Wednesday, October 31, 2012

BBC News - Today - Ethiopia children 'master tablet PCs'

BBC News - Today - Ethiopia children 'master tablet PCs': "Ethiopia children 'master tablet PCs'

American researchers from the organisation Global Advocacy, One Laptop Per Child have mounted an experiment in two small Ethiopian villages to see the effect of new technology on children in remote regions of the developing world.
Helped by the Ethiopian government, they gave out tablet PCs, programmed in English and without any instructions, to every child between four and eleven years old in their target areas.
Early findings, they say, are astonishing and appear to suggest that tablets may do more for some children's education than schools or teachers. Global Advocacy's Matt Keller explained the thinking behind the experiment to the Today programme's Mike Thomson."

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Friday, October 26, 2012

3.3-Million-Year-Old Baby Shows Lucy’s Species Hung Out in Trees | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

Selam, a juvenile Australopithecus afarensis specimen
Selam, a 3.3-million-year-old Australopithecus afarensis specimen from the site of Dikika in Ethiopia. Image: Courtesy of Zeray Alemseged/Dikika Research Project

Selam, a 3.3-million-year-old Australopithecus afarensis specimen from the site of Dikika in Ethiopia. Image: Courtesy of Zeray Alemseged/Dikika Research Project

The advent of upright walking was a really big deal in human evolution. Scientists have posited that it allowed our ancestors to see above the savanna grass (the better to spot predators and prey), to carry tools and food and babies, to travel long distances more efficiently and to better strut their stuff for potential mates, among other possible perks. Indeed, bipedalism is one of the defining characteristics of our kind. Understandably, then, paleanthropologists are kind of obsessed with how our quadrupedal predecessors made the shift to two feet. Now a new study adds to the growing body of evidence that the transition did not happen overnight.

The 1974 discovery of Lucy, the 3.2-million-year old skeleton of an ancestral species known as Australopithecus afarensis, demonstrated that our ancestors evolved adaptations to upright walking before brain size expanded (another key human trait). But experts disagreed vehemently over just how dedicated Lucy’s species was to life on the ground. Some thought that A. afarensis had thoroughly abandoned the trees, that its anatomy demanded a terrestrial lifestyle and that any features suggestive of tree climbing were merely harmless evolutionary holdovers from an arboreal ancestor. Others maintained that A. afarensis still spent a considerable amount of time in the trees, and that the arboreal traits figured importantly in the survival of the species.

Selam's shoulder blade has apelike traits that show her species spent time climbing trees in addition to walking upright on the ground. Image: Courtesy of David J. Green

Eventually the idea that A. afarensis was a committed biped seemed to eclipse the competing theory. Then in 2006 researchers led by Zeresenay Alemseged, now at the California Academy of Sciences, announced their discovery of an astonishingly complete skeleton of an A. afarensis youngster, dubbed Selam, who died at the age of three. They unearthed the specimen at a site in the Afar region of Ethiopia called Dikika, just a few kilometers from the site of Hadar, where Lucy was found. Importantly, the 3.3-million-year-old skeleton preserves complete shoulder blades, which contain clues to locomotion. In their initial report describing Selam, Alemseged and his colleagues hinted that her shoulder blade anatomy resembled that of a gorilla, suggesting that early human ancestors spent more time climbing trees than previously supposed. The more detailed analysis by Alemseged and David Green of Midwestern University, published in the October 26 Science, confirms that preliminary assessment.

Green and Alemseged compared Selam’s shoulder blades to those of adult and juvenile great apes, as well as other fossil humans. They found that hominoids (the group composed of apes and humans, living and extinct) have two kinds of shoulder blade: one in which the socket faces up and another in which the socket faces sideways. Modern Homo sapiens and fossil members of our genus have the latter type of shoulder blade. Selam, however, has the upward facing kind. She also has another apelike shoulder trait in that the ridge of bone that cuts across the blade, known as the scapular spine, is oriented obliquely rather than horizontally as it is in modern humans. This upward orientation of the shoulder socket and the oblique orientation of the scapular spine help living apes to climb in trees.

Whereas modern human shoulder blades morph during development from a more apelike form into the human form, ape shoulder blade shape remains stable—and probably australopithecine shoulder blade shape did too, according to the new study. Thus the apelike appearance of Selam’s shoulder should not be dismissed as merely a juvenile trait. Instead, Green and Alemseged conclude, the findings bolster the hypothesis that A. afarensis “participated in a behavioral strategy that incorporated a considerable amount of arboreal behaviors in addition to bipedal locomotion.”

