Thursday, March 31, 2011

Egypt Favors Pragmatic Solution to Nile Water Sharing, (VOA)

Water use issues have long been a source of contention among the Nile Basin countries, which disagree over the distribution of the river’s waters.

For decades, the allocation has been determined by an agreement that’s been re-negotiated recently and that could alter the historic water-sharing arrangements for the Nile.

The new accord, the Cooperative Framework Agreement, includes a provision that concerns Egypt. Unlike previous agreements, Article 14b does not recognize the historical right of Egypt to 55 billion cubic meters of Nile Water. Some say the country could lose billions of metric tons of water.

Map of Nile River and surrounding countries

The previous agreements date back to the colonial era and were backed by Great Britain in order to develop Egypt’s agriculture.

They include those of 1902 and 1929, which gave Egypt access to and authority over most of the Nile. A 1959 treaty guaranteed Egypt nearly 56 billion cubic meters of water and Sudan 18.5 billion.

Sharing the water

Many say the question now is what Ethiopia and the rest of the upstream countries can do to assure Egypt that it will not suffer a reduction in water, which it needs in particular for agriculture and human consumption.

The need is to ensure that all Nile countries can share water in an equitable way.

“It is better to frame the question this way instead of locking it in the rhetoric of policy makers who like to refer to specific treaties that do not have validity in post-historic or legal terms,” says Alem Hailu, African studies professor at Howard University in Washington, DC.

Using other resources

Some Egyptian observers say upstream countries, including Ethiopia, have other sources of water, including lakes they can tap for water rather than using the resources of the Nile.

Hailu disagrees.

Survival/Serge Tornay
During the dry part of the year, when the water table drops, the Nyangatom, Mursi and other tribes of the area dig deep holes in river beds to water their cattle and to get drinking water.

“It is true,” he says, “that Ethiopia, Uganda, and other Basin countries have other resources, but the Nile Basin region, where the water comes from, has been an area where drought is pervasive and poverty rampant. That is why countries like Ethiopia are demanding their fare share of resources, so their people will be able to survive as well. They are fighting starvation and would like to have food security.”

Cooperation or war

The concern comes, says Hailu, “when policymakers frame the issue in terms of ‘If we don’t get our water we will bomb’ type of mentality.”

Should Ethiopia then be concerned about strains with Egypt over the Nile waters?

Professor Hailu says, “Geographically and regionally the relationship of Egypt and Ethiopia is very important. They are locked in many ways.”

Hailu says recent developments in Egypt show the military and civil leaders in Cairo favor pragmatism and accommodation rather than confrontation.

“In fact, the recent uprising and upheavals in Egypt and elsewhere show political leaders seem to be framing issues in terms of a win-win situation, where everybody benefits,” explains Hailu.

Win-Win

The issue should be framed in a way that benefits all, Hailu says. “Egypt and Ethiopia should find a path for joint development, not playing games of power politics.”

He says the new treaty provides that framework, by allowing upstream development in Ethiopia, which in turn will help develop Egypt and other countries.

“There is a proposal underway for hydro-power (dams) worth 1.4 billion dollars. There are regions in the Lake Tana area that need to be developed.”

N/A
Ethiopia's Gibe Dam 2

Hailu says the best way for Egypt to share the Nile water would be building massive reservoirs in the Ethiopian highlands rather than relying solely on Lake Nasser near the Aswan dam close to the border with Sudan.

The lake, he says, loses nearly a quarter of the Nile Waters that empty into it each year due to evaporation.

“If Ethiopia and the other basin countries succeed in sustaining their environment, it is a great benefit for Egypt as well.”

For Ethiopia, he says that means hastening development in the Ethiopian highlands of Gojjam and the Bahar Dar area bordering Gondar.

More influence for Ethiopia

Observers say hydro-power and other developments could improve Ethiopia’s power and influence in the region. It could also strengthen the Meles Zenawi government, which has come under criticism from domestic observers and Ethiopians in the Diaspora.

Hailu is not so sure. He says this is a national issue rather a Meles-centered one: “Meles will come and go like all other governments.”

“The issue,” he says, “should be accentuating Ethiopia’s role as a historical country that has played a big role in Africa’s liberation.” Today, say observers, it can play a historic role in the continent’s economic revival.

