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  • U.N. to plant 1 million trees in Gambella

    ROME, Feb 8 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A million trees are to be planted in Ethiopia to fight deforestation around camps hosting hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese refugees who rely almost entirely on wood for fuel, a United Nations agency said on Wednesday.

     
    A view over part of Tierkidi refugee camp, hosting almost 50,000 south Sudanese refugees, mostly from the Nuer ethnic group in the Gambella region of western Ethiopia. Photo credit: richwainwright.com

    The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said the trees would be planted on 150 hectares of land in Ethiopia's western Gambella region to meet the growing refugee population's demand for energy.

    Almost 300,000 people, mostly women and children, have found shelter in Ethiopia since conflict erupted in South Sudan in December 2013.

    Fires used by the refugees for cooking are fuelled almost entirely by chopped wood, putting considerable pressure on local forests, FAO energy and forestry expert Arturo Gianvenuti said.

    "Imagine tens of thousands of people - the population of a small city - who suddenly arrive in a location and start using forest resources," Gianvenuti told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview. "The impact is visible".

    The depletion of forests risks creating tensions with local communities and disrupting the ecosystem, as trees stabilize the climate, regulate water flows and provide shelter to numerous animal species, according to the FAO.

    It also exposes refugee women to the risk of sexual abuse as they have to walk long distances in isolated areas to fetch firewood, Gianvenuti said.

    To address some of these issues, the FAO plans to set up nurseries for fast-growing trees, like Leucaena and Eucalyptus, to supply refugees from four camps in Gambella with wood, he said.

    The FAO and U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) have also agreed to monitor deforestation with high resolution satellite images and train local craftsmen to produce energy-saving clay stoves that would cut wood consumption by up to 25 percent, Gianvenuti said.

    FAO also plans to monitor deforestation in Uganda, which has received 600,000 South Sudanese refugees so far, he added.

    South Sudan plunged into civil war in December 2013 after a long-running feud between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar, exploded into violence, often along ethnic lines.

    The conflict has driven more than 3 million people from their homes and 600,000 more are expected to be displaced in 2017, according to U.N. estimates. (Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Katie Nguyen.; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience.

    Source: Reuters

     

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  • Dibaba breaks world 2000m record in Sabadell


    World 1500m champion Genzebe Dibaba added to her growing list of record-breaking achievements by breaking the world 2000m record* at the Miting Internacional de Catalunya in the Spanish city of Sabadell on Tuesday (7).

    The three-time world indoor champion overtook the pacemaker just before the half-way mark, which was reached in 2:42.65, and continued to extend her lead over her younger sister Anna and Morocco’s Siham Hilali.

    She went on to stop the clock at 5:23.75, taking almost seven seconds off the world indoor best set by Gabriela Szabo in 1998. Although the 2000m isn't an official world record event indoors, Dibaba’s performance – pending ratification – can be classed as an outright world record as it is faster than Sonia O’Sullivan’s outdoor mark of 5:25.36.

    As well as the outdoor 1500m world record, Dibaba now owns the fastest ever recorded times indoors for the 1500m, mile, 2000m, 3000m, two miles and 5000m.

    Elsewhere in Sabadell, European champion Adam Kszczot won the 800m in 1:46.31 with Spanish record-holder Kevin Lopez taking second place in 1:46.58.

    European 5000m silver medallist Adel Mechaal was a convincing winner of the 3000m, clocking 7:48.39 to finish more than two seconds ahead of Italy’s Marouan Razine.

    Source: IAAF

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  • Turkish TV series continue to grow in popularity in Ethiopia


    The international popularity of Turkish TV series has spread around the world over the years, and Ethiopia is not an exception. The number of Ethiopian viewers watching Turkish series has seen a significant hike in recent years and it goes hand in hand with an increase of locals' interest in Turkish culture, Turkey's ambassador to Ethiopia said.