In a commentary accompanying the new report, Susan Larson of Stony Brook University notes that the famous Homo erectus (sometimes called H. ergaster) skeleton known as the Turkana Boy shows that the shoulder of human ancestors underwent its transformation by around 1.8 million years ago. “This reconfiguration was likely part of the emergence of our own genus Homo,” she observes, “and a growing dependence on tools and culture for survival.”

About the Author: Kate Wong is an editor and writer at Scientific American covering paleontology, archaeology and life sciences. Follow on Twitter @katewong.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

ETHIOPIA - Junedin Sado in a fine mess - The Indian Ocean Newsletter

Junedin Sado in a fine mess

     Troubles are mounting for the civil service minister and leader of the OPDO, Junedin Sado.
The civil service minister Junedin Sado, a longstanding member of the executive of theOromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) and of the EPRDF (ruling coalition, of which the OPDO is a member) executive, has fallen into disgrace. Two weeks ago, he was suspended from his seat on the OPDO executive committee, something which should lead to his replacement on the EPRDF executive committee. According to our sources, he has also been banned from leaving the country by the Ethiopian security services after he informed his deputy minister that he was to go to Thailand for a medical examination. The security agents prevented him from boarding his flight and he is in risk of being arrested at any moment. The same goes for his wife, Habiba Mohammed, who was imprisoned in July for supporting Muslim anti-government demonstrations. She was accused of using these protests for political ends. This is the reason behind the condemnation of the couple by the EPRDF leaders.

© Copyright 1982-2012 Indigo Publications.107929271 Reproduction and dissemination prohibited (photocopy, Intranet, web, etc.) without written permission of the editor.107929271

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How Ethiopia's dance duo found their step -BBC News -

How Ethiopia's dance duo found their step

Junaid Jemal Sendi and Addisu Demissie have been performing together since they were 12 years old, dancing on the streets of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
It was on those very streets that they were spotted for their talent.
The duo were selected to take part in a performance by the UK charity Dance United and are now working as professional dancers and choreographers.
They are now determined to share their experience at their new contemporary dance school, back home in Addis Ababa.
The BBC Africa's Helene Daouphars met them as they rehearsed before a performance in London.
For more African news from the BBC, download the Africa Today podcast.

Saturday, October 20, 2012



Animated describes storyteller Tommy Higginbotham.

BY c. richard cotton
special to the courier
Published: Friday, October 19, 2012 12:18 PM CDT
When Tommy Higginbotham starts talking, you can’t help but listen. Not only does he talk, but he gestures. And he gesticulates. And he captivates.

The 62-year-old Palmetto resident is retired from Cable News Network, leaving CNN nearly a decade ago as a senior field engineer. Through the 15 years he worked there, Higginbotham rubbed elbows with the rich and the famous, the poor and the unknown and even the infamous.

“I was captured by Bosnian forces,” Higginbotham said, recalling his days covering the Balkan wars in the 1990s. “I had two microwaves and was talking on my radio while they directed us to drive where they wanted from the backseat.” (Higginbotham’s CNN job was to maintain microwave links for live broadcasts by noted reporters like Christiane Amanpour.)

One of his colleagues was doing the driving; they were the only two in the car who spoke English – the three Bosnians spoke no English and were growing more and more restless and suspicious with Higginbotham’s radio conversation.

“Put the radio down,” the driver warned.

“One of them put a gun to my head and I heard it being cocked,” Higginbotham recalled. “I held the radio up in the air and dropped it onto the floor of the car.”

The gun was withdrawn but the car continued on to where the CNN employees were questioned: “We spent the next day being interrogated. They were nice the first few hours . . . “

Of the more than 40 countries Higginbotham worked in, he says the most interesting was Ethiopia. But before he could elaborate on why, he launched into another gesture-supported story.

“When we were flying from Kenya into Somalia, we were shot at,” Higginbotham said. Aboard a Russian plane, the pilot weaved in and out of, around antiaircraft fire. Finally landing, the news team was met by Somalian warlords who demanded as much as $10,000 for them to deplane.

“The Russian pilot was rolling a 55-gallon drum of fuel out onto the wing so he could refuel,” said Higginbotham. “He yelled, ‘Just pay the man so I can get out of here!’”

