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By Aaron Maasho

Ethiopia and Eritrea are still at each others’ throats. The two neighbours fought hammer and tongs in sun-baked trenches during a two-year war over a decade ago, before a peace deal ended their World War I-style conflict in 2000. Furious veRed Sea, UNrbal battles, however, have continued to this day.

Yet, amid the blistering rhetoric and scares over a return to war, analysts say the feuding rivals are reluctant to lock horns once again. Neighbouring South Sudan and some Ethiopian politicians are working on plans to bring both sides to the negotiating table.

Asmara has been named, shamed and then slapped with two sets of U.N. sanctions over charges that it was aiding and abetting al Qaeda-linked rebels in lawless Somalia in its proxy war with Ethiopia. However, a panel tasked with monitoring violations of an arms embargo on Somalia said it had no proof of Eritrean support to the Islamist militants in the last year.

Nevertheless, Eritrea's foreign ministry wasted little time in pointing a finger of accusation at its perennial rival. “The events over the past year have clearly shown that it is in fact Ethiopia that is actively engaged in destabilising Eritrea in addition to its continued occupation of sovereign Eritrean territory in violation of the U.N. Charter,” the ministry said in a statement last month.

The Red Sea state was referring to Addis Ababa’s open declaration in 2011 in which its late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said his country would no longer take a “passive stance” towards its rival following Eritrea’s alleged plot to bomb targets in the Ethiopian capital during an African Union gathering of heads of state.

Then foreign minister (and now premier) Hailemariam Desalegn followed up on the rhetoric soon afterwards by disclosing his government’s support to Eritrean rebels. Meles and Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki were once comrades-in-arms, even rumoured to be distant relatives. Ethiopia’s late leader rubber-stamped a 1993 referendum that granted independence to the former province after their rebel groups jointly toppled Communist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam’s military junta two years earlier.

The love affair did not last long. The pair fell out spectacularly after Eritrea introduced its own currency in 1997 and Ethiopia responded by insisting on trading in dollars. Their economic spat aggravated already simmering border tensions, which culminated in Eritrea deploying its tanks months later and occupying hotly disputed territory that was under Addis Ababa’s administration.

Ethiopian troops breached Eritrea’s trenches nearly a year later and retook contested ground - namely the flashpoint town of Badme – before a peace deal was signed. What then followed is the sticking point that remains today. An independent boundary commission awarded Badme to Eritrea in 2002 but the ruling is yet to take effect. Ethiopia wants to negotiate its implementation and warns that delimitation of the border as per the finding would unreasonably split towns and other geographical locations into two.

Asmara on the other hand insists on an immediate hand-over. The bickering has evolved into a proxy war and diplomatic skulduggery as both sides attempt to bring about regime change in the other. But despite the harsh words, mediation efforts are in the pipeline. Deng Alor, neighbouring South Sudan's Minister for Cabinet Affairs, told Reuters on Wednesday his newly-independent country is about to embark on rounds of shuttle diplomacy between the capitals of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Both countries, he said, have given their blessing.

A handful of Ethiopian members of parliament are also devising a similar initiative, local sources say. Addis Ababa has never ruled out mediation. But even though Eritrea publicly dismisses any idea of a thaw in strained relations before the Badme spat is resolved, recent developments might change its mind, some believe.

Ethiopian analysts think Asmara now realises that its neighbour may easily adopt a more belligerent stance following the sudden death of Meles, who they say stood firm against a potential slide towards full-scale conflict. And of course not all Ethiopians express enthusiasm about an independent Eritrea, the creation of which left their country without access to the Red Sea.

Some diplomats say the chances of both sides making drastic concessions from their current positions remain slim. So will the mediation efforts finally yield a deal?

