Ethiopia

Haile Gebrselassie supports Kipchoge INEOS 1:59 challenge

Mildred Wanyonyi

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Ethiopia's long-distance running legend Haile Gebrselassie has backed Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge to complete a marathon in less than two hours in his INEOS 1:59 challenge in Vienna on Saturday.

Kipchoge wants to become the first man to complete the distance - 42.2km or 26.2 miles - in under two hours.

In a video on his Twitter account, Gebrselassie said, ‘‘...believe me, you can do it’.’

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Gebrselassie is a former world marathon record holder and two-time Olympic 10,000m champion. He won the Berlin Marathon four times.

Kipchoge, who won the London Marathon for the fourth time earlier this year, clocked two hours, 25 seconds in a similar attempt as part of Nike's Breaking 2 project at the Monza grand prix circuit in Italy.

This time he will run the distance over 4.4 laps of a 5.97-mile course in Prater park in the Austrian capital, with the route consisting of two 2.67-mile stretches and two small loops at each end.

The location was selected because of the favourable climate, excellent air quality and almost completely flat terrain, with only 2.4m of incline over the entire route.

He is due to run on Saturday morning.

But the time will not count as a world record as Kipchoge will not be running under race conditions set by the sport's world governing body, the IAAF.

The Kenyan runner told BBC Sport Africa he'll feel like the first man on the moon if he completes the course in less than two hours:

Kipchoge: Sub-two hour marathon 'will make history'
Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed
This year's Nobel Peace Prize recognises Abiy Ahmed for his role in resolving the border conflict with Eritrea.

Ethiopian PM seen as one of the favourites for Nobel Prize

Mildred Wanyonyi

BBC Africa, Nairobi

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed
Getty Images
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has emerged as one of the favourites to win this year's Nobel Peace Prize, due to be announced shortly.

He won plaudits after signing a peace deal with Eritrea last year following two decades of conflict.

He is the bookmakers’ second favourite to be announced as the winner, behind Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

There are 301 nominees in all, according to the Nobel committee.

"I think what [Mr] Abiy did with the Eritrea issue was very courageous and remarkable. I think a lot of people have considered that what he has done is worthy of such a recognition,” Ethiopia analyst Awol Allo told.

Mr Abiy, 43, also recently won praise for his role in facilitating a power-sharing deal in neighbouring Sudan, after President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown.

He became Ethiopia's prime minister in April 2018 and embarked on a series of domestic reforms that have changed the politics in the country.

The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is set to be announced at 09:00 GMT.

Egypt accuses Ethiopia of breaking Nile dam deal

BBC World Service

Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam
Reuters
Ethiopia"s Grand Renaissance Dam is currently being built in northern Ethiopia

A row between Egypt and Ethiopia over the damming of the River Nile has escalated after recent talks between the two countries failed to make any progress.

In parliament Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry accused Ethiopia of ignoring an agreement and going ahead to fill up the Renaissance Dam, which he described as an unacceptable move that would affect the stability of the region.

Ethiopia hopes the $4bn (£3.3bn) dam will be fully operational by 2022 and will help the country become the continent's biggest electricity exporter.

Egypt has long been opposed to the project as it relies on the River Nile for around 90% of its fresh water.

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'Only 100,000 displaced people remain in Ethiopian camps'

Ethiopia's President Sahle-Work Zwede told lawmakers at the opening session of parliament on Monday, that the government had in one year managed to return home most of the two million internally-displaced people.

Ethnic conflict in the country, which intensified after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came into office in April 2018, had forced many people out of their homes.

President Sahle-Work told the annual joint session of the House of People's Representatives and the House of the Federation, that only 100,000 people remained in camps.

She also said that in the past one year the government had also facilitated the return of more than 90,000 Ethiopian nationals who were"stranded" abroad and "living in difficulty" in several countries around the world. Some of them were in prison.

She said that past "mistakes" will be corrected to make the May 2020 general election free, fair and democratic.

Legitimate measures would be taken against illegal activities that may undermine the election, she added.

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Meanwhile, over the weekend five civilians were killed in what is believed to be an ethnic clash in Amhara regional state.

No group has been linked to the incident but Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) fighters have previously been accused of carrying out attacks in the region.

Ethiopia to give telecoms licences to two firms

Kalkidan Yibeltal

BBC Amharic, Addis Ababa

President Sahle-Work Zewde addresses the legislators during recession of the parliament in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia October 7, 2019
Reuters
President Sahle-Work Zewde's post is largely ceremonial

Ethiopia's President Sahle-work Zewde has given much-awaited details of moves to liberalise the telecoms industry, saying two private firms would be given licenses to operate in the sector before the end of July 2020.

State owned-Ethio Telecom currently has a monopoly, being the only company to provide voice, SMS and data services.

It has more than 41 million customers in a country with a population of more than 100 million.

Multinational firms, including Safaricom, MTN Group, Orange and Vodafone, have all shown an interest in bidding for licences.

Speaking at the opening of Ethiopia's parliament, the president said Ethiopia would continue with the economic reforms introduced by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed since he came to power in 2018.

She said the government was also committed to ensuring that general elections would be held next year, and they would be free and democratic.

Preventing conflicts that have displaced millions of people in recent years was an important task ahead of the elections, the president said.