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    African Union secures 270 million extra COVID vaccine doses for the continent

    The African Union secured an additional 270 million Covid vaccine doses for African countries, but it still may not be enough to meet demand for the region, the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) announced on Wednesday.

    At least 50 million doses will be available from April to June 2021 from Pfizer, AstraZeneca (through the Serum Institute of India) and Johnson & Johnson, according to an AVATT press release.

    Chairman of the African Union, President Cyril Ramaphosa, said “From the onset of this pandemic, our focus as a continent has been on collaboration and collective effort. We have held steadfastly to the principle that no country should be left behind.”

    All 270 million vaccine doses will be made available this year with at least 50 million being available for the crucial period of April to June 2021.

    These vaccines have been secured alongside a vaccine program from COVAX – a World Health Organization and Gavi Vaccine Alliance initiative to bring more vaccines to Africa on a fair basis.

    (CNN)

    Museveni takes early lead in Uganda elections 2021

    Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has a clear lead in the Presidential race following Thursday’s vote, early official preliminary results show. But his main challenger, pop star-turned-politician Bobi Wine, said that tally was the result of the worst rigging in Ugandan electoral history.

    Election monitors say confidence in the count has been damaged by an internet shutdown, now in its third day. Dozens of people were killed in the run-up to the election.

    President Museveni, who has been in power for 35 years, is hoping for a sixth term. The 76-year-old says he is standing for stability, while Bobi Wine, the stage name for 38-year-old Robert Kyagulanyi, says he represents the younger generation in one of the world’s youngest countries.

    With 29.4 percent of ballots counted, Mr Museveni has won 63.9% of the vote compared to Bobi Wine with 28.4 percent, Reuters news agency quotes the electoral commission as saying.

    (BBC)

    Egypt and South Africa discuss a sustainable strategic relationship

    Ambassador of Egypt to South Africa, Ahmed El Fadly and the new Ambassador-Designate of South Africa to Egypt, Ambassador Ntsiki J. Mashimbye discussed the importance of the bilateral relations that have steadily improved since 1993 and how to strengthen it further through closer co-operation, given the unique standing of Egypt and South Africa in the continent as the largest economies in Northern and Southern Africa, respectively.

    The current relations between Egypt and South Africa neither reflect the depth of the historical relation between the two countries, nor its potential.

    According to ” El Fadly, there are opportunities to be seized and challenges to overcome. The strong relationship between the two heads of State offers Egypt and South Africa the possibility to deepen their work together, to champion the interests of the African continent, and to realize the vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.

    Ambassador-Designate Ntsiki J. Mashimbye also met members of the Embassy of Egypt in Pretoria. They outlined their perspectives on how to strengthen cooperation between the two countries, given the various challenges and opportunities in this regard.

    (The diplomatic Society)

    Researchers find new, dominant Coronavirus variants in the US

    Researchers have discovered a new variant of the COVID-19 virus that is specific to and dominant in the United States.

    The new variant accounts for about half of the cases in the country, according to a study published on Monday BioRxiv, which has yet been peer-reviewed.

    “We have identified a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that emerged in the United States early in the Coronavirus pandemic and has become one of the most prevalent U.S. variants,” said researchers in the study.

    The variant, referred to as 20C-US, first appeared in Texas in May, long before the other two variants had been identified in Britain and South Africa in September and October, respectively.

    Since then, the U.S.- identified variant has acquired two new mutations in the spike protein, which allows it to infect cells in a much easier way, the study shows.

    The rise of the new variant coincides with the second and third wave of COVID-19 infections in the country, which might circumstantially point to it being more easily transmitted than other variants, said Keith Gagnon, co-author of the study and associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

    The study shows the new variant identified in the country has not spread beyond their borders, and was most highly prevalent in the Upper Midwest.

    (CGTN)

    Ethiopian Ambassador to Tanzania Confers With Sudanese Chargé D’affaires

    Ethiopian Ambassador to Tanzania, Yonas Yosef, held talks with chargé d’affaires of Sudan to the country on various issues.

    Ambassador Yonas briefed the chargé d’affaires on current developments in Tigray including humanitarian activities following the completion of the law enforcement operation in the region.

    The two also discussed the current border dispute between their two countries.