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Features and Essays 

To start off, great gallery on Lightbox,  by no other than Yuri Kozyrev…Don’t mean to always highlight Lightbox and  Kozyrev first, but the Time photo editors’ blog has been one of the best things happen this year in/for photojournalism… Great coverage…And Kozyrev has been the photographer whose work has popped up constantly in 2011 (during each of the last four years that I’ve been doing Photojournalism there seems to have been one prolific photographer who defined the  year for me.. in 2010 it was Lynsey Addario, the year before Marcus Bleasdale, and in 2008 it was Lauren Greenfield), so it’s probably suitable that this post (which might or might not be the last this year. We shall see) kicks off with yet another Kozyrev/Lightbox combo…

Time magazine decided on The Person of the Year… This year it’s The Protestor…

Yuri Kozyrev has photographed lot those protestors during the uprisings and revolutions that have occurred in the Middle East this year… He reflects back at the events and photographs…

Cairo, Egypt — February 1, 2011. Thousands of Egyptians flooded Cairo after Mubarak refused to step down.

Yuri Kozyrev: My Year on the Revolution Road (Lightbox)

Hapak made some portraits…

Peter Hapak: The Protestors (Lightbox)

It’s insane how much Kozyrev has been clocking up miles this year…. This from Tunisia…

Yuri Kozyrev: Sidi Biuzid, the Tunisian Town Where the Arab Spring Began (TIME)

More from the continuing Arab Spring…

Tim Fadek has a new website, where you can see his recent Egypt work, including the brilliant Time cover photo…

Timothy Fadek: Revolution Part II: Cairo (Photographer’s website)

Giorgos Moutafis: Arab Spring : One Year After (Newsweek)

photo: Alex Majoli

New Yorker (various photographers): 2011: Twelve Months of Protest 

Kim Badawi: Life in Tahrir Square (New Yorker)

US pulled its troops from Iraq…

Andrea Bruce: Leaving Iraq (NYT)

Andrea Bruce: Portraits of Iraqi Pride (NYT)

Kael Alford: Iraqi Voices (Msnbc photo blog)

JB Russell: Faces of Iraqs Suffering (Panos)

Tyler Hicks: The Civilian Toll in Libya (NYT)

From upcoming National Geographic Magazine’s January 2012 issue…

William Albert Allard: Northern Montana’s Hi-Line (NGM)

George Steinmetz: Africa’s Afar Depression (NGM)

Lynn Johnson: Cambodia’s Healing Field (NGM)

Very strong series by Brent Stirton on Reportage site on AIDS in Ukraine…

Brent Stirton: AIDS in Ukraine (Reportage)

Marcus Bleasdale: HIV and TB in Tanzania (Photographer’s website)

Marcus Bleasdale: Lead Poisoning in Nigeria (VII)

Anastasia Taylor-Lind is really rocking at the moment… awards and recognition left, right, and centre (Just this week Honourable Mention in the Unicef Photo of the Year for the Siberian Supermodels pic seen below the National Womb one… See info on that later in this post) and most importantly work published in great publications… Her project originally done for this year’s Joop Swart Masterclass got printed in The New York Times a week ago…

Anastasia Taylor-Lind: The National Womb (NYT) Same in Lens blog

Her Siberian Supermodels is on VII site…

Anastasia Taylor-Lind: Siberian Supermodels (VII)

Donald Weber: J-Village (VII)

Bruno Barbey: Istanbul (Magnum)

Chris Steele-Perkins: Xiangshawan, Mongolia (Magnum)

Ami Vitale: Design for a Living World (Panos)

Maisie Crow: Half-Lives: The Chernobyl Workers Now (VQR Vimeo)

Justin Jin: Tuva Reborn (Panos)

Stefan Boness: Going it Alone in Asmara (Panos) Eritrea

Damon Winter: Double Diagnosis (NYT) Lives Restored series [video]

You can see a shorter edit of Lynsey Addario’s Gaza series I shared last time on main VII site…

Lynsey Addario: Gaza (VII)

Ashley Gilbertson: Occupy Wall Street (VII Magazine)

Platon: Democracy Now : Russian Activists (Photo Booth)

Dmitry Kostyukov: Living on the Edge : Central Asians in Russia (FT Magazine)

George Osodi: Rape of Paradise (Panos)

Chris de Bode: Exodus (Panos Vimeo)

Paula Bronstein:  Myanmar’s hidden capital Naypyitaw (Getty)

Pep Bonet: El Futuro Es Sus Manos (Noor)

Spencer Platt: Inner City Boxing Gym (CNN Photo blog)

Emily Schiffer: Securing Food in Chicagoland (Lightbox)

Yuri Kozyrev: Sochi, location of 2012 Winter Olympics (NOOR)

Rob Hornstra: The Sochi Project (Project website)

Ester Jove Soligue: Encampment on New Jersey Cliffs (NYT Lens) Soligue’s website

Ton Koene: Steel Town (zReportage)

Kathleen Flynn: Fight to Recover (zReportage)

London based photographer Anders Birger has been to Syria recently… Not many photographers can say that.

