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Nation to establish two additional regiments

Ethiopia will establish two additional regiments to deter internal and external threats to safeguard the nation.

Defense Force Chief of Staff, General Adem Mohammed, Deputy Chief of Staff and Head of Military Operations Lieutenant, General Birhanu Jula, briefed the press on Monday regarding the reforms that are underway in the national army.

On the occasion, General Adem Mohammed said the regiments will be located in Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar to independently protect the security of the country and bring sustainable peace.  

“The new regiments are formed after peace and security threats were analyzed,” the Chief of Staff said.

This move increases the number of regiments from four to six.     

Birhanu Jula said for his part that rigorous security reform has been underway over the past two years in order to establish a strong peacekeeping force, equipped with modern technology to defend the country from any threats. (ENA)

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Chinese support to Ethiopia's fight against locust invasion "means a lot"

The Chinese support to Ethiopia's fight against one of the worst desert locust invasions in the East African country's recent history "means a lot to Ethiopia," Ethiopia's State Minister of Agriculture, Mandefro Nigussie, said on Tuesday.

Speaking exclusively to Xinhua, Mandefro stressed that the desert locust is causing "tougher" impact across five regional states and one city administration –Tigray, Amhara, Afar, Somali, and Oromia regional states and Dire Dawa city administration.

"It (the locust invasion) used to be on the lowland side of Ethiopia, where we have pastoralists not crop production; but these days, it’s in Southern Tigray, Eastern Amhara, and Eastern and Western Harerghe. It is coming to the highlands, where we grow crops so the problem is getting tougher but we are also establishing our capacity, increasing our spraying capacity by introducing about nine spraying helicopters and aircrafts that can help us control the pest in a short period of time," the State Minister told Xinhua. (Xinhua)

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Over 170 thousand dwellers need response

About 172,ooo dwellers have become vulnerable and in need of immediate response following the disaster caused by desert locusts on about 21,000 hectares of cropland in Oromia Special Zonal Administration of Amhara regional state.

Ebire Kebede, Deputy Head of the Zonal Administration, told the EPA on Wednesday that the swarm has impacted over 61 kebeles.

Around 14, 400 hectares are reported to be severely damaged. The locust swarm has also devastated 12, 421 hectares of animal fodder.

The ever-increasing invasion of the desert locusts has severely damaged 24, 624 croplands of households and has made 172, 624 people vulnerable and seeking support.

Noting that the government is undertaking various preparations to support vulnerable households, so far, more than 2,000 quintals of wheat and 300 quintals of nourishments have been shipped to the localities of the zone and are expected to be distributed within three days. (The Ethiopian Herald)

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Senior gov’t officials hope to complete WTO accession by next year

Ethiopia is working to complete its accession to World Trade Organization (WTO) by next year, Senior Policy Advisor and Chief Trade Negotiator at the Office of the Prime Minister, Mamo Mihretu, said on Wednesday.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Mamo revealed that the negotiation towards accession to the WTO, which started 16 years ago, is making progress.

In a multilateral negotiation held last January with WTO member countries, Ethiopia had examined its trade and investment regime against WTO agreements and requirements.

For most part, the country’s trade regime is consistent with WTO rules and regulations, the senior policy advisor said, adding that “We believe that there will not be an important setback for Ethiopia to be part of the multilateral trading system.”

Similarly, significant progress was made during bilateral trade negotiations with 8 member countries in Geneva, last January.

“The main issue when it comes to bilateral negotiations is the tariff that we apply in our trading goods and the kind of investment or service sector that we open to foreign investors,” Mamo explained. (ENA)

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Horn in Brief

A400M transports Griffon armored vehicle from Djibouti

As part of an operational trial, an A400M Atlas transport aircraft of the French Air and Space Force transported for the first time a Griffon armored vehicle from Djibouti to Orleans, France.

This was the first time that an A400M had loaded and transported a Griffon, the French Army’s flagship multi-role armored vehicle. Weighing 24.5 tones, and with outsized dimensions (7.58m x 2.54m x 3.50m), its missions are to support and transport combatants, as close as possible, to combat areas. Carrying ten men, it has a strong ballistic protection capability and a remotely-operated turret with 12.7 mm machine gun and a GALIX grenade launcher system, the French Army said.

