Ever since Ethiopian Airlines joined the Star Alliance in December, there’s been great business class award availability to members of United and US Airways frequent flyer programs on Ethiopian’s direct service from Washington Dulles (via Rome) to Addis Ababa, with easy connections from there to the rest of Africa (it serves more destinations in Africa than any other carrier).
The government-owned airline ferries plenty more Americans to Ethiopia for stopovers at a minimum than they did before joining the alliance.
But Americans may not be aware that they’d better be careful how they call home– since the government there has banned Skype and other voice over internet services, according to al Jazeera. The penalty is up to 15 years of jail time for users.
Prime Minister Meles Zenaw says the move is meant to ensure national security, though I haven’t seen any more detail explaining this rationale. It’s generally considered flimsy at best, with the move being the latest in a string of crackdowns against services competing with the government telecomm monopoly.