Anders Birger: Living in the Shadow of Assad (Demotix)

Guy Martin: Libya’s Lost (Panos)

Jessica Pons: Garden of Ashes (Foto8) Pons’ website

Magnum Photos’ year in review…

photo: Christopher Anderson
USA. NYC. 2011. Andrew Kinard photographed at his apartment in midtown. Andrew lost his legs to an explosion in Iraq as a Marine in 2006.

Magnum Photos: 2011 : The Year in Review

Time photo editors picks of best photojournalism to appear in the magazine in 2011… Includes the below James Nachtwey photo from Kesennuma, Japan, which I remember having seen in black and white before… [You can compare the colour and monochrome versions here]

photo: James Nachtwey A lone house in an overflowed river in Kesennuma, Japan on March 15, 2011.

Time’s Best Photojournalism of 2011

WSJ: Photos of the Year 2011

photo: Chris Hondros

Getty Images: The Year in Focus

photo: Ed Ou

Reportage by Getty Images: 2011 – Year in Review 

New York Times: Year in New York Pictures (NYT Lens)

MSNBC: Pictures of the Year for 2011

Boston Globe Big Picture : The Year in Pictures pt 1 | pt 2 | pt 3 out on Friday this week

Most surprising photos of 2011 picked by Time photo editors…

A prison-transport vehicle sinks into a river after it was allegedly commandeered by escaped prisoners on the outskirts of Cairo. Several prisons saw revolts and break-ins after police retreated from most areas. Jan. 31, 2011

photo: Dominic Nahr  [The above photo looked really familiar. Realised I had seen the same scene in a Guy Martin photo. Compare the two here.]

Time magazine: The Most Surprising Photos of 2011

Time’s Best Portraits of 2011

Le Monde M magazine recently gave a carte blanche to a selected group of photographers around the world to shoot whatever they wanted in their home city…

photo: Tomas Munita in Santiago, Chile

Le Monde (various photographers): Carte blanche

Don’t usually link to travel pieces, but since this is shot by Adam Ferguson…

Adam Ferguson: In Cambodia, a Pocket of the Past (NYT)

Afghan Box Camera Project (Project website)

Clara Vanucci: Observing Holidays Behind Bars (NYT Lens)

Lisa Wiltse: Daulatdia Brothel (Visura) Bangladesh

Ciara Leeming: Elvira and Me (Issuu)

Marc Laita: American Extremes (Guardian)

Russell Monk: Open-Air Studio (NYT Lens)

Kim Jong Il passed away…Some notable North Korea essays from this and the last couple of years…

Damir Sagolj: North Korea’s Hunger Crisis (NYT Lens)

Irina Kalashnikova: North Korea (Reportage)

David Guttenfelder: Life in the Cult of Kim 

David Guttenfelder: North Korea in the Autumn (Denver Post)

Adam Dean:  All Hail the Great Successor! (Panos)

Tomas van Houtryve: North Korea: Secrets and Lies (VII)

Christopher Morris: Daily Life in North Korea (VII)

Sean Gallagher: Inside North Korea (burn)

See also…Kim Jong Phil and of course… Kim Yong-Il Looking at Things

Adam Dean: 2011 – The Year in Pictures (Photographer’s website)

Interviews  

Michael Nichols (CPN)

Stanley Green (Photo Raw)

Don McCullin (National Media Museum)

Stephanie Sinclair (NPR)

Damon Winter (NYT Lens)

David Guttenfelder (NPR)

Massoud Hossaini (AFP)

Annie Leibovitz (Newsweek)

Really nice interview with Ben Lowy…

Ben Lowy (Pop Photo)

Ben Lowy (CNN via Reportage Tumblr)