Ethiopia Plans to Build New Hydropower Plant to Generate 5,250 Megawatts ( Bloomberg)

Ethiopia will build a new hydropower plant in the Nile River basin that will generate 5,250 megawatts of electricity, Water and Energy Minister Alemayehu Tegenu said.

The facility, known as the Grand Millennium Dam of Ethiopia, will be built at a cost of 80 billion birr ($4.76 billion), Alemayehu told reporters today in Addis Ababa, the capital. The plant will be situated in the Benishangul-Gumuz region near the border with Sudan, he said.

The project will be funded by Ethiopia, partly through the sale of government bonds, and the Horn of Africa nation’s international partners, Alemayehu said.

“The Ethiopian government is ready and determined to complete the project with or without foreign grants or loans,” he said. No further details on financing or who will build the plant were provided.

Ethiopia has the second-largest hydropower potential in Africa, after the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the World Bank. The country plans to increase its electricity capacity fivefold to 10,000 megawatts over the next five years, Alemayehu said.

Some of the power produced by the plant will be exported to neighboring Sudan and Egypt, he said. Last month, Burundi became the sixth nation to sign an agreement on usage of water from the Nile River, enabling ratification of an accord that may strip Egypt of its veto power over projects that tap the world’s longest river.

Egypt and Sudan will benefit more from irrigation from the reservoir than Ethiopia, according to Alemayehu.

“The dam will doubtlessly benefit all the riparian countries involved, with disadvantage to none,” he said.

Egypt has not been consulted on the project, Egyptian Embassy spokesman Mostafa Ahmady said in an interview today from Addis Ababa.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Davison in Addis Ababa at

Ethiopia to build Nile dam, in defiance of Egypt (The Associated Press | News |)

Ethiopia's government says it plans to build a hydroelectric power dam along the Blue Nile River despite objections from Egypt and Sudan.

Water and Energy Minister Alemayehu Tegenu said Wednesday the dam will benefit Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.

He says the dam in western Ethiopia will provide power at competitive rates to other countries and offer irrigation opportunities as well. It will be about 19 miles (30 kilometers) from Sudan's border.

Ethiopia says the dam will cost as much as $5 million and can be done without foreign aid.

Egypt has previously refused any deal that would reduce its share of the Nile and give more access to other countries. A 1929 colonial-era treaty gives Egypt majority rights to the Nile's waters.




8,000 Falashmura to make aliyah ( Ynetnews )


After years of waiting in transition camps, thousands of Jews from Falashmura denomination in Ethiopia will be brought to Israel. 'We have moral obligation to end humanitarian crisis,' prime minister says

Yael Branovsky

Published: 11.14.10, 16:27 / Israel News

The government has agreed on Sunday to bring the approximately 8,000 Falashmura Jews who remain in transition camps in Gondar, Ethiopia to Israel over the next four years.

"These are the seeds of Israel – men, women and children – that currently find themselves in the worst living conditions," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a Knesset meeting. "This really is the case of a complex humanitarian crisis. We must prevent the emergence of additional refugee camps in Ethiopia."

Netanyahu told the ministers that 600 Falashmura members will come to Israel as soon as next year, and in the three years that follow 200 Falashmuras will make the move each month. "It is our moral obligation as the Israeli people to find a solution," Netanyahu said.

As per the government decision, there will be no additional organized aliyah of Falashmura members once this project is completed. Moreover, no one claiming to be Falashmura member will be granted the right for aliyah. Entrance to Israel will be allowed on an individual basis, in accordance with the Law of Return and the Interior Minister's decision.


200 immigrants will make aliyah each month (Archive Photo: AFP)

'Cannot let it become a historic crime'

Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver welcomed the measure, which was put together by the director-general of the Prime Minister's Office, Eyal Gabay, in collaboration with various organizations that have been petitioning for the step for years. "This is a historic decision, but we must make sure that it comes with budgetary support and with all the necessary solutions," he said. "It cannot become a historic crime."

Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom, however, said that the proposal is unsatisfactory. "This is a scandal that must be stopped," he said. "We should bring 1,000 Falashmura members to Israel every month, and bring an end to the saga where thousands of people live in terrible conditions."

There are 7,846 Falashmura members who are candidates for aliyah. As per the decision, the Interior Ministry will examine their eligibility and give them a final answer by August 2011. To be found eligible a candidate must have had a Jewish mother, must desire to return to Judaism in Israel and must have been registered in an official list from 2007 of Falashmura waiting in transition camps. Falashmura members who are already living Israel can request their relatives to be brought to Israel within three months.