Not all his adventures were so hazardous. Higginbotham keeps a stack of photos of himself at such disparate locations as atop one of the Egyptian pyramids. Another shows him at the John Lennon memorial in England. Still others are pictures of him in Hong Kong, Mexico, Turkey and many other locales, as well as at national Democratic and Republican conventions.

Before CNN, Higginbotham held positions at television stations and networks in Atlanta and Hattiesburg. He served in the U.S. Air Force 1967-1971, fine-tuning his expertise in the communications business that would carry him around the world; that enlistment also put him working with the space shuttle program from his duty station at Florida’s Patrick Air Force Base.

Higginbotham earned his degree in communications management from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1978 (he is a graduate of Tupelo High School). He also earned numerous industry awards, some of which are framed and stacked in his house, through his career.

Today, the Clarksdale native enjoys a quiet life at his octagonal-shaped home in the Palmetto community of southern Lee County. Higginbotham gardens and, for excitement, climbs aboard his red Harley-Davidson motorcycle for regular rides. Although they have been a couple for years, he and wife Debby Jones Higginbotham wed three months ago. He has two daughters and one granddaughter.

Though he walks with the aid of a cane, Higginbotham doesn’t let that age him: “I feel young because I learn something every day.”

He punctuated that statement with a wave of his hands.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ethiopia: Adam's life-changing journey - ABC Sydney - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

It was just over 12 months ago that the crisis in the Horn of Africa saw an ABC radio appeal and incredible generosity from the ABC family.
In a week over $2 million was raised and last week I headed to Dollo Ado to see what had changed in the last 12 months.
The first thing I learnt was that Dollo Ado is not a refugee camp. It is a district consisting of five refugee camps, each home to 30-40,000 Somalis fleeing the conflict and famine in their homeland, which has been a failed state since 1991.
And it was the scale of Dollo Ado that really hit me.
I was not immune to the suffering that I saw - it is horrible and you can't imagine it if you haven't been there - but amazingly the mood was one of 'it is so much better than it was a year ago - thank you for that'.
Child mortality has dropped 30-fold in just over a year, malnutrition rates have been slashed, kids are starting to go to school. But where Dollo really hit me was in its size.
Dollo is massive - even having seen it from the air and on the ground I can't comprehend how big it is.
Five camps, each an endless array of tents and shelters literally in the middle of nowhere, joined by several kilometres of dusty rocky road that easily convinces you that you are in the Australian outback. 5
Five camps and 180,000 people, none of whom are going anywhere fast.
But in the middle of being overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of Dollo, I found solace in knowing that I have the chance to turn some eyes back to this amazing place.
The focus of the world has moved on, understandably, to other disasters.
Media are almost parodied as essentially saying 'well are kids still dying' before deciding not to cover Dollo anymore.
Well thankfully kids aren't dying in anywhere near the appalling numbers they did in mid-2011. But as the camp moves from an emergency to consolidation phase, help is desperately needed.
The main concern is shelter - moving people from tents that are made of the matting material you'd carry potatoes home in from the shops to transitional housing, bamboo and mud, is underway and is life-changing for all concerned.
By all means make a donation now, or listen out near year's end as we hopefully launch an initiative to help our brothers and sister in a place I will never forget - Dollo Ado.
Adam Spencer travelled to Ethiopia courtesy of Australia for UNHCR.
You can find out more about Adam's trip by clicking on the audio and story links on the right hand side of this page.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Toward a Democratic Ethiopia.mp4 - YouTube

Toward a Democratic Ethiopia.mp4 - YouTube: ""

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The Descendants Of Haile Selassie's Lions In Ethiopia Are Genetically Distinct, Researchers Find

