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Ministry to distribute 50 million facemasks for 46,000 schools

The Ministry of Education announced it has finalized preparations to distribute 50 million facemasks to 46,000 schools across the country, in a bid to resume classes with the necessary precautionary measures, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

It has been some six months now since all schools including higher education in Ethiopia have been interrupted due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

However, currently the government has been making preparations to resume classes this Ethiopian academic year, with adequate planning aimed at combating the spread of the virus in schools.

A forum aimed at evaluating the ongoing preparations in Afar Regional State was held in the city of Semera on Monday.

During the occasion, State Minister of Education, Nebil Mehid said the nation is finalizing works to disseminate 50 million facemasks to 46,000 primary and secondary school across the country.

He noted that the distribution will commence this week, adding that additional 500,000 facemasks will also be disseminated to teachers throughout the nation.  (ENA)


Local investors plan to build standard houses worth 10 bln Birr

A private investor has finalized preparations to start the construction of 5,000 standard houses with an estimated total cost of 10 billion Birr in cooperation with other real estate investors, The Ethiopian Herald has learnt.

In an exclusive interview, Alemayehu Ketema, owner of Alemayehu Ketema General Contractor, said on Wednesday that his company has been processing the plan needed to begin the construction aimed at alleviating the growing housing problems.

Together with his associates, he has planned to construct affordable houses targeting the middle and low income section of the community.

“Primarily 2,500 houses will be built and the remaining houses will be constructed in the second phase of the project. We are dealing with banks to finance the projects emphasizing on reducing housing costs without compromising quality assisted by technologies,” he said.

Founded in 1989, Alemayehu Ketema General Contractor is involved in the construction of all standard roads, water works, real estates and construction materials import, production and distribution. (The Ethiopian Herald)


Second national risk assessment study kicks off

The second round National Risk Assessment Study has been kicked off in the presence of higher officials and representatives of the World Bank Group on Thursday.

The study is aimed to weigh the risk of money laundering and terrorism financing to Ethiopia.

While opening the study, Minister of Ministry of Peace, Muferihat Kamil said that the study was kicked off at a time when Ethiopia is bracing to join the international financial system extending gratitude to World Bank for its support in doing so.

East African Region Director at the World Bank Group, Ousman Edione reaffirmed continued support for Ethiopia’s endeavors to realize well-built resilience against financial crimes.

It is indicated on the occasion that National Risk Assessment study is crucial for Ethiopia in order to address the risk of money laundering and terrorism financing. (FBC)


Commission to establish environmental tribunal

Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission on Wednesday announced that it has been working to establish the first environmental tribunal that will hear cases relating to environmental issues to mitigate environmental degradation.

Ayele Hegena (PhD) Director General of Policy, Law, and Standards Research and Development with the Commission told The Ethiopian Herald that the establishment of the tribunal will have an immense role in providing emergency responses via entertaining flexible ways.

He underscored that the tribunal will be established in a special way and will have a mandate to observe only civil cases relating to environment.

He stated that environmental cases will be adjourned by the tribunal before they are transferred to the regular court.

He reflected that the tribunal has a mandate to make entities that damage the environment compensate and rehabilitate the milieu that they have abused.

As to him, the tribunal will be established at a federal level and the states may establish it, as per the constitutional rights granted to them. (The Ethiopian Herald)


Horn in Brief

UN signs new cooperation agreement with Somalia

The UN on Thursday signed a cooperation agreement with Somalia on working together over the next five years for achieving “peace, stability and prosperity for all Somalis,” according to a UN statement.

The UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework‘s (UNCF) agreement was signed in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu in the presence of senior officials from the two sides, including Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Guled and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia James Swan, the statement said.

The UNCF will replace the UN Strategic Framework that will expire by the end of 2020.

“Since signing of the UN Strategic Framework in December 2017, Somalia has made remarkable progress in its journey towards consolidating peace and sustainable and inclusive development, with steadfast UN support,” Swan was quoted as saying at the signing ceremony.

For his part, Adam Abdelmoula, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator for Somalia described the UNCF as “an impressive achievement of collaboration across levels of the UN, Government and other stakeholders.” (Anadolu)


Ten migrant bodies washed up on Djibouti coast

The bodies of 10 migrants washed up on the coast of Djibouti, the UN migration agency said on Thursday.

The incident occurred in the town of Obock, where there have been regular departures of boats packed with migrants, mainly from Ethiopia, trying to reach Yemen, or trying to make their way back to their home country.

Thousands of Saudi-bound Ethiopian migrant workers cross Yemen each month. But restrictions aimed at curbing the rapid spread of COVID-19 in war-ravaged Yemen have made the journey even more perilous, forcing many to turn back.

Earlier this month, eight migrants died and 12 went missing at sea after being forced off a boat by smugglers off the Arabian Sea coast of Djibouti.

To date, over 14,000 migrants from the Horn of Africa stuck in Yemen, are trying to make their way back to their home country. In the last three weeks alone, 2,000 arrived in Djibouti, according to the IOM. (Reuters)


South Sudan abandons plans to introduce new currency

South Sudan said it has reversed its plans to introduce a new currency as the pound continues to depreciate against the U. S. dollar and other major currencies due to the economic crisis.

Michael Makuei Lueth, minister of Information and Broadcasting, said the move to change the local currency was only a mere proposal by the economic crisis management committee as a means to salvage the economy from further collapse but was not agreed and passed by the cabinet.

"The change of national currency (South Sudanese Pounds) was brought in the discussion of previous cabinet meeting as one of the long-term economic measures, but it was not agreed and passed by the council that time," Makuei told the reporters in Juba on Wednesday evening.

In September, President Salva Kiir established an economic cluster committee to investigate mismanagement of non-oil revenue and also to come up with recommendations to revive the falling economy.

Makuei also said the government is in the final process of acquiring a loan that would be injected into the market to stabilize the deteriorating economy. (Xinhua)


Sudan imposes curfew in eastern cities after protests

The Sudanese authorities on Wednesday imposed a comprehensive curfew in the cities of Port Sudan and Suakin following protests that broke out over the dismissal of Governor Saleh Ammar of the country’s eastern province of Kassala.

The curfew will be from 12:00 noon local time until 04:00 am starting from Wednesday. The official statement added that the dismissal of Ammar had been in order “to defuse a tribal conflict” that has been going on for about three months involving the Hadandawa tribe. “The order will remain in place until the security conditions are settled,” said the government.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok relieved Ammar of his duties as Kassala’s governor following strong opposition to his appointment and protests by the powerful Hadandawa tribe. However, the move was rejected by Ammar’s Beni Amer tribe in the Red Sea State, which includes the cities of Port Sudan and Suakin.

Ammar yesterday warned the security forces not to use violence against the demonstrators. (MEMO)