Falashmura rallying in Jerusalem in July. (Photo: Guy Asayag)

'We saw their suffering'

"We have experience with government decisions," said Knesset Member Shlomo Molla (Kadima), who supported the measure. "This project will not only put the government's decision-making to the test, but also the execution of these decisions. After many years of evasion, the agency has taken responsibility."


Molla described his experience as the head of a delegation to Ethiopia a year ago. "We saw the distress that people face, and their suffering and the suffering of their families," he said. "The fact that it will take three years to bring them here is ridiculous, and I hope that the government will shorten the unbearable waiting period."

Members of the South Wing to Zion, an organization advocating for Ethiopean Jews, welcomed the decision and called it a "historic justice." A representative of the Public Committee for Ethiopian Jewry stated that "this is a moral, Jewish, human and Zionist decision of the highest order, which comes to complete the aliyah from Ethiopia and bring justice to the Jewish brothers who are pleading to return and connect with the Jewish people in their country."

Ethiopia: 80 Falashmura injured during protest outside Israeli embassy - Israel News, ( Ynetnews)


Some 2,000 Ethiopian Jews demonstrate in front of embassy in Addis Ababa; demand to be allowed to make aliyah. Eighty protesters arrested

Photo: AFP
Falashmura in Addis Ababa

Ynet

Published: 03.30.11, 17:15 / Israel News

The Ethiopian police arrested some 80 Jewish protesters and injured another 80 during a mass protest outside the Israeli embassy in Addis Ababa, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

Chairman of the Beta Israel Association Hamse Sutotow said 2,000 Ethiopian Falashmura gathered Wednesday at the Israeli Embassy. The protesters were demanding the right to Israeli citizenship.

Sutotow said he believes the police action was ordered directly or indirectly by the Israeli Embassy.

In the past, frustrated Falashmura members declared a hunger strike in an effort to pressure the authorities inIsrael to let them make aliyah.

In 2010, the Israeli government approved the immigration of some 8,000 Falashmura members over the next three years.

"These are the seeds of Israel – men, women and children – who currently find themselves in the worst living conditions," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the time.

"This really is the case of a complex humanitarian crisis. We must prevent the emergence of additional refugee camps in Ethiopia," he added.

As per the government decision, there will be no additional organized aliyah of Falashmura members once this project is completed.

Moreover, no one claiming to be a member of the Falashmura denomination will be granted the right to make aliyah. Entrance to Israel will be allowed on an individual basis, in accordance with the Law of Return and the interior minister's decision.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

‘Magic herb’ is well known to Kenyan scientists(Daily Nation)

File | NATION Scientists have linked this plant, known as as mtandamboo in Kiswahili, to the Loliondo ‘wonder drug’. Studies show extracts from the plant can cure various diseases, including a drug-resistant form of herpes virus and chest pains.

File | NATION Scientists have linked this plant, known as as mtandamboo in Kiswahili, to the Loliondo ‘wonder drug’. Studies show extracts from the plant can cure various diseases, including a drug-resistant form of herpes virus and chest pains.

By GATONYE GATHURA gathura@ke.nationmedia.com

Posted Tuesday, March 29 2011 at 22:00

The ‘magic herb’ that has made thousands of people flock to remote Loliondo village in Tanzania was identified by Kenyan scientists four years ago as a cure for a drug-resistant strain of a sexually transmitted disease.

An expert on herbal medicine also said yesterday the herb is one of the most common traditional cures for many diseases. It is known as mtandamboo in Kiswahili and it has been used for the treatment of gonorrhoea among the Maasai, Samburu and Kikuyu.

The Kamba refer to it as mukawa or mutote and use it for chest pains, while the Nandi boil the leaves and bark to treat breast cancer, headache and chest pains.

Four years ago, local researchers turned to the plant for the treatment of a virus that causes herpes. Led by Dr Festus M Tolo of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri), the team from the University of Nairobi and the National Museums of Kenya found the herb could provide alternative remedy for herpes infections.

“An extract preparation from the roots of Carissa edulis, a medicinal plant locally growing in Kenya, has exhibited remarkable anti-herpes virus activity for both wild type and drug resistant strains,” they reported in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.

