Ethiopia beckons intrepid travellers

first_imgThe view from Imet Gogo near Geech camp, Semien Mountains near Ras Dashan. Bet Giyorgis, one of the mysterious cross-shaped churches hewn out of rock at Lalibela. A view of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and largest city, from the Sheraton hotel. Crowds gather at the Fasiladas’ bath in Gondar, Ethiopia, to celebrate Timket – the Epiphany for the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. (Images: Wikipedia)Samson Mulugeta Still stuck on the image of Ethiopia as a land of war and famine? Think again.These are the little-known facts about this Horn of Africa nation: it is the third most populous country in Africa at 74 million, is twice the size of France, and the climate in the highland capital of Addis Ababa is more akin to Johannesburg than nearby sweltering Khartoum, Sudan.After the ousting of a military dictator nearly two decades ago, Ethiopia has been one of the most stable countries in an African region home to such failed states as Somalia or rogue states such as Sudan, with its crisis in Darfur.But the current Ethiopian government is functional and thriving only in comparison to others in its neighborhood. Its human rights record has been criticised by the US State Department and the nation’s last election, in 2005, was marred by violence and irregularities.Despite these setbacks, Ethiopia has shown steady economic improvement in the last decade, including in the tourism sector, and is one of the world’s least-explored gems.To travellers and students of history, Ethiopia is a magical and enchanting land because of its vivid, uninterrupted connection to antiquity and the larger canvas of recorded human history.  Archeological finds have pointed to Ethiopia as the birth place of the oldest Homo sapiens. Pre-Christian Ethiopia was a major player during antiquity – the Old Testament mentions Ethiopia dozens of times.  Ethiopia’s ancient empire extended on both sides of the Red Sea – Ethiopian kings frequently ruled over south Arabia. Around the time of the birth of Christ, Ethiopia was a centre of commerce and learning along with Egypt, Persia and Greece.“Ethiopia always had a special place in my imagination and the prospect of visiting Ethiopia attracted me more strongly than a trip to France, England, and America combined,” Nelson Mandela wrote in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. “I felt I would be visiting my own genesis, unearthing the roots of what made me an African.”With Axum at its capital, in what is now Tigray Province, Ethiopia’s recorded history dates back to 1 000 years before the birth of Christ.Its founding mythology is still steadfastly held by many modern Ethiopians, that a union of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba begat a royal line that extended from Menelik I to Haile Selassie, whose reign was overthrown in 1974.Ethiopians believe that the Ark of the Covenant, containing the tablets of the 10 commandments, are kept at Mount Zion church in the ancient capital of Axum, guarded by a priest sworn never to leave the premises.Ethiopians have a unique alphabet dating back 2 000 years, rooted in the Gee’ez language which remains the language of the church while Amharic evolved into the people’s language, with a linguistic kinship akin to Latin and English.  Ethiopians keep time in a unique manner, counting the start of the day with one at daybreak (or what would be 7am in Western timekeeping) and ending it with 12 at sundown and then starting with one again. The Coptic calendar is also different. Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar and is marked its second millennium this last year, seven-and-a-half years after the Western calendar.The only African nation to avoid colonisation, Ethiopia was an inspiration to South Africa’s ruling African National Congress, and the Rastafarians who idolized Ras Teferi, who was later crowned as Haile Selassie.  