Lucia Herrero (e-photoreview)

Kadir van Lohuizen : Via PanAm part V (Nikon blog)

Alex Webb (MSNBC)

David Hurn (IdeasTap)

Anders Petersen (Lens Culture)

Bruce Davidson (New York Review of Books)

Shannon Stapleton : The Future of Iraq (Reuters blog)

Barbara Davidson : Back story on a ‘haunting’ image of famine in Africa (LA Times)

Matt Dunham : The story behind the news pictures (BBC)

Leon Neal: A year in the life of a press photographer (BBC)

Sanjit Das (PhotoShelter)

Giles Duley (PDN)

Giles Duley (5×15)

Monika Bulaj : The hidden light of Afghanistan (TED)

Sean Gallagher (Pulitzer Center)

Amanda Rivkin (National Geographic)

Steve McCurry’s One-Minute Masterclass #10 (Phaidon)

Steve McCurry’s One-Minute Masterclass #9 (Phaidon)

Timothy Saccenti : How I Got That Shot: Tricky Lights Up (PDN)

Jerry Uelsmann (NYT Lens)

Articles

Must read. BJP put the excellent Olivier Laurent post-processing report online already… Discusses Italian 10b lab and the work they do with Noor’s Yuri Kozyrev…includes fascinating examples frames before and after processing…

photos: Yuri Kozyrev . Post production: 10b Photography

BJP: Post-processing in the digital age: Photojournalists and 10b Photography

NYT: Their War at Home: Iraqi War Photographers | See also related Lens post

James Brabazon looks back at the previously unpublished final shots of Tim Hetherington…

Guardian: Tim Hetherington in Libya: witness to war

Also.

Guardian: Tim Hetherington remembered by Idil Ibrahim

Lightbox: In Memory of Photographers We Lost in 2011

CPJ: For journalists, coverage of political unrest 

MSN News: Shooting under fire: A journalist’s tale

PetaPixel: NYT Sends Angry Letter to NYPD Over Treatment of Photographer

Good.is: Where Have All the Photojournalists Gone?

Usagelicense.com: Understanding Usage Licenses

Guardian: The Month in Photography 

PDN: Top 15 Objects of Desire of 2011: A Gift Guide for Photographers

PhotoShelter: The Photo Gear Pro Photographers Want for the Holidays

PDN: Object of Desire: Schneider Optics iPro Lens System

Andrew DeVigal: Redefining Interactive Narratives & Multimedia Storytelling

On Editing (various photographers) (Hernan Zenteno blog)

BBC: Two students seeking an MA in Photojournalism: Part II

PDN: The Year in Photo News

Professional Photographer: 100 Most influential photographers of all time

Lens blog:  Kamber Looks Back on War (NYT)

Two Swedish journalists in trouble in Ethiopia. One of them is photographer Johan Persson

BBC News:  Swedish journalists found guilty in Ethiopia

Lacoste. FAIL.

PDN: Lacoste Elysée photo prize cancelled over project inspired by Palestinian push for statehood

BJP: Was the Lacoste Elysée Photography Prize censored?

BBC: A question of ethics: Photographers in the spotlight

Desmond Boylan: A photo blog without photos (Reuters blog)

Guardian: Best Photography in 2011

The Independent: Photo books of the year

Guardian:  12 best photobooks of the year by Sean O’Hagan

Top 20 Photobooks of 2011 by Alec Soth

NJ.com: Legacy of Syracuse student killed in Lockerbie bombing lives on through Alexia foundation

Jake Stangel:  is it lame to pay assistants $200/day editorial?

BBC: In Pictures: Nigerians Behind the Lens

BBC: The 75 years of pioneering photojournalism at Life magazine

PDN: What Can a Publicist Do for You?

Guardian: Ryan McGinley’s best shot

Verve: Jonathan Saruk

Verve: Jérémie Souteyrat

Scott Strazzante: iPhone Hipstamatic- still bad for photojournalism?

BJP: National Media Museum’s director steps down after news of restructuring

LeBron James. What. a. Dick.

