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Internet connectivity in Africa almost tripled in
past five years amid rising cybercrime: AU

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The African continent is exhibiting one of the fastest growth rates in internet penetration worldwide with digital connectivity almost tripled in the last five years, the African Union (AU) revealed on Tuesday.

The pan African bloc AU, organizing the first African forum on cyber-crime from Oct. 16 to 18 in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, however warned the increasing threats that emanate with the continuous development of information and communication technologies towards more sophisticated services and applications.

According to the AU, as Africa witnessed fastest growth in internet penetration during the past few years, governments and private sector entities in the continent have been experiencing an equally increasing trend of cyber-attacks.

The First African forum on cyber-crime is expected to focus on cyber-crime policies and national legislations, with respect to regional and international standards and relevant implementation practices.

Large-scale theft of personal data, computer intrusions, bullying, harassment and other forms of cyber violence, sexual violence against children online, are said to be among the major human rights abuses that are pervasive in the continent in recent days, it was noted.

Hate speech, xenophobia and racism on line are also indicated as contributing factors behind radicalization and violent extremism in Africa.

According to the AU, the forum would play an important role in improving the effectiveness and exchange of information regarding common challenges and tasks across the continent.



Ethiopian students urged to refrain from “destructive agendas”

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian government on Sunday urged higher education students across the country to refrain from any form of destructive agendas and envisage rational judgments amid the starting of the new academic year.

The call was made by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his deputy, Demeke Mekonnen.

Ahmed and Mekonnen, as part of their messages to higher education students, urged the need to engage in constructive agendas as millions of Ethiopian youth embark on the new Ethiopian academic year.

Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation with more than 100 million population, has a burgeoning youth as more than 70 percent of its total population are under 30 years of age, according to government figures.

Noting that students are the east African country’s future, Ahmed advised them to give due emphasis on national agendas with the potential of positively shaping the country’s socioeconomic and political outlooks.

The premier called on all public and private education institutions in Ethiopia to focus on not only training students for future employment, but also to prepare them toward positively impacting the country’s future.

Improving the culture of peaceful resolution of differences and misunderstandings through discussions was also another focus in Ahmed’s message to Ethiopian students.

Universities across Ethiopia were the center of recent waves of unrest that affected the country since the second half of 2016 mainly attributed to challenges related with corruption and maladministration.

Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen echoed Ahmed’s call, stressing on the need to limit the movement of political factions in academic institutions.

According to Mekonnen, all political parties that are presently active in the country, including the ruling coalition, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), cannot engage in any form of political movements inside the premises of educational institutions.

He also urged members of all political parties and groups to refrain from manifesting their programs and logos inside universities and colleges as these places must be secular from any form of political movement.

Ethiopia’s higher education institutions have been hotbeds of dissent since the 1960s, eventually helping overthrow the last Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie I, in September 1974.

In recent years, higher educational institutions have also become scenes of violence among students over political, ethnic and religious differences.



Chinese firm awards Ethiopian employees for outstanding performance

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- China Communications Construction Corporation (CCCC) on Saturday awarded 10 Ethiopian employees for outstanding performance during a ceremony held in its work office in Addis Ababa.

CCCC East Africa General Manager Wen Yingzheng said the award recognizes the dedication of Ethiopian staff who have helped ensure the firm overcomes many challenges during its two decades of work in Ethiopia.

“We value our 6,000 Ethiopian employees, ranging from kitchen staff through to highest engineering professionals,” Wen said. “I hope this award will encourage our employees to work harder at their jobs and ensure CCCC reaches even more great heights in Ethiopia in the future.”

Speaking to Xinhua, one of the Ethiopian awardees, Gebrekiros Dimtsu, with CCCC’s Administration Office Assistance, said his actions during a deadly unrest earlier this year in Somali regional state, located in eastern Ethiopia, saved the lives of CCCC staff and properties.

Dimtsu was referring to unrest in August when supporters of ex-Somali regional state President Abdi Mohammed Omar engaged in violent protests in the region.

CCCC is currently undertaking a 55 km asphalt-concrete road project from Somali regional state capital Jijiga to Gelelese town.

“During the unrest I had to ensure the safety of the company’s employees and equipment. For that reason I decided to stay in the workplace. Using the connection and relationship I had with government bodies and local people, I was able to keep the safety of CCCC employees and equipment,” said Dimtsu.

China Civil Construction Corporation is engaged in various infrastructure projects in Ethiopia, including industrial parks, airports and roads.

Kenyan runners eye breakthrough in their debut marathon in Amsterdam

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Former World 10,000m champion Linet Masai is uncertain of what to expect as she debuts at the Amsterdam marathon on Sunday.

The 29-year-old announced her arrival on the global stage at home in Mombasa when she won the junior women’s cross country race back in 2007, but injuries and loss of form denied her the success she demands.

However, after returning to fitness after motherhood, Masai together with compatriot and former Africa 10,000m silver medalist Jackline Chepngeno will be venturing in new market as they seek to secure a foothold in the marathon.

“I have no experience over marathon and the choice of Amsterdam was down to my management. But I hope to make a good run and will have to take each step at a time,” Masai said on Monday.

The two will join Ethiopian Meseret Defar, a former Olympic champion, who will also be making her debut at marathon as well as Meseret Belete while Tadelech Bekele, who won last year’s women’s race, will return to defend her title.

“I have my expectations, but I have to be careful not to look far. It is the first race for me and I need to consider that my body will be experiencing something new. Winning is always part of my plans, but I do not want to pressure myself much,” said Chepngeno.

Defar, Masai and Chepngeno have battled over the track with the Ethiopian coming tops on more occasions. However, in Berlin in 2009, Masai proved her pedigree to end Kenya’s jinx in winning the 10,000m race at the World Championships. She also claimed the bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Masai also won silver in the World Cross Country Championships in 2009, 2010 and 2011, as well as being the Kenyan 10,000 meters champion in 2009 and 2010.

It will however not be the first time that Masai will be running in Netherlands. She is also a familiar face in Amsterdam events having won the Dam-tot-Damloop 10-mile road race in 2009 and 2014.

“Those were short races and it played a part in the selection of Dutch marathons as my debut competition. Hopefully, I will be on the medal stand at the end of the race,” said Masai.

Kenya’s Chepngeno has also secured a place on the podium at the Dam-tot-Damloop and Egmond Half Marathon in Netherlands.



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