No negative effects

“The mortality rate for mice treated with extract was also significantly reduced by between 70 and 90 per cent as compared with the infected untreated mice that exhibited 100 per cent mortality.”

The researchers reported that the extract did not have any negative effects on the mice.

Mrs Grace Ngugi, head of economic ethnobotany at the National Museums of Kenya, said the plant was not poisonous as feared earlier.

Further studies have shown the plant to contain ingredients that make it a good diuretic. Diuretics are drugs used to increase the frequency of urination to remove excess fluid in the body, a condition that comes with medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, liver and kidney disease.

Some diuretics are also used for the treatment of high blood pressure. These drugs act on the kidneys to increase urine output, reducing the amount of fluid in the blood, which in turn lowers blood pressure.

A study at the Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia found the herb was a powerful diuretic. It is found in many parts of the country and is used to treat headache, rheumatism, gonorrhoea, syphilis and rabies, among other diseases.

The Ethiopians tested its potency on mice and found it increased the frequency of urination. This was more so when an extract from the bark of the root was used.

“These findings support the traditional use of Carissa spp. as a diuretic agent,” write the researchers in theJournal of Alternative Medicine.

The Kemri study also isolated other compounds from the herb, including oleuropein, an immune booster, and lupeol. Lupeol, according to researchers from the University of Wisconsin, US, was found to act against cancerous cells in mice.

“We showed that lupeol possesses antitumor-promoting effects in a mouse and should be evaluated further,” wrote Dr Mohammad Saleem, a dermatologist.

Mrs Ngugi said the herb was one of the most prevalent traditional cures and herbalists harvest roots, barks and even the fruits to make concoctions for many diseases.

“Among the Mbeere and Tharaka people where the fruit is called ngawa, the plant is used for the treatment of malaria. The fruits, when ripe, are eaten by both children and adults,” she said.

If dirty tricks go on in South African elections could lead to shedding of blood ( Times LIVE)

Already South Africa's two main political parties - the ANC and the DA - have started shovelling allegations of dirty tricks at each other.

Yesterday, the ANC alleged that the DA had removed the party's posters in the Midvaal municipality.

The DA has accused the ANC of busing in people from outside Midvaal to boost support for the ruling party in the municipality.

Midvaal, as the DA has been at pains to explain, is perhaps as contentious an area as Western Cape in the elections.

Having won the municipality in the last elections, the DA appears to consider Midvaal the jewel in its governance crown. Having received successive clean audits from the auditor-general, the DA clearly wants to use Midvaal as an example of delivery in Gauteng.

Obviously, the municipality is an uncomfortable reality for the ANC - as much as the DA-run Western Cape.

It is therefore not surprising that the two parties will watch each other closely, crying foul at every conceivable opportunity. That, after all, is what election campaigns are about.

Political analysts quoted in one of our reports in today's newspaper have warned that, if the dirty tricks and insults are not stopped, the elections could easily degenerate into something nasty . They warned of violence in some parts of KwaZulu-Natal.

The analysts have also cautioned that political intolerance was growing, not only between parties but within the organisations.

As we move closer to May 18 to elect our local government representatives, the Independent Electoral Commission must take a hard stance against any party that engages in dirty tricks to win votes at all costs.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Egypt to recognize South Sudan, talk of water supplies (Bikya Masr)

CAIRO: Egypt’s Prime Minister Essam Sharaf declared on Monday that Egypt will officially recognize the existence of newly formed South Sudan. Sharaf’s four-day diplomatic mission to Sudan is the first of its kind since he was appointed Prime Minister by Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in early March.

Sharaf traveled to both North and South Sudan, recently split after a popular referendum, following North Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s recent visit to Cairo. Bashir declared he will send 5,000 cows to Cairo as a thank-you to Sharaf for receiving him in Egypt as the first leader to visit the country after the revolution.

The aim of Sharaf’s visit to Sudan is to discuss diplomatic relations with both newly formed South Sudan and neighboring Sudan. As a main topic in discussion that brings closer Egyptian and Sudanese regional interests, there will be talks around water supplies in the Nile basin.

The exploitation of Nile waters is still regulated by two agreements signed in 1928 and 1959, assigning Egypt some 90 percent of the total share.

Sudan and Egypt have recently refused to put their signature under the so-called Entebbe Agreement, stipulated by East African countries Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Rwanda, that would reset a fairer share of water supplies.

