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  • US embassy in Addis Ababa suspended travel to Gondar

    Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens

    The Embassy is monitoring a report of an explosion on January 10, 2017 at approximately 8:30 p.m. in the Gondaon Intasole Hotel located in Gondar in Amhara State. Ethiopian Federal Police have confirmed that one person was killed and at least six individuals were injured as a result of the incident. The U.S. Embassy is temporarily suspending all travel for U.S. Chief of Mission employees to Gondar until further notice.

    The Embassy continues to remind U.S. citizens of the risks associated with traveling to Ethiopia at this time. The current version of the Department of State’s Travel Warning for Ethiopia can be found here: Ethiopia Travel Warning.

    The Embassy would remind U.S. citizens traveling to or in Ethiopia to review their personal security plans; remain aware of their surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions of local authorities.

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  • Sebhat Gebre-Egziabher- Untold Story By Petros Agegnehu

    Sebhat was born in 1928 in Tigray region near the historical town of Adwa in a village called Erba Gered. He published works of fiction and non fiction in French and Amharic. Some of his works are available "retold" in English. He also worked as a journalist and columnist for the Ethiopian HeraldAddis ZemenMenen magazine and other newspapers and magazines in his long writing career.[5]

    He is famous for pioneering the naturalist writing style in Amharic. He has a unique writing style which is not constrained by the traditional Ethiopian writing style, nor is his syntax orthodox. Even if he uses simple words and seemingly light prose, Sebhat's concepts are highly sophisticated and philosophical.[6]

    Sebhat originally intended to be a librarian. He visited Washington in 1960 and stayed a year. At that time he was intending to write in English. He decided however that Amharic suited his subject matter. He later visited France and received an award from UNESCO.

    Sebhat is the brother of the renowned scientist, Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher.

    His lifestyle and philosophy however seems to attract many followers throughout Ethiopia. His openness is always admired by his followers.

    Sebhat died on February 20, 2012 in Addis Ababa at the age of 76.[1][2]

     

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  • Ethiopia targets opposition who met with European lawmakers

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia said Monday it will not release a leading opposition figure detained under the country's state of emergency after meeting with European lawmakers in Belgium.

    Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told reporters that Merara Gudina of the Oromo Federalist Congress party instead will face justice.

    "Individuals in the European Parliament who are harboring anti-peace elements cannot save those who trespass the law of the country," the prime minister said.

    Merara is one of 22,000 people the prime minister said were detained under the state of emergency declared in October after widespread, sometimes deadly anti-government protests. The government has said several thousand have since been released.

    Merara was arrested immediately after he returned from Belgium, where he met with the lawmakers about the state of emergency. He was accused of meeting with members of an armed Ethiopian opposition group in Brussels, an act banned under the emergency law.

    Photos posted on social media show him sitting next to Birhanu Nega, leader of the armed opposition group called Ginbot 7 that mainly operates from Eritrea, and Feyisa Lilesa, the Ethiopian marathon runner who crossed his wrists in a sign of protest while crossing the finish line at the Rio Olympic Games.

    The Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia said the state of emergency's wide-ranging restrictions have severely affected freedoms of expression and assembly. "Tens of thousands of individuals have been arrested arbitrarily" and dissent and independent reporting have been quashed, it said.

    The state of emergency is set to end in May. The prime minister did not indicate it would be extended, but he told reporters that "as far as the date of lifting the state of emergency is concerned, it should be seen in the perspective that we have to consolidate the gains that we have made so far."




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  • Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa is going to have a new land lease pricing

    Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa is going to have a new land lease pricing benchmark by the coming Ethiopian year. The new pricing benchmark is going to put in to consideration cost benefit analysis.

    Addis Ababa University Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC) after concluding a sub-contract of the project, completed the study to determine the benchmarking and tabled the report for discussion to researchers and city administration officials.

    According to Alemayehu Mulate, Lease Implementation and Inspection head at the Addis Ababa City Land Banking and Transfer Agency, the new study will be concluded on September.

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  • Changes to the Saudi Arabian labor laws, April 2016

    The new amendments to the Saudi Arabian labor laws (initially announced in a Royal Decree No. M/46 of 05/05/1436H) came into force on 18 October 2015. The reforms follow the Saudi Ministry of Labor’s ongoing efforts to strike a balance between the creation of a dynamic marketplace for foreign businesses and protection and development of the local workforce.