Dead Spin: LeBron James Wouldn’t Let Walter Iooss Jr., Who Was Photographing Him For Nike, Speak Directly To Him

Videos

Shoot and Move On: A Day In The Life of Street Photographers (Youtube)

multiMedia

Life Force Magazine

Bloomberg Photos Tumbrl

Crowd Funding 

Filmmakers seeking funds for Don McCullin documentary (BJP)

Fiona Rogers is selling a Firecracker  diary to gather fund for a Firecracker photography grant…Go and get yourself a calendar…

photo seen in the diary by Dana Popa

Firecracker 2012 diary: Supporting European women photographers and the 2012 Firecracker Photographic Grant

Newsmotion by Newsmotion.org (Kickstarter)

Awards, Grants, and Competition

Unicef Photo of the Year has been chosen… Interesting detail: boy in the winning photo looks to be wearing a Barcelona shirt which of course is sponsored by Unicef

photo: Kai Löffelbein

Unicef Photo of the Year Winners | Slideshow on Der Spiegel website and on Guardian site

Hope for a Healthy World Photo Competition

 Magenta Flash Forward submissions

The 2012 World Press Photo Multimedia Contest website is now open for registration

POYi Calling for Entries

Terry O’Neill Award winners

Mikhael Subotsky is the winner of 2012 Standard Bank Young Artist Award

 2012 Sony World Photography Awards

Walid Raad Hasselblad Award Winner 2011

Agencies 

NOOR December newsletter

Noor Images Archive

Jobs

Agence France-Presse seeks photojournalist

Save The Children UK : Media Manager – multi-media (film & photography)

Photographers

Didn’t know Paul Fusco had his own website… His RFK Funeral Train has always been  a huge inspiration…

Paul Fusco

JM Lopez

Rafael Fabres

Amelia Shepherd

Ted McDonnell

To finish off…

Check out Shepard Fairey’s Obey Giant made out of a Yuri Kozyrev pic…

Several good posts by Shit Photojournalists Like  recently… Do see!

You shouldn’t miss Missy giving the lowdown on being a professional photographer either

And…Lego Pictures of the Year

And… Judge Joe Brown – Cheap wedding photographer

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Boston conducted its 32nd census of the city’s homeless population earlier this week. A report to the United Nations in 2005 stated there were an estimated 100 million homeless people in the world, and an additional 1.6 billion living without adequate housing. Here are some images of homelessness across the globe, collected from wire images this year. -- Lloyd Young (31 photos total)
John Filliger who has been homeless for the past five years, lies wrapped in bedding on Washington Street in the heart of the Downtown Crossing area of Boston Dec. 12. Filliger, who was offered a bed in a shelter for the evening, stayed on the street for the night and was counted in the annual homeless census. (Charles Krupa/Associated Press)

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With East Africa facing its worst drought in 60 years, affecting more than 11 million people, the United Nations has declared a famine in the region for the first time in a generation. Overcrowded refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia are receiving some 3,000 new refugees every day, as families flee from famine-stricken and war-torn areas. The meager food and water that used to support millions in the Horn of Africa is disappearing rapidly, and families strong enough to flee for survival must travel up to a hundred miles, often on foot, hoping to make it to a refugee center, seeking food and aid. Many do not survive the trip. Officials warn that 800,000 children could die of malnutrition across the East African nations of Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Kenya. Aid agencies are frustrated by many crippling situations: the slow response of Western governments, local governments and terrorist groups blocking access, terrorist and bandit attacks, and anti-terrorism laws that restrict who the aid groups can deal with -- not to mention the massive scale of the current crisis. Below are a few images from the past several weeks in East Africa. One immediate way to help is to text "FOOD" to UNICEF (864233) to donate $10, enough to feed a child for 10 days, more ways to help listed here. [38 photos]

Mihag Gedi Farah, a malnourished seven-month-old child weighing only 7.5 pound (3.4kg), is held by his mother in a field hospital of the International Rescue Committee, IRC, in the town of Dadaab, Kenya, on July 26, 2011. The U.N. will airlift emergency rations this week to parts of drought-ravaged Somalia that militants banned it from more than two years ago, in a crisis intervention to keep hungry refugees from dying along what an official calls the "roads of death." Tens of thousands already have trekked to neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia, hoping to get aid in refugee camps. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

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