    Ambassador Yonas says that Ethiopia and Sudan have long standing cordial relationships; thus, the two brotherly nations have to address their differences through diplomacy.

    The countries have to immediately avoid undesirable conflict in border areas and seek diplomatic and peaceful solution to their border dispute, he added.

    The Sudanese chargé d’affaires, for his part, appreciated measures taken by the government of Ethiopia to preserve law and order and humanitarian activities underway in Tigray region to rehabilitate affected people.

    “Addressing the current border dispute peacefully means maintaining national interests of the two nations”, the chargé d’affaires added.

     (FBC)

    Aksum, Adwa towns in Tigray Region could get electricity soon: Ethiopian Electric Power

    Efforts are being exerted to restore electricity in Aksum and Adwa towns of Tigray Regional State, according to Ethiopian Electric Power.

    Ethiopian Electric Power Communication Director, Moges Mekonen, told ENA that the high voltage power transmission lines connecting Alamata through Ashegoda to Mekele, and Tekeze to Mekele and other parts of the country were severely damaged.

    “Heavy power lines in various parts of the region have been deliberately destroyed,” the director said, adding that transmission lines in most places have been cut.

    “They are broken up; so, they cannot be repaired quickly and easily. These destructions have completely disrupted electricity supply,” he noted

    According to him, it would take some time to restore power to some areas although maximum efforts have been exerted to provide electricity.

    Ethiopian Electric Power and Ethiopian Electric Utility are jointly undertaking activities to restore the lines, it was learned.

    Most of the towns in East Tigray, especially Alamata, Mehoni and Mekelle, have been receiving electricity, Moges disclosed.

    Extensive repairing activities have been carried out in West Tigray, including Aksum, Adwa, Shire, and Shiraro towns. The repair work might be completed within a few days and Adwa and Aksum areas will get electricity, according to Moges.

    (ENA)

    Ministry organizes task force to assess state education level

    The Science and Higher Education Ministry said that it has planned to send a team to assess the level of damage on education institutions in Tigray state with a view to helping them get fully operational.

    Technical and Vocational Education and Training Sector Director-General with the Ministry, Genene Abebe (PhD), told The Ethiopian Herald that educational institutions in Tigray State are not at the level required to commence teaching-learning as they were damaged and their properties were looted during the law enforcement operation.

    Recently, the Federal Technical and Vocational Education and Training Institute and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education discussed with the Tigray Interim Administration Technical and Vocational Education and Training Bureau Head about the condition of institutions to commence the teaching-learning process in the state, he said.

    “We understood from the discussion that most of the education institutions are not at the level required to launch the teaching learning process right now.”

    As several institutions are damaged and looted, commencing teaching-learning as well as training has become a challenging task. As a result, the Ministry has planned to send a squad to observe the level of damage to educational infrastructure in a bid to support them in various ways. We are now setting up that team, he added.

    Depending on a rapid assessment of institutions, the Ministry will devise its supporting mechanisms including resource allocation.

    (The Ethiopian herald)

    Diaspora Agency inks MoU with four Universities

    Following two days of consultative meeting, the Ethiopian Diaspora Agency signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with four universities to prepare the National Diaspora Participation Strategy.

    Hawassa, Wollo, Jimma and Jigjiga Universities have agreed to work on devising the national strategy to boost the participation of the Diaspora in the social and economic development of the nation.

     

    The Agency’s Deputy Director, Mohammad Endris (Ph.D), stated that four technical research teams would be established from the universities.

    The details of the works are said to be led by the administrative teams under the Agency and technical research teams drawn from the institutions, according to Deputy Director of the Agency.

    “Higher Education Institutions could be an input for governmental policies and strategies. As formulation of policies and strategies seek the active participation of higher education institutions, the memorandum of understanding is a great opportunity,” the Deputy Directed remarked.

    Speaking to The Ethiopian Herald, Jigjiga University Vice President of Research and Community Service, Elyas Abdulahi (PhD), indicated that the agreement would help the collaboration of the universities to come up with a strategy that would make the nation exemplary.

    Wollo University Vice President of Research and Community Service, Fares Hailu (PhD), noted that the agreement would help increase the active participation of the Diaspora.

    Extensive discussions were also made on the role of the agency and the institutions regarding the preparation of the national Diaspora participation strategy, it was learnt.

    (The Ethiopian herald)

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