Ethiopia. According to Countryaah official site, Ethiopia’s controversial anti-terrorism law, adopted in 2009, came into frequent use this year. The law has been criticized for such sweeping wordings that it has been feared to be used to stave off all political debate.
In November, human rights organizations Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch urged the Ethiopian government to stop using the Anti-Terrorism Act to arrest journalists and oppositionists. Then, just the editor of one of the few independent newspapers, Dawit Kebede, who headed the Awramba Times, had fled the country since a state newspaper had called on the authorities to arrest him.
During the autumn, three separate trials, all of the alleged terrorism, went on against a total of ten journalists and dozens of other persons, among them several well-known opposition.
Two of the defendants were the Swedish freelance reporters Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson, who were arrested in July after having entered Ethiopia illegally with the help of the guerrilla movement Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). In December, they were sentenced to eleven years in prison for supporting a terrorist organization and for illegal entry into the country.
More than 1,700 Ethiopian soldiers were stationed in August at the UN mission in the Abyei area of southern Sudan, at the border with the new state of South Sudan. Abyei is one of the areas where disagreement prevails over the border demarcation.
Addis Ababa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and largest city; 3.4 million residents (2008). It is located on a hilly plateau (about 2500 m) in the central part of the country and has a pleasant, relatively cool climate with some rain. From its foundation, the city has been Ethiopia’s absolute economic and administrative center.
Central parts of the city are landscaped in pompous style with wide streets and large squares; otherwise it is characterized by despondency. Since the 1990’s, the number of homeless people living on the streets has increased significantly. During the recurrent drought and famine periods in the country, the influx to the slums of the city has continued, and it is estimated that 80% of the population lives in slums (2002). HIV infection has developed into a dominant health problem.
From Addis Ababa, main roads extend to the provincial towns and to the port city of Assab in Eritrea; further rail to Djibouti. The city houses the headquarters of the AU (African Union), just as it did for the precursor OAU (Organization of African Unity), as well as the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
The city was founded in 1887 under King Menelik of Schoa, who moved his residence there from the nearby former capital of Entoto. Addis Ababa became the capital of Ethiopia at the imperial coronation of Menelik II in 1889. The city center was an extensive imperial palace system, surrounded by noble residences. The city was the capital of Italian East Africa from 1935-41, and it was then divided into neighborhoods by function and race.