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An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max-8 has crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa, killing all on board.

According to the airline, 149 passengers and eight crew members were on flight ET302 from the Ethiopian capital to Nairobi in Kenya.

Ethiopian Airlines said 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, 8 Americans and 7 British nationals were among the passengers.

The crash happened at 08:44 local time, six minutes after the plane took off.

Another jet of the same model was involved in a crash less than five months ago, when a Lion Air flight crashed into the sea near Indonesia with nearly 190 people on board.

The cause of the disaster is not yet clear. However, the pilot had reported difficulties and had asked to return to Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Airlines said.

“At this stage, we cannot rule out anything,” Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told reporters at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa.

“We cannot also attribute the cause to anything because we will have to comply with the international regulation to wait for the investigation.”

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Recovery operations were under way near the crash site around the town of Bishoftu, which is 37 miles south-east of Addis Ababa.

The plane was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines on November 15, 2018. It underwent a “rigorous first check maintenance” on February 4, the airline tweeted.

Tewolde Gebremariam said at news conference that passengers from more than 30 countries were on board the flight.

He said they included 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, 9 Ethiopians, 8 Italians, 8 Chinese, 8 Americans, 7 Britons, 7 French citizens, 6 Egyptians, 5 Germans, 4 Indians and four people from Slovakia.

Three Austrians, 3 Swedes, 3 Russians, 2 Moroccans, 2 Spaniards, 2 Poles and two Israelis were also on the flight.

There was also one passenger each from Ireland, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Belgium, Indonesia, Somalia, Norway, Serbia, Togo, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen.

One person held a UN passport, Ethiopian Airlines said. The airline believed some passengers could have been heading to a session of the UN Environment Assembly which begins in Nairobi on March 11.

A UN source also told AFP that “at least a dozen of the victims were affiliated with the UN”, and that this may include freelance translators.

World Food Program executive director David Beasley said seven members of agency staff had died in the crash.


President Barack Obama has arrived in Ethiopia on the second leg of his African tour.

Barack Obama is the first serving US leader to visit Ethiopia.

The president is due to hold talks with government officials and to discuss the civil war in South Sudan with regional leaders.

Barack Obama will also be the first US president to address the 54-member African Union at its headquarters in Addis Ababa on July 28.

He flew to Ethiopia after a two-day visit to Kenya.

There he had discussed trade and security but also called for greater human rights and warned of the dangers of corruption.

Barack Obama was greeted at Addis Ababa’s international airport by Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn.

On July 27, Barack Obama is due to discuss ways to bring South Sudan’s 19-month-old civil war to an end.

In talks with leaders from Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda as well as the Sudanese foreign minister, he is expected to call for tougher sanctions and a possible arms embargo if the warring factions do not agree on a peace deal.Barack Obama Ethiopia

However, a US official travelling with Barack Obama said today’s talks were not expected to lead to a breakthrough.

“This is an opportunity to reinforce the effort that’s on the table and to strategize… on next steps in the event that it doesn’t succeed,” the official told reporters.

Fighting in South Sudan has left thousands of people dead and displaced more than two million.

Security issues will also be on Barack Obama’s agenda as Ethiopia, like Kenya, is battling the jihadist group al-Shabab.

Correspondents say he is also likely to call for greater democracy and human rights while in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia’s ruling party, the EPRDF, and its allies won every single parliamentary seat in May’s elections. Opposition parties claimed the process was rigged.

Some rights groups have criticized Barack Obama’s visit to Ethiopia, warning that the trip could lend credibility to a government accused of jailing journalists and critics.

Amnesty International’s Abdullahi Halakhe said: “We don’t want this visit to be used to sanitize an administration that has been known to violate human rights.”

Human Rights Watch and other organizations urged Barack Obama to put the “pressing human rights concerns… at the forefront of your discussions”.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar have signed a peace deal after a five-month conflict.

The deal calls for an immediate truce and the formation of a transitional government ahead of the drafting of a new constitution and new elections.

The conflict in the world’s newest state has left thousands dead and more than one million homeless.

