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Ethiopia says Army chief of staff shot during coup attempt — but the internet was turned off so accounts are sketchy

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Ethiopia’s army chief of staff has been shot, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced on television Sunday as the government said it had thwarted an attempted coup in a regional state of this Horn of Africa nation.

Abiy took to national television in the early hours of the morning dressed in military fatigues and announced that army chief Seare Mekonnen had been shot, an AFP correspondent said. His condition was unknown.

The internet was cut in Ethiopia, and more details were not immediately available.

The United States embassy issued alerts about reported gunfire in the capital Addis Ababa, and violence around Amhara’s main city Bahir Dar.

“The embassy is aware of reports of gunfire in Addis Ababa. Chief of mission personnel are advised to shelter in place,” the embassy said in one of its two alerts.

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Earlier, Abiy’s office announced that an attempted coup had taken place in Amhara, one of nine autonomous regions in the country.

A statement from his office did not give details on who was believed responsible for the attack, the latest blow to his efforts to stabilise and reform the Horn of Africa nation.

“The coup attempt in Amhara regional state is against the constitution and is intended to scupper the hard won peace of the region,” said the statement.

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“This illegal attempt should be condemned by all Ethiopians and the federal government has full capacity to overpower this armed group.”

No details were given of the targets of the attack in the second-most populous state in the country, headed by regional president Ambachew Mekonen.

A journalist in the regional capital Bahir Dar told AFP shooting had begun shortly after sunset and continued for several hours before calming.

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Since coming to power in April 2018 after two years of anti-government unrest, Abiy has been hailed for his efforts to end the iron-fisted rule of his predecessors.

He has embarked on economic reforms, allowed dissident groups back into the country, sought to crack down on rights abuses and arrested dozens of top military and intelligence officials

He also sealed a peace deal with neighbouring Eritrea, a longtime foe.

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But he has battled a surge in tensions between ethnic groups in the diverse country — usually over land and resources — leading to deadly violence in the nation of more than 100 million people.

Over a million people have been displaced by the ethnic clashes, which analysts attribute to multiple causes, such as the weakening of the once all-powerful ruling EPRDF and different groups trying to take advantage of opportunities presented by the political transition.

The coup attempt comes a year after a grenade explosion at a rally Abiy was addressing left two people dead.


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BUSTED: CNN’s panel of women defending Trump’s racism were literally the ‘Trumpettes’

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CNN aired a panel that featured “Republican women” defending President Trump’s racist tweets, but failed to mention that they were actually part of a pro-Trump group whose members the network had interviewed in the past.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

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Ben Carson is Donald Trump’s faulty human shield against accusations of racism

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Ben Carson is back in the news — after another long absence — because Donald Trump has once again been accused of racism.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

The secretary of Housing and Urban Development is the only African-American member of the president’s Cabinet, and is often trotted out to clean up after Trump makes a mess too obviously problematic for the media to ignore. While Trump has tried to spin his recent racist attacks on four progressive freshman congresswomen as a strategic maneuver meant to manipulate Democratic infighting to his advantage, Carson's re-emergence from his stupor should be a clear indication that the president’s team recognizes the damage that can be caused by his unforced errors.

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An illegal trend could be emerging after Trump let Kellyanne Conway off the hook for breaking federal law

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Federal workplaces are supposed to be free of politics, but a Trump administration appointee used a government forum Wednesday to express support for the president’s reelection.

At a conference on religious freedom hosted by the State Department, an official told the crowd of several hundred people that “hopefully he will be reelected,” referring to President Donald Trump.

It’s illegal for federal employees to engage in political activities while they are on the job.

“It’s a violation of the Hatch Act for a federal official, to say in her official capacity, to hope that the president will be reelected,” said Kathleen Clark, an expert on legal ethics at the Washington University in St. Louis.

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