During a flight lasting approximately 7 hours, the crew composed of three pilots and three flight engineers from the 61st Transport Wing (ET) and the Tactical Transport Aircraft (EM ATT) project team from Air Base 123 at Orleans transported the vehicle.

The operation proved tricky, considering the sheer weight (20.8 tones for 37 tones load capacity of the A400M Atlas) and the size of the Griffon. (DefenceWeb)

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Saudi to pay millions for Sudan to accelerate normalization with Israel

Sources in Sudan and Egypt have revealed that Saudi Arabia is to pay USD 335 million to the US in order to accelerate normalization of ties between the government in Khartoum and Israel, Safa news agency reported on Wednesday.

According to media reports, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, intervened after US President Donald Trump set a condition that Sudan has to pay compensation to American victims of terror before removing its name from the US list of States which sponsor terrorism. The compensation being paid is to go to the families and victims of the 1998 US Embassy bombing in East Africa and the attack on the USS Cole, a guided-missile destroyer, off the coast of Yemen in 2000.

On Monday, Trump tweeted: “GREAT news! New government of Sudan, which is making great progress, agreed to pay USD 335 MILLION to US terror victims and families. Once deposited, I will lift Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. At long last, JUSTICE for the American people and BIG step for Sudan!”(MEMO)

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South Sudan records 15 new polio cases

South Sudan said Wednesday it has recorded 15 new cases of polio, although the country was recently declared free of the virus by the World Health Organization. 

The cases have prompted the launch of a vaccination campaign which is set to begin at the end of October, George Awzenio Legge, director of the Expanded Program on Immunization at the Ministry of Health, told Anadolu Agency by phone.

“Currently, the Ministry and partners are planning a polio vaccination response to contain the spread of the disease,” Legge said.

He said a four-day campaign will begin on Oct. 27 and will target 1.5 million children under 5 years old in 45 counties where the outbreak was declared before rolling out to other parts.

“We have 15 cases in the whole country, 14 of which are in the greater Bahr el Ghazal region [in the country's northwest],” he said.

The reported cases include five in Warrap State, seven in Western Bahr el Ghazal State and one each in Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Lakes states, as well as one in the city of Torit, the capital of Eastern Equatoria State, he said. (Anadolu)

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Plan to withdraw US soldiers sparks anxiety in Somalia

Plans by the United States to withdraw its troops from Somalia has caused anxiety among partners involved in the war against terror in the country, with appeals for Washington to reconsider its decision.

There were reports that President Donald Trump had asked his top security advisers to draw up a plan for the withdrawal of US troops from Somalia in order to fulfill a 2016 campaign promise to bring US soldiers home from places like Afghanistan, Syria, and Germany.

While the plan to withdraw from Somalia is not yet concrete, it could leave the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) less effective, given that the US troops have been providing essential aerial surveillance on Al Shabaab activities and helping in air bombardments using drones.

Somalia President Abdullahi Muhammed Farmajo tweeted that his government wants the US troops to stay. “The United States military support to Somalia has enabled us to effectively combat Al Shabab and secure the Horn of Africa. A victory through this journey and for Somali-US partnership can only be achieved through continuous security partnership and capacity building support,” he tweeted. (The East African)

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South Sudan’s currency loses more value amid plans to change it

South Sudan’s currency drastically depreciated against the dollar last week, just after the government announced plans to change it, an indication that more currency hoarders had surrendered the now seemingly old notes.

On October 9, the country’s Council of Ministers decided to change the national currency in an attempt to mop up hoarded cash it claims is to blame for the decline of the economy, according to the Information Minister.  

Although details of how the new currency will be rolled out have not been announced yet, the South Sudanese pound immediately depreciated against the dollar. By Thursday, October 15, 1 USD was trading for 700 South Sudanese pounds in the black market and 165 South Sudanese pounds by the central bank rate. A week before, a dollar fetched 500 South Sudanese pounds on the black market.

This forced many traders in Juba, Rumbek and Wau, among other major regional towns across South Sudan to close shop, saying they are confused about low demand by the consumers and the pricing to use. (The East Africa)