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  • High School Girls Have Designed Africa's First Private Satellite

    Africa's first private space satellite will be launched in May 2017, thanks to 14 girls from South Africa. They have designed and constructed payloads for a satellite that will collect agriculture information across the continent, helping African countries better prepare for natural disasters and food shortages.

    The satellite launch is part of a project headed by South Africa's Meta Economic Development Organization (MEDO) in collaboration with Morehead State University in the U.S. The girls are being trained by engineers from Cape Peninsula University of Technology in the hope of encouraging more African women to get involved in STEM fields. No black African has ever journeyed into space, and many of the girls participating in the MEDO project hope to be the first.

    "Discovering space and seeing the Earth's atmosphere, it's not something many black Africans have been able to do, or do not get the opportunity to look at," 16-year-old Sesam Mngqengqiswa told CNN. "I want to see these things for myself. I want to be able to experience these things."

    The information gathered by the satellite will allow Africans to better prepare for the tumultuous climate conditions of the continent.

    "We expect to receive a good signal, which will allow us to receive reliable data," Mngqengqiswa told CNN. "In South Africa we have experienced some of the worst floods and droughts and it has really affected the farmers very badly."

    According to a UN report for the region, a drought brought on by El Niño caused South Africa's April 2016 maize harvest to be short by 9.3 million tons. The country is expected to import three to four million tons of corn this year to make up for the shortage.

    Before beginning work on the space satellite, the girls first programmed small CricketSat satellites and launched them with weather balloons. After these initial trials, they began designing the actual satellite payloads. Thermal imaging data collected from the payloads will be analyzed to reveal early drought or flood detection.

    Using the data, "we can try to determine and predict the problems Africa will be facing in the future," said 17-year-old Brittany Bull, another student working on the project. "Where our food is growing, where we can plant more trees and vegetation and also how we can monitor remote areas.... We have a lot of forest fires and floods but we don't always get out there in time."

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  • Arrest of Ethiopian opposition leader outrageous assault on freedom of expression, says Amnesty International

    By Elias Meseret

    (DireTube News. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) - Reacting to news of the arrest of Ethiopian opposition leader Merera Gudina, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Michelle Kagari said, “The arrest of Merera Gudina is an outrageous assault on the right to freedom of expression and should sound alarm bells for anyone with an interest in ending the deadly protests that have rocked Ethiopia over the past year.”

    “This is a move that will exacerbate, rather than ease, the underlying tensions currently simmering in the country. Instead of resorting to further repression and clamp-downs, the Ethiopian government must urgently and meaningfully address the human rights grievances that are fueling unrest.”

    The Ethiopian government admitted on Thursday that it has arrested Merara Gudina, an outspoken opposition figure in the country, for violating the terms of a state of emergency that was declared in the country on October 7, 2016. A body that oversees the country’s state of emergency, called the Command Post, said the opposition figure met with members of a banned ‘terrorist organization and anti- peace groups’ abroad recently and was nabbed upon his arrival at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa on Wednesday.

    "He is under investigation for violating the state of emergency," the state affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate quoted the Command Post as saying adding that Merara met and held discussion with Berhanu Nega, leader of the outlawed Ginbot 7, in Brussels, Belgium recently.

    Merara has been a strong critic of the government for more than a decade and hails from the restive Oromia region that has seen the worst anti- government protests since November 2015. He told the Associated Press in March that the Ethiopian government was resorting to repression and clamping down on dissenting voices during the protests and urged authorities to urgently and meaningfully address the human rights grievances that are fueling the unrest. “This is a move that will exacerbate, rather than ease, the underlying tensions currently simmering in the country,” he said at the time.

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  • Most African Influential’s Got Listed

    President Magufuli of Tanzania named New African magazine's 'Person of the Year' as part of its Most Influential Africans list.
    This year’s list is curated by a number of guest editors including Carlos Lopes, Acha Leke, Winnie Byanyima and Ory Okolloh.
    New African magazine, one of Africa’s most respected and longstanding magazines, has released its 2016 Most Influential Africans list.

    In a break from the past, New African named their ‘Person of the Year’ in Tanzanian President John Magufuli. Having made headlines for a new style of leadership, he is recognised for his efforts to root out corruption and for his principled approach.

    This year, the magazine has reached out to a number of respected analysts and experts who have selected their most influential personalities across a variety of fields: politics, civil society, education, business, sports and techpreneurs. As a result there are a number of highly interesting individuals, including some whom could be considered lesser known names and public figures.

    The most influential policymakers were selected by former Executive Secretary of the UN-Economic Commission for Africa, Carlos Lopes. In his list are a number of heads of states, notably President Kenyatta of Kenya and President Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire, which has been Africa’s best performing economy of the last few years. Among the notable influencers are several women including Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Mauritius’ first female president; Thuli Madonsela, South Africa’s fearless ex- Public Protector; and Cameroonian Economist and IFC Regional Director, Vera Songwe.

    The business section edited by McKinsey Partner, commentator  and policy adviser,  Acha  Leke, lists Kenyan Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge;  Zimbabwean industrialist and telecoms entrepreneur, Strive Masiyiwa; and Rwanda Development Board’s transformational  CEO, Francis Gatare  among its most influential.
    The guest editors for the other sections are as follows: Education:  Fred Swaniker, founder of the African Leadership University; Civil Society: Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam; Techpreneurs: Ory Okolloh, Director of Investments at Omidyar Network Africa; Publishing and Literature: Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, co-founder of Cassava Republic Press; and Sports:  Osasu Obayiuwana, New African’s Associate Editor and sports journalist.

