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  • North Korea: Students required to get Kim Jong-un haircut

    Male university students in North Korea are now required to get the same haircut as their leader Kim Jong-un, it is reported.

    The state-sanctioned guideline was introduced in the capital Pyongyang about two weeks ago, Radio Free Asia reports. It is now being rolled out across the country - although some people have expressed reservations about getting the look.

    "Our leader's haircut is very particular, if you will," one source tells Radio Free Asia. "It doesn't always go with everyone since everyone has different face and head shapes." Meanwhile, a North Korean now living in China says the look is actually unpopular at home because people think it resembles Chinese smugglers. "Until the mid-2000s, we called it the 'Chinese smuggler haircut'," the Korea Times reports.

    It seems that haircuts have been state-approved in North Korea for some time - until now people were reportedly only allowed to choose from 18 styles for women and 10 for men. Earlier, North Korea's state TV launched a campaign against long hair, called "Let us trim our hair in accordance with the Socialist lifestyle".

    However, there are conflicting reports over the haircut mandate, with the NK News website reporting that recent visitors to Pyongyang did not notice a change in hair styles.

    Late leader Kim Jong-il, who ruled North Korea for 17 years, sported a bouffant hairstyle, reportedly in order to look taller.

    source: BBC

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  • Indian lines of credit help Ethiopia build sugar and power sectors

    New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) Lines of Credit worth more than $1 billion extended by India to Ethiopia have helped the landlocked country build its sugar and power industries and rail network, Ambassador Gennet Zewide said here Monday.

    These three sectors together have an employment potential of 50,000 jobs, she added.

    "The Ethiopian government has a clear policy to be a middle income country by 2023-25. Every five years, it has its own programme. For 2011-15 we have the programme to transfer our economy from agriculture to that of industry. Hence both electricity and sugar are very important," Zewide said, addressing the 10th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India Africa Project Partnership.

    The EXIM Bank has been extending credit to Ethiopia for about eight years. Till date, more than $1 billion in Lines of Credit have been provided for the development of three sugar companies in the Horn of Africa country.

    "Ethiopia has been net importer of sugar for so many years. We were the third largest importer of sugar. Earlier $200-300 million annually was spent on sugar but after the line of credit came in we are not importing sugar. We are rather selling. By 2015 we are going to be net exporter of sugar. We will export to European Union countries," Zewide said.

    "We will have 2,000 MW of electricity generation as co-generation from sugar and 3 lakh tonnes of ethanol generation," she added.

    Zewide said the rural areas in the country often face difficulties due to unavailability of electricity -- especially, the hospital and the education sectors are most hit. "We have a programme of electrifying our village by 2015. We are electrifying 87 towns and villages in the rural area. It means a lot in terms of hospital and education."

    Talking about a rail link between the Ethiopian city of Asaita and the port city of Tadjourah in neighbouring Djibouti, she said: "So far we are negotiating and we are talking... and hopefully, it will be pretty soon finalised to get a line of $600 million and $400 million, totalling $1 billion for the project."

    She said the rail link will drastically bring down the transportation cost of goods and services.

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  • Australian woman donates $1m to Ethiopian women in need

    South Sydney councillor Sonia Fenton

    The proceeds from the sale of one of Sydney's hottest properties are being handed over to help some of the world's poorest and most desperate women.

    Businesswoman and former South Sydney councillor Sonia Fenton had lived in the glamorous The Quay apartments at Circular Quay for about eight years when she heard of the life-changing work being done by an Australian obstetrician in Ethiopia.

    On a whim, she flew to the African nation to see for herself the hospital that Catherine Hamlin, who has just been nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, set up 40 years ago to provide medical services to poverty-stricken women suffering from damaged bodies after childbirth.

    Ms Fenton was so moved by the experience that on her return, she put her apartment onto the market. She settled on the sale of the property last month and is now donating $1 million to the charity.

    "When I came back from seeing what incredible work is being done to save the lives of women in the most agonising hardship, I realised how many more lives could be changed with a little more help," says Ms Fenton, 69, a former banker.

    "I read Catherine's book about her life and the lives of these women and sobbed over every page. So really, it was an easy decision.''

    The hospital treats women with obstetric fistula, which occurs when childbirth causes problems with the bladder and/or rectum where there is no adequate medical care. As a result, the women suffer severe urinary or rectal incontinence, and are often abandoned.

    by their husbands and cast out by their families and communities.

    A $600 operation can completely transform their lives.

    As a child, Ms Fenton had an ovarian cyst. "I had the best medical attention and parents who doted on me,'' she says.

    "These women, on the other hand, have pee and poo running down their legs, no running water and no one to help them. They're all so skinny because they try not to eat knowing it's going to make the problem worse. It's absolutely heartbreaking.''

    Ms Fenton says seeing the care and the second chance the women get is incredible.

    Dr Hamlin, the multi-award-winning former Sydneysider, founded the hospital with her late husband Reg and has dedicated her life to helping the women. It has been said of her that she has one son and more than 40,000 daughters.

    "It's so wonderful to have so much financial support from my home country, Australia," says Dr Hamlin, who turned 90 in January.

    "My vision is to eradicate obstetric fistula and have a midwife in every village in Ethiopia. It might not be achieved in my lifetime, but with continued support from Australia, it will be achieved."

    The Australian-registered charity Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia raises funds for the hospital as well as for training midwives to prevent the problem occurring and a farm for long-term patients.

    Ms Fenton's donation will be used to set up and equip midwifery clinics in rural Ethiopia, among other activities, and the hospital relies on regular donations from supporters to keep its work going.

    ''It's those regular small donors who give us $50 or $100 a month we're so grateful to for making the work of the hospital sustainable, and Australians are the largest donors of anywhere else in the world,'' says the charity's chief executive, Lucy Perry.

    Ms Fenton's apartment was valued by the bank at $1.7 million. But when a neighbour, who by coincidence turned out to be a supporter of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, wanted to buy it, they negotiated a price of $1.9 million to enable her to give the round sum.

    more info:

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  • The FORBES Billionaires List: The Richest People On Earth

    #61 Mohammed Al Amoudi

    The ranks of the world’s billionaires have swelled to a record 1,645 including 268 newcomers. While wealth spreads to new corners of the world, including for the first time places like Tanzania and Lithuania, the U.S. still dominates with Bill Gates back on top after a four-year hiatus and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg the year’s biggest gainer.

    Bill Gates is back on top after a four-year hiatus, reclaiming the title of world’s richest person from telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico, who ranked No. 1 for the past four years. Gates, whose fortune rose by $9 billion in the past year, has held the top spot for 15 of the past 20 years. Spanish clothing retailer Amancio Ortega (best known for the Zara fashion chain) retains the No. 3 spot for the second year in a row, extending his lead over Warren Buffett, who is again No. 4. American gambling tycoon Sheldon Adelson, who added $11.5 billion to his pile, makes it back into the top ten for the first time since 2007. Another first: A record net worth of $31 billion was needed to make the top 20, up from $23 billion last year.

    Read more from Forbes


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