The Addis Ababa Zoo in Ethiopia is home to the descendants of a collection of lions that belonged to the late emperor Haile Selassie, revered by the Rastafarian movement. Unlike other lions, these big cats have dark manes that extend all the way to their chest and belly. Now researchers say their genes also set them apart.
A group of scientists led by Susann Bruche, of Imperial College London, studied the DNA of eight males and seven females in the zoo. The team found the zoo lions are genetically distinct from all other existing lions. In total, the zoo houses 20 lions that belonged to the collection of Emperor Selassie who founded the zoo in 1948 with seven founding lions (five males and two females); these were said to have been captured in south-western Ethiopia though their geographical origin remains controversial.
The males currently at Addis Ababa Zoo are thought to be the last lions with such thick, dark manes. Wild populations are believed to have vanished due to overhunting for the manes, the researchers said, but some sightings of lions with similar locks have been reported in the east and northeast of Ethiopia. [See Photos of the Unique Lions]
rasta lion ethiopia
A group of lions at the Addis Ababa Zoo in Ethiopia have dark manes that cover their chest and belly.
The researchers said field surveys could confirm those reports. More urgently, a captive breeding program at the zoo could ensure that the tiny population doesn't die out.
"A great amount of genetic diversity in lions has most likely already been lost, largely due to human influences," Bruche said in a statement. "Every effort should be made to preserve as much of the lion's genetic heritage as possible. We hope field surveys will identify wild relatives of the unique Addis Ababa Zoo lions in the future, but conserving the captive population is a crucial first step."
The study has been published in the European Journal of Wildlife Research.
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Copyright 2012 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ethiopia: 'Live and Let Others Live'

