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Resident Ambassadors Getting Brief On GERD

Ministry of Water, Irrigation, and Energy is briefing resident ambassadors of several countries in Addis Ababa on the current status of the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

The Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister Dr. Engineer Sileshi Bekele, in the briefing, highlighted the negotiations held between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt concerning the construction process of the dam.

Dr. Engineer Sileshi Bekele explaining the reasons why the discussions brokered by the United States and the World Bank failed to address the dispute between the three riparian countries.

The Minister told the ambassadors that GERD will not bring any significant harm to downstream countries.

Construction of GERD reached 73 percent, and Ethiopia is set to start filling it with water as of the upcoming July 2020, the Minister briefed the ambassadors.

Ministry Begins Mobile Phone Based Training To Fight COVID-19

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has launched a new mobile phone training platform for frontline health workers.

The platform would help train health extension workers (HEPs) and their supervisors on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, said MoH in a statement.

Combining interactive SMS and audio training with quizzes and peer learning tools, the new mobile phone-based learning platform helps HEPs equip themselves with the skills and knowledge required to support their communities in halting the pandemic.

According to the statement, the Ministry of Health partnered with AMREF Health Africa rolls out the training across the country, reaching thousands of health workers.

All health extension workers will be trained in a one-month period and actively engaged in the prevention and control of COVID-19.

Ethiopia Records 35 New COVID-19 Cases In 24 Hours

Ethiopia has recorded 35 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the highest new cases in a single day.

This brings the total number of those infected to 352, according to a statement the Ministry of Health issued today.

The new cases were identified out of 1,775 laboratory tests conducted in the past 24 hours.

All the cases are Ethiopian nationals from 15-80 years of age, of which 6 have a travel history abroad, 24 contracts with confirmed cases, and 5 neither of the two causes.

Of the new positive cases, 29 are from Addis Ababa, one from Oromia, four from Somali, and one from Amhara regional states.

Three more patients have also recovered from the virus during the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 116.

Ethiopia has conducted 59, 029 laboratory tests so far and reported five deaths from the virus. There are now a total of 229 patients in treatment centers.

Ethiopian Athletes Take Part in Virtual Race to Raise Funds

Ethiopian athletes participated in the first-ever virtual race which took place on Saturday aimed at fundraising to support the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

Some 1,000 Ethiopian athletes, including renowned athletes like Derartu Tulu, Tirunesh Dibaba, and Kenenisa Bekele have participated in the virtual race organized by the Grand African Run in Washington D.C.

The race was streamed live online and runners connected on Zoom, Facebook Live, and YouTube in a virtual fundraising.

A virtual race is the same as any other type of racing and the difference is that the entered race can be run at any location, at any pace, inside on a treadmill or outside in another country but need to provide evidence that you have done it.

The virtual race can be run from any location the athletes choose at their own pace on their own time.

Virtual runners take part from home, gardens, and running machines via their computers, smartphones and other electronic apparatuses.

Accordingly, the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold, Derartu Tulu, participated in the virtual race from her garden while the three-time Olympic champion, Kenenisa Bekele ran in his home in Addis Ababa.

Likewise, Tirunesh Dibaba who is also a three-time Olympic Champion ran at an empty National Stadium in Addis Ababa with her sisters Genzebe and Ejegayehu.

Leading Organizer of the virtual run, Gashaw Abeza told ENA that the run aims to trim down health, economic and psychological impacts posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

He pointed out that the virtual race eases psychological impacts, especially for those who lived in hard-hit countries by the virus like in Europe and the United States, seating at home for so long and unable to work freely.

The fund will be offered for two Ethiopia-based non-profit organizations that are helping the country’s efforts in combating the coronavirus, he added.

Virtual racing becomes popular amid the spread of coronavirus pandemic across the globe.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has made athletes take their pursuit of medals and personal best times indoors.

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Council Holds Hearing On Constitutional Interpretation


FDRE Council of Constitutional Inquiry held the first hearing session in which several legal experts forwarded amicus curiae brief on the process of constitutional interpretation related to the postponement of the national elections.

The hearing is led by the chairperson of the Council of Constitutional Inquiry Meaza Ashenafi involving the participation of members of the council.

On the opening session of the hearing brief held at Sheraton hotel a written amicus curiae brief prepared by four legal experts; Dr. Solomon Ayele (Human Rights Expert), Dr. Yontan Tesfaye Fiseha (Constitutional expert from South Africa), Dr. Adem Kassie (constitutional expert from the Netherlands), and Dr. Zemelak Aytenew (Law lecturer at AAU) has been presented.

In his presentations on behalf of his colleagues, Dr. Solomon underlined that constitution is unique for it is superior to all laws which impact a political, social and economic spheres of a certain country.

The interpretation process is historic constitutional phenomenon that created an opportunity to put cornerstone for the democratization process of the country.

He lauded the council of enquiry for involving comments of legal experts and live streaming the hearing so that the platform creates clarity to the general public.

Other segments of the community should be given a chance to comment the interpretation of the constitution to make the process more fair and transparent, Dr. Solomon commented.

He urged the council to conduct the inquiry free of any pressure from the government and any concerned body so as to fairly address interest of the public.

International conventions and agreements Ethiopia has signed and adopted so far oblige government to protect human rights of its citizens though legal instruments like the current COVID 19 state of emergency, Dr. Solomon noted.

Measures to taken during the state of emergency should be in accordance with constitutional provisions of the country most the experts agree.

Dr. Solomon listed countries such as Bolivia, North Macedonia, Brazil, Germeny, Kenya, Australia Chilli raussia india, which postponed election, referendum and other legal procedures due to COVID 19 pandemic.

