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  • University of Toronto launches class on ancient Ethiopian language( Ge’ez) with a donation from The Weeknd

    The university is now one of the only places in the world where students can learn Ge’ez.

    Tens of thousands of ancient Ethiopian manuscripts – maybe more – have collected dust for over a century because they are written in what is now a rarely studied language, Ge’ez. 

    But a new course at the University of Toronto is teaching a new generation of students to understand the ancient Semitic language so that one day they can access this long-lost trove of knowledge. 

    This week, Professor Robert Holmstedt of the department of Near and Middle Eastern civilizations welcomed 25 students and members of Toronto’s Ethiopian community to the first day of an introductory course on Ge’ez, which like Latin, is only used in religious services, in this case for the Ethiopian Orthodox and Catholic churches.

    With this course, U of T becomes one of the only places in the world where students can learn the fundamentals of Ge'ez. The program came about through several significant donations, including from The Weeknd, the Ethiopian community and the Faculty of Arts & Science.

    Department chair Professor Tim Harrison has said that he hopes, with continued support, U of T will eventually add more courses and be positioned to launch the first Ethiopian studies program in North America.

    Since the subject is so rarely taught, Holmstedt had to invent course materials and revise one of the only Ge’ez textbooks in English, the 40-year-old Introduction to Classical Ethiopic: Ge'ez by Thomas O. Lambdin. Ge’ez is a window into an ancient culture and offers insights into other Semitic languages, he said.

    “I like giving students access to things that 99.5 per cent of the world doesn’t have access to,” he said. “It’s part of advancing our knowledge and the pursuit of truth. This is the very nature of the university. We can’t leave this behind.” 

    Michael Gervers, a history professor at U of T Scarborough, helped launch the course with a $50,000 donation and a call to Toronto's Ethiopian community to contribute.

    The call was answered and the donation matched by none other than Toronto native and Grammy-award winning artist Abel Tesfaye, a.k.a. The Weeknd.

    The campaign for the language course has a $200,000 goal and has received support from the Faculty of Arts & Science and the Bikila Awards organization, a local Ethiopian community group named after Olympic marathoner Adebe Bikila. 

    Read more at: www.utoronto.ca

     

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  • 20 Easy Ways to Save More Money

    How do you save more? There doesn't seem to be enough money to save anything by the end of the month, does it? Saving money is not easy when you have never done it. But if you manage to form the habit, it will become second nature. Here are 20 tips to use.

    1. Have a spending audit

    For a week, write down everything you spend. Tedious, I know. But for every expense, ask yourself: Did I really need to spend that money? How could I avoid that expense? Did it bring me value? If it doesn't, stop. If it does, let's move on. I used to spend a lot on nights out, until we decided with my friends to gather at someone's place. Half the cost, same fun. It doesn't have to be drastic, or affect your lifestyle. Challenge the spending and find alternative ways to get the same value for less.

    2. Turn saving into a challenge

    One such challenge could be getting rid of one bad spending habit, such as eating lunch out every day. Try bringing lunch to work once a week. Then make it twice a week. Put the savings into a jar or a savings account. Throw all your spare change into a jar at the end of the day, and deposit the savings into your bank account at the end of the month. By making it fun, you will make it easier.

    3. Start slow

    You won't go from zero savings to $1,000 a month the first month. Try saving $5 or $10. Then try saving $5 more the next week. Before you know it, the slow increment led you to saving $50 a month. Which is better than nothing. Keep going until you feel the pinch.

    4. Have a savings goal

    Why do you want to have savings for? Is it for a holiday, for a new car, for a deposit on your house? By having a goal, you will be able to ponder whether it is worth to spend $100 going out tonight, or have one day of fun on your next holiday.

    5. Round it up

    When you spend $54.11 at a restaurant, round it up and save the $0.89. Some apps will do it for you and reroute the excess to savings automatically. Small amounts add up.

    6. Get rid of the waste

    Do you often throw food? Have magazines piling up unread? Clothes you just wore once? All this is money you spent on things you don't need. Get rid of the ones you can (and make money in the process!), and stop buying anything you don't use. Buy half the food you use to, and go through your freezer and cupboards for the rest of the week. Send the difference to savings.

    7. Prioritize

    Pretend there is only money for one thing. Would you rather have HBO or go out once a month? Only keep the one you prefer.

    8. Get a cashback card Or a loyalty membership to your favorite supermarket. Put the savings into... savings.

    9. Get a discount On everything you buy

    Try to get it for less. Look for online coupon codes, cheaper stores, ways to get it for free on Freecycle.

    10. Cut down meat And other expensive items in your groceries, such as cheese or nuts

    You can make a ton of delicious vegetarian dishes, or recipes with just a little meat as a way to add flavor.

