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Andrew Heavens

Andrew grew up in various parts of Africa — Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt — before moving back to England to start a career as a journalist. He covered village fêtes for Somerset's Chard & Ilminster News, crime and car crashes for Wolverhampton's Express & Star and technology for the Financial Times. He has since worked as a journalist in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Khartoum, Sudan. He blogs and posts pictures at Meskel Square.

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Latest posts by Andrew Heavens

Ethiopian bloggers defend charged pop star

26 April 2008

Ethiopian bloggers rushed to the defence of their country's top pop singer Teddy Afro, after he appeared in court charged with the hit-and-run killing of a youth in capital Addis Ababa. Many writers were convinced Afro was being framed by Ethiopian authorities who, they said, resented the singer's huge popularity and veiled anti-government lyrics.

Online Obama campaign splits Ethiopian bloggers

14 April 2008

Diaspora Ethiopians have been flexing their political muscles in the U.S., organising websites, rallies and email campaigns to persuade their compatriots to support Barack Obama's presidential run. Many Ethiopians bloggers rallied to the cause, pledging cash and votes for the Democratic candidate whose father came from Kenya, a country that neighbours Ethiopia. But others raised questions about the campaign, asking whether it was right to expect Ethiopian-Americans to vote en masse for any candidate.

Expat Ethiopians reflect on the sounds and smells of home

12 July 2007

The ties that bind expatriate Ethiopians to their home country dominated the Ethiopian blogosphere over the past few weeks. Ethiopians living in the US, Europe and Asia came up with a series of emotional posts, exploring childhood memories, local food, music and the broader subject of national identity.

Ethiopian bloggers pay tribute to jet crash reporter

11 May 2007

Ethiopian bloggers have flooded the internet with tributes to Associated Press reporter Anthony Mitchell who was one of 114 people killed when Kenyan Airways flight KQ507 crashed in southern Cameroon early on Saturday May 5. Anthony worked as a journalist in Ethiopia for five years and led the reporting of violence that broke out after the country’s controversial national elections in May 2005.

Ethiopian blog blockage sparks free speech debate

3 May 2007

Web watchdog the OpenNet Initiative this week confirmed that the Ethiopian government has been blocking scores of anti-government websites and millions of blogs hosted by Google’s Blogger service. Ethiopian bloggers responded to the news with a string of defiant posts, vowing to continue writing and beat the blockages.

Ethiopian bloggers turn undercover court reporters

6 April 2007

Ethiopia's bloggers turned undercover court reporters over the past weeks, giving daily commentary on a controversial trial of more than 100 opposition politicians, campaigners and journalists. Leading opposition figures were arrested and charged with attempted genocide, treason and a range of other serious offences in the months following the country's...

Ethiopian bloggers fear for future in Somalia

16 January 2007

The Ethiopian invasion of Somalia is ending freedom of speech in Somalia. That was the blunt conclusion of undercover Ethiopian blogger Seminawork in his post Somali media under attack, as news came through that Somalia's Ethiopia-backed Transitional Government had shut down independent radio stations and even closed the offices of...

Bloggers warn of insurgency after Ethio-Somali war

2 January 2007

Ethiopian and Somali government troops drove Islamist forces out of their last stronghold in Somalia yesterday, just eight days after the start of a major military offensive. The apparently easy victory, however, did little to appease the region's bloggers, many of whom have been against the confrontation since the start....

Somali-Ethiopia conflict looms over Ethiopian blogosphere

23 December 2006

War and rumours of war dominated the Ethiopian blogosphere this week as reports came in of bloody clashes between Ethiopian and Islamist troops in northern Somalia. Accounts of the conflict from the mainstream media have so far been fragmentary and often contradictory. GlobalVoices’ own Ethan Zuckerman summed up the confusion...

Ethiopia's bloggers disappear again

28 November 2006

The bulk of Ethiopia's bloggers disappeared from Ethiopian computer screens for the second time in seven months this week. All sites hosted by the popular Blogspot platform stalled when internet users tried to log on to them through their Ethiopian Telecom Corp dial-up connections. The small stable of anti-government blogs...

Ethiopian bloggers take on female genital mutilation

8 November 2006

The highly sensitive subject of female genital mutilation dominated much of the Ethiopian blogosphere over the past week. The sudden interest was sparked by news that an Ethiopian man had been jailed for 10 years in the US for aggravated battery and cruelty to children after prosecutors claimed he had...

Ethiopian blogger scoops mainstream media

27 October 2006

The story broke at 12.42 pm. An Ethiopian human rights activist, another unnamed Ethiopian and two senior officials from the European Commission had been arrested that morning close to Ethiopia's border with Kenya. The report from Ethiopian blogger Ethio-Zagol named the activist as Yalemzewd Bekele and the two European officials...

Ethiopia's bloggers emerge refreshed after rainy season

11 October 2006

Ethiopia's bloggers emerged refreshed from their long rainy season with a series of dazzling posts on everything from Somalia to stolen secondhand books. For once there was no unifying theme – because there was just so much to catch up on as the sun came up after four months of...

Ethiopian bloggers rally to save controversial bill

27 September 2006

Ethiopia’s diaspora bloggers are flexing their political muscles in a bid to save a controversial bill they claim has been blocked in the US Congress. The highly-politicised groups of Ethiopian writers living in the USA published a flurry of posts over the past week to persuade Congress to pass House...

Ethiopia's bloggers remember two prisoners

5 September 2006

Tributes to two imprisoned men stood out from Ethiopia's blogosphere over the past fortnight. ET Wonqette of the blog Weichegud ET Politics came up with a heart-rending portrait of Ato G [Ato = Mr.], an elderly man employed by her and a group of friends to look after a small...

DRC: Election results fragmented

29 August 2006

The Head Heeb analyses the partial results from the Democratic Republic of Congo's National Assembly election which took place alongside the better-publicised presidential poll. It's already clear that the incoming parliament will be highly fragmented,” he concludes.

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