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    Abune Mathias to meet Pope Francis

    Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Abuna Mathias I will be in Rome this weekend for a meeting with Pope Francis which is scheduled for Monday.

    The Patriarch will also visit the tomb of Saint Peter, hold talks at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and celebrate the Divine Liturgy with members of the large Ethiopian community Rome’s ‘Urbanianum’ College.

    Until very recently, the church maintained the use of the ancient Ge’ez language for the liturgy, although many parishes now prefer to use Amharic.

    The Church is part of the International Mixed Commission for Theological Dialogue with the Catholic Church which meets annually, alternating between Rome and one of the countries represented by the seven Orthodox members.

    Relations with the Catholic Church were significantly strengthened under the previous Patriarch, Abuna Paulos, who met with Pope John Paul II in 1993, with Pope Benedict in 2009 and in that same year, also addressed the special Synod of Bishops for Africa as an ecumenical guest. (Vatican Radio)

    Ethiopia, Kenya offer combat helicopters to bolster AU force

    Ethiopia and Kenya have reportedly offered to send helicopters to the war-ravaged Somalia to support the African Union Mission forces there (AMISOM) who are currently fighting the Al-Shabaab militants.
    Sources at the AU said the two nations offered to deploy undisclosed numbers of attack and transport helicopters to reinforce the fight against Al-Shabaab.

    In 2012, the UNSC approved 12 military helicopters to AMISOM, but these aircrafts have not yet been delivered hindering the AU forces’ operation.
    AMISOM, which for long been calling on UN for the deployment of the promised helicopters has accused the world body of giving little attention to the matter. AMISOM says the regional force’s military operation against al-Shabab has been hindered by shortage of helicopters and blames the UN for the lack of air support. As well as lack of helicopters, poor command structure, lack of coordination and underfunding are also among factors affecting AMISOM operation and further exposing it to series of deadly raids on its bases. (WIC)

    Export abattoir inaugurated in Somali region

    A modern export abattoir built with 172 million birr capital has gone operational in the Somalia Regional State.

    Nine Ethiopian Diaspora members teamed up to build the modern slaughter house with a capacity to slaughter two-thousand cattle per day.

    President of the state Abdi Mohammed and State Minister of Livestock and Fishery Gebregziabher Gebreyohannes (PhD), jointly inaugurated the modern facility on Thursday.

    The facility eases problems related with livestock marketing, said the president during a speech at the inaugural event.

    Diaspora investment on the abattoir follows calls for increased Diaspora involvement in the state, Abdi indicated.

    According to the president, the state government expended six million birr by installing power lines and building pathways to the facility.

    State Minister of Livestock and Fishery Gebregziabher Gebreyohannes (PhD), for his part said the modern abattoir hugely benefits the pastoral community in the state as it prevents illegal slaughtering of livestock.

    Faisel Abdikadir (PhD), Manager of the abattoir revealed plans to export quality meat to gulf countries. (ENA)

    Israel Freezes Plan to take 9,000 Falashmura from Ethiopia

    The Israeli state has decided to freeze the process of bringing the remaining members of the Falashmura community from Ethiopia to Israel until the state budget is up for debate again.

    This was announced by Eli Groner, the director general of the Prime Minister’s Office. In an email he sent to the inter-ministerial team responsible for the implementation of this process, Groner wrote that the plan had been ratified with no allocated budget so that its implementation must wait. In a letter first appearing on Ynet, Groner said that the plan would cost three billion shekels (just over USD 750 million).

    Three months ago the government approved bringing to Israel 9,000 people who are waiting in Addis Ababa and Gondar. “Bringing the remaining people of Jewish descent from Ethiopia to Israel will commence within 120 days and will last 5 years” says the decision, passed on November 15. The plan was submitted by then-Interior Minister Silvan Shalom, at the urging of MK David Amsalem. (Hareetz)

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