    This year there are 19 Nigerians and 21 South Africans. East Africa registered 23 entries and there are 32 women on the list.

    DireTube News 

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  • Qatar Airways Suspends Flight to Asmara

    Amid fanfare and propaganda, in August, 2014, Qatar Airways announced it will launch a twice weekly flight to Asmara starting December 5, of the same year.

    The launching of the flight was considered a concession to appease Isaias Afwerki the ruler of Eritrea who continually frustrated Qatar’s mediation effort to resolve the border issue between Eritrea and Djibouti.

    In March 2014, Qatar Airways had announced the launch of its flight to Djibouti and the Eritrean regime immediately demanded the airline include Asmara on its schedule to prove Qatar was not favoring Djibouti in its mediation efforts.

    To add pressure to its demand, in August 2014, the Isaias regime arrested a Djiboutian officer, Master Corporal Ahmed Kamil, who was accompanying Qatari officers who were monitoring the border as part of the Qatar brokered Eritrea-Djibouti mediation efforts. It accused the officer of being a CIA spy who penetrated the Qatari forces.

    Soon, Qatar yielded to Isaias’ demand. A few days after the arrest of the Djiboutian officer, Qatar Airways announced its scheduled flights to Asmara in an announcement that had a striking resemblance to the one it issued on March 23, 2014 when it announced plans to fly to Djibouti.

    To normalize relations between the two clashing countries, Qatar had embarked on a high-profile mediation. But its efforts have achieved little since the three-day border clash of June, 2008. Eight years after the clash, and years of serious mediation efforts by Qatar, has not resulted in completely ending the border issue between the two countries.

    Yesterday, the state-owned Qatar Airways announced it will suspend its flights to Asmara exactly two years after it was launched, and flight QR1443 that was supposed to fly to Asmara out of Doha on December 4, will not operate.

    More here 

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  • New evidence that Lucy, our most famous ancestor, had superstrong arms

    In Ethiopia, she is known as “Dinkinesh” — Amharic for “you are marvelous.” It's an apt name for one of the most complete ancient hominid skeletons ever found, an assemblage of fossilized bones that has given scientists unprecedented insight into the history of humanity.

    You probably know her as Lucy.

    Discovered in 1974, wedged into a gully in Ethiopia's Awash Valley, the delicate, diminutive skeleton is both uncannily familiar and alluringly strange. In some ways, the 3.2-million-year-old Australopithecus was a lot like us; her hips, feet and long legs were clearly made for walking. But she also had long arms and dexterous curved fingers, much like modern apes that still swing from the trees.

    So, for decades scientists have wondered: Who exactly was Lucy? Was she lumbering and land-bound, like us modern humans? Or did she retain some of the ancient climbing abilities that made her ancestors — and our own — champions of the treetops?

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  • Ethiopia says foiled Eritrea-backed terror attack, kill 15

    Ethiopia authorities said they foiled an Eritrean-backed terrorist attack, killed as well as detained dozens of Eritrean mercenaries. 

    Ethiopian Ministry of Defense said the terrorist attack was thwarted after Ginbot 7, an opposition movement branded by Addis Ababa as terrorist entity attempted to deploy dozens of its armed fighters into Ethiopia.

    The Ginbot 7 forces were arrested trying to infiltrate into Ethiopia from Eritrea via the northern Tigray region bordering Eritrea.

    Military officials on Tuesday told Sudan Tribune that a total of 113 armed members of the banned group have crossed borders into Western Tigray region.

    But most of them were killed or captured by the joint efforts of the residents and regional security forces.

    Out of the total 113 members of the infiltrating forces, 15 were shot dead in fire exchange while 73 were captured; officials said adding security forces are hunting to detain the remaining who went to disarray.

    According to the ministry, several weapons and military equipment were also captured.

    The opposition forces crossed into Ethiopia into two rounds led by Major Mesfin Tigabu and by Destaw Tegegn respectively. Huge number of military weapons, money and other military materials were also captured from the armed men, the Ministry added

    Among others 73 rifles, 62 Hand grenades, other RPG weapons and Satellite communication devices were captured.

    In addition to the weapons and the military equipment, several Ethiopian birr bills and US dollars were seized, the statement indicated.

    The ministry of defense said added that the attempted terrorist plot by Eritrea and the other destructive forces is intended to destabilize and hider development endeavors in the country.

    The captured militants were allegedly trained and armed by the regime in Asmara.

    Ethiopia repeatedly accuses the Red Sea nation of deploying terrorists to destabilize nation, an allegation Eritrea denies.

    Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a 30-year guerrilla war however the two neighbors fought a war during 1998-2000 over territorial disputes which killed over 70,000 people.

    As their border dispute never settled the two countries remain at No war – No peace situation. Both countries routinely trade accusations of arming and supporting each others’ rebel groups.

    Ethiopia has often foiled Eritrea-backed attacks and have captured a number of terrorist groups while trying to sneak into the country.

    Previously, Ethiopian forces have penetrated deep into Eritrean territories and attacked several military bases, including those bases used by militants who are given sanctuary by Eritrea to carry out attacks against Ethiopia.

    Source: Sudan Tribune


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