    The Turkish Ambassador in Addis Ababa, Fatih Ulusoy stated that, "In Ethiopia, over the last one and a half years, Turkish TV series has been very popular."

    Talking of the TV series, the ambassador said that Turkish dramas such as 'Kuzey Güney' (North South) and 'Kara Para Aşk' (Black Money Love) were at the forefront of showing the Turkish way of life in Ethiopia, and adding that he hoped that it would encourage tourists to visit Turkey.

    He went on to mention the Turkish tulip-shaped tea glasses (ince belli bardak) and their rising popularity in the country, saying "They are very interested in watching Turkish dramas, they love Turkish life and culture."

    Ethiopians' interest in the Turkish way of life doesn't stop there though, Ulusoy said, pointing out that trade and tourism between the two countries had also seen a boost in recent years. Ulusoy underscored that there are strong relations between the two countries which stem from their long history together.

    Read more here

     

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  • From chefs to musicians, talented ‘re-pats’ come back to build a modern Ethiopia

    One of the longest economic booms anywhere in the world in recent years has transformed the lives of tens of millions, and opened commercial opportunities unimaginable a generation ago. Growth rates have averaged about 10% for a decade, and most agree poverty has declined steeply.


    A family enjoying an injera meal at a restaurant in Addis Ababa.

    His dream is to show the world the glories of Ethiopian cuisine, to preserve its rich traditions and to make even his poorest fellow citizens eat better. That Yohanis Gebreyesus Hailemariam’s ambition recalls the aims of a slightly better known chef is no coincidence.

    “I’m a big fan of Jamie Oliver. Many years back, my mum and I used to watch his shows,” he says. The 30-year-old is one of thousands of talented young Ethiopians who have chosen to return to their homeland after being educated or growing up overseas.

    One of the longest economic booms anywhere in the world in recent years has transformed the lives of tens of millions, and opened commercial opportunities unimaginable a generation ago. Growth rates have averaged about 10% for a decade, and most agree poverty has declined steeply.

    A vast dam – one of several enormous hydroelectric power projects guaranteeing cheap electricity – and a new railway from the capital Addis Ababa to Djibouti, the Red Sea port 750km away, opened in December. The national airline – once shunned – now flies new aircraft daily to destinations across south and east Asia, turning Ethiopia into an intercontinental hub. In the new commodities exchange in Addis Ababa, prices for coffee flash across an electronic display on one wall. On a sofa in reception, Haile Tiruneh, a 19-year-old from Washington, sits waiting for a 9am meeting with a CEO. “I don’t want to stay [in the US]. I see all my relatives struggling with loans. I want to be back here … there are so many opportunities,” Tiruneh, who is currently studying finance at Seoul University, says. Other “re-patriates” as they are known here include designers, restaurateurs, musicians and property developers.

    Read more here

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  • Ethiopian shoe designer hopes for repeat success with coffee


    Bethlehem Alemu's shoes have been sold worldwide by Amazon (AMZN, Tech30), Urban Outfitters (URBN) and Whole Foods (WFM). When she started her business the Ethiopian accountant had much more modest ambitions.

    "I wanted to do something that would give me job opportunities myself and the people around me," Alemu said. "I immediately thought 'I have to start a small business!'"

    Alemu felt she had to do something about unemployment and poverty in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

    So she quit her day job in 2005 and founded SoleRebels, which turns scraps of rubber from old tires and other recycled material into stylish footwear.

     The company, which sold 125,000 pairs of shoes in 2016, has already delivered its promise of work. Since opening, SoleRebels has created 1,200 jobs and plans to have more than 3,000 full-time Ethiopian employees by the end of 2018 when a new production facility is complete.

    The jobs pay well too -- three times the average wage, according to Alemu.

    "I was born here in Ethiopia and I grew up here so I saw the state of people -- the way they lived and the way they worked, and I felt if I had a company (it) should pay a certain amount of money so the employees can take care of themselves and their families," she said.

    Read more on CNN

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