A ceasefire agreed in January collapsed within days, with both sides accusing each other of restarting the fighting.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday’s agreement “could mark a breakthrough for the future of South Sudan”.

Salva Kiir and Riek Machar signed the deal in Addis Ababa, after their first face-to-face meeting since the hostilities began

Salva Kiir and Riek Machar signed the deal in Addis Ababa, after their first face-to-face meeting since the hostilities began

The UN has accused both the South Sudanese government and the rebels of crimes against humanity, including mass killings and gang-rape.

The rivals signed the deal in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa late on Friday, after their first face-to-face meeting since the hostilities began.

The agreement calls for a cessation of hostilities within 24 hours of the signing. A permanent ceasefire will then be worked on.

Salva Kiir and Riek Machar are to issue immediate orders for troops to end combat and to allow in humanitarian aid.

It was not immediately clear who would form the transitional administration.

The deal was also signed by Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn, who hosted the talks.

Leading mediator Seyoum Mesfin, from the regional Igad bloc, congratulated Salva Kiir and Riek Machar for “ending the war”.

However, African Union official Smail Chergui warned that “given the current crisis, the restoration of peace in South Sudan will not be easy”.

A UN report released on Thursday said that “widespread and systematic” atrocities had been carried out by both sides in homes, hospitals, mosques, churches and UN compounds.

It called for those responsible to be held accountable.

An estimated five million people are in need of aid, the UN says.

The violence began when President Salva Kiir accused his sacked deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup.

Riek Machar denied the allegation, but then marshaled a rebel army to fight the government.

The battle assumed ethnic overtones, with Riek Machar relying heavily on fighters from his Nuer ethnic group and Salva Kiir from his Dinka community.

The UN has about 8,500 peacekeepers in South Sudan. However, they have struggled to contain the conflict.

South Sudan gained independence in 2011, breaking away from Sudan after decades of conflict between rebels and the Khartoum government.

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Ethiopia has decided to build a mausoleum to commemorate the life of former leader Meles Zenawi, who was buried on Sunday.

Acting Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the building would include a library and an exhibition of Meles Zenawi’s life and achievements.

Thousands of people, including dozens of foreign leaders and dignitaries, attended Sunday’s funeral.

The ex-prime minister died last month in Brussels after 21 years in power.

The cause of the 57-year-old’s death has not been announced.

Meles Zenawi was praised for bringing development to Ethiopia, which has long been associated with hunger and famine.

Ethiopia has decided to build a mausoleum to commemorate the life of former leader Meles Zenawi, who was buried on Sunday

Ethiopia has decided to build a mausoleum to commemorate the life of former leader Meles Zenawi, who was buried on Sunday

However, he was criticized for cracking down on opposition parties, the media and civil society groups.

The government has also set up a website in his honor.

Meles Zenawi’s flag-draped coffin was carried from his palace in the capital Addis Ababa to the city’s Meskel Square for a ceremony, then buried at the Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Leaders including South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, Benin Boni Yayi representing the African Union and US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice praised Meles Zenawi.

“He wasn’t just brilliant, he wasn’t just a relentless negotiator and a formidable debater, he wasn’t just a thirsty consumer of knowledge – he was uncommonly wise, able to see the big picture and the long game, even when others would allow immediate pressures to overwhelm sound judgement,” said Susan Rice.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates also attended the funeral, as did Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir – who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court on several counts of war crimes.

Meles Zenawi was a close Western ally and twice sent troops into neighboring Somalia to tackle Islamist militants.

Hailemariam Desalegn is to remain prime minister until the next elections, due in 2015.

Meles Zenawi:

• Emerged from Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which carried out armed struggle against communist military regime in 1970s and 1980s

• Became president in a transitional government in 1991 and then prime minister in 1995

• Married another TPLF veteran, Azeb Mesfin, and had three children

• Under his leadership, a closed and secretive country gradually opened to the outside world

• But reputation tarnished in 2000s amid increasing repression in Ethiopia


Thousands of Ethiopians are attending the state funeral in Addis Ababa of country’s long-serving Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who died last month.

Meles Zenawi’s flag-draped coffin was carried in a procession from his palace to the city’s Meskel Square, where a solemn religious ceremony began.

