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Nile Dam: Ethiopia Reports Construction Progress

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Nile Dam: Ethiopia Reports Construction Progress, Sudan Happy With Negotiations

Ethiopia says it has made significant progress in the construction of its flagship Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project. Negotiations to resolve a dispute with Egypt over filling the dam’s reservoir is still ongoing.

Egypt is worried the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), under construction near Ethiopia’s border with Sudan, will restrict supplies of already scarce Nile waters on which it is almost entirely dependent.

Ethiopian government believes the 4 billion dollars Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam announced in 2011 and is designed to be the centerpiece of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter, will generate more than 6,000 megawatts power.

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Ethiopian lawmakers visited the construction site of the dam where the project management says 70% of the works has been completed.

The general manager of the project, Engineer Kifle Horo, also said the two turbines that are projected to generate 750mw of electricity by the beginning of 2021 are progressing well. The dam project is scheduled to be fully completed in 2023.

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Meanwhile, Sudan’s irrigation minister said on Sunday his country, Egypt and Ethiopia have come closer to aligning their views on filling the reservoir and operating the giant hydroelectric dam.

Last month, foreign ministers of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed to work towards resolving their dispute over the dam by January 2020, after meeting U.S. Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin and world bank president David Malpass in Washington. They met in Washington again this month and are due for a third meeting in January next year, where they will finalize an agreement to resolve the dispute.

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The U.S. administration invited the three sides for talks after Egypt called for an external mediator on the issue, saying three-way talks had been exhausted.

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Zambian Police Arrest 16 Suspects After Chemical Attacks

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Zambian Police Arrest 16 Suspects After Chemical Attacks

Zambia police said on Thursday, they have arrested 16 persons suspected of being behind a spate of attacks in which people were sprayed with poisonous substances that have caused some deaths.

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The attacks began in December and were initially confined to the mineral-rich copperbelt.  They have since spread to the capital Lusaka.  Police are still trying to pinpoint the exact number of victims.

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Last week, president Edgar Lungu ordered soldiers to join the police in patrolling the streets after the attacks, that have sparked public outrage.

Britain and the United States have issued travel alerts to their citizens following the attacks.

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Lesotho PM Misses Court Date Over Wife’s Death

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Lesotho PM Misses Court Date Over Wife's Death

Lesotho’s prime minister Thomas Thabane, who was accused of killing his wife and was due in court for hearing on Friday, did not show up.  Police said they were unsure of his whereabouts.

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Lipolelo Thabane was shot dead in June 2017 near her home in the capital, Maseru, two days before the minister took office.

Thabane’s current wife, Maesaiah, has also been charged with ordering Lipolelo’s murder. She is currently out on bail.

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The prime minister bowed to pressure and announced on Thursday he would step down in July.  Both Maesaiah and Thomas Thabane, who married two months after Lipolelo’s killing, have denied any involvement in her death.

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Authorities say the prime minister’s whereabouts are unknown.  Some even suggest he might have fled the country.

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South Sudan President, Rebel Leader Agrees To Form Unity Government

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South Sudan President, Rebel Leader Agrees To Form Unity Government

South Sudan’s former rebel leader Riek Machar said he has agreed to form a unity government with president Salva Kiir by Saturday’s deadline, following talks at state house on Thursday.

President Kiir has promised protection for opposition leaders. Machar’s allies had sought assurances for his safety should he formally return to the capital.

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Kiir said the main issues which have not been resolved, such as how he and Machar would share the power, and how opposing forces will be unified, are set to be addressed and finalized in coming days.

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There are expectations the deal will bring an end to South Sudan’s devastating six-year civil war, which has killed some 400,000 persons.

Before the announcement, it had been unclear if the deadline would be met as key benchmarks of the 2018 peace agreement had not been fulfilled. The deadline had elapsed several times without an agreement between the two sides.

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