A lot has been written and talked about HIV and AIDS. Billions of dollars have also been pumped into the effort to dramatically arrest the rapid prevalence of the deadly disease worldwide.
But the pandemic continues indiscriminately affecting human race regardless of race, sex, colour and place of origin, you name it though achievements have been witnessed in the fight against it. Obviously, a lot remains to be done in that regard. Principally, progress towards mitigating the negative impacts of the pandemic must be measured not by counting the number of activities undertaken to discuss features of HIV and AIDS, ways of its transmission, mechanisms to prevent and control the disease, and dividing them into the total population who contract the disease. But, it should be measured in accordance with the change (behavioural) brought about among the society. This in fact requires commitment, determination and courage to get the motto 'live and let others live' into practical actions. As the government and development partners have been working to make a difference, hopes are now rising to bring about change especially among the youth. What the very problem in this regard is, most of the time what people talk about the pandemic and what they are really doing are diametrically different. Whatsoever the talk people at every walks of life hold, the major concern needs to be behavioural change, ability to be triumphant over the disease. Because once developed, it would be easy to keep oneself away from the potential risks to contract the pandemic.
This writer could hardly say the required behavioural change, even at a lesser extent against HIV and AIDS, is met so far. This is because of a number of factors in the pipeline to further exacerbate the rapid prevalence of the disease. For instance, the situation what we have been through particularly in urban areas such as in Addis Ababa, is really threatening. I can say that it adds fuel to fire. Unless immediate actions are taken to fend off the condition that put the youth at stake, it would be beyond control.
This does not mean, indeed, that no promising actions have been taken so far in due course of reversing the situation. But a great deal remains to be done if we are to bring about a difference regarding the epidemic under discussion. Since its recognition in the United States, the pandemic has been a championship worldwide.
Undeniably, HIV and AIDS is a global pandemic with cases reported from virtually every country. At the end of 2007, for example, 33.2 million individuals were living with HIV infection, according to sources. Studies further indicate that the disease has occurred in waves in different regions of the world, each wave having somewhat different characteristics depending on the demographics of the country and region in question as well as the timing of the introduction of HIV into the population. Over two-thirds of all people with HIV infection live in sub-saharan region eventhough the countries in the region are home to just 10 to 11 per cent or so of the world's population. Among high risk individuals like commercial sex workers, patients attending Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) clinics living in urban areas of the region, seroprevalence is currently over 50 per cent in some countries.
A number of organizations have been focusing on reducing the rapid prevalence of the pandemic. For instance, UNAIDS has mapped a new framework for AIDS investments which are focused on high-impact, evidence-based, high-value strategies. According to sources, the new strategic approach to investments would achieve extraordinary results; at least 12.2 million new HIV infections would be averted, including 1.9 million among children between 2011 and 2020; and 7.4 million AIDS-related deaths would be averted between 2011 and 2020.
For the framework to be effective, programme activities must recognize critical enablers, such as reducing stigma, respect for human rights, creating a protective legal environment and capacity building for community based organizations, which are crucial to overcoming the barriers to successful programme outcomes, cited in the sources too.
Using the framework to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2015 requires a scaling up of funding to 22-24 billion USD in 2015, in line with the targets in the 2011 United Nations Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS. If full implementation of the new framework is achieved in the next four years, global resource needs would peak in 2015 and decline gradually thereafter; making the AIDS response an excellent investment opportunity where returns will offset the upfront cost in less than one generation.
The global incidence of HIV infection has stabilized and begun to decline in many countries with generalized epidemics. The number of people receiving antiretroviral therapy continues to increase, with 6.65 million people getting treatment at the end of 2010. Almost 50 per cent of pregnant women living with HIV received effective antiretroviral regimens to prevent mother-to-child transmission, spurring the international community to launch the Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive. What would have been viewed as wildly unrealistic only a few years ago is now a very real possibility.
Recent published evidence from clinical trials has also confirmed the powerful impact antiretroviral drugs have on the epidemic as part of an effective package of options for HIV prevention. For the first time, the prospect of a microbicide that contains antiretroviral medicine is providing additional hope to the women in sub-Saharan Africa who continue bearing a disproportionate burden of the HIV epidemic in this region.
Despite these advances, still too many people are acquiring HIV infection, too many people are getting sick and too many people are dying. New surveillance data confirm that the epidemic disproportionately affects sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender people, people who inject drugs, prisoners and migrants in both concentrated and generalized epidemics.
Too often national AIDS plans, according to sources, omit these people, who face formidable legal and other structural barriers to accessing HIV services. Globally, more than 50 per cent of the people eligible for treatment do not have access to antiretroviral therapy, including many people living with HIV who are unaware of their HIV status. Children have much poorer access to antiretroviral therapy than do adults, and attrition at each stage in the cascade of care has highlighted the need to strengthen links within HIV services and with other areas of health and community systems.