He stressed a need for a clear legislative decree complies with the constitutional legitimacy so as to make the interpretation fair and balanced.

He said the final decision will be made by the house of federation following resolution passed by the council of constitutional inquiry.

Dr. Getachew Assefa, a law lecture at Addis Ababa University, noted that Comments which have been raised against the need for the constitutional interpretation do not consider the current situation in the country.

Considering the fact situation, the state of emergency is acceptable, and the postponement of the election is legal since the country has not made enough preparations for voting due to COVID 19, Dr. Getachew said.

He said constitutional provisions (article 54(1) and 58(3) that terminate the tenure of the house of peoples representatives shall be treated harmonized with article 93(1) which envisages the decree of state of emergency while the country is in crisis like natural hazards and epidemic.

Responding to the questions raised by members of the council of inquiry through virtual technology, Professor Yonathan and Dr. Adem Kassie stressed the need for postponement of national elections due to lack of preparedness amid COVID 19.

The power of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia will not be affected since it is a neutral body, Dr. Adem said.

Professor Yonathan and Dr. Adem shared a view that the Ethiopian constitution does not allow power vacuum so that that the incumbent government is legitimate to stay in power so as to address current circumstances faced by the country and the public at large.

Dr. Zemelak Ayele, to his part, said the interpretation should be done in balanced manner taking all significant perspectives like intents of drafters, provisions set in the constitution.

Chairperson of the Council of Constitutional Inquiry Meaza Ashenafi thanked the experts for their brief on the constitutional interpretation process.

IGAD Donates COVID-19 Medical Supplies To Ethiopia

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has donated medical supplies worth 800,000 birr to the Ethiopian Ministry of Health to support its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Girum Hailu, Senior Advisor to the Health and Social Development Division of IGAD, handed over the medical equipment to Dr. Lia Tadesse, Minister of Health.

Dr. Lia on the occasion said the equipment will be used to support COVID-19 containment efforts at border areas as well as displaced-person and refugee camps.

The medical supplies donated by the east African bloc include gloves, facemasks, hand sanitizers, and other materials need to prevent the virus.

Last month, IGAD also donated $100,000 to help Ethiopia in its fight against the pandemic.

Ethiopia Confirms Nine New COVID-19 Cases

Ethiopia has reported nine new cases of COVID-19, out of the 3,580 samples tested over the past 24 hours.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 272.

Of the new confirmed cases, five are from Addis Ababa and four from Jigjiga quarantine facility in Somali regional state.

All the confirmed cases are Ethiopian nationals aged between 17-66 years, according to the Ministry of Health.

Ethiopia has reported five deaths so far. As of today, total test count stands at 45,278.

Ethiopia To Open Five More Border Checkpoints To Curb COVID-19

Ethiopia’s Immigration Nationality and Vital Events Agency said five more border checkpoints will be opened within a month.

The new checkpoints will be established in Afar, Somali and Amhara regional states as well as in Dire Dawa city administration, said Desalegn Terresa, public relations and communication director at the agency.

The main objectives of the checkpoints are to battle the spread of the coronavirus virus from neighbors and make the virus control efforts easier, he said.

The opening of the new checkpoints will bring Ethiopia’s total number of checkpoints at border areas to 17, according to the director.

The establishment of the checkpoints would have a significant role in reducing the virus from spreading by preventing illegal border crossers, Desalegn stated.

Ethiopia has so far reported 263 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 108 recoveries and five deaths.

Meeting Reviews Green Legacy Initiative, Preparations For Planting Season

Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed presided over a presentation by the Minister of Agriculture which reviews the national green legacy initiative and the preparations for planting this year.

Key stakeholders present at the meeting were national steering committee members, technical committee members, regional chief administrators and influential personalities that will be engaged in public mobilization, according to office of the Prime Minister.

Citing the key success factors from last year’s planting season as great public mobilization, active engagement of government leadership, institutional coordination and stakeholders’ participation, the need to build on these good experiences was indicated.

While the target for this year is to plant 5 billion trees, preparations to ready the required number of seedlings has been underway since the end of last year’s planting season.

The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of continuity and finishing what has been started, indicating the green legacy initiative overall goal of planting 20 billion trees within the next few years.

He also shared the status of the Addis Ababa greening projects which are linked to promoting urban tourism and creating a livable city.

President Sahle-Work Calls For Global Solidarity Against COVID 19

In a recorded message posted on Facebook on May 12th, FDRE President Sahle-Work Zewdie called upon the global community to join hands against coronavirus pandemic.

She said COVID 19 is now harshly attacking the humankind in many aspects.

“It has raised havoc in communities all around the world. Our way of life has completely been disrupted. Hundreds of thousands of people have died. Millions have lost jobs. Trillions of dollars have been lost.” The president stated.

“This crisis is different. We have suddenly found ourselves in the same boat. As much as individualism and nationalism are visible, It has revealed the capacity of people to support each other and to build solidarity with the weakest among us. We have seen the heroic crew of medical staff and many others.” President Sahle-Work articulated.

While expressing her support to the United Nations Call for Solidarity against the virus, the president paraphrased it saying “Let us be clear. It is not about charity or generosity. I stand in support of the United Nations Secretary General’s appeal for solidarity. There is no other option. This is a global crisis. Delay in action means death.”

There cannot be victory over the virus in one or some countries alone. We all have something to contribute.

According to the president, special attention should be given to the protection of Women, Children, and People with disabilities form COVID 19 pandemic.

The president further urged the global community to start drawing lessons from the crisis with greater attention given to strengthening the public health system and the emergency response mechanism.