his information?

Our feature takes us to Ethiopia where the US ‘war on terror’ has provided cover for laws that are being used to silence dissident journalists. Reeyot Alemu is one of those journalists – she has been sentenced to five years in jail. Foreign reporters have also been charged under anti-terrorism laws for daring to communicate with opposition groups. The Listening Post’s Nic Muirhead takes a closer look.