Egypt’s economy is tightly knit to agricultural production and irrigation systems. Moreover, the country’s energetic autonomy almost completely depends on the Aswan dam, exploiting Nile water to produce more than 2.1 gigawatts of power.

Muslim Jihad in Christian Ethiopia: Lessons for the West ( Middle East Forum)

Not only does last week's jihadist rampage against Ethiopia's Christians highlight the travails Christians encounter wherever Islam has a sizable population, but it offers several insights, including some which should concern faraway, secular nations with Muslim minorities.

Remains of one of the churches destroyed during the Muslim rampage.

Thousands of Christians have been forced to flee their homes in Western Ethiopia after Muslim extremists set fire to roughly 50 churches and dozens of Christian homes. At least one Christian has been killed, many more have been injured and anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 have been displaced in the attacks that began March 2 after a Christian in the community of Asendabo was accused of desecrating the Koran.

For starters, this "medieval" attack is a reminder that countless churches have been destroyed or desecrated by jihadist terror since Islam rose to power in the Medieval era, evincing centuries of continuity. While the media may mention the more "spectacular" attacks on churches—in Iraq, in Egypt—most attacks go either unreported or underreported. (Some Muslim nations, such as U.S. "friend-and-ally" Saudi Arabia, nip it in the bud by outlawing churches in the first place.)

Moreover, the dubious excuse used to justify this latest barbarous outburst—"desecration of the Koran"—is a reminder of the double-standards Bibles suffer in the Islamic world, where they are routinely confiscated and burned. Indeed, even as Muslim Ethiopians were rampaging, Muslim nations hailed as being "moderate"—Malaysia and Bangladesh—also made headlines last week with their deplorable treatment of Christians and Bibles. Worse, the West helps standardize such a biased approach: the U.S. government—Obama, Hillary, and any number of other grandstanding politicians—rose up in condemnation when a virtually anonymous, small-town pastor threatened to burn the Koran, while saying nary a word about the countless Bibles daily mutilated in the Muslim world (a 2003 fatwa that ruled the Bible suitable for use by Muslims when cleaning after defecation went largely unnoticed).

Dispossessed Ethiopians pray.

Such a gutless approach is not surprising considering the sort of people who advise the military, such as Lt. Cmdr. Youssef Aboul-Enein, who recommends that, if ever an American soldier desecrates a Koran, U.S. leadership must offer "unconditional apologies," and emulate the words of Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Hammond: "I come before you [Muslims] seeking your forgiveness, in the most humble manner I look in your eyes today, and say please forgive me and my soldiers," followed by abjectly kissing a new Koran (Militant Islamist Ideology, p. 26).

Finally, for those Western observers who live beyond the moment and have an interest in the big picture, the long run—the world bequeathed to future generations—the issue of numbers revealed by this Ethiopian anecdote should give cause to pause. The Fox News report continues:

The string of attacks comes on the heels of several reports of growing anti-Christian tension and violence around the country where Muslims make up roughly one-third of the total population but more than 90 percent of the population in certain areas, 2007 Census data shows. One of those areas is Besheno where, on November 9, all the Christians in the city woke up to find notes on their doors warning them to convert to Islam, leave the city or face death.

As Jonathan Racho, an official at International Christian Concern, said, "It's extremely disconcerting that in Ethiopia, where Christians are the majority, they are also the victims of persecution." This oddity is explained by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's assertion that Ethiopian Islamists "have changed their tactics and they have been able to camouflage their activities through legal channels"—a strategy regularly implemented by Islamists wherever they are outnumbered, like in the U.S., prompting countermeasures such as Islamist Watch and the Legal Project.

That Muslims are an otherwise peaceable minority group in Ethiopia, but in enclaves where they represent the majority, they attack their outnumbered Christian countrymen—giving them a tweaked version of Islam's three choices to infidels—suggests that Muslim aggression and passivity are very much rooted in numbers: the more Muslims, the more potential for "assertive" behavior.

Ethiopia has some of the world's oldest churches, including St. Mary of Zion, which was originally built in the 4th century but nearly destroyed during a 16th century jihad waged by the Somali Ahmad ibn Ibrahim.

This has lessons for the West, especially Europe, which in recent years has seen an unprecedented influx of Muslim immigrants, reaching some 53 million, a number expected to "nearly double by 2015, while the non-Muslim will shrink by 3.5%," due to higher Muslim birth rates. In short, it is a matter of time before Muslims account for significant numbers in Europe—perhaps not the majority, but, as the Ethiopian example establishes, a majority is not necessary for the winds of jihad to blow.