Other intriguing aspects of Ethiopia’s heritage include it’s Jewish population (now almost entirely transplanted to Israel), its early acceptance of Christianity in 400 AD (before England, for example, became Christian) and  its veneration by the Prophet Mohammad, who exempted it from jihad, leaving Ethiopia an island of Christianity in a sea of Islam.Ethiopia is even the birthplace of that morning picker-upper the world cannot do without, coffee, whose name derives from Kefa, the region where it was first discovered, according to legend, by a goatherd named Kaldi.The ancient capital Axum, with its towering obelisks and royal tombs anchors one of the three legs of Ethiopia’s northern “historic route.” After invading and occupying Ethiopia from 1935 to 1941, fascist leader Benito Mussolini broke one of the obelisks into three pieces and shipped it to Italy. It was returned to Ethiopia recently after decades of lobbying by the Ethiopian government.The castles of Gonder are the second stop of the historic tour. Gonder was Ethiopia’s capital from 1635 to 1855 and is home to castles built by Emperor Fasilidas, a network of stone structures featuring sauna baths and lion cages.The final and arguably most stunning example of Ethiopia’s former glory is Lalibela, a mountain village in the highlands of Wello Province that pays homage to a sophisticated civilisation that saw itself as the embodiment of a new holy land.  King Lalibela, who had supposedly visited the holy land before he embarked on his building project, wanted to create a new Jerusalem. The stream flowing between the churches is named the River Jordan and the adjoining hill is known locally as Mount of Olives.Heading north from Addis Ababa, the capital, the first thing visitors see from the air as they approach the historic village is Lalibela’s most famous icon, the House of St George, the cross-shaped church.On a towering plateau formed by molten volcanic rock, St. George squats, carved into the rock as if by a giant hand wielding a laser-like surgical tool. It is in the shape of a cross, cut into the rock in a 12-by-12-metre trench, and is formed out of a single seamless rock.  The engineering marvel of churches’ design remains a mystery to this day. The precision, sophistication and astounding scale of the building have defied easy explanation by archeologists and historians. Ethiopian legend has it they were built in 24 years with the help of angels. Modern historians believe the churches took about 100 years to build.Lalibela has remained a living monument, to this day used as a place of worship by thousands of pilgrims who arrive from near and far.The Lalibela churches are among the World Heritage List, a selection of manmade and natural attractions judged by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) to be of such universal value that they ”should be preserved for all time.”The Lalibela churches are, according to Unesco “a remarkable coupling of engineering and architecture and a unique artistic achievement.”It has astounded every visitor who came upon them, including Portuguese priest Francisco Alvares, the first European to visit Lalibela, in 1512.“I weary of writing more about these buildings,” he wrote. “Because it seems to me that I shall not be believed if I write more.”Several airlines, including Ethiopian Airlines, fly to Addis Ababa regularly from destinations around the world. There are daily flights from Addis Ababa to Lalibela. Flights on a fleet of turboprops from Addis Ababa-Gonder-Lalibela-Axum “historic route” costs US$400.Trips to Lalibela are best during the colorful festivals of Timkat (Epiphany, January 19) or Meskel Finding of the True Cross, September 27). However, flights and accommodation tend to be fully booked so planning ahead is essential during for visits during those events.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at marya@mediaclubsouthafrica.comRelated articlesMount Mabu yields hidden bounty A holiday – in Zimbabwe? The treasures of Afrika House Saving priceless African history Biggest nature park in the world Useful linksEthiopian Airlines Lonely Planet – Ethiopia Ethiopian Tourism MediaEthiopia CyberEthiopialast_img read more

