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  • Meet the artist behind Beyonce's pregnancy photo - BBC

    Meet the artist behind Beyonce's pregnancy photo - BBC

    Beyonce's pregnancy announcement portrait is now the most liked Instagram post of all time. But who is the artist behind the image? The photo of Beyonce wearing a veil and cradling her stomach has now been liked over eight million times.

    This might not be a big deal for the 35-year-old singer. But it's a huge accomplishment for Awol Erizku, the artist who took the famous photo - and the entire series of pregnancy photos that Beyonce has since uploaded to her website.

    Here are five things you should know about him.

    Who is he?

    Born in Ethiopia, 28-year-old Awol grew up in the South Bronx area of New York. In 2014, he graduated from Yale University with a masters in fine art and his work often fuses photography, video installations and sculpture. And while he's now responsible for the most liked picture on Instagram, Awol has a humble following on his own social media accounts.

    He has a strange way of using social media to share his work

    If you've tried to find more of his work on Instagram after seeing his portrait of Beyonce, you probably know already that his page is closed for business. The 28-year-old treats his Instagram account like an art gallery, where he hosts Instagram-only art shows. For example, his account has detail about "gallery" opening hours: timings for when his feed is opened up for public viewing.

    He combines his art with music

    With each of his exhibitions, Awol has released what he calls a conceptual mixtape. Think of this as a kind of soundtrack to the artist's latest creations. One of Awol's most played mixes was released alongside a film and photo project called Serendipity, which was a response to the Black Lives Matter movement in America.

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  • Ethiopia needs to "consolidate gains" before lifting emergency law

     


    ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopia needs to "consolidate gains" after the deadly unrest last year before it can lift a state of emergency that was imposed in October, the prime minister said on Monday.

    "As far as the date of lifting the state of emergency is concerned, it should be seen in the perspective that we have to consolidate the gains that we have made so far," Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told a news conference, noting that the measure had helped restore "normalcy".

    Rights groups have said more than 500 people were killed in violence that was initially sparked by anger over a development scheme for the capital but which broadened into anti-government demonstrations.

    The government said the measure would be in place for six months when it was first introduced.

    (Reporting by Aaron Maasho; Writing by Edmund Blair)

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  • ETHIOPIA SET TO IMPOSE LIFETIME BANS ON ATHLETES WHO FAIL DOPING TESTS

    Addis Ababa: Ethiopia, one of five countries the IAAF says is in "critical care" over its drug-testing systems, will impose lifetime bans on drug cheats, the new president of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) said on Wednesday.

    The Horn of Africa country has for many years dominated distance running along with neighbouring Kenya, but it had its credibility questioned this year when six of its athletes came under investigation for doping.

     

     

    The EAF subsequently announced that it would carry out tests on up to 200 athletes.

    Distance-running great Haile Gebrselassie, who was elected head of the EAF last month amid discontent over mismanagement, told Reuters his administration has adopted a "zero tolerance" approach towards doping.

    "Our stand is no excuse towards someone who has cheated. As of today, any athlete who has offended will be hit by a life ban," he said.

    The move means Ethiopian athletes who fail tests and are subject to a four-year ban from 28 December onwards will no longer be able to represent the country in any competition.

    The punishment is much stricter than the one currently imposed by the International Olympic Committee whose rules stipulate that athletes caught doping can face four-year bans but after serving it they are eligible to compete in any international event, including the Olympics.

    Gebrselassie said his aim was to convince the sport's world governing body that Ethiopia was serious in tackling doping and for it to be removed from the list of countries identified by IAAF president Sebastian Coe as in need of "critical care".

    Kenya, Morocco, Ukraine and Belarus are other nations in that category.

    Russia, meanwhile, is currently banned from all athletics following the discovery of a state-sponsored doping regime and revelations of corruption.

    The New York Times reported earlier on Wednesday that officials from Russia's anti-doping agency RUSADA had for the first time admitted there had been an organised conspiracy to dope in the country.

    It cited Anna Antseliovich, the acting director general of RUSADA, as making the admission in an interview. RUSADA has since dismissed the report.

    Gebrselassie, considered one of the sport's greatest distance athletes, gave up competitive running in March last year.

    Nearly unbeatable on the track in his prime, he won the first of eight indoor and outdoor world championship gold medals at Stuttgart in 1993 and went on to hold world records in events from the 5,000 metres to the marathon.

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  • Ethiopia to start work on space launch vehicle, domestically made satellites

    The Ethiopian government announced on 3 January 2017 that it intends to build its own medium-sized space launch vehicle (SLV) and develop the capabilities to domestically build satellites.

    The Ethiopian Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) said that it will develop a medium-sized SLV that should have its maiden launch within the next three years, according to MOST spokesperson Wondwosen Andualem.

    “Efforts are ongoing to launch into space a medium sized rocket within the coming three years,” said Andualem.

    Andualem also pointed out that Ethiopian capacity and capability to build its own satellites is increasing, thanks in part to the partnerships forged by Ethiopia with foreign governments and companies. The Ethiopian government has already stated that it seeks to develop and build satellites for the purposes of national security, disaster management and response, and land management.

    The MOST spokesperson confirmed that the Ethiopian government intends to build both the proposed SLV and satellites locally with minimum reliance on foreign partners.

    In order to facilitate Ethiopian space efforts, the government has created a Space Science Council, as well as the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute, both chaired by the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn.

    In November 2015, the Mekele Institute of Technology in Ethiopia launched a rocket called Alpha Meles to an altitude of 30 kilometres. The Alpha Meles rocket is believed to cost U.S.$2.3 million to develop, build, and launch, but there have been no reports of any subsequent launches of the rocket.

    There are a number of reasons why Ethiopia’s space ambitions may not become reality, not least of which are enduring political instability and a rapidly slowing economy. This said, however, space programmes can be remarkably resilient in uncertain political and economic circumstances.

    Should Addis Ababa manage to establish a practical space programme that can produce capabilities that can improve Ethiopia’s national security and economic development prospects, then it will be the first country in the Horn of Africa, and northeast Africa in general, to become a space power.

    Should that transpire then it can be expected that countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Egypt, and perhaps even Sudan, will look to accelerate their own space ambitions.

     

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