Nevertheless, several critical developments over the past year have highlighted the capacity of the global response to innovate and learn from scientific and programmatic evidence. The Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS, adopted in June 2011 by the United Nations General Assembly, set ambitious targets aimed at achieving universal access and the health-related Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The WHO Global Health Sector Strategy on HIV and AIDS, 2011-2015, the UNAIDS 2011-2015 Strategy: Getting to Zero, and the UNICEF's strategic and programmatic focus on equity will help to guide national and global efforts to respond to the epidemic and move from an emergency response to a long-term, sustainable model of delivering HIV services. These strategies emphasize the need to better tailor national HIV responses to the local epidemics, to decentralize programmes to bring them closer to people in need and to integrate with other health and community services to achieve the greatest impact. These are important developments aimed at consolidating gains to date and improving the quality, coverage and efficiency of HIV services.
The past decade has seen a historically unprecedented global response to the unique threat the HIV epidemic poses to human development. Networks of people living with and affected by HIV, as well as civil society organizations, have continued working with other partners, demanding and mobilizing political leadership. This has led to increased funding, technical innovation and international collaboration that has saved millions of people's lives and changed the trajectory of the epidemic. As capacity at all levels increases, programmes are becoming more effective and efficient.
Nevertheless, financial pressures on both domestic and foreign assistance budgets are threatening the impressive progress to date. Recent data indicating that HIV funding is declining is a deeply troubling trend that must be reversed for the international community to meet its commitments on HIV.
HIV has proven to be a formidable challenge, but the tide is turning. The tools to achieve an AIDS-free generation are in our hands. Let us move forward together on the ambitious goals set for 2015 and bring us closer to realizing our collective vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
Progress has been made until the end of 2010 in scaling up access to health sector interventions for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support in low-and middle-income countries. It is the fifth in a series of annual progress reports published since 2006 by the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), in collaboration with national and international partners, to monitor key components of the health sector response to the HIV epidemic. The report reflects the commitment of United Nations Member States, civil society and United Nations agencies to ensure accountability for global progress in the response to HIV through regular monitoring and reporting.
Since 2010 was the deadline established in 2005 for achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, many reports also represent an important benchmark, an opportunity to take stock and identify both achievements and outstanding gaps and to take a constructive look forward in the response at this critical point in the response to the HIV epidemic.
Sadly, decreased labor productivity and increased health care expenditure due to AIDS have extraordinarily dwindled the activities of various socio-economic sectors. The peak age range from AIDS cases is 20 to 29 years old for women and 25 to 34 years old for men. Many sexual, social and economic issues creating differences among women and men are highly attributable to the epidemic rapid prevalence. Besides, women engaged in sex earlier to men, young women have sex with older men, and women are less able to negotiate safe sex than men are also factors further exasperating HIV and AIDS spread. Women are also much more exposed to various forms of sexual violence such as rape, abduction, spousal abuse and marital rape which have contributed to pandemic spread. Female genital mutilation and customary laws and practices governing divorce, marriage and widowhood would also increase the risk of infection among both men and women.
These things have further exacerbated the serious impacts of the pandemic. Women also appear to have more limited access to HIV information sources and their understanding of HIV prevention measures is lower than men.
The very important thing that should be taken into consideration, as to me, is ends must be measured as the travel to know the real changes, though it looks abstract, helps identify what setbacks were observed to hinder effective stride. When we say 'real' the interventions that lead the society at large and the youth in particular to a position to change their mind and start to look into themselves. Remember, it does not mean that the workshops, seminars, consultative meetings and other pertinent gatherings have not yet helped bring about change. Thus, it is high time to wake up and save the generation through loudly trumped the drum advocating "Live and let others live, stop AIDS." Recognizing the fact that HIV and AIDS has dropped black spot on development, growth and prosperity and incurred a number of social and economical costs like loss of work force and time, loss of family financial resources as well as decreased productivity, everyone must not let themselves contract the pandemic. Double check to prevent a wreck. In clear terms, the pandemic must not be overlooked until it knocks everyone's door.
Let me rest my case by exhorting the society at all walks of life to value their life and to pay concern what is said about the deadly disease. And the government, all stakeholders working on HIV and AIDS and other development partners to join hands, fuel the fight against the disease and know the reality on the ground as it is better to measure ends than means! The FOUR fundamental aspects revolving around how to protect oneself and others from HIV:
ABSTAIN- do not have unprotected sexual intercourse.
ALWAYS be FAITHFUL to your partner.
TEST - and know your and your partner's status by talking about and testing for HIV at regular intervals.
CONDOMISE- Always properly use a condom each time and for each round of sexual intercourse.
As far as Using Condoms Correctly, according to sources, the following steps need to be seriously followed.
1. Check the expiry date on the condom and if date has passed do not use it.
2. Check the packaging is not damaged. If the packaging has a hole or is torn the condom inside will probably be damaged too, so don't use it.
3. Keeping a condom in your wallet or in your pocket is not a good idea because it can get heat damaged, especially after a long time. Store condoms in a cool place.
4. Don't use butter, Vaseline, fish oil or any other oils as lubricant when using condoms as these may cause the condom to break.
5. Only wear one condom. Don't wear two male condoms. And don't have sex with a male condom if the woman is using a femidom. Using two condoms could make the condoms burst.