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Mashery: APIs the Key to a Thriving Cloud

first_imgEditor’s note: this is a “Sponsor Post” by one of our long-term sponsors. These posts are clearly labeled as such, but we also want them to be useful and interesting to our readers. We hope you like the posts, and we encourage you to support our sponsors by trying out their products.Cloud computing has arrived. You can scarcely open a computer magazine or business journal without coming across an article about this transformative new approach to providing web-based services. Cloud computing is undoubtedly shifting the landscape. But what many observers miss is that, while cloud computing has arrived, only through APIs will its full business potential be realized.A (Very) Brief History of Cloud ComputingA few years ago, Google capitalized on the idea of using huge clusters of cheap computers and building software with a high fault tolerance, so that when its machines would go down, the overall system would still function properly. Amazon used the same approach, with a twist. The company’s vast, distributed architecture lent itself to a standardized provisioning of computing resources. As the provisioning process became more standardized, and it became easier for Amazon to roll out new services, the company started selling on-demand access to its massive, distributed computing infrastructure.The rest is history. And more cloud computing providers have appeared, each with its own approach. GoGrid, for example, offers flexible server specifications and interconnection options. Salesforce.com provides an application infrastructure with database, security, workflow, and other capabilities already in place. Ning emphasizes simplicity, giving its users the ability to roll their own social networks without any programming knowledge.Without APIs, There Is No Cloud ComputingCloud computing is not simply another type of application service provider (ASP) offering. The ASP and hosting providers of years gone by offered a set of software services from within a walled garden. These services were tied to specific hardware and software configurations.In contrast, cloud computing draws its strength from its connections to the outside world, through APIs. These APIs fall into three general categories:Control APIs, which allow cloud infrastructure to be added, reconfigured, or removed in real time, either by human control or programmatically based on traffic, outages, or other factorsData APIs, which are the conduits through which data flow in and out of the cloud.Application Functionality APIs, which enable the functionality that end users interact with, such as shopping carts, wikis, and widgets.Control APIs: The Key to Cloud Computing FlexibilityNearly all cloud services allow (or even require) deployment and configuration through APIs. When you use Amazon’s EC2 service, you are using the EC2 API to dynamically configure virtual servers. When you use Google’s App Engine, you are using an API to run your web applications on Google’s infrastructure. These control APIs are integral to the capabilities of all cloud computing providers, performing functions similar to those of a conventional data center dashboard. In fact, some observers believe a significant reason for the failure of Sun’s network.com cloud (which has been taken down) is that it could not be controlled through APIs and therefore lacked the flexibility that developers expect from cloud services.At first, control APIs were limited to individual cloud providers, but that is starting to change. GoGrid has made its Mashery-powered control API available under a Creative Commons Share Alike license, so that other cloud providers can use and modify it to suit their needs.Data APIs: Essential Conduits for All Cloud-Based ApplicationsThis is an exciting development, but the real magic in cloud computing happens when data interchange APIs move between clouds. The web itself provides the underlying infrastructure, while applications, data, and services are delivered via interconnected clouds.We are now starting to see some of the benefits of cross-cloud applications. For example, Lasso2Go, an impressive contact information service, makes use of Amazon and Salesforce.com’s clouds, as well as the APIs for the iPhone and other devices. The Amazon data interchange APIs have been merged with other data interchange APIs, enabling a seamlessly integrated cross-cloud application.In a completely different market, soundpushr demonstrates the power of APIs. Using APIs from Amazon, Flickr, the Hype Machine, Last.fm, and YouTube, soundpushr gives music enthusiasts the ability to search for and instantly find music, videos, and photos of artists they like. The search tool does not use bots to crawl the web. Instead, it connects directly to data sources in the Amazon and YouTube clouds, as well as ones at Flickr, the Hype Machine, and Last.fm.Application Functionality APIs: The Final LayerApplication platform APIs provide functionality beyond data access. For example, they give Ning the ability to provision configurable social networking sites from an array of centralized services. But application platform APIs can do more. The social shopping site Kaboodle leverages the Shopping.com API to provide product information, and then adds its own social networking features. The possibilities for application functionality integration are already being explored, and as more APIs become available, we can expect even more exciting combinations.A Thrilling FutureOver the last six months, we have seen an amazing transition in Web 2.0. Organizations ranging from retail giants like Best Buy to content providers like the New York Times to service providers like Netflix to powerful institutions like the World Bank are opening their content and services to developers and partners.We are witnessing a revolution. Content and services that were previously trapped in systems that required great effort to get pushed out to the web are now part of a much larger set of connected cloud eco-systems. Information, functionality, and services can now be delivered at the point and time that users want it. And APIs are the foundation that makes this all possible.If you enjoyed this post then check out Mashery.com, the leading provider of API management services. rww sponsor 1 Tags:#cloud computing#Sponsors#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts center_img A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