Indeed, the story of Islam's entry into Ethiopia, one of the oldest Christian civilizations, is illustrative. Around 615, when the pagan Quraysh were persecuting Muhammad's outnumbered Muslim followers in Arabia, some fled to Ethiopia seeking sanctuary. The Christian king, or "Negus" of Ethiopia, welcomed and protected these Muslim fugitives, ignoring Quraysh demands to return them—and thus winning Muhammad's gratefulness. Today, 14 centuries later, when Islam has carved itself a solid niche in Ethiopia, accounting for 1/3 of the population, Muslim gratefulness has turned to something else—not least a warning to Western states.

Raymond Ibrahim is associate director of the Middle East Forum

Peace Corps experience -- Ethiopia | MLive.com

To mark the Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary, The Muskegon Chronicle is featuring a series of essays by former Peace Corps volunteers who have West Michigan ties. More than 430 area residents are former Peace Corps volunteers. The essays have appeared several times a week throughout the month and can be read online at mlive.com/opinion/muskegon.

Learn more about the Peace Corps at www.peacecorps.gov/

By Marty Merkel

martymerkel.jpgMarty Merkel is wearing a an authentic monkey-skin and a warriors headdress. She served in Ethiopia.
I earned $975 for my two years of service in the Peace Corps in Gondar, Ethiopia. I taught with little more than chalk and chalkboard, a few books and a fly whisk. I had a set of Shakespeare books and George Bernard Shaw’s “Major Barbara.” There also was a very old set of advanced grammar books from England.

I was applauded by my 10th- and 11th-graders every day. They loved Shakespeare especially. They gave me fleas and lots of love. Since then, I’ve traveled on five continents and in 43 countries.

It was the hardest job I ever loved.

I shared my experiences in Africa with my Reeths-Puffer students and they always were interested when I told them of a fellow volunteer who was eaten by a 15-foot crocodile.

Marty Merkel served in the Peace Corps from 1964-66 after graduation from Central Michigan University. She is a retired Reeths-Puffer English teacher and lives in North Muskegon.

Related topics: Peace Corps essays

Kisorio (Kenya ) in 60:25 & Brihane Eyeshaneh Ababel (Ethiopia) in 69:54 win 40th edition of Stramilano Half Marathon (IAAF)


Matthew Kisorio wins the 40th Stramilano Half Marathon  (Lorenzo Sampaolo)

Matthew Kisorio wins the 40th Stramilano Half Marathon(Lorenzo Sampaolo)

Milan, Italy - Kenyan Matthew Kisorio took the win improving his PB by seven seconds with 60:03 at today’s Stramilano Half Marathon which celebrated its 40th edition on a cloudy morning but otherwise with ideal weather conditions.

Kisorio, fourth at last week’s IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Punta Umbria, beat his 18-year-old compatriot Eric Ndiema who finished second in 60:20 ahead of Dereje Deme Hailegiorgis, third in 60:25.

In the women’s race 20-year-old Ethiopian Ababel Eyeshaneh Brihane took the honours in 69:54 ahead of Italian Anna Incerti, runner-up in 70:41.

MEN

The men’s race set off at a very fast pace on the flat Milan course inside a 59:25-59:30 pace. Peter Kurui led a six man group who went through 5km in 14:06. The leading pack also featured Ethiopians Shumi Leche Dechasa, Atalay Yrsaw Tegene, Dereje Deme Hailegiorgis and Kenyans Matthew Kisorio and Eric Ndiema.

They continued to push hard in the first 10km (8km in 22:36 and 10km in 28:16). Kisorio broke away at 13km with a decisive attack and at 15km he had carved out a gap of 6 seconds over Eric Ndiema, who entered the Stramilano with a 59:57 PB set last year in The Hague and finished third at last month’s Paris Half Marathon, and Dereje Deme.

Kisorio passed the 15 km in 42:24 to Ndiema’s 42:30. The pace slowed in the second half and any hopes of scoring the eighth sub-60 minutes in the history of the Stramilano vanished in the final kilometres.