Love of Snakes Sends UM Student to Ethiopia

Love of Snakes Sends UM Student to Ethiopia

Tim Colston named Fulbright Scholar

Tim Colston - UM Fulbright Scholar
Tim Colston has collected animals, including butterflies, frogs and snakes, since he was a child.
OXFORD, Miss. – Animals have always fascinated Tim Colston, a doctoral student inbiology at the University of Mississippi. As a child, he set up a large screened tent and filled it with butterflies and potted flowers to see which plants they would visit most often.
Later, while watching and waiting for toad eggs to hatch, he discovered a garter snake with a full belly, instead of the eggs. With Jake the garter snake as a childhood roommate, Colston, of Oklahoma City, was paving a path to study herpetology.
His lifelong efforts have paid off with a 2012-13 Fulbright Scholarship, and his Fulbright project will take him to Ethiopia for the next eight months, where he will be affiliated with Abebe Getahun of Addis Ababa University. Using DNA and other new technologies, he intends to promote conservation awareness of Ethiopia’s unique, diverse and highly endemic reptile fauna by investigating how geology, geography, changing climate and other factors have influenced the structure of those reptile communities.
He hopes to fill a critical gap by contributing significant knowledge about reptile diversity and by providing novel or more efficient analytical approaches to the field.
Colston found out about the Fulbright program through Stu Nielson, a fellow UM biology student who had recently been awarded a Fulbright of his own, and Andrus Ashoo, at UM’s Office of National Scholarship Advisement.
“The endemic snake community in the highlands versus the other snake community in the lowlands is an aspect that I would not have had in my Ph.D. studies,” Colston said. “So that’s really going to add a lot to our understanding of community evolution and assembly in snakes, and reptiles in general. Beyond that, I am going to be spending eight months doing fieldwork and establishing contacts with park rangers and locals in the area that I will use throughout my career.
“The Fulbright is the first step in what I see is a long-term collaboration with Ethiopian academics. I plan on doing research there the rest of my life, so this is a big first step.”
Because efforts to go abroad for research can be limited by available funds, the Fulbright will improve Colston’s chances to succeed, said Brice Noonan, UM assistant professor of biology and Colston’s dissertation adviser.
“My hope is that he is able to obtain adequate sampling to conduct a thorough investigation of the biological communities in the area,” Noonan said. “This region is so poorly known that any information gleaned from Tim’s work will provide our first insight into the way in which these biological communities have been assembled over time and what factors contribute to the generation and maintenance of biodiversity.”
Tim Colston - UM Fulbright Scholar
Tim Colston (right), a doctoral student in biology at the University of Mississippi, has studied snakes in Brazil, Mexico and various locations in the United States. As a Fulbright Scholar in Ethiopia, he plans to study different reptile communities. Photo by David Lawson.
Noonan is also excited for the recognition the biology department has received.
“This is a very exciting time for the biology department,” Noonan said. “We have recently added a number of new faculty and are setting new benchmarks for external funding. Our graduate program is growing accordingly and through these types of awards we are demonstrating that Ole Miss is a destination for top graduate students.”
Colston said he has been fascinated with Africa for many years, and that he will immerse himself in Ethiopian culture to establish international collaborations, and make a substantial contribution to the herpetological research and conservation.
“The Fulbright program will allow me the time necessary to thoroughly study the diverse Ethiopian snake communities,” Colston said.
Addis Ababa University does not have a herpetologist on staff, so Colston wants his enthusiasm for reptiles to be contagious.
“While I am there, I am going to be working closely with people in the department and hopefully we’ll involve other students who want to get their hands dirty and go catch some snakes,” he said. “This type of thing should always help foster other people’s interests. Hopefully, I will inspire someone who wants to fill the role of herpetologist one day.”
Colston attended Rose State College in Oklahoma before completing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Oklahoma.
He is among more than 1,500 U.S. students who are traveling abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program in 2012-2013. The Fulbright, established in 1946, is the flagship international exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and has given about 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and sciences the opportunity to conduct research and exchange ideas in more than 155 countries worldwide.
For more information, visit the Department of Biology .
Students interested in applying for the Fulbright U.S. Student Award are encouraged to contact Andrus Ashoo, the Fulbright program adviser in the Office of National Scholarship Advisement,

USC receives grant for work in Ethiopia | Daily Trojan

Posted October 9, 2012 (2 days ago) at 10:43 pm in News
USC received a $200,000 grant from the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health to begin planning a new Global Environmental and Occupational Health hub in Ethiopia.
Along with Addis Ababa University’s School of Public Health, the Department of Preventative Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine and the USC Institute of Global Health will spend the next two years working closely with their Ethiopian collaborators to plan a center that will investigate health problems stemming from environmental issues.
The National Institute of Health is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and gives out many research grants, whereas the Fogarty International Center specializes in partnering the U.S. and foreign countries to conduct research on global health.
Jonathan Samet, director of the USC Institute for Global Health, is a co-principal investigator for the project along with Professor Kiros Berhane, who is originally from Ethiopia. Samet said the team had “been looking to develop collaboration in Ethiopia,” partly because of Berhane’s roots.
The two have been applying for grants for about a year and a half now for funding to establish the first GEOHealth hub.
The next year will be spent making trips to Ethiopia to collaborators there, holding a workshop for stakeholders and identify what the high-priority projects are.
“By the middle of year one we will put together a grand proposal to establishing the full GEOHealth hub,” Berhane said.
In the second year of grant funding, the other three countries that are involved in the project — Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda — will be invited to help plan the hub.
“I think what’s unique about this is that[it is] … an initiative funded by the National Institute of Health that we hope will lead on to the development of a larger center,” Samet said.
Since the GEOHealth hub is still in early stages there are little opportunities for student involvement at the present moment, but organizers said this will soon change. Once up and running, the hub will provide opportunities for students in a variety of fields such as medicine and the sciences.
Berhane also emphasized that the hub will be very “interdisciplinary,” as it involves “experts from climate change, from the healths, from exposure assessment and from some engineering aspects,” and therefore it might appeal to a variety of students, not just ones at Keck.
Julie Paul, an undergraduate student majoring in Spanish, said she believes the health hub will benefit both students at USC and those in Ethiopia.
“As someone who wants to eventually go to medical school, I think this project would be a cool thing to be involved in in a few years, and also is great for the people in Ethiopia who it will benefit,” Paul said.

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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.