    A number of changes have been made. We set out below a summary of some of the key areas that have undergone amendments:

    Probationary periods

    The probationary period can now be extended up to 180 days. An employee however may not be placed on probation more than once by the same employer, unless the employee is placed in a new position or was not engaged by the same employer in the last six months.

    Relocation

    The employee’s written consent is required before any geographic relocation which would entail the relocation of the employee’s place of residence. Temporary relocations of up to 30 days per annum are permitted however.

    Notice periods

    Open-ended contracts are now subject to 60 days’ termination notice for employees who are engaged and paid on a monthly basis. A minimum of 30 days’ is required for those engaged on other terms.

    Leave

    Employees serving their notice periods are now entitled to eight fully paid hours per week or a full day per week to look for alternative employment.

    Compensation

    Unless the parties agree in advance and in writing on the amount of compensation payable upon termination without “valid reason”, the party terminating the contract will have to compensate the other with either:

    • A wage equivalent to 15 days for each completed year of employment, in indefinite term contracts.
    • The balance of wages for the remaining employment term, in the fixed-term contract.

    In each case, the minimum amount of compensation may not be less than two months’ wages.

    Unauthorised leave

    Employers may terminate the employee’s contract without compensation in the event the employee is absent from work “without a valid reason” for either:

    • More than 30 non-consecutive days a year.
    • For more than 15 consecutive days within a year.

    In the first case, a prior written warning must be delivered to the employee after 20 days of non-consecutive absence and in the second case the warning must be delivered after 10 days of consecutive absence.

    Renewability

    Fixed term contracts that are renewed more than three times (or upon the employee accruing four years of continuous service, whichever comes sooner) will automatically convert into indefinite term contracts.

    References and sanctions

    Departing employees have the right to request upon termination a service certificate setting out details of their employment. The employers are prohibited from giving negative references which could hinder the employee’s chances of securing alternative employment.

    Employers are also required to maintain written records of any fines imposed on their employees. The information required includes the worker’s name, their remuneration, the date, the reason for and the amount of the fine imposed.

    Leave

    A number of amendments increasing short-term leave have been introduced.

    • Maternity leave: female workers are now entitled to 10 weeks’ maternity leave fully paid, to commence maximum four weeks before the expected date of delivery. The leave can also be extended for an additional month on an unpaid basis.
    • Marriage and bereavement leave: leave due to marriage or death of an immediate family member has been increased from three to five days.
    • Paternity leave: leave has been increased from one to three days.

    Training requirements

    An employer with more than 50 employees is required to provide training to at least 12% of its total number of Saudi Arabian employees. Employer must be able to provide documentary evidence of the training.

    Working hours

    Employees’ daily working hour limit has been increased from 11 to 12 hours provided that the employees do not work for more than five consecutive hours.

    Company policies and employment contracts

    All companies are now required to establish written internal by-laws as per the standard form applied by the Ministry of Labor. Companies are also required to follow the form of employment contract prepared by the Ministry of Labor.

    Work injuries

    Employers must provide financial aid to employees temporarily unable to work due to injuries suffered at work at the rate of 75% of the employees’ wage. In the event of non-recovery, the employer will need to compensate the employee for such injury.

    Enforcement

    The Ministry of Labor inspectors are no longer authorised to close businesses “on the spot”. All potential violations must be reviewed by the Ministry of Labor.

    Depending on its severity, any violation of the law may be subject to monetary fines or business suspension or closure.

    Finally, the new amendments provide the Minister of Labor with a discretionary right to grant a financial reward of up to 25% of the total amount of collected penalties against any information that assists inspectors or others in revealing violations of the Labor Law.

    Conclusion

    As well as a general increase in rights of employees, the amendments were intended to narrow the gap between employment in the private and public sectors. An increase in Saudization and rights of employers to manage employees, particularly when dealing with employment termination, have been well received.

    It remains to be seen as to how the Ministry of Labor will enforce these new laws and carry out its terms in practice, however the transparency these amendments provide to both employees and employers no doubt offer a better foundation for working relationships going forward.

    To download the PDF https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_-33snBheDjTWw0aEZQbFItRXM

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