Dozens of foreign leaders and dignitaries, including at least 20 African presidents, were present.

Meles Zenawi died at the age of 57 in Brussels, following a long illness.

He came to power in 1991 and was credited for bringing development and growth to Ethiopia.

But critics say this was achieved at the cost of respect for human rights.

Thousands of Ethiopians are attending the state funeral in Addis Ababa of country's long-serving Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who died last month

Thousands of Ethiopians are attending the state funeral in Addis Ababa of country's long-serving Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who died last month

The state funeral – Ethiopia’s first in more than 80 years – began in Meskel Square after a journey of about an hour-and-a-half from Meles Zenawi’s official residence, the Grand National Palace.

The coffin was accompanied by hundreds of mourners, including Meles Zenawi’s widow Azeb Mesfin, who was seen being comforted by officials.

The coffin will later be taken for burial at the city’s Holy Trinity Cathedral.

The prime minister was a former Marxist rebel and not publicly religious, but was brought up as an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian.

In contrast to the secrecy traditionally surrounding the deaths of Ethiopian leaders, the ceremony is being broadcast live, and huge screens have been erected in cities and villages around the country.

The last Ethiopian leader to be honored with a state funeral was the Empress Zauditu in 1930.

African presidents such as South Africa’s Jacob Zuma and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame are attending the funeral, as well as several prominent international figures including Microsoft chairman Bill Gates.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete laid a wreath next to Meles Zenawi’s coffin on Saturday.

He paid tribute to Meles Zenawi’s “charm, his intellect, his passion for Africa’s development”, adding that he was “a kind of leader that you can trust”.

Paul Kagame honored Meles Zenawi as “a gallant fighter for freedom not only for Ethiopia and Ethiopian people, but also Africa”.

Also attending is Sudan’s President, Omar al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court on several counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the Darfur conflict.

Meles zenawi became a dominant figure in the region after toppling toppling dictator Mengistu Hailemariam 21 years ago.

He ordered Ethiopian troops to intervene against al-Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia, mediated in the conflict in Sudan and South Sudan, and took a leading position in the African Union, which is headquartered in Addis Ababa.

Meles Zenawi will be succeeded by his deputy, Hailemariam Desalegn, 47, a relatively little-known politician from the south of Ethiopia.

Hailemariam Desalegn will formally take over as prime minister after Meles Zenawi’s funeral, and will serve until elections in 2015.

Some observers have voiced fears about the political transition.

The Brussels-based think tank, the Crisis Group, has warned that Hailemariam Desalegn will lead a weaker government that will face mounting grievances along ethnic and religious lines.

Meles Zenawi died suddenly from an infection on 20 August while being treated in hospital in Brussels.

He had not been seen in public for weeks before his death was announced, and there had been increasingly intense speculation about his health.

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Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir and South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir have met for the first time since a border dispute brought their countries close to conflict in April.

Omar al-Bashir sat down with Salva Kiir during an African Union summit in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

South Sudan only became independent from the north at the end of 2011 and numerous issues remain unresolved between the two countries.

A United Nations deadline for them to settle the dispute is set for 2 August.


Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir and South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir meet for the first time since border dispute

Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir and South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir meet for the first time since border dispute

Among other issues, their border has not been finalized and there are disagreements over oilfields, transport payments and divisions of the national debt.

No information has been released about what the two presidents spoke about during their meeting in Addis Ababa, but they shook hands publicly for the first time at the end of it.

The last official talks between Presidents Salva Kiir and Omar al-Bashir were at the previous AU summit in January.

At this summit, AU delegates urged the governments in Khartoum and Juba to settle their differences on oil and border demarcation before the UN’s deadline.

The UN introduced its three-month deadline after cross-border clashes centred on the oil-rich region of Heglig brought Sudan and South Sudan close to all-out war in April.

South Sudan’s independence in July 2011 was supposed to herald the end of more than 50 years of bitter conflict between the two Sudans, but tensions have lingered.

Saturday’s meeting between the two leaders is unlikely to yield any immediate results, but it at least shows the two countries are feeling the pressure to resolve their dispute.