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DC Explains How Sales Tax Increase Applies

first_imgDistrict of Columbia issued a notice advising on how the sales and use tax increases will apply to contracts and leases Sales and use tax rates increased in the District, effective October 1, 2018.Retail Payments Under ContractFor retail contracts entered into before October 1, 2018, payments received:– before October 1, 2018 are subject to the 5.75% rate;,– after October 1, 2018 are subject to the 6% rate.Lease and Rental PaymentsThe increased rates for rentals and leases of motor vehicles and other personal property apply to lease periods beginning on or after October 1, 2018. Generally, sales tax applies to each rental or lease period.New Sales and Use Tax RatesThe notice also lists all of the increased sales and use tax rates.OTR Notice 2018-04, District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue, December 19, 2018, ¶200-773Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

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Antonio Brown faces rape accusations by former trainer

first_img(AP) New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown is facing rape accusations by a former trainer.According to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in the Southern District of Florida, Britney Taylor says Brown sexually assaulted her on three occasions.Brown has denied the allegations. Darren Heitner, a lawyer representing Brown, told The Associated Press his client plans to countersue. Heitner said Brown and Taylor had “a consensual personal relationship.”Taylor also said in the statement she will cooperate with the NFL and any other agencies.A spokesman for the NFL declined comment, but the Patriots say the league told the team it will launch an investigation.last_img

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Trump cuts to NSF mostly rejected by House panel, but it nixes new ships

first_img NSF has requested $183 million for that account. Some $78 million would go to continue work on the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope in Chile and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope in Hawaii. The rest of the money would be used to start building the first two of the three ships.NSF had proposed building two ships, but Senate appropriators last year convinced their colleagues to add a third ship and gave NSF an additional $53 million in 2017 to get started. Culberson’s panel has never liked that project, however. Last year it voted to eliminate funding for them, and this year’s mark reiterates that stance.The good news is that the House bill effectively takes that $105 million cut and applies it to NSF’s research programs. The bad news is that Senate appropriators will likely restore the money in their version of NSF’s budget. When they do, the result could be that much less for NSF’s six research directorates. An artist’s conception of a new regional class research vessel. Trump cuts to NSF mostly rejected by House panel, but it nixes new ships By Jeffrey MervisJun. 28, 2017 , 3:00 PMcenter_img Oregon State University A House of Representatives spending panel wants to spare the National Science Foundation (NSF) from most of the 11% cut that was proposed by President Donald Trump for its 2018 budget. But it would do so in part by eliminating funding for three mid-sized research vessels that Congress last year told NSF to start building.A panel led by Representative John Culberson (R–TX) will vote tomorrow on a 2018 spending bill that covers NSF and several other science agencies. A draft of that legislation, released today, sets NSF’s next budget at $7.338 billion, some $134 million below its current level but $685 million above the president’s request.The House mark holds NSF’s six research accounts level, at $6.033 billion. NSF’s education directorate would also tread water, at $880 million. The biggest variation from 2017 would come in its major research facilities account, which funds new construction.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

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Boateng: ‘My own racism task force’

first_imgFiorentina forward Kevin-Prince Boateng has had enough of racism in football and claims he will be starting his “own task force” next year. The 32-year-old is “sick of it” and claims clubs should be “punished with a points deduction” system if they can’t make their fans behave in Italian stadiums. “It’s not enough to prevent the access of part of the fans after the insults towards [Mario] Balotelli,” he told the Corriere della Sera. “I hope the public has learned something and no longer replicate certain behaviour. “We need to ban them. The clubs need to pay for their fans’ behaviour. And if necessary, punish them with a point deduction.” After a speech at a UN meeting on racial discrimination in sports, Boateng is not happy with the actions carried out by the clubs. “It was an important day in my life. But after that, what has been done to stop the trend?” he added. “There’s been a task force, summarized by a series of meetings and ideas. The “No to Racism” campaign in the Champions League is not enough. “I’ll do it myself in 2020. I’m organising my task force with events involving other players. “I’m sick of it. People don’t understand how Balotelli, Boateng or [Kalidou] Koulibaly feel when they get home. “We are alone. I go crazy when I hear comments like, ‘so what, you earn €5m’. There are scars on you that you can’t erase.” Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/last_img read more

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