Kisorio set his previous PB of 60:10 last October in Porto. He also boasts a 5000 metres track PB of 12:57:83 (2010) and won the 2008 IAAF World Junior silver medal over this distance. He is the fourth of seven children of the late Some Moge, first Kenya’s medallist at the World Cross Country Championships with bronze at Gateshead in 1983.

“I was aiming at running under 60 minutes but it was a good race, anyway”, said Kisorio. “The conditions were perfect for running. I was running at sub-60 minutes (pace) but I had some problems in the final kilometres. My goal is to make the Kenyan team in the 10,000 metres for the World Championships in Daegu,” said Kisorio, who trains with the group guided by Italian coach Claudio Berardelli.

The local interest was focused on the half marathon debut of former European Junior and Under 23 Cross Country champion Andrea Lalli who ran a good race finishing seventh, first among Europeans in 62:32.

“I expected to run 63, so it was a good result for me. I had no experience at all over this distance, as I don’t run more than 20km in training. I have trained very well in Kenya with a group of Kenyan runners and this gave me a great motivation. My goal is to qualify for the 10,000 metres for the World Championships in Daegu. I will pursue the qualifying standard for Daegu at the 10,000 metres European Challenge in Oslo on 5 June,” said Lalli.

European Marathon champion Viktor Röthlin from Switzerland finished eleventh in 62:45 in his final test before the London Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Race, on 17 April.

WOMEN

The women’s race developed into a fight between Ababel Eyeshaneh and Anna Incerti who ran side by side in the first 15km (5km in 16:21, 10km in 32:48 and 15km in 49:38). Hungarian Krisztina Papp, who boasts a half marathon PB of 70:53 set at the Udine World Half Marathon Championships in 2007, followed in third position at 15km in 50:45.

Incerti, European Marathon bronze medallist in Barcelona, was aiming at breaking the Italian Half Marathon record held by 2002 European Marathon champion Maria Guida who clocked 69:00 in 2000. Incerti has had a set of impressive results recently such as her marathon PB of 2:27:33 set in Osaka at the end of January and her 69:06 winning time set at the Roma Ostia Half Marathon, the second fastest time in Europe so far this year.

However, despite such good form the runner from Bagheria near Palermo felt heavy legged by 15km and was dropped by Eyeshaneh at that point, the young Ethiopian romping home with a strong final part in 1:09:54 in the famous Napoleonic Arena Civica, the home of athletics in Milan.

“I missed my PB by just a few seconds but I am happy with my performance. I don’t think about qualifying for the World Championships because the competition in Ethiopia is very tough,” said Eyeshaneh.

Incerti was not very happy despite her second place; last year she came fifth coming back after a long period of rest after injury. “It was not my day. I trained very well at altitude in Ifrane and I knew that I could run much faster,” said Incerti. “I felt heavy legged and I could not react when the Ethiopian pulled away. I am happy with my husband Stefano Scaini who made his marathon debut in Treviso today finishing fourth in 2:16:48. I was running in Milan but my heart was in Treviso. My next marathon race will be at the World Championships in Daegu,” concluded Incerti.

No less than 6000 runners took part in the Stramilano Half Marathon, while about 50,000 runners toed the starting-line in the popular Stramilano 10km non-competitive mass event which started from Piazza Duomo and finished in the Arena Civica.

Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF

RESULTS

MEN
1 Matthew Kisorio (Kenya) 60:03
2 Eric Ndiema (Kenya) 60:20
3 Dereje Deme Hailegiorgis (Ethiopia) 60:25
4 Peter Kurui (Kenya) 60:40
5 Yrasaw Tegene Atalay (Ethiopia) 60:59
6 Shumi Dechese Leche (Ethiopia) 61:52
7 Andrea Lalli (Italy) 62:32
8 Geoffrey Ngugi (Kenya) 62:35

…11 Viktor Röthlin (Switzerland) 62:45

WOMEN
1 Brihane Eyeshaneh Ababel (Ethiopia) 69:54
2 Anna Incerti (Italy) 70:41
3 Krisztina Papp (Hungary) 71:47
4 Valeria Straneo (Italy) 73:22
5 Martina Facciani (Italy) 74:29
6 Marcella Mancini (Italy) 74:34

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Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change &  Liberation  in Europe, Africa and Americas. He has obtained  Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva.   A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies.  He wrote on the  problematic of  the Horn of  Africa extensively. He Speaks Amharic, Tigergna, Hebrew, English, French. He has a good comprehension of Arabic, Spanish and Italian.