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August 30, 2007

Ethiopiques fansite and blog

Thanks to Tim for pointing me to a fansite for the double CD 'Ethiopiques - the Very Best of Ethiopiques: Hypnotic Grooves from the Legendary Series' which I mentioned below.

ethiopiques.info has pages on each track, news updates and a link to the official blog.

All very exciting.

Posted by aheavens at 10:37 AM

August 29, 2007

The understatement of the week award goes to ...

John Lemi Stephen in his Spot Light column in today's Sudan Tribune:

Darfur Issues Are Irritating

Darfur issues are so irritating that it pricks the nerves of the government, and the Rebel Movements as well. The trouble is that everybody seems to be fed up with the whole issue and is wondering whether the international communities are any longer serious about the hot potato in Darfur so hot that no one can swallow it.

So there you have it - Darfur is annoying. If only those foreigners would come in and sort it all out.

And the scariest headline of the week award goes to ... today's Khartoum Monitor:


In a scientific symposium yesterday at the Islamic Jurisprudence complex, participants said it is essential to establish research centres and installations in the fields of physics, chemistry and physical engineering which will enhance atomic and nuclear research...

Scientists recommended a drive to obtain mass destruction weapons and that if the enemy is suspected to be in possession of these weapons, we must get prepared and be trained in their use.

Just what Sudan needs. And who is "the enemy"?

Posted by aheavens at 7:35 AM

August 28, 2007

Beef shawarma combo

Beef shawarma combo
Oh the joys of traditional Sudanese cuisine. And yes I did want fries with that.

Yours for just over 15 new Sudanese pounds ($8/£4) from the Mo'Men brothers on Airport Road, Khartoum.

Posted by aheavens at 4:12 PM

August 27, 2007

Swinging doors in Sudan

Sudan orders U.S. charity director to leave

KHARTOUM, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Sudan has expelled the top official in Sudan of the U.S.-based aid group CARE, the director said on Monday.

Country director Paul Barker told Reuters the Sudanese government's Humanitarian Aid Commission had given him 72 hours to leave the country without giving reasons for the decision.

Barker is the third prominent foreigner expelled from Sudan in less than a week.

Great quote from a later version of the story from Dr Bakheit Yousef, deputy commussioner of the Humanitarian Aid Commission. "CARE will continue its activities as normal. Maybe the headquarters can send somebody else."

Posted by aheavens at 3:26 PM

August 26, 2007

Ethiopian grooves

ethiopiques.jpgWe've spent the past four weeks travelling around the UK and Greece visiting family. Most of the travelling has been done on the UK's motorway network - normally a fairly tedious, traffic-clogged experience.

But this time it wasn't so bad. Why? Because we had this to distract us - Ethiopiques - the Very Best of Ethiopiques: Hypnotic Grooves from the Legendary Series. It is the best bits of the much-admired but daunting 21-CD Ethiopiques series, which, according to Wikipedia, features:

Ethiopian and Eritrean singers and musicians. Many of the Ethiopiques CDs compile various singles and albums that Amha Records, Kaifa Records, and Philips-Ethiopia released during the 1960s and 1970s in Ethiopia. Prominent singers and musicians from this era appearing on Ethiopiques releases include Alemayehu Eshete, Asnaketch Worku, Mahmoud Ahmed, Mulatu Astatke, and Tilahun Gessesse.

And it is excellent. My favourite so far is the first track - Heywete by Tesfa-Maryam Kidane. I always meant to get into the series, but there were just too many of them.

Where are all the Ethiopiques musicians now? Isn't it time someone organised a Buena Vista Social Club-style reunion?

Posted by aheavens at 12:12 PM

August 17, 2007

Darfur the telecoms market

Still away - but Reuters just published the feature I was working on when I left.

As other firms exit, phone companies enter Sudan

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Bright yellow banners sprang up overnight along the banks of the Nile then spread along the ten-lane highways and crowded market streets of Sudan's traffic-clogged capital, Khartoum.

They were the first steps in a campaign by South Africa's MTN to stake a claim in one of Africa's last big undeveloped mobile phone markets.

Foreign investors have steered clear of Sudan in recent years, following the international uproar over the crisis in Darfur and subsequent strengthening of U.S. sanctions against Khartoum.

Britain's Rolls Royce announced plans to pull out in April, joining Germany's Siemens, Switzerland's ABB and Canada's CHC Helicopter in the queue to exit.

But the newly booming telecoms market in the oil-rich east African country has proved too tempting for mobile phone companies to resist. For them, the vast expanses of Sudan's western Darfur region are not so much a disaster zone as one more unexploited mobile phone market waiting to be tapped.

Posted by aheavens at 11:22 AM