    11. Make your own coffee

    Coffee on the go is expensive! Buy a nice thermos for your car, flavorful beans and you're all set for a $0.10 cup.

    12. DIY

    Be it painting the living room, fixing a leak, moving house, try to do things yourself instead of hiring out. There are plenty of online tutorials to help you out.

    13. Master your FOMO

    It is OK to say no to peer pressure. Find cheap and free activities to do with your friends instead of the expensive one they suggest.

    14. Get a roommate

    An easy way to save $500+ on rent, if you don't mind having less privacy. Again, remember why you are doing it and it will be much easier.

    15. Carpool or cycle to work

    Socialize or get free exercise on your way to work, cutting on your commuting expenses.

    16. Reconsider your car (or second car)

    Do you really need a car or two? How often do you use it? How much does it cost in maintenance, fuel, insurance, parking... is it cheaper than using Uber or renting one when you need?

    17. Keep track of your progress

    It is easy to get frustrated when saving money. By keeping track of your progress, you will remain motivated.

    18. Repair broken things

    Try to DIY or have things repaired for a fraction of the price of replacing them.

    19. Look for free entertainment

    Your nearby college, the adult learning center, your church.. may have free or cheap activities for you to enjoy.

    20. Bring your water bottle

    Bring water everywhere you go and avoid buying bottles that are not only expensive but also bad for the environment.

    Saving money is a slow process, but it doesn't have to be painful. With these little tips, you can easily get started and gain momentum to save more and more!

    Source: huffingtonpost.com 

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  • House approves second national human rights action plan

     The House of People's Representatives (HPR) on Tuesday (December 27) approved the second national human rights action plan. Tabled to the House by the Legal, Justice and Administrative Affairs Standing Committee, the amendment made its focus on civil, political, socio-economic, cultural, environmental and developmental rights. According to the Chairman of the Committee, Petros Woldesillasie, the newly included and amended human rights laws are believed to ensure the human and democratic rights of the people. 

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  • "Yifter the Shifter" passes away

    Miruts Yifter, one of the greatest long distance runners of all time, has died at the age of 72 in Toronto, Canada on Thursday, December 22, 2016.

    The Ethiopian was a double gold medallist at the Moscow Olympics in 1980, winning both the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters in the Russian capital. Often referred to as “Yifter the Shifter”, he died from respiratory problems in Toronto.

    He first came to international prominence at the Munich Olympics of 1972 when he won bronze medal in the 10,000 meters race.

    Miruts would have been one of the favorites for gold four years later – in both 5,000 and 10,000 – had his country not been one of 29 nations to boycott the Montreal Games in protest at the IOC's refusal to ban New Zealand.

    Many countries, mainly African countries, were unhappy that New Zealand's All Blacks rugby team had toured apartheid South Africa in 1976.

    Despite this setback, Miruts continued to be a dominant force in athletics, enjoying victories over both his main distances at the World Cup meetings of 1977 and 1979.

    He inspired a generation of African runners, including the great Haile Gebreselassie, who admitted: "Miruts has been everything to me and my athletics career.

    "When I started running, I just wanted to be like him. He is the reason for who I'm now and for what I have achieved.

    "For me, he is the best athlete Ethiopia ever had, after the great Abebe Bikila."

    Miruts is a double Olympic gold medalist, an Ethiopian national icon and one of the finest athletes to grace the running track. The effects of having suffered a collapsed lung, compounded by his old age led to his death.

    Miruts had been hospitalized for nearly a year, but was recently said to have been making progress in his recovery effort. But after having fought admirably, exhibiting the same resistance and endurance that made him a household name in international sports back in the seventies and eighties, Miruts has succumbed to illness.

     

    His numerous accolades, unforgivable punishing running style and longevity, his ability to maintain world class fitness for so long has earned him recognition as one of the greatest athletes to have graced the Olympic track venue.

    In Ethiopia, he was idolized, a hero of the people. His heroics inspired a generation of runners to follow in his footsteps. He contributed the lion’s share to establishing the Ethiopian long distance running dynasty that has made athletes from the country among the most feared competitors in the world. The likes of Haile and Derartu Tulu have previously named Miruts Yifter as their inspiration and guiding light.

    At Coamo Puerto Rico on February 6, 1977, Miruts ran a World Best for the half-marathon of 1:02:57.

    At the Moscow Olympics, part of the mystery surrounding Miruts was the question of his age, which was reported to be between 33 and 42. Miruts refused to give a definitive answer, telling reporters:

    "Men may steal my chickens; men may steal my sheep. But no man can steal my age."

    Due to his abrupt change in speed when executing his kick to the finish, Miruts acquired the nickname “Yifter the Shifter.”

    In more recent years he had been a team coach at major events but moved to Canada, where he spent his last days.

    Miruts is survived by his wife and seven children